Has He Waka hit the rocks? – Peter Burke :
The Government’s proposal to deal with agricultural emissions has stunned many rural communities who warn that it will decimate them and replace sheep and beef farms with pine trees.
Under the proposal, the Government states its intent to reduce emissions by 10% by 2030 and that farmers will start paying for their emissions by 2025.
But according to Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard, this plan put up by government will cause massive economic and social consequences in rural communities. He says the plan would see sheep and beef production drop by up to 20% and dairy by 5%, costing NZ $3 billion.
“We didn’t sign up for this. It’s gut wrenching to think we have a proposal by the Government that rips the heart out of the work we have done and to the families who farm the land. Feds is deeply unimpressed with the Government,” he says. . .
Our climate policy is confused and flawed – Allan Barber:
There’s an argument for rebuilding it from the bottom up, without Kyoto-era flaws.
Two reputable climate change scientists, Adrian Macey and David Frame, have recently published a five-part series of articles in BusinessDesk.co.nz which seriously questions the government’s climate change targets and policy. Macey is New Zealand’s first climate change ambassador and an adjunct professor at the NZ Climate Change Research Centre at Victoria University, and Frame is the centre’s director, which gives their opinions serious credibility.
At the same time Simon Upton, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, has issued a report that confirms the inappropriateness of planting huge swathes of pine forests to offset methane emissions and a note that questions the rationale for treating long-lived greenhouse gases and biogenic methane differently. He asks why fossil fuel emitters to buy carbon credits as offsets, while livestock methane emitters are not. Forests remove carbon dioxide, not methane, from the atmosphere, but Upton argues it should logically be possible for forestry to be used as an offset against warming in general, including methane. He also warned about the impossibility of planting enough trees to solve the warming problem.
In his report he states: “Reducing livestock methane emissions could have real economic and social impacts on people and ways of life. A fine balance needs to be struck between having regard to economic and social dislocation and finding a position that New Zealand can defend in international climate change negotiations, while remaining competitive in global food markets with growing consumer demand for low-emissions products.” . .
The shifting ground beneath farmers’ feet – Tony Benny :
Much has changed the position of farming in New Zealand society since 1973, when the sector lost its privileged access to a large and lucrative market.
“That cued up a series of crises that got worse and worse, culminating in 1984 with Rogernomics and really the first moment in the colonial history of New Zealand where a government decisively turned its back on farming. Things have never quite been the same,” Otago University’s Professor Hugh Campbell, an expert in the sociology of agriculture, told the Embracing Urban Agriculture hosted by Lincoln University’s B Linc Innovation centre.
He listed a series of fractures over the past 40 years or so that changed how urban and rural New Zealand relate, starting with a series of food scares in Europe including the Chernobyl disaster and Mad Cow Disease, which shook consumers’ confidence in food safety.
Consumers were also shaken by biosecurity issues including rabbits and the illegal release of calicivirus in an effort to control them, as well as the PSA virus that hit kiwifruit growers. . .
New median wage to hit farmers in the pocket – Jessica Marshall:
Moves by the Government to raise the wage threshold for migrant workers have some farmers up in arms.
Last week, Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced that a new median wage of $29.66 per hour would be adopted into the immigration system from 27 February next year.
“The Government is focused on moving New Zealand to a higher wage economy, increasing the skill level of migrant workers, and encouraging employers to offer competitive wages and improve career pathways for New Zealanders,” Wood said.
“Updating the median wage thresholds regularly is necessary to ensure the Government is delivering on its immigration rebalance goals and that existing policy settings are maintained in line with market changes.” . .
Southern women recognised in NZI Awards :
Southern women feature as category award winners in this year’s NZI Rural Women New Zealand Business awards.
Jody Drysdale, from Balfour, who won the innovation category, is behind Hopefield Hemp, with her husband Blair. The couple decided on hemp after looking for ways to diversify their farming operation to include a value-add, direct-to-consumer product.
Hopefield Hemp grows, harvests, presses and markets hemp seed oil. It is small batch pressed and is available in bottles and capsules. In response to one of her children experiencing skin irritation, Mrs Drysdale researched and developed a recipe to make a soothing cream using her hemp seed oil and Hopefield Hemp’s skin care range was launched.
Serena Lyders, from Whānau Consultancy Services, Tokanui, won the rural champion category. Passionate about the shearing industry, she is a sixth generation member of a shearing family and the industry and the people in it were close to her heart. . .
New project to help farmers gain regenerative agriculture certification :
Interest in food produced using regenerative practices is gaining momentum across the globe – and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is backing a project to help more New Zealand sheep and beef farmers capture this premium market.
MPI has committed $142,480 over two years through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund towards the $356,200 project with Lean Meats Limited (trading as Atkins Ranch). It aims to scale up the number of verified lamb producers that meet the regenerative certification requirements of the US Savory Institute’s Land to Market Programme.
New Zealand-owned company Atkins Ranch has been a partner of the Land to Market Programme since 2019. It sells premium grass-fed lamb into the US market and has supply contracts across five regions of New Zealand. The company has been piloting regenerative farming practices since 2019 with a core group of 23 farmers, and this is now expanding to more than 70 farms.
“I see regenerative agriculture as leaving the land in a better state for future generations,” says Atkins Ranch chief executive officer Pat Maher. . .
Fonterra announces new sustainable finance framework :
As part of Fonterra’s commitment to sustainability and implementation of its strategy, the Co-operative has today released its Sustainable Finance Framework (Framework). This Framework aligns Fonterra’s funding strategy with its sustainability ambitions and reflects the evolving preferences of lenders and debt investors in this area.
Fonterra’s Framework outlines how the Co-operative intends to issue and manage any sustainable debt, which could include Green Bonds and Sustainability-Linked Bonds and Loans. The Framework has been developed with Joint Sustainability Co-ordinators HSBC and Westpac NZ and has been independently verified by ISS Corporate Solutions confirming alignment with globally agreed sustainable finance principles.
“This new Framework is a step on our sustainable financing journey – aligning with our Co-operative’s broader sustainability ambitions,” says Simon Till, Fonterra Director Capital Markets.
“Over the next decade we intend to significantly increase our investment in sustainability-related activities and assets throughout our supply chain to both mitigate environmental risks and continue to differentiate our New Zealand milk. By FY30 we intend to invest around NZ$1 billion in reducing carbon emissions and improving water efficiency and treatment at our manufacturing sites. In doing so, we will be taking significant steps towards our aspiration to be Net Zero by 2050 and we plan to align our funding with this approach.” . .