More online meetings for ag emissions roadshow
Due to high farmer interest, more than 15 extra online regional meetings are being added to the DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) agriculture emissions pricing roadshow.
Farmers are encouraged to register for the online meetings, via the DairyNZ and B+LNZ websites. There will now be more than 20 online regional meetings.
The levy bodies are also visiting the regions to get farmer feedback on two alternative options to agriculture going into the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
“After working hard to get a one-month extension from the Government, we’re making the most of this extra time to talk to farmers. We’re encouraging all farmers to come to an in-person event or online regional meeting. Farmers can also fill out a feedback form at the events and on the DairyNZ and B+LNZ websites,” says B+LNZ chairman Andrew Morrison.
More than 30 in-person events are being held at locations nationwide – with four more recently added to meet local demand. So far, more than 1,200 farmers have attended the first 14 regional in-person events and four online meetings.
“This is one of the most important decisions for farmers right now, so it’s really important farmers have their say,” says DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel.
“We carefully considered whether to go ahead with in-person events in the red traffic light setting, but on balance felt it was important farmers have the choice. All Covid protections are in place, and we’re closely monitoring the situation and will adapt as needed.”
Mr Morrison says B+LNZ and DairyNZ are pleased with how the events are going. “We knew there would be robust debate, based on what we heard in the lead-up to the consultation. There have been some tough conversations but that shows farmers are really getting to grips with the information and the most important thing for us is that we get farmer feedback.”
Mr van der Poel says polls carried out at the events show farmers are open to the options, with the majority favouring one or other of the alternative options over the NZ ETS. The Government previously legislated to put agriculture into the NZ ETS but has agreed to listen if the primary sector comes up with a better option.
At the events and online regional meetings, consistent themes are emerging and farmers report they appreciate what the Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership, He Waka Eke Noa partners are trying to achieve.
Key topics include the Government’s methane reduction targets and the need for a more advanced metric such as GWP* to account for the different warming impact of short-lived gases such as methane. B+LNZ and DairyNZ will continue to advocate for the review of methane targets in 2024.
Farmers are interested in how much the alternative options would cost compared to the NZ ETS, and whether it’s feasible to set up an agriculture emissions pricing system in a short timeframe to meet Government deadlines.
Sequestration is an area of high interest, particularly for many sheep and beef farmers, and discussion has focused on the 2008 baseline for the establishment of vegetation and the requirements around fencing.
DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand will continue to advocate for further research on sequestration rates of native trees and soil carbon, to ensure farmers can be fairly credited for on-farm sequestration.