Large scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to forestry as a result of the Zero Carbon Bill will have a significant negative impact on rural New Zealand, according to research released by Beef + Lamb New Zealand.
An analysis of Wairoa, where 8,486 hectares of sheep and beef farmland has, or is in the process of being, converted to forestry, shows forestry provides fewer jobs in rural communities than sheep and beef farms.
Rural consultancy BakerAg was commissioned by B+LNZ to compare the economic and employment effects of the conversion of sheep and beef farms into forestry.
The report, Social-economic impacts of large scale afforestation on rural communities in the Wairoa District, found that if all the sheep and beef farms in Wairoa were converted to forestry, then Wairoa would see a net loss of nearly 700 local jobs (the equivalent of one in five jobs in Wairoa) and net $23.5 million less spent in the local economy when compared to blanket forestry (excluding harvest year). . .
It’s shaping up as a tough season for New Zealand’s dairy farmers, who once proudly wore the label of the “backbone of the NZ economy” , earning by far the largest share of the country’s export income.
So what are the problems confronting the industry?
Uncertainty in markets, for starters. Prices at the latest Global Dairy Trade auction this week slid downward for the fifth time in six auctions.
The Chinese economy is under pressure as Trump steps up his tariff war. Brexit is a threat which could disrupt NZ’s dairy trade to both the UK and EU markets. . .
Big tick for farmers – Neal Wallace:
The red meat industry hopes to ramp up its Taste Pure Nature brand campaign on the back of the latest international climate change report.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is being welcomed by New Zealand farming leaders as an endorsement of our low impact systems and the importance of maintaining food production.
The IPCC says land on which we rely for food, water, energy, health and wellbeing is already under pressure and climate change will exacerbate that through desertification and land degradation potentially affecting food security.
The report’s advocacy of a balanced diet including animal protein sourced from resilient, sustainable, low greenhouse gas systems is an endorsement for NZ, Beef + Lamb chief insight officer Jeremy Baker says. . .
Tangaroa Walker was the inaugural winner of the Ahuwhenua Young Maori Farmer Award in 2012 and has gone on to a successful career as a contract milker. Now he’s helping Farmstrong raise awareness of the importance of living well to farm well.
Tangaroa Walker remembers the moment he decided to go farming.
“I was 11 years old and this guy drove up the driveway of our school in this flash car with his beautiful wife and hopped out.
“He was there to help set up a cross country course. I said ‘Hey man, what do you do?’ He said ‘I’m a farmer’. That was it. I ended up helping him out on his dairy farm when I was 13 and just cracked into it from there.” . .
The secret to a carbon friendly environment may surprise you – Nicolette Hahn Niman:
Carbon in soils represents both a problem and an opportunity. On the one hand, soil’s degradation is truly alarming. According to the book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, at the current erosion rate the earth “would literally run out of topsoil in little more than a century.” And soil is the source of one-tenth of the earth’s human-caused carbon losses since 1850. . .
Cow virtual fence trials encouraging: Pamu – Jono Edwards:
A company trialling virtual fencing for cows in Otago using electronic collars says tests show encouraging results.
Pamu Farms, which is the brand name for state-owned enterprise Landcorp Farming Ltd, earlier this year trialled “e-Shepherd” cattle collars at Waipori Station, which it owns.
It took 100 Angus steers equipped with solar-powered collars that show their location through GPS.
When the animals moved near digitally set forbidden zones they were dissuaded with a buzzing noise which gradually grew louder. . .
Left behind – Annie Gowen:
The feed chopper was the only machine Bob Krocak ever bought new, back when he was starting out as an ambitious young dairy farmer.
He used it to chop acres of alfalfa and corn to feed his herd of Holstein dairy cattle, which repaid him with some of the creamiest milk in Le Sueur County. The chopper and its fearsome blades lasted through four decades of cold winters, muddy springs and grueling harvests.
Now, on a chilly Saturday morning, Krocak, 64, was standing next to the chopper in the parking lot of Fahey Sales Auctioneers and Appraisers, trying to sell what he had always prized. The 128 Holsteins were already gone, sold last year when his family quit the dairy business after three unprofitable years. . .