DairyNZ shares the government’s ambition to reduce climate change emissions and today’s declaration of a climate emergency will further highlight the issue’s importance.
The dairy sector’s climate change commitments and research are geared at supporting farmers to reduce emissions, to help achieve national greenhouse gas targets.
“Dairy farmers are taking climate change seriously and the sector is committed to playing our part in tackling climate change and reducing our overall footprint,” said DairyNZ chief executive, Dr Tim Mackle.
“There are no silver bullets, it is about making incremental changes across the whole farm system. While many solutions are known, some are not, which is why DairyNZ and others are investing heavily in research.
“It is critical the government supports farmers to make change over a generation and the pace of other regulation recognises the efforts being made by the dairy sector.”
Internationally, New Zealand already stacks up well, as one of the most sustainable and emission efficient dairy producers in the world.
“If all dairy producers were as efficient as New Zealand, more than half the global emissions from dairy could be removed. But we know we can be even better and the dairy sector is 100 percent committed to this,” said Dr Mackle.
The primary sector has joined forces with government and iwi/ Māori in a world-first climate change partnership, He Waka Eke Noa, which will support farmers and growers to measure, manage and reduce emissions.
He Waka Eke Noa is a five-year programme giving farmers and growers the information, tools and support to reduce emissions and adapt to a changing climate.
It includes clear actions and timeframes for environmental improvements. This includes rolling out Farm Environment Plans for all farms by 2025 to ensure every farmer knows their emissions footprint, where those emissions come from and how to manage them. Over 3500 dairy farmers already have Farm Environment Plans.
“He Waka Eke Noa is about ensuring we remain world leaders in a competitive global market,” said Dr Mackle.
DairyNZ, as dairy farming’s industry good organisation, has a wide range of work underway, investing dairy farmers’ levy in climate change solutions developed through science. This includes research into different farm system options, such as feed types and use, improved fertiliser and effluent use, and options for on-farm sequestration of carbon.
DairyNZ is also informing dairy farmers on their greenhouse gas emissions footprint, how to reduce emissions and improve profitability. This is being delivered to farmers through the Step Change programme, which highlights the importance of looking at nutrient loss, emissions and profitability together.