Op­por­tu­ni­ties for hill­coun­try farm­ers

Katikati Advertiser - - Your Community Voice -

With Christ­mas nearly upon us it’s good to stop and re­flect on the year gone, but its also a great time to look to the fu­ture and share some ideas with your fam­ily. I hope this ar­ti­cle gives you a topic for dis­cus­sion.

The pres­sures and chal­lenges com­ing at farm­ers through en­vi­ron­men­tal com­pli­ance and the mar­ket place are hugely daunt­ing for many farm­ers, but where there is a chal­lenge there’s al­ways an op­por­tu­nity and farm­ers, the op­por­tu­ni­ties ahead for hill coun­try farm­ing are se­ri­ously good!

In re­cent years Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has chan­nelled re­sources into build­ing a strong en­vi­ron­men­tal team across New Zealand, recog­nis­ing that we can’t make the claim that we are ‘clean and green’ any more. Now we need to un­der­pin that claim with in­tegrity and hon­esty to demon­strate to our Re­gional Coun­cils, the mar­ket place and to the NZ pub­lic, that we are walk­ing the talk.

How do farm­ers un­lock that op­por­tu­nity?

Over the last few years B+LNZ has been run­ning Farm En­vi­ron­men­tal plan­ning work­shops across NZ and this is where lead­ing farm­ers have re­alised that through the adop­tion of a Farm En­vi­ron­men­tal Plan (FEP), they can very quickly make mean­ing­ful im­prove­ment to wa­ter qual­ity and bio­di­ver­sity but also by un­der­stand­ing their land man­age­ment units, re­design their farms to op­ti­mise land use in­creas­ing prof­itabil­ity, not only by im­prov­ing farm sys­tems but also through pro­duc­tion trees, car­bon, ma¯ nuka honey and per­haps tourism. Lead­ing farm­ers also see this as sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity for suc­ces­sion plan­ning with the younger fam­ily members grasping these op­por­tu­ni­ties with both hands, tak­ing the fam­ily farm to the next stage of devel­op­ment. This leads into a re­cent ar­ti­cle writ­ten by B+LNZ.

B+LNZ has wel­comed the Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment of the $238 mil­lion One Bil­lion Trees Fund that will com­ple­ment the work al­ready be­ing done on sheep and beef farms.

B+LNZ’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Sam McIvor said the struc­ture of the fund­ing will work well for farm­ers by build­ing on the ef­fi­ciency gains they’ve made over the past 30 years, all while help­ing cre­ate and pre­serve 1.4 mil­lion hectares of na­tive for­est on sheep and beef farms.

“Done in the right way, by fo­cus­ing on hav­ing the right trees in the right place for the right purpose, the One Bil­lion Trees Fund rep­re­sents a huge op­por­tu­nity for sheep and beef farm­ers and com­ple­ments many of the ac­tiv­i­ties we’re fo­cused on,” said McIvor.

“Over the past three decades the sheep and beef sec­tor has made sig­nif­i­cant gains in pro­duc­tiv­ity, for in­stance dou­bling the value of our ex­ports while halv­ing the num­ber of our ewe flock and still ex­port­ing the same quan­tity of sheep­meat.

“At a time when con­sumers are look­ing more in depth at the story be­hind their food and want to know that it’s been eth­i­cally pro­duced and those who pro­duce it are do­ing so sus­tain­ably, it re­ally is the time for our sheep and beef farm­ers to shine.

“Since 1990, sheep and beef farm­ers have re­duced their green­house gas emis­sions from live­stock by 30 per cent, there’s 1.4 mil­lion hectares of na­tive for­est on sheep and beef farms, we have a largely pas­ture-based, free-range farm­ing sys­tem that’s the envy of the world, and the One Bil­lion Trees Fund gives us the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue to en­hance that im­age.”

With the new fund­ing be­ing tar­geted to sup­port both smaller plant­ing ac­tiv­i­ties and larger projects, the One Bil­lion Tree Fund will en­able farm­ers to un­der­take a range of ac­tiv­i­ties that will ben­e­fit farm­ers and New Zealan­ders.

“As part of our En­vi­ron­ment Strat­egy, we’ve committed to be­ing net car­bon neu­tral by 2050, im­prov­ing the qual­ity of fresh­wa­ter so New Zealan­ders can swim and gather food in the wa­ter sur­round­ing our farms, and for each of our farm­ers to have an tai­lored and ac­tive farm en­vi­ron­ment plan by the end of 2021, so the fund­ing and ap­proach will play an im­por­tant part in help­ing our farm­ers achieve these am­bi­tious goals.” McIvor said.

McIvor said the fund­ing works well with the di­verse range of ac­tiv­i­ties that al­ready take place on sheep and beef farms.

“Our farms are a mosaic of farm­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, of­ten with crop­ping, beef cat­tle, sheep, ma¯ nuka, hor­ti­cul­ture and forestry all tak­ing place along­side sig­nif­i­cant tracks of re­gen­er­at­ing na­tive bush. Our vi­sion is that within a farm, our farm­ers match land use with the land’s ca­pa­bil­ity, and this is re­flected by the di­verse range of ac­tiv­i­ties that take place on farm.”

To as­sist farm­ers make the most of the Fund, B+LNZ will be pro­vid­ing ex­ten­sion ac­tiv­i­ties to help them iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties and how to ap­ply for fund­ing.

The One Bil­lion Trees Fund will com­ple­ment the work al­ready be­ing done on sheep and beef farms.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.