This has allowed the sector to have more control over how it prepares for and starts the process of managing emissions.
In October 2019, the Government announced that agriculture would not be entering the emissions trading scheme (ETS). Instead they accepted an industry proposal – He waka eke noa - to build an enduring farm-level emission reduction framework. Read more in the media release here.
In April 2020 a steering group was appointed by the Government and the Food and Fibre Leaders Forum to lead this work.
DairyNZ's member in this steering group is Strategy & Investment Leader Bruce Thorrold. Bruce is charged with analysing the risks and opportunities facing the dairy sector; identifying what the sector needs to know; and helping people decide what action to take in response to those issues.
View the official Ministry for the Environment He Waka Eke Noa website
What is He waka eke noa?
He waka eke noa is a partnership between Government and 11 primary sector organisations – including DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers and the Dairy Companies Association (DCANZ) – who will work together to build an enduring farm-level emission reduction framework.
The document outlines our collective commitment in response to the challenges posed by climate change and will allow us to have greater control than if we were included in the ETS.
Are farmers entering the ETS?
No. Farmers will not be entering the ETS.
Instead, Government will work with DairyNZ and other sector partners to develop cost-effective ways to measure emissions at the farm level by 2025.
He waka eke noa was proposed specifically to avoid entry into the ETS for farmers, although the Government reserves the right to bring us in to the ETS if we fail to deliver on our commitments.
The Government will check progress in 2022 to ensure enough progress is being made.
What has been committed to?
The agricultural sector has committed to:
- Delivering a system for estimating and benchmarking farm level greenhouse gas emissions. Many milk supply companies are already on the way to implementing this.
- Rolling out integrated Farm Environment Plans, covering emissions reductions, offsets and adaptation, to all farmers by 2025. These will build on (NOT duplicate) the plans currently proposed under the Essential Freshwater process.
- Building climate change mitigation knowledge and practice amongst farmers
- Increased support for investment in research, development and commercialisation to expand the tools and technologies available for emission reductions
- Encouraging innovation and early adoption of tools and practices
- Engaging with the 1 billion trees programme consistent with the ‘right tree in the right place’ approach.
- Delivering region-and sector-specific adaptation guidance that can be incorporated into Farm Environment Plans
- Working with government to develop appropriate pricing mechanisms.
- Demonstrating leadership globally to encourage momentum on agricultural emissions reduction and meet the expectations of our markets.
Key milestones in the joint action plan
Farm emissions reporting
- For 25% of farms in New Zealand, a person responsible for farm management holds a documented annual total of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, by methods and definitions accepted by the Steering Group, by 31 December 2021.
- For all farms in New Zealand, a person responsible for farm management holds a documented annual total of on-farm greenhouse gas emissions, by methods and definitions accepted by the Steering Group, by 31 December 2022.
- A pilot of a farm level accounting and reporting system has been completed by 1 January 2024 across a range of farm types.
- A system for farm-level accounting and reporting of 2024 agricultural greenhouse gas emissions at farm level is in use by all farms by 1 January 2025.
- Guidance is provided to farmers on how to measure and manage greenhouse gas emissions through farm planning by 1 January 2021.
- A quarter of farms have a written plan in place to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions by 1 January 2022.
- All farms have a written plan in place to measure and manage their greenhouse gas emissions by 1 January 2025.
The milestones in the Joint Action Plan (He Waka Eke Noa), as well as provisions to determine whether progress is being made, is being legislated through the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill, which is currently with the Environment Select Committee for review.
Who is involved in the joint action plan?
A Steering Group has been appointed by Government and the Food and Fibre Leaders Forum to provide oversight and ensure delivery of the milestones and objectives of the work programme. DairyNZ strategy and investment leader Bruce Thorrold is one of those on the Steering Group. For details on the other members visit the Ministry for the Environment website.
Over the next few months, the Steering Group will focus on developing a detailed plan of action needed to achieve the milestones set out in He Waka Eke Noa.
DairyNZ will keep dairy farmers updated on progress.
Will farmers need to pay anything extra?
No. Our intention is that this work will be funded out of existing levy money.
Will there be extra funding from Government?
Yes. The Government committed funding in Budget 2019 for a Productive and Sustainable Land Use package to help with things like improving the accuracy of Overseer.
How does this tie into all the other environment announcements – do I need multiple farm plans?
You will not need multiple farm plans. The integrated Farm Environment Plans mentioned in He waka eke noa will build on the plans currently proposed under the Essential Freshwater process to avoid duplication.