Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Time for sector to find united voice

July 28, 2020

Several organisations with an interest in the future of our agricultural sector have come out with strategies or visions for what needs to be done to find New Zealand’s place in the sun. One such report produced by the Primary Sector Council has been sponsored, one could say hijacked, by the government, and converted by MPI into a set of financial and environmental targets. Another is the result of independent research and consultation. Ideally either the government will engage with the primary sector to agree the best policy settings the industry believes necessary to meet these ambitious targets, rather than insisting on following the plan it commissioned to meet its own priorities. (more…)

Regulation risks hindering innovation

July 14, 2020

The fast pace of regulatory change by the government poses a challenge for farmers trying to earn their social licence to operate.

 

The Emissions Trading Reform Bill and the proposed Essential Freshwater Policy are the two latest examples of regulation which are set to be introduced into law before the Election and will inevitably impose serious costs or penalties on farmers as currently drafted Some provisions run counter to good, common sense farming practices, and the ETR has the potential to side swipe the sheep and beef sector, as it incentivises the conversion of sheep and beef farms into forestry. (more…)

Taste Pure Nature one year on

July 14, 2020

A little over a year since the launch of the Taste Pure Nature country of origin brand in California, Beef + Lamb’s GM Market Development, Nick Beeby, is thrilled with the evolution of the programme. At the start a small number of meat exporters were supportive of what Beeby concedes was initially seen as a B+LNZ initiative, but 15 months later success in targeting specific consumer groups and expansion of the scheme into China have brought increased industry commitment. TPN is now viewed positively as a sector-led strategy and the meat exporters have injected huge momentum and drive in support. (more…)

Covid-19 a major test for government

March 15, 2020

Newspaper headlines driving panic buying in Auckland supermarkets suggest either we are all facing an existential threat or, more likely, a small percentage of the population is reacting like idiots, presumably stocking up large in case one Covid-19 case so far means they will have to self-isolate. (more…)

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…)

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…)