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Farmers Take Environment Seriously

Farmers Take Environment Seriously

Farmers are responding positively and taking reasonable steps to make visible and measurable changes to their farming activity’s downstream effects, said Charlie Pedersen, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“Farmers take the environment very seriously. We have no choice. Our livelihoods depend on it,” Mr Pedersen said in a speech on agriculture and the environment.

But Mr Pedersen warned that improvements must be based on science and extension, rather than regulation, and be a process of gradual improvement.

“Extreme measures such as stopping farmers from improving their land or stopping them from intensifying are not economically sustainable in an industry which is proudly subsidy free. Reducing agricultural productivity is not socially acceptable in a country where our citizens’ standard of living is dependent on agriculture’s continued success,” Mr Pedersen said.

Mr Pedersen said that there will always be tradeoffs between the human activity and the effect on the environment.

“As a country it appears that we have reached a critical point in environmental advocacy. Having accepted a great deal of human induced environmental impact and, given most of us receive the economic and social benefits of these impacts, we need to decide as a country what on-going environmental effect we are willing to accept from our farms.

“We also need to support our farmers to constantly adapt with the ever changing environment - but not with rhetoric based on emotion. We need practical milestones and good research and science.”

Mr Pedersen said he supported an “Agriculture and The Environment” summit.

“All sectors of agriculture should sit down and work towards some reasonable solutions. Lower impact farming should mean more profitable farming. Lower impact means less leakage, and less leakage means lower inputs and more money left in the bank. Better monitoring and science are vital parts to any solutions,” Mr Pedersen said.

Read the speech at http://www.fedfarm.org.nz

The speech is the second in a series of three by Mr Pedersen on agriculture and the environment. The first speech heavily criticised the actions of extreme environmentalists who seek to turn back the clock and stop development.

ENDS

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