Emotional consequences

We often hear references to the economic or environmental costs but what about the emotional price?

In Editor’s Note3 Minutes
Country-Wide editor Terry Brosnahan

WE OFTEN HEAR REFERENCES TO the economic or environmental costs but what about the emotional price?

The injustice of the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme had a huge emotional impact on farmers.

Farmers watched helplessly as healthy herds were destroyed. They endured the heavy handedness of MPI and too often, its incompetence.

Social scientists recorded the emotional carnage which has since increased with other issues. Farmers are becoming frustrated and anxious as farmgate prices fall, input costs rise and the government legislation affecting their livelihoods keeps coming. For some the Government’s methane tax plan is the final straw.

How good was He Waka Eke Noa? It delayed Government action and led to wider debate but was it a good deal for farmers.

Landowners are waking up to the fact that under He Waka and the Government’s additionality clause, they will only get a fraction of the carbon credits from pre-1990 native regenerating forests.

Farmers have to pay for their ag emissions, but should be rewarded for all sequestering trees, pre-1990 native and non-native.

Rules and the artificial market for carbon emission credits are squeezing out pastoral hill country farmers. Some are taking advantage of the colossal prices offered by carbon forestry ventures and selling up. Those wanting to stay on the land are being forced to sell because of pine trees planted around them and future costs from pending Government legislation.

Ironic given that farming’s biological methane is not the problem, fossil fuels are. Sheep farmers have reduced methane emissions by 30% since 1990 and research shows they are the most efficient in the world.

A change of Government next year is looking more likely with each poll. Even Labour politicians see the writing on the wall and are bailing out. One acknowledged the pending defeat, saying he would rather be in Government than opposition. How long will the PM Jacinda Ardern stay in her job?

Farmers need a clear policy from Act and National on farm methane emissions.

National seems out of touch with farming and hasn’t been upfront about farm emissions, probably out of fear of upsetting the urban vote. Act says its against taxing farm GHG, but will it make it a confidence and supply issue?

It is no wonder a recent Rabobank survey recorded farmer confidence at the lowest it has ever been in the 20 years of the survey. However farmers have endured much harder times and there is still a good living to be made from farming.

Thank you for buying and reading Country-Wide in 2022. May you have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2023.