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Andrew Hoggard
Andrew Hoggard
Andrew Hoggard is National President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

Where is farming heading in the next 12 months?

Farming 2023 news

Heading into an election year, farmers are facing ‘interesting times’ to say the least.

The amount of regulation farmers are dealing with is unprecedented. In the water space alone there have been environmental policies which affect on-farm operations ranging from winter grazing to wetlands and water supplies.

Changes on the winter grazing front are an increasing source of frustration for farmers. For the last two years, the government has promised that farmers wanting to undertake winter grazing would have three pathways available to them, Permitted Activity Pathway, a Certified Farm Plan Pathway, and a Resource Consent Pathway.

Despite these promises, the alternative farm plan pathway is not available and is not expected to be ready for some time. This leaves thousands of farmers requiring a resource consent to comply with the rules.

We’re also dealing with the National Environmental Standard Sources of Human Drinking Water (NES-DW). This would impose significant restrictions on activities around all water supplies such as bores.

We support clean drinking water, but the changes proposed to the NES-DW are an over-reach.

It should be left to farmers to ensure that water sources are free from contaminants rather than regulated at the national level.

Also in the mix is the government’s Three Waters reform, which will affect drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. These services would be passed out of the control of district and city councils to four multi-regional publicly owned water entities. District and city councils are set to lose a big chunk of their asset base – plus hits to their spending and revenue.

We have written in opposition to the Water Services Entities Bill, which will establish the four entities. Our submission was strongly opposed , expressing concern about the costs of the reforms not stacking up, loss of local decision-making and control over local services.

It has become apparent that these proposals will have a massive effect on many farmers, such as the need for a fair proportion of farmers to get a resource consent for agrichemical application at $40,000 to $60,000 per application.

He Waka Eke Noa

Federated Farmers has been actively involved in the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) policy development process for over two years. We, together with industry and government, wanted to implement a framework by 2025 to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and build the agriculture sector’s resilience to climate change.

However, a huge concern for the future of our members is the government’s rehash of the HWEN proposal released in October. Even though they have now climbed back on some of their proposals, we still have significant concerns.

Their plan would reduce sheep and beef farming in New Zealand by 20% and dairy farming by 5% to achieve an unscientific national greenhouse gas (GHG) target. We’re extremely concerned this will lead to more farmland disappearing under pine trees.

The government’s rehashed plan to reduce on-farm GHG emissions throws out the two and a half years of work the industry did to come up with a solution, supposedly all that time in a ‘partnership’ with government to achieve a workable solution which would not reduce food production.

Federated Farmers does not support the government’s pricing agricultural emissions proposal.

We only support the pricing of emissions in New Zealand if such an agricultural emissions pricing mechanism is based on:

  • A scientific target for methane, based on no additional warming (that is being zero carbon equivalent) by 2050
  • Incentivising viable mitigation options that are available to New Zealand farmers
  • No emissions leakage or reductions in food production occur.

Forestry

Farmers are also concerned about carbon farms, where productive land is converted into permanent forestry. Of the 175,000ha of land purchased for afforestation over the last five years, about 134,500ha is grassland suitable for planting in forestry.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has been tracking whole farm sales data on a regular basis. Scarily enough, 52,000 hectares was sold in 2021 with the intention to convert into forestry.

The rate at which the carbon price is expected to continue to rise, we are calling for urgent policy changes including limits to be placed on forestry offsetting within the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

New Zealand is currently the only country in the world to allow 100% offsetting of fossil fuel emissions within the ETS.

With all this change, we’re in for a bumpy ride now and into 2023.

Image credit: Pixabay

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Instead of asking “where is farming heading in the next 12 months “ ask yourselves what is their end game? Little by little they are chipping away at farmers and farms and you never ask what the final result looks like? You never question Where is the government leading us? What is the real agenda behind the overreach? You have your little chats over the fence with neighbours, hold your little board meetings, discuss how you can work with government to implement the changes. JUST STOP ALREADY!!! GET OUTRAGED!!! STOP COMPLYING!!! They are coming for your land and livelyhoods and you are helping them!!

    • Time for the bullying media to stop their BS. Too many dogpoders interfering. Farmers have come under scrutiny over the last 40 to 60 years. Now we see the results.

  2. “We, together with industry and government, wanted to implement a framework by 2025 to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and build the agriculture sector’s resilience to climate change.”

    See, this is your problem right here. Every time you go along with this garbage and cave to ridiculous KPI’s that prop up a fake narrative they will just keep moving the goalposts. You aren’t going to satisfy them on climate change, not ever. It is now the singular government-sponsored religion of the western world, because it’s the justification offered for every shitty, authoritarian and state-expanding policy they cook up. They will never LET you declare the problem solved because they NEED the problem to exist.

    The fact that people have been farming for Millenia, and the fact that animals have been p!ssing and sh!tting into rivers and lakes since the dawn of time seems to be lost on everyone as our common sense boarded a plane and flew away some time around “two weeks to slow the spread”.

    You shouldn’t “support” the pricing of emissions AT ALL. It’s literally a tax on fresh air! Jesus.

    As farmers you guys have far more important things to worry about than trying to win a rigged game against the government by playing by its vague and ever-changing rules. Reject the climate bullish!t outright, call it out for what it is and stop trying to meet them halfway. They are NEVER going to be satisfied, no matter how big of a hit you’re willing to take. Humanity needs you guys a billion times more than we need duplicitous lawyers posing as statesmen, doing the bidding of cat-stroking snobs from Davos.

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