Article Summary: New Zealand sheep and beef farmers are dedicated to contributing to climate change mitigation, waterway improvement, and protecting the country's biodiversity. Although they have made significant progress, they seek to change flawed government policies and poorly designed regulations to continue improving. The 2023 ‘Kiwis Backing Farmers’ campaign strives to cement beef and sheep farming as vital components of the economy to secure its future and get people eating more red meat again. The campaign encourages the public to email politicians directly demonstrating their support for sheep and beef farmers via a dedicated website.
Climate change is affecting farming globally, and it’s an issue we repeatedly cover in the Pasture.io blog. From dairy farming to sustainability, biodiversity and feeding suggestions, changing climate conditions remain at the heart of many farming decisions. We know it’s constantly on your mind and part of every decision you make on your farm.
New Zealand sheep and beef farmers are dedicated to contributing to climate change mitigation, waterway improvement, and protecting the country's biodiversity. Although they have made significant progress, they seek to change flawed government policies and poorly designed regulations to continue improving.
Given the recent challenges faced by farmers like you in the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, it is crucial to have effective policies in place to help your farms recover swiftly.
A new campaign by Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and advocacy group 50 Shades of Green is set to raise awareness of the plight of farmers. These groups say farmers have been adversely affected by climate change and ‘crippling’ government policies, and it’s up to the general public to help ensure the future of the nation’s sheep and beef production.
The ‘Kiwis Backing Farmers’ campaign strives to cement beef and sheep farming as vital components of the economy, to secure its’ future and get people eating more red meat again.
So, how will it be done, and what are the facts?
In response to ‘crippling’ government policies criticised for being made without consultation, (B+LNZ) and rural advocates 50 Shades of Green have joined forces to allow New Zealanders to show support by conveying their support to the government.
Such policies, including freshwater reform, methane targets, and proposed biodiversity regulations, are all areas of concern for B+LNZ. However, the group has emphasised that the most pressing issue was the "out-of-control" conversion of sheep and beef properties into carbon farming.
The campaign encourages the public to email politicians directly demonstrating their support for sheep and beef farmers via a dedicated website. A list of relevant politicians is given, as is a pre-populated email outlining concerns and specifics of the campaign to make the process simple for everyone.
It is important to note that the group behind the campaign is not against forestry and supports the integration of trees on farms. They also argue that NZ sheep and beef farmers were already doing their part for biodiversity and emissions voluntarily. However, the group suggests that the current methane reduction targets were excessive and inconsistent with science.
NZ’s red meat sector stood out during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, providing a reported $12 billion annual revenue. It contributed almost 5% of total employment on farms and in processing and support services. B+LNZ claim that anything jeopardising this sector's viability or forcing sheep and beef farmers out of business would impoverish the country and ultimately increase food costs.
What are the specifics of the campaign to help NZ’s beef and sheep industry?
Urgently address sheep and beef farms being converted into carbon farms by putting limits on fossil fuel emitters, offsetting their emissions in the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) through planting trees.
Commit to fixing this issue before any price on agricultural emissions is introduced.
Recognise and reward farmers for all the trees on their farms that are genuinely sucking up carbon.
Take a cautious approach to the pricing of on-farm emissions because New Zealand is the first country in the world to try this.
Using the latest science, review the methane reduction targets based on a warming approach to ensure agriculture is being asked to do the same as fossil fuel emitters – no additional warming of the planet by 2050.
Put the Biodiversity National Policy Statement on hold and work with our sector on a practical and fair definition of Significant Natural Areas (SNAs) to ensure that the right areas of our precious biodiversity are protected.
Boost support for farmers to safeguard our country’s indigenous biodiversity.
Replace the inaccurate map that incorrectly identifies areas that must be fenced to exclude cattle from rivers and lakes with a more effective approach that captures the right areas.
Change the thresholds for requiring freshwater farm plans and ensure the plans are risk and outcomes-based, and take another look at the slope rule for winter grazing.
How technology can help make your farming decisions easier
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Until we meet again, Happy Farming!
- The Dedicated Team of Pasture.io, 2023-03-14