Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and business/sustainability journalist Rod Oram will shed some light on ‘the future of farming’ at an 11 August public forum in Hastings, sponsored by the HB Future Farming Trust.

The next few months loom hugely important to our NZ/HB farming sector, as the Government ponders its treatment of agriculture within overall climate change policy.

The agriculture industry has weighed in with its He Waka Eke Noa proposals, which were negotiated with some pain and tension within the entire farming sector.

The Climate Change Commission has recently published its recommendations on how agriculture should be treated, endorsing some key aspects of He Waka Eke Noa but rejecting others.

And all of this happening in a context where cross-party support is already enshrined in legislation requiring reduction in farming emissions – biogenic methane emissions from agriculture (and waste) must be 10% lower by 2030 and 24-47% lower by 2050 (compared to 2017 levels). 

The issue that must be resolved by year’s end by Government: How will these reductions be achieved? And of course Minister O’Connor will be at the centre of that decision-making.

Joining Minister O’Connor will be Rod Oram, a frequent commentator on the Government’s approach to the ag sector, generally calling for more demanding treatment of farm emissions.

Local winemaker extraordinaire Steve Smith will moderate the dialogue and add his perspective. Steve has served as Chancellor of Lincoln University, chaired the Sustainable Food and Fibres Future Fund, and was Ministerial appointee to the Primary Sector Council.

That’s the setting for the Trust’s 11 August Dialogue on the future direction of agriculture in the context of climate change. How all this policy shakes out will be critical to HB farmers and indeed our entire regional economy.

HBFFT chair Liz Krawczyk says, “Resilience in the face of climate change and reducing GHG footprints are challenges the entire food and fibre sector must address, and with the Government about to set climate policy for agriculture, these issues are top of mind with our region’s farmers and growers. Our speakers will be taking questions from the audience which should make for a lively dialogue.” 

The Forum, 6:30pm on 11 August, at the Toitoi: The HB Arts and Events Centre, is free to the public, but the Trust asks attendees to register here for planning purposes.

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