Govt shows how millions of dollars are being directed into emissions-reducing initiatives

The Government’s announcement tis week of its proposal to reduce agricultural emissions, adopting many (but not all) of the recommendations of the He Waka Eke Noa Partnership of agriculture sector groups for farm-level emissions pricing, was described as a world first.  Our farmers would lead the world in reducing emissions, delivering a competitive advantage and enhancing our export brand.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the proposed pricing system supported farmers to make decisions about what they do on their farms by incentivising emissions reductions and climate friendly practices, .

He also said the supporting farmers by investing in the development of high-impact technologies and practices, including the establishment of the new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions to shift the dial on climate friendly farm practices.

The press statement included notes to the news media which list the support that is being provided, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ag/hort scientists are getting – or they should be getting – a slice of the action that is being funded by this money.

Current emissions reduction support for the agriculture sector

  • Emissions reduction support: $380 million to help get new tools, technology, and practices to farmers quicker to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.

It includes the establishment of a new Centre for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions to unite efforts of accelerate research and development. A key part of that work is a joint venture with industry (ANZCO Foods, Fonterra, Ngāi Tahu Holdings, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait) to accelerate the development of tools to help farmers.

Initial indicative commitments would see around $172 million invested over the next four years by industry and government to develop and commercialise practical tools and technologies for farmers.

  • On Farm Support: $55 million to establish and roll out an On Farm Support service. It will help farmers and growers navigate requirements around biosecurity, climate, water, and the environment.
  • Integrated farm planning accelerator fund: $14.4 million to invest in targeted initiatives that help farmers, growers, and whenua Māori to adopt an integrated approach to their farm planning.
  • Catchment groups: MPI has invested more than $34 million in the last three years to support around 200 catchment groups and thousands of farmer across the country to help improve land management practices.

Support through Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures

As at 31 August 2022, MPI and the sector had committed investment of around $517.48 million in a large range of projects, from understanding regenerative farming practices in the New Zealand context to exploring and progressing new sectors.

SFFF Sheep and beef project:

  • The Government is co-investing in a seven-year, $16.7 million led by Beef + Lamb New Zealand:
    • It aims to deliver best practice genetic selection tools to improve the productivity and profitability of New Zealand’s beef industry, and lower the beef sector’s greenhouse gas emissions by delivering cows with a smaller environmental hoof-print.
    • It’s expected to result in more efficient cows within the next 25 years, with the programme targeting a 10 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of product produced.

SFFF Regenerative Agriculture support:

  • The Government is co-investing $54.74 million (as at 31 August 2022) into 11 regenerative agriculture research projects.
  • These regenerative agriculture research projects aim to develop a sound evidence base of what works well for our soils, climates and farming systems, and include:
    • Co-investing $26.1 million into New Zealand’s largest ever study on the sustainability of our farming sector and the potential of regenerative practices through the Whenua Haumanu project, led by Massey University. This is the most comprehensive study of pastoral farming ever undertaken in New Zealand. It will scientifically build a picture that includes soil biodiversity, pasture performance, animal production and welfare, and the quality of the food produced.
    • An $11.58 million whole-farm scale study in North Canterbury to demonstrate the science of regenerative farming.
      • This study aims to demonstrate a viable alternative approach to enhance soil health, lower the environmental footprint, reduce water use, complement the mātauranga Māori (knowledge) of Māori landowners, and be profitable.
    • A $3.3 million project that is assessing the economic and environmental impacts of adopting regenerative diverse pastures in a Taranaki dairy farming system.  It will develop an evidence base to prove any links between:
      • diverse pastures and reduced nutrient loss
      • improved milk macro and micronutrients
      • increased soil water retention
      • soil carbon sequestration
      • increased production and profits.
    • A $2 million project that will scientifically test and incorporate new forage management practices and principles of regenerative farming into a dryland sheep and cattle farming system.
      • It will compare practices like utilising compost, diverse seed mixtures, longer feed residuals, and deferred grazing against conventional farming practices within a dryland system.
      • The project will also focus on improving farmer resilience and decision-making.
    • A $1.4 million project that aims to develop science-based resources for farmers so they can take long-term action to boost biodiversity on their farms, including case studies in different regions and tools to boost capability.
    • A $356,200 project that will build awareness of the challenges and opportunities surrounding regenerative agriculture verification across the sheep and beef sector.
      • It will help promote and support the regenerative production of lamb meat and by-products, and deliver premiums to farmers by securing high-value contracts in overseas markets.

Source: NZ Government


Author: Bob Edlin

Editor of AgScience Magazine and Editor of the AgScience Blog