Labour’s emissions pricing plan has turned into a self-inflicted wound – Craig Hickman :
No matter whether you are for He Waka Eke Noa, the proposed method for calculating how agriculture will pay for their greenhouse gas emissions, or vehemently against it, I think everyone can agree on one thing: the plan was a stroke of political genius from the Labour Government.
In October 2019, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced that the Government would enter a five-year partnership with primary sector organisations and Māori. Their job would be to develop a system that would incentivise farmers to measure, manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The formation of this partnership, He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), was almost universally celebrated by the farming sector while being roundly mocked by environmentalists for the same reason; it allows farmers to remain outside the emissions trading scheme (ETS) for five years while the proposal was developed, and possibly indefinitely if the partnership was successful.
This was the first clever part of the Government’s strategy, placing responsibility for devising a way to charge farmers for emissions at the feet of farmers themselves. If the partnership failed to deliver then agriculture would simply be rolled into the ETS, and the blame would lie squarely on farmers’ shoulders for not having seized the opportunity they were so generously given. . .
Investor wants tech farmers not tax – Sally Rae:
New Zealand-American businessman Tom Sturgess said he placed full-page advertisements in newspapers this week to “stimulate a debate” around livestock emissions.
Under the headline “Let’s do right by farmers, and our planet”, the advertisement said he was worried an opportunity was being missed to “truly do something about methane” and that the primary sector would be hurt in the process.
Mr Sturgess, the founder of New Zealand’s Lone Star Farms, is an American-born businessman who served with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam before gaining a master’s degree in business administration at Harvard.
He later embarked on a highly successful corporate career in private equity firms, food service, aluminium manufacturing, housing and office products. . .
Retailers increase their margins on soaring food prices – Jonathan Milne:
From fertiliser to grow the grass on our dairy farms, through to supermarkets’ profit margins, we investigate the different costs contributing to the $1 rise in a simple two-litre bottle of milk
Add Covid to the “costs” column of Richard McIntyre’s ledger. The Horowhenua dairy farmer would often be up early milking, but this morning his workers are doing it all, while he tries to recover from a dose of the coronavirus.
McIntyre’s costs column is a lengthy one. The cost of urea fertiliser has doubled to $1370 a tonne this year – and for a 200ha farm like McIntyre’s, that’s $80,000. Farmers are paying more for diesel. They’re paying more on environmental costs like riparian planting and effuent systems.
They’ve been able to pay those costs, because the farmgate price they’re paid by Fonterra and other dairy companies has also increased this year. But the AgFirst dairy financial survey shows that farmers need a price of $8.48 per kg of milk solids to cover their farm working expenses, debt servicing, drawings, depreciation and taxes. . .
As we near the end of a rollercoaster year of recovery from the global pandemic, New Zealand’s fresh fruit and vegetable growers will be taking a deep breath before they leap into 2023.
United Fresh President, Jerry Prendergast, says the challenges faced by those in our $6 billion horticulture industry this year have been significant.
“Despite the overwhelming media around COVID-19, the weather has actually been the largest cause of disruption to growers throughout the year. A particularly wet autumn left many around the country struggling to maintain a steady supply through the winter months.,” he says.
“Unusually for Aotearoa, the weather bombs that disrupted early plantings hit in virtually every region, rather than just in isolated areas, so the impact was felt nationwide. Further damaging spring frosts in early October gave the blueberry crop a real knock and caused significant damage to both kiwifruit vines and apricot trees,” says Prendergast. . .
Rejecting ag technology can be costly – By Stuart Smyth & Robert Paarlberg:
Over the past 25 years, many governments have faced the decision of whether to approve agricultural biotechnologies and their resulting products, genetically modified crops.
Governments that decided to approve GM crops have benefited from higher yields and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence of lower agricultural productivity for countries that opted to not adopt GM crops becomes glaringly apparent when comparing agricultural production in the European Union with that of the United States.
As we know, the U.S. has approved GM crops, whereas the EU decision found the costs of adoption to be greater than the benefits.
Between 1995 and 2019, the agricultural production index for the 27 countries of the EU increased by only seven percent, while agricultural production in the U.S. increased by 38 percent. Further evidence of the cost of the EU’s failure to adopt GM crops as consistently as in the U.S. found that EU agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are 33 million tonnes higher than if they had adopted GM crops, equalling 7.5 percent of total EU agricultural GHG emissions. . .