“Dairy farmers are committed to playing their part alongside the rest of the economy and doing our fair share when it comes to reducing emissions – but the Government needs to be setting our farmers up to succeed,” said DairyNZ chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle.
“In practice, that means having clear and achievable targets, pragmatic timeframes, and an appropriate level of Government investment in tools and technologies that will help us reduce our emissions.
“Kiwi dairy farmers are already the most emission efficient producers of milk in the world, but we know that both our communities and our consumers expect us to continue to improve.
“Unfortunately, we have already pulled many of the levers we have to reduce our footprint. Although we are always exploring new solutions through R&D, these take both time and money.”
Dr Mackle said while Budget 2021 may have delivered significant investment that will help urban New Zealanders reduce their CO2 emissions, there was nowhere near the same level of support for rural communities.
“The Commission were very clear in their draft advice that we will need to see a real focus on both R&D and digital connectivity for rural communities if we want to halt our contribution to further warming.
“Investment in R&D is going to be critical if New Zealand is to meet our highly ambitious methane reduction targets without severe impacts for rural communities and the New Zealand economy.
“The sector wants to work in partnership with the Government to deliver a clear long-term science strategy that will focus our joint efforts and ensure funding is directed to the right places. This must be an urgent priority.”
Dr Mackle said digital connectivity continues to be an issue for our farmers, with 50 percent saying they don’t have the broadband they need on-farm. “This needs to be urgently addressed to enable the uptake of new technologies to support emission reductions on farm.”
There are also elements of the Commission’s draft advice that DairyNZ is concerned by and expect to see changed – particularly when it comes to methane reduction timelines that go further and faster than required in the Zero Carbon Act.
“Farmers need confidence the goalposts won’t continue to shift so they can make the long-term, and often expensive, investments and changes needed to reduce emissions.”
DairyNZ provided comprehensive feedback to the Commission on its draft proposal.