Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Social licence to operate just as important as methane reduction

September 6, 2019

Amid all the debate about agriculture’s responsibility to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets, and the appropriate levels for those targets, it may seem counterintuitive to claim an equally pressing problem is to earn a licence to operate. Just as great a threat to agriculture’s future is not whether it faces a potentially unachievable government imposed target, but a business environment in which consumers make their decisions based on their perception of the acceptability of the food they eat. (more…)

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Government must provide leadership

August 23, 2019

In contrast to its positive social agenda to improve the average person’s lot by lifting the minimum wage, increasing teachers’ pay rates and attempting to increase home ownership, this government seems to have gone missing in action with respect to the farming sector. Apart from Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor’s rather lonely efforts as a cheerleader for agriculture, other government ministers only pop their heads above the parapet when there’s some good environmental news or forestry initiative to crow about, or a new, and scientifically flawed, methane reduction target to ask farmers to meet.  (more…)

Two reports, two different audiences

July 1, 2019

ANZ Bank’s Red Meat Benchmarking report and KPMG’s 2019 Agribusiness Agenda were both released during Fieldays week and both addressed the challenges facing the agricultural sector and farmers, but that’s just about where the similarities end. The ANZ report focuses specifically on the red meat sector with the objective of providing a stable and consistent basis for assessing and providing options for improving farm performance. In contrast the KPMG Agenda is a much more ambitious document which, in its 10th iteration, seeks to educate the whole sector on the accelerating speed of change and how participants need to adapt to remain relevant. (more…)

Agricultural sector committed to meeting realistic targets

May 31, 2019

The negative reaction to the methane target range in the Climate Change Amendment (Zero Carbon) Bill should not be taken as an indication the rural sector is at all opposed to the purpose of the Bill, nor does it suggest unwillingness to be part of the solution. Industry bodies, including DairyNZ, B+LNZ, MIA and Federated Farmers, are fully committed to seeing their members do all that is realistically possible to achieve the overall greenhouse gas reduction target. (more…)

Unforgettable tour of the country

May 21, 2019

I have just returned home after two weeks touring New Zealand, mostly the South Island, by train and coach and can honestly say it was the most stunningly beautiful trip I have ever made. It even beat Sicily, Turkey, India and Japan, all of which at various times seemed to have taken the prize for the best trip ever. (more…)

Finding the balance between long and short term

March 26, 2019

Every business has to find an appropriate balance between long and short term planning and farming is no exception. But, given farmers are very capable of planning and implementing their annual farm strategy, the long term offers the greater challenge. Forward planning involves a high degree of risk assessment, because decisions must take into account several critical factors over which the farmer has little or no control. (more…)

Pace of change keeps getting quicker

January 29, 2019

Perhaps it’s my advancing age, but it seems as though the changes facing agriculture demand ever faster reactions and responses to stay ahead or even just to keep pace with a whole series of challenges: public expectation, government regulation, consumer tastes, changing climate patterns, and new technologies as well as the usual ones like finances, human resources and health pressures, both physical and mental. (more…)

That was 2018 – now for 2019

January 16, 2019

2018 is over and it’s now timely to look at how many of last year’s key challenges will continue into the New Year.

 

From a New Zealand domestic perspective the attempt to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis has had the biggest impact on farming, most of it focused on the relatively small number of properties forced to cull their entire herd, some of it directed at those properties under surveillance or Notice of Direction, and some of it on the agricultural service industry, including meat processors, cartage contractors, stock agents and saleyards, as well as calf clubs and A&P shows. (more…)

Reflections on the year that was

December 19, 2018

2018 is nearly over and it’s now time to reflect on what were the most notable events and issues of the year. It is also time to think about the implications for the future. (more…)

Multi-pronged approach critical to successful environment strategy

October 8, 2018

Since announcing its environment strategy in May, the Beef + Lamb New Zealand team responsible for developing the plans, processes and tools to help farmers achieve the ambitious goals of being carbon neutral by 2050 and every farm having an active farm plan by 2021 has been working flat out to get the right farm planning systems in place. The strategy identifies four areas of focus – cleaner water, carbon neutrality, thriving biodiversity and healthy productive soils – with their own specific goals and a detailed implementation plan, supported by a series of what are termed ‘foundations’. (more…)