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New Zealand can't become carbon neutral?

New Zealand can't become carbon neutral?  Absolute Rubbish!

The ideas that New Zealand cannot become carbon neutral and that carbon trading will push up the cost of pastoral farming are both total nonsense, according to farm business sustainability specialist Peter Floyd.

"The Business Roundtable maintains we have no way of becoming carbon neutral, and DairyNZ warns that a carbon trading regime might push up the cost of farming, but they are both ignoring the huge potential that farmers have to lock up very large amounts of atmospheric carbon in their soils," says Floyd.

Some Australian farmers have begun 'carbon farming' to sequester soil carbon, and are already selling the carbon credits earned on the Chicago Climate Exchange.  There is no reason why we could not do that successfully here.

Floyd points out that farming to accumulate organic matter and increase soil depth actually removes very significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.  The techniques don’t just sustain the environment they improve it, he says, and lead to healthier soils, pastures and animals.  In the process farms become more profitable.  

"Australian scientists have calculated that a 0.1% increase in organic carbon across just 10% of Australia's agricultural lands would sequester more than half of that country's total annual greenhouse gas emissions," says Floyd.

In New Zealand we’ve hardly begun to think about it, and yet large areas of our country are in pasture.  We need farmers to change farming practices to increase carbon sequestration and help the country become carbon neutral.  Some are already doing it, and finding it profitable even without carbon credits.

“This issue is so important we are holding a Conference to discuss it in Christchurch from 26-28 February.  I urge the Business Roundtable and DairyNZ to attend because we all need to learn from overseas experience and then work together on this process for the good of the country.
The Farming for Change Conference takes place at the Christchurch Town Hall on February 26-28, and includes a field day on two Canterbury farms.

For more information go to or phone 0800 433 276
Peter Floyd is the Managing Director of eCOGENT   ph 0275 968 796


Carbon farming is the term given to pasture, fertiliser and animal management practices that increase soil depth and quality and in so doing lock in atmospheric carbon.  Many New Zealand soils are losing carbon, but alternative management practices are being used by some Australian farmers to become carbon positive (not simply carbon neutral) and earn carbon credits that are being sold on the international carbon market.

The Farming for Change Conference being held at the Christchurch Town Hall on 26-28 February includes addresses by Australian carbon farmers and US soil, plant and animal health specialists. 

It is the first of its kind to be held in NZ and the first two days of papers and field visits are open to the public.
Peter Floyd is a farmer/researcher who has specialised in strategic farm business management and is the developer of the eCOGENT Process, a total management system that focuses farmers on profit. 

One of its strengths is the unique ability to forecast the profitability of a change in management and to monitor and report the actual profitability as the change is happening.  This makes it ideal for testing sustainable management practices.


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