Working with better than against

October 25, 2019

The government has seen sense and is accepting the primary sector’s proposal on agricultural emissions.

The agreement means agriculture will not join the Emissions Trading Scheme but instead work with the Government to reduce emissions.

There will be no processor levy from 2020 to 2025 as initially proposed but farmers and growers will have to implement farm plans and calculate their emissions and offsets at the farmgate from 2025.

A processor level would have penalised more efficient farmers and given no-one an incentive to improve.

Such a tax would have taken money from farmers, leaving them with less to invest in on-farm solutions.

Progress will be reviewed in 2022 and if the Government is unhappy it will revert to the original legislation.

That threat will hang over the sector but at least there’s breathing space.

We are pleased that the Government has recognised that it does not make sense to bring agriculture into the ETS and that we have a pathway to work with the Government to develop a more appropriate framework,” the sector said in a joint statement.

“We welcome this pragmatic and sensible decision by the Government to work in partnership with industry to achieve tangible on-farm change and hope that it might provide a blueprint for the way we work together to solve environmental challenges in the future.”

Would it be too much to hope a similar approach could be taken to water policy?

The 11-member primary sector group has committed $25m over five years to achieve these goals.

That group is Apiculture NZ, Beef + Lamb, DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association, Deer Industry NZ, Federation of Maori Authorities, Foundation for Arable Research, Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ, Irrigation NZ and the Meat Industry Association. . .

This shows the importance of unity and what can be achieved when working together.

It also shows the sense of government working with the sector instead of trying to impose impossible goals on it.

Federated Farmers’ response is here.

DairyNZ’s response is here.

 


Primary sector climate change commitment

July 17, 2019

New Zealand farming leaders have agreed to a sector-wide Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment: He Waka Eke:

The primary sector will work in good faith with government and iwi/Maori to design a practical and cost-effective system for reducing emissions at farm level by 2025. The sector will work with government to design a pricing mechanism where any price is part of a broader framework to support on-farm practice change, set at the margin and only to the extent necessary to incentivise the uptake of economically viable opportunities that contribute to lower global emissions. The primary sector’s proposed 5-year programme of action is aimed at ensuring farmers and growers are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver emissions reductions while maintaining profitability. . .

Neal Wallace summarises the plan:

Farmers could be about to receive some intensive education on managing greenhouse gas emissions from their farms and orchards.

A proposed five-year programme of action beginning next year has been developed by 11 primary sector groups as diverse as Apiculture NZ, Horticulture NZ, the Federation of Maori Authorities, Federated Farmers and bodies representing the livestock industry.

The Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment demonstrates efforts the sector is prepared to take to reduce emissions as new technology becomes available.

This means that reducing emissions won’t be at the cost of lower production.

That is important not just for producers’ incomes but New Zealand exports and the income they generate, and global emissions which would increase if less food produced here led to more produced less efficiently in other countries.

It also counters the Interim Climate Change Committee recommendation to introduce a tax on livestock emissions to be collected by processors up to 2025 when the tax will be based on individual farm assessments.

A joint statement by the group says a central tenet of the Government’s discussion document is pricing agricultural emissions.

“The primary sector is seeking to work with Government to design a pricing mechanism where any price is part of a broader framework to support on-farm change, contributes to lower global emissions and supports farmers and growers to make practical changes on the ground.

“This will be critically important to enable a smooth transition for the agricultural sector.”

The body’s plan will establish graduated, targeted milestones for goals such as farm environment plans and farm-level measurement of greenhouse gases.

A lot of farms already have farm environment plans.

North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) pioneered requiring independently audited FEPs as a condition of supply. Other companies have followed this example and many farmers have chosen to have FEPs as a commitment to best practice.

However, many of those plans won’t yet be measuring greenhouse gases.

For example, by 2022 the aim is for every farmer to know the level of emissions generated from their farms and by 2025 to have an accounting and reporting system for those emissions.

By the same year all farms will have a farm environment plan and 70% of all farmers will be managing their greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with their plan.

The commitment said substantial work has been done to develop methodology and tools to calculate farm-level emissions and extension programmes to educate farmers as well as continued research into methane inhibitors, vaccines and animal genetics. . . 

Continued research is essential to provide the tools farmers will need to reduce emissions without reducing production.

. . . The group wants sequestration to be credited to each farm and farmers should not be required to enter the Emission Trading Scheme to get financial credit for that sequestration.

Pricing should incentivise all forms of sequestration from native bush, riparian planting, shelter belts, orchards and vines.

The document says the primary sector invests $25 million a year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to climate change.

It notes the greenhouse gas footprint for New Zealand dairy production is 30% below Europe’s and less than half the world average while for lamb it is 25% that of the rest of the world.

This point is lost on those, including politicians, who erroneously think reducing livestock numbers here will reduce global emissions.

Just like the oil and gas ban, it would have the perverse outcome of increasing emissions as our less efficient competitors increased production to compensate for less food produced here.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair Andrew Morrison says the sheep and beef sector here has already reduced absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent since 1990 through improved farming practices and things like better lambing percentages and higher carcase weights.

. . .“Today’s Primary Sector Climate Change Commitment is an evolution of one of the Interim Climate Change Committee’s recommendations, and seeks to achieve the same outcomes faster than would otherwise be the case,” says Mr Morrison.

“Both the primary sector and ICCC agree that a farm-based pricing mechanism is the best way to get action on biological greenhouse gas emissions. Where we differ is that we think we can make faster progress by working with farmers from the get-go to help reduce on-farm emissions and prepare for farm-based pricing from 2025, rather than having an interim processor levy.”

Mr Morrison says that the ability of the primary sector to fund work on developing a farm-based pricing system through existing resources will provide a win-win situation for farmers and the climate.

“A new and blanket levy at the processor level wouldn’t incentivise any on-farm changes and would be seen as farmers as a new tax, which would undermine farmer’s efforts to make positive changes, especially as individual farmers wouldn’t reap the benefits of any improvements they may make.” . .

Imposing a tax rather than finding the tools to enable farmers to reduce emissions would add costs without necessarily changing behaviour.

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the Commitment doesn’t just identify a problem – it provides a clear pathway forward and a way for the primary sector to work with the government rather than just impose regulation.

. . .We and the ICCC both agree that a farm-based mechanism is the best way to address biological emissions, however, our views diverge when it comes to how we get there.

“Bringing agriculture into the ETS at the processor level amounts to little more than a broad-based tax on farmers before we have the knowledge, support and tools to drive the practice change that will reduce emissions.

“The stakes are high. New Zealand’s primary sector contributes one fifth of our GDP, generates 1 in 10 jobs and produce 75% of our merchandise exports.  We want to avoid shocks like the 80s and make any changes in a stable and considered way. 

Anything which imposes costs and reduces production would re-create the ag-sag of the 1980s with all the economic and social pain with little or not economic gain.

“As an alternative we have put forward a proposed five-year work programme to build an enduring farm-level emission reduction framework and work with farmers and the wider rural sector to provide real options to reduce their footprint. 

“While appropriate pricing mechanisms for incentivising emissions reductions at farm level can have an important role to play in incentivising change, creating an environment that enables and supports farmers and growers to make changes on-the-ground is equally important to prepare for farm-based pricing from 2025. . . 

Education and research to provide tools to enable change will have a positive and lasting impact that taxes won’t.


Rural round-up

February 24, 2014

Farm firebugs endanger lives, property – Tim Cronshaw:

Mid-Canterbury farmers have hit out at suspected arson after four fires in crop stubble, hay bales and a shed containing machinery.

They are worried a firebug might be on the loose after fires started at 4.30am on Saturday east and west of Tinwald.

Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury grain and seed chairman David Clark said there was a strong suspicion from the way the fires were lit, their location and timing, that arson was involved.

He said farmers were appalled by the behaviour. The fires were senseless and had put property at risk and potentially could have put lives at risk. . .

 

Children’s merino range a hit – Sally Rae:

Central Otago fashion designer Christina Perriam’s range of merino clothing for children and babies is proving a hit with New Zealand retailers.

Less than a year after its launch, Suprino Bambino has been picked up by 22 child and baby boutiques following a nationwide selling trip and trade fair.

There were also plans to market it overseas, with Australia potentially being the first international market. . .

68 years of ewe fairs recalled :

With his hand firmly on his mustering stick, J. J. O’Carroll patiently waited for the start of his 68th consecutive Hawarden Ewe Fair last month.

Not only was it Mr O’Carroll’s 68th trip to the saleyards, but it was also the 68th year the O’Carroll family had ewes from their farm, Waitohi Downs, for sale.

As the punters filled the races and the auctioneers got ready for a day’s selling at the January 31 ewe fair, Mr O’Carroll leaned against the rail and cast his eye over the sheep.

Many things have changed since he started selling ewes in 1946.

”The breeds of sheep are so different now. Sometimes when I look in a pen, I have a hard time knowing what they are.

”Still, it has brought about improvement to the industry,” he said. . .

Humble potato one to watch – Ruth Grundy:

The news is all good for potatoes.

The unassuming tuber has been not only named New Zealand’s top vegetable but has also been singled out by ANZ economists as an ”unappreciated” or unacknowledged” sector to watch.

In this month’s ANZ Agri Focus its economists have written about several ”themes” they consider will influence the economy through 2014 and beyond.

Among the several ”unacknowledged legs of the New Zealand Story” which they say have the potential to contribute to and underpin the New Zealand growth story is the potato sector. . .

Fonterra’s New $120M UHT Milk Processing Site Gears Up For First Production:


Fonterra employees Te Ngahau Bates (left) and Eddie West (right) monitor an Anchor UHT processing line at the Co-operative’s new $120 million UHT milk processing site at Waitoa.  The white packs contain water which was run through the site’s processing lines.

The stainless steel is shining and the last bolts are being tightened at Fonterra’s new $120 million UHT milk processing site at Waitoa.

After more than 12 months of construction, the site is on-track to produce its first Anchor UHT product off the line in March. UHT Operations Manager, Donald Lumsden, said the Co-operative couldn’t be more excited.

“This is a very exciting time for Fonterra. The global demand for dairy is growing and we’re now well-positioned to meet this growth with our new state-of-the-art UHT milk processing site at Waitoa. The site will enable us to optimise the milk our farmers produce by turning it into high-value consumer products that will meet market demand in Asia.” . . .

Forecast surge in value of primary sector exports a huge boon for Maori Agri-business – Federation

A forecast 15% increase in earnings from primary sector exports to June 30 this year is a huge boon for the Maori agri-business sector, the Federation of Maori Authorities says.

The Ministry of Primary Industries announced this week that based on trends it believed there would be an additional $4.9 billion in earnings from agriculture, forestry and fishing exports in the year to June 30, based primarily on intensifying demand for dairy products, meat, pelts, wool, wood and seafood from China. The revised annual forecast is now $36.4 billion.

“That’s great news for Maori producers,” Federation of Maori Authorities’ CEO TeHoripo Karaitiana said. “They can now count on banking a lot more this year, and having a lot more financial discretion in their planning for the next few years.” . . .


Kingi SmilerAgribusiness person of year

November 2, 2013

Prominent Maori businessman Kingi Smiler, responsible for some breakthrough developments in Maori agri-business, has been named Agribusiness Person of the Year by Federated Farmers.

He joins an elite list that includes Dr John Penno (Synlait), Sir Graeme Harrison (ANZCO), Andrew Ferrier (Fonterra) and Craig Hickson (Progressive Meats).

Kingi’s greatest accomplishment to date, beyond completing 20 Ironman events and achieving an international age-group ranking, was to pull together the support base and drive the establishment of Miraka Limited, the largest collaborative new venture undertaken in the Maori agrarian sector, indeed the entire Maori economy over the past five years.

Miraka’s state-of-the-art milk powder production facility, which draws on geothermal energy, is based at Mokai northwest of Taupo. It cost $90 million to build and opened in 2011, achieving profitability in year one.

Kingi is chair of the Board of Miraka, and is also chair of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, who with Tuaropaki Trust are the cornerstone shareholders of Miraka. WMI manages 12 dairy units and operates 10,000 cows which produce 4 million kgs of milk solids a year and is the biggest single supplier to Miraka (the Maori word for milk).

Miraka has been the culmination of more than 10 years effort on Kingi’s behalf to lift the performance of the Maori agri-business sector. He has taken a key leadership role in this, fronting a series of initiatives like the Tairawhiti Land Development Trust which combined with the Ahuwhenua Trophy Maori Excellence in Farming Competition have seen the sector make some significant economic gains. The Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition is now considered the premier calendar event in the sector.

A former partner in Ernst & Young specialising in business and corporate restructuring, Kingi is a professional director. He is also on the board of Mangatu Blocks, one of the largest Maori meat producers and owner of Integrated Foods which processes and exports internationally.

A supporter and member of the Federation of Maori Authorities since 1987 Kingi was also instrumental in achieving the change in ending the leases in perpetuity over major Maori land blocks which was a historical milestone.

Federation CEO TeHoripo Karaitiana, who sits with Kingi on the WMI board, said the award was due recognition for a man whose vision, energy and leadership has had a transformational effect in Maori agribusiness and beyond.

“Kingi is not a man who seeks this type of recognition but it is simply impossible to ignore the extraordinary impact the initiatives that he has lent his energy to have had on the Maori agri-business sector,” he said. “For those that have worked with him, and I count myself lucky to have been one of them, you cannot help but appreciate his commercial astuteness and highly effective leadership style. He brings the same determination and discipline to his business activities that he does to his sporting pursuits.”

Kingi, whose whakapapa connections are to Ngati Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Atiawa, Whakatohea and Tuhoe completed his first Taupo Ironman in 1997 and is now in the elite club of those that have completed 10 or more in Taupo. He also competes internationally and has achieved a very respectable ranking at masters’ level.

“The challenge of doing something that pushes your mind and body to its limit is what keeps me motivated,” Kingi said. “The Ironman offers no mercy and preparing to any eventuality – physically, mentally and weather-wise – is key to completing the race.”

He applies the same approach when considering business propositions and before embarking on new ventures, which have marked his greatest accomplishments to date.

Federated farmers Chief Executive officer Conor English presented the trophy to Mr Smiler at the FOMA annual conference being held in Hastings. Mr English said, “Maori are huge contributors to agriculture, exports and our rural communities. This award recognises the drive, entrepreneurship and success that is being demonstrated right across Maori agriculture every day. Kingi Smiler is a true leader and a well deserving recipient of this prestigious award,” Mr English concluded.

Kingi Smiler named Agribusiness person of the year

#gigatownomaru applauds success.


Focus on improving productivity of Maori land

November 21, 2012

Fonterra, ZESPRI, Massey University,  DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and  Landcare Research have joined forces with the Federation of Māori Authorities and the Māori Trustee to focus on increasing the productivity of Māori-owned farm land.

The new Māori Land Productivity Initiative, Te Kokiri mo te Whainga Hua o Nga Whenua Māori, is the private sector’s response to the Māori Economic Development Panel’s recommendation 17 to raise the productivity of Māori land . . .

The Chairman of the Māori Economic Development Panel, Ngahiwi Tomoana, said an estimated 1.5 million hectares of New Zealand land was owned collectively or individually by Māori, but a 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Te Puni Kokiri report suggested that 80% of Māori freehold farming land was either underperforming or underutilised and not even close to reaching the land’s productivity potential.

“Getting the productivity of all Māori-owned land up to the world’s best standards is perhaps the most important contribution Māori can make to improving New Zealand’s exports and driving economic growth,” Mr Tomoana said.

Te Horipo Karaitiana, Chief Executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities, said the Initiative would act quickly and efficiently to get in place specific programmes to assist Maori landowners to upgrade the productivity of their land.

“This is an issue we’ve been working on for some time, and to get so many of the key players invested will be of enormous value. The group is Maori-led, industry and university facilitated, and will involve no cost to the taxpayer, while unlocking huge returns for Maori and all of New Zealand.” . . .

Having so much land under performing is a waste or resources and opportunities, especially when a lot of it is in areas of high unemployment.

Increasing the productivity of Maori land will provide more work on farms and the businesses which service and support them and earn more export income.


Rural round-up

August 2, 2012

Meat price outlook positive in spite of short term wobbles – Allan Barber:

The exchange rate and uncertainty in the Eurozone remain the biggest negatives for red meat exports in the short term, but the outlook is still positive heading into next year.

It’s very hard to pick what will happen in Europe which will inevitably have a large impact on lamb prices for the foreseeable future. Southern Europe and the UK are technically in recession and are unlikely to improve much, at least until the ECB manages to sort out how it will cope with the trials of Greece, Spain and others. . .

 

Elworthy-managed fund psends $2m on Gisborne land, emerges with 9,200ha of forestry – Paul McBeth:

Craigmore Forestry Fund, which is managed by Forbes Elworthy’s Craigmore Sustainables, paid $2 million for 511 hectares land it wants to convert into forestry, as it looks to build plantations down the east coast of the North Island.

The fund has built up 9,200 hectares of land running from the East Cape to Riversdale, where it plans to either manage existing forestry operations or plant trees on farming land, according to summary decisions from the Overseas Investment Office. . .

  A permeating puzzle – Offsetting Behaviour:

Canadian supporters of supply management note that they’re helping to protect Canadians from “permeate” milk. Or at least my Twitter friend from the Canadian Dairy Lobby keeps needling about use of permeate.

Permeate is a concentrated byproduct from cheese-making that, in diluted form, can be added into fluid milk. You can also get it through ultrafiltration: ultra-filter the milk, then add stuff back in varying proportions depending on the blend you want to achieve. It’s relatively high in lactose, so it could make milk less friendly for those with lactose intolerance, but it otherwise seems pretty innocuous. Most supermarket milk in New Zealand uses permeate; it’s been a bit controversial in Australia. . . 

Ravensdown first fertiliser company to break billion dollar milestone:

Ravensdown, the 100% farmer-owned co-operative, has become the first NZ fertiliser company to surpass a billion dollars in revenue. The co-operative also helped shield shareholders from world price volatility for imports such as urea for a large part of the reporting period.

Revenues for the year to 31st May 2012 were a record $1.07 billion, an increase of 15%. The co-operative plans to distribute $53.5 million to shareholders. This represents a total of $40.48 per tonne of fertiliser purchased which is made up of a rebate of $15.10 per tonne plus a bonus share issue of 17 shares per tonne (tax paid) valued at $25.38 per tonne. . .

 Synlait Milk Scoops Agri-Business Award:

Synlait Milk has scooped the Agri-Business Award in the Sensational Selwyn Awards, which recognise business excellence in the Selwyn District.

Over 500 people attended the biennial awards dinner held on 28 July at the Lincoln Events Centre. Finalists for the award included Coppersfolly Limited and Ellesmere Transport Company Limited.

Since operations began in 2008, Synlait has grown to become one of Selwyn’s largest companies, processing over 500 million litres of milk a year from around 150 Canterbury farms, and employing 128 staff. . .

 Māori partner with agbio leaders to drive growth through science:

The Federation of Māori Authorities says supporting the world’s top agricultural biotechnology conference being held in Rotorua in September is an opportunity to connect its members with the best minds in the business.

The Federation has come on board as a Platinum sponsor of ABIC (Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference) 2012, which will bring industry leaders, researchers and scientists, investors and policy makers from around the world to New Zealand.

ABIC 2012 is hosted by NZBIO, the New Zealand biotechnology industry association.

The Federation of Māori Authorities represents New Zealand businesses with a combined asset base valued at NZ$8 billion, much of which comes from interests in seafood, forestry, dairy, sheep and beef, horticulture and energy. . . 

Dairy Compliance Improved:

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s compliance monitoring of dairy farms shows a marked increase in the level of full compliance.

Full compliance is up to 80% across the region, with the majority of the 20% non-compliance being of a technical nature rather than having a direct adverse environmental effect. . .

 

 

 

 

 


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