This is the view of Taranaki sharemilker, Trish Rankin, one of 15 Dairy NZ Climate Change ambassadors who will work with their rural communities to help farmers better understand the challenge of climate change.
“I want to break the concept that climate change is scary and turn it into positive action,” says Trish.
“My role is to help my fellow farmers understand how they can play a role in reducing the impact of climate change. We must acknowledge that each region is different and requires different actions but also recognise the good practices farmers already do to help mitigate climate change. Taranaki started riparian planting years ago so we are looking pretty plush and now able to focus on our next actions.”
The 2017 Healthy Waterways report, published in October, recorded Taranaki’s best healthy stream trends in 21 years, showing water quality improving in the region. This was attributed to farmers robust Riparian Management Programme.
“It’s a step toward ensuring we have a (social) licence to operate,” says Trish.
The 15 ambassadors – 4 women and 11 men – represent best environmental farming practices and will help farming communities future proof their business, according to DairyNZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle.
“They run their farms profitably and sustainably and are serious about reducing on farm greenhouse gas emissions,” he says.
“Emission reduction is a challenge the entire global food sector is facing and New Zealand is well placed to showcase our sustainable dairying to the world.
“New Zealand is already one of the lowest emission producers of dairy in the world. But for New Zealand to achieve its 2030 target, we must look at ways to reduce all gases across all sectors,” says Tim.
The Climate Change Ambassadors are located around New Zealand with 13 of the 15 positions held by Fonterra farmers.