At the National Fieldays last year the New Zealand dairy sector announced the Dairy Action for Climate Change plan. It was our way of standing up and saying to the public that dairy is doing our part to help New Zealand to meet its climate change commitments.
Having this plan in place at that time was fortuitous as the change in government put a significant emphasis on New Zealand’s climate change commitments. The Labour-led Government is committed to ensuring New Zealand meets its goal to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and this has increased pressure on all sectors to start thinking about how to reduce their emissions.
By the time the new government was in place, the dairy sector was already well underway in delivering our commitments to climate change. We started in 2017 by educating 500 rural professionals around New Zealand. We wanted to ensure farm advisors were providing the right advice about emission reduction. We also got our partnership farm program started which will help us understand how different farm systems can reduce emissions. The 10 successful partnership farms will be announced this month.
We are also set to announce the names of the 12 dairy farmers who have put their hand up to be Climate Change Ambassadors. These people will be a driving force in their community to help their peers reduce their environmental footprint. Many farmers across the country are already thinking and working in this way, and our focus for 2018 is to help all farmers understand the challenge of climate change, the scientific research underway and the environmental mitigations they can make on their farms right now.
In June we are running eight climate change workshops around New Zealand for dairy farmers. They will also offer an important opportunity for farmers to learn about the work the Government has underway, as the consultation period for the Zero Carbon Act is set to start at the end of May. We want to ensure dairy farmers understand what is being proposed and are willing to have their say about the legislation.
This is definitely the Year of Action. Our Dairy Action for Climate Change plan will have achieved all our commitments within the next month, and we will be looking at how to take this work forward. To find out more about our plan, and when and where our regional climate change workshops are being held in June, visit dairynz.co.nz/climate-change
• Kara Lok is a DairyNZ Senior Climate Change Advisor
By: KARA LOK