Government to fund climate change research to help farming sector

The Government has announced the funding of eight new research projects to help farmers understand and mitigate the effects of climate change.

In July, the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) suggested that farming be included in the Emissions Trading Scheme in an effort to curb agriculture emissions.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the slew of new research projects would support farmers introducing more sustainable on-farm practices.

"New Zealand is a world leader of research to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector. The latest projects will help researchers, government and farmers better understand and adapt to the effects of climate change," he said.

Damien O'Connor said the new research projects would support farmers in introducing more sustainable on-farm practices.
Damien O'Connor said the new research projects would support farmers in introducing more sustainable on-farm practices. Photo credit: Newshub

The $1.56 million for eight new projects is provided through the Ministry for Primary Industries' (SLMACC) and include:

-$500,000 for Landcare Research and AgResearch to develop practical actions that farmers can take to adapt to climate change. 

-$150,000 for the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre (NZAGRC) to help rural advisors boost climate change knowledge. 

-$140,000 for NIWA to develop better tools to measure and assess drought conditions. 

Damien O'Connor said the funding came on top of the $229 million investment made in the farming sector through the sustainable land use package.

"SLMACC has funded over 150 projects over the last 10 years, to the tune of approximately $50 million. In Budget 2019, we also invested $8.5 million to further our work with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA).''

Climate Change Minister James Shaw welcomed the new research projects.

"Farmers know better than most about the effects of climate change and many are innovating so that they can drive down on-farm emissions," he said. 

 James Shaw said many farmers were already innovating in order to drive down on-farm emissions.
James Shaw said many farmers were already innovating in order to drive down on-farm emissions. Photo credit: Newshub

"In being the best possible steward of the earth, farmers contribute towards leaving a safe planet for our kids and grandkids. The research being funded today will help them get there," said Shaw.

The ICCC recommended in July developing a fund, led by farming leaders, to build the skills and technologies farmers would need to measure and manage their on-farm emissions.

It's estimated that could provide a fund of $47 million a year which would be 100 percent recycled back into fitting out farmers and growers with the measurement tools and know-how to control farm emissions through a processor levy over the next five years, which would eventually lead to farmers handling emissions at the farm-gate by 2025.

Farmers would receive a 95 percent discount on emissions in line with similar discounts for other industries.

Farming leaders want an alternative sector-led proposal, which it would manage, to get the agricultural sector into an emissions pricing system by 2025.

Under the proposal, it would be funded through the sector's levy organisations, including Federated Farmers, Dairy NZ, and NZ Beef and Lamb.

Newshub. 

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz