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Celebrate and collaborate, Feds President tells farmers

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Farmers should be very wary of underplaying the progress and successes they’ve already made as food producers and custodians of the land, Katie Milne said in her President’s address to the Federated Farmers AGM.

“If we pay too much attention to the critics, it saps motivation and puts more stress on the shoulders of farmers and their families. As the Prime Minister told us in the Primary Industries Summit earlier this week, we can be too hard on ourselves.”

A common theme from a number of the Summit speakers was the value of collaboration and sharing ideas and resources.

“We’re a small nation Down Under, trying to tell our producer story to those higher-end “conscious consumers” all over the globe. As Kiwi producers, we shouldn’t be competing with each other when our real task is to break-through against bigger and better resourced international competitors.”

Milne noted that we are all tying ourselves in knots as we try and thrash out workable, science-based and affordable Zero Carbon legislation.

“It’s easy to forget that New Zealand farmers are among the very best in the world at producing meat and milk with the lowest per kilogram greenhouse gas emissions.

“Some countries have committed to reduce their agricultural GHG emissions by up to 30% in the next 30 years – a little known fact is that doing that will bring them down to the levels our farmers already achieve.

“One of the biggest things New Zealand farmers can do to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions worldwide is to show developing nations how to utilise our knowledge of farming systems and technology that have enabled us to achieve these levels.”

Delegates from 24 provinces at the AGM unanimously passed a resolution that Federated Farmers support a reduction in livestock methane emissions of 10 per cent by 2050, which science tells us is a level that will ensure methane from our farmed animals has no additional global warming.

They also endorsed a net zero level of nitrous oxide emissions from livestock by 2050 – itself a big task for the New Zealand agricultural sector – and a net zero carbon dioxide by 2050 target for the nation.

Another remit passed called for Feds to seek an assurance from the government that NZ Post would maintain a consistent and trusted quality of service to ensure reasonable delivery times at a reasonable cost, meaning rural communities – which often don’t have strong connectivity for digital forms of communication that urban New Zealanders enjoy – are not further disadvantaged.

There was also support for a campaign to eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea from New Zealand, subject to the findings of the soon-to-be completed business case by Massey University, MPI and industry. BVD costs the sector tens of millions of dollars each year, yet it is one of the few infectious cattle diseases that is technically feasible and cost-effective to control.

Source: Federated Farmers

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