Rural round-up


Government’s climate change emergency declaration: Government must shift its attention from offsetting emissions to reducing emissions from fossil fuel use:

With the New Zealand Government declaring a climate change emergency, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has renewed its call for the Government to put in place tangible measures that will lead to real reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use and limit the amount of pollution that can be offset through carbon farming.

“The science tells us that carbon dioxide emissions need to decrease significantly if the global community is to meet the temperature goals set in the Paris Agreement, yet carbon dioxide emissions have increased by nearly 40 per cent in New Zealand since the 1990s,” says Dylan Muggeridge, Environment Policy Manager at B+LNZ.

“The changes made to the emissions trading legislation earlier this year provide huge incentives for fossil fuel emitters to offset their emissions through large-scale planting of exotic trees, rather than incentives to change behaviour, reduce emissions and decarbonise the economy. . .

Regenerative agriculture is not redundant but can be misguided – Keith Woodford:

Arguments about regenerative agriculture illustrate the challenges of creating informed debate. More generally, democracies depend on voters understanding complex issues

The overarching title to this article, that regenerative agriculture is not redundant but can be misguided, contrasts with a recent Newshub article stating that “regenerative agriculture is a largely redundant concept for New Zealand” and hence “largely superfluous”.

According to the title of the Newshub article, “NZ farmers adopted regenerative agriculture years ago”. The supposed source of these claims was a retired university professor called Keith Woodford. That’s me!

The problem is that I don’t believe I have ever used the words ‘redundant’ or ‘superfluous’ in relation to regenerative agriculture. What I do say is that it has to be science-led and not simplistic dogma. Unfortunately, in many cases the dogma is not consistent with the science. . . .

Fonterra provides update on its forecast Farmgate Milk Price range and first quarter performance:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today narrowed its 2020/21 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range, reported a solid start to the 2021 financial year and reconfirmed its forecast earnings guidance. 

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell says as a result of strong demand for New Zealand dairy, the Co-op has narrowed and lifted the bottom end of the forecast Farmgate Milk Price range from NZD $6.30 – $7.30 per kgMS to NZD $6.70 – $7.30 per kgMS.

“This means the midpoint of the range, which farmers are paid off, has increased to NZD $7.00 per kgMS.

“China is continuing to recover well from COVID-19 and this is reflected in recent Global Dairy Trade (GDT) auctions with strong demand from Chinese buyers, especially for Whole Milk Powder, which is a key driver of the milk price. . . 

CEO begins six-month notice period after giving intention to leave:

Greg Campbell, Chief Executive of Ravensdown has notified the Board that he will be leaving the role and has started his six-month notice period. This gives the Board time to search for a suitable replacement for Greg who has been CEO of the farmer-owned co-operative for eight years.

Greg explained that the time felt right to move on, but there was no specific role lined up. “I’m a director on several boards and that seems enough at this point. I’ve been a CEO for different organisations now continuously for over two decades so it will be good to pause, take stock and see what life holds in store.”

His pride in the Ravensdown team and all it has accomplished – especially coming through for the country as an essential service during Covid-19 – is undimmed. . . .

Silver Fern Farms helps Kiwis share the love with family and friends in the US this Christmas:

Silver Fern Farms is making it easy for Kiwis to share a taste of New Zealand with their US friends and family this Christmas. By ordering from its newly-launched US website, Kiwis can still send Silver Fern Farms’ premium quality, grass-fed New Zealand lamb, beef and venison direct to the doorsteps of their US-based loved ones in time for Christmas dinner.

Silver Fern Farms’ Group Marketing Manager, Nicola Johnston says thanks to the company’s US distribution centres, it’s a perfect option for people who’ve missed postal cut-off dates to the US, but want to send something special and memorable to Americans looking at a Christmas with restrictions on gatherings.

“Kiwis with friends and family over in the US are feeling farther away than ever this Christmas. We know that connecting over delicious food is a special part of the holidays, no matter what hemisphere you’re celebrating in, and while we can’t all get together just yet, we can help Kiwis share the love through a care package of Silver Fern Farms’ finest New Zealand pasture-raised red meat products.” . . 

Hannah – Hannah Marriott:

See the good in what you do and what you can contribute to society.

In January 2013, Hannah Marriott hit “send” on her Nuffield Australia report on individual animal management in commercial sheep production. Her report outlined the findings from her one-year scholarship, which took her to New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, Ireland, Denmark and Kenya to complete her studies into using objective measurement to optimise production through to product.

Agriculture has always been a passion for Hannah, who through her Nuffield Scholarship, uncovered more about how objective measurement could deliver production benefits to commercial sheep producers.

As a second-generation sheep producer, Hannah grew up on her family’s property near Benalla in Victoria. . . 

A lesson from the gospel of greenwash


In the beginning there were words and the words were many and the words were warm and they were well meant.

However, the actions that followed the words were few and some of the direction was backwards and the progress was tiny..

But the people liked the words and the warmth and they didn’t listen to the ones who pointed out that style over substance was not good and they voted for more.

And the people got more words and the words were strong and they spoke of an emergency and they foretold doom unless a declaration was made.

And so a declaration was made and a cloud of hot air rose as policy was announced.

Verily the servants of the public shall drive vehicles powered by electricity and it matters not that the prophet who knows the science says electric cars are good fun for wealthy virtue signallers, but a dreadful way to save the planet and the rich world’s drive to electric cars gets us nowhere.

Some heard the prophet and they declared that science was essential and that policy must have a positive impact and to beware of the devil in the details.

But the people didn’t heed the prophet and his followers. They shut their eyes to the detail and their ears to those who said that planting trees could not offset emissions from fossil fuels but they could offset methane from stock for they were listening to the words and the words were warm and they were well meant.

And the people were comforted and they knew that if they kept listening they could feel virtuous and they would not need to do anything because the one with the warm words and fine feelings had spoken and they believed that the words could turn back the tide and they felt safe.

If it’s an emergency


The government plans to declare a climate emergency in parliament next week.

If it is an emergency, the declaration wouldn’t be delayed until next week,

The announcement of an announcement of the declaration next week is a bit like saying “I’m having a heart attack but don’t worry about calling for an ambulance for a few days.”

If it is an emergency, there will have to be urgent action to deal with it.

If it’s an emergency all policy regulating activity here will not result in an increase in emissions elsewhere.

If it’s an emergency all action will be determined by science rather than politics and bureaucracy.

That would result in an immediate ban on allowing long-lived gases to be off-set by the planting of trees.

And it would take a whole-of-life approach to determining what is and isn’t climate friendly.

If it’s an emergency we can expect drastic changes to what we can and can’t do. It would include a ban on all but essential travel using fossil fuels and the end to motor sport.

If it’s an emergency reaction would be more than words and symbolism.

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