New Climate Action Center to support farmers to maintain international advantage

  • New Climate Action Center launched to support farmers to reduce agricultural emissions by investing in research and development
  • 50:50 joint venture between government and agribusiness to accelerate product development
  • First Center projects were launched to give farmers the tools to reduce emissions faster
  • Indicative funding commitment increasing to $35 million per year by joint venture partners with at least $170 million invested over the next four years
  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor today launched the Center for Climate Action on Agricultural Emissions at Mystery Creek Fieldays alongside primary sector partners.

    The center was announced as part of Budget 2022 and focuses on reducing emissions from agriculture through research and development, including a new 50:50 public-private joint venture.

    “Our focus is on supporting farmers to grow their exports, reduce emissions and maintain our international competitive edge into the future,” said Jacinda Ardern.

    “Farmers are the backbone of our economy and we need to ensure future growth in exports from our primary industry, maintaining our competitive edge in a volatile global market.

    “As part of the centre’s work to help farmers, we are working with the sector to invest $27 million in three new projects to reduce emissions and promote sustainable economic growth.

    “Since 2017, we have worked hard to support the growth of exports from our primary industries, registering a growth of 39%, which now contributes more than $53 billion to the economy.

    “Growing our exports provides greater economic security for all New Zealanders and increases the quality of life through higher wages, new jobs and greater stability during economic downturns.

    “We must face the future to maintain our competitive edge internationally and continue to give customers every reason to continue to buy New Zealand food and fibre. Exporters are already telling me the role sustainability plays in customer decision-making,” said Jacinda Ardern.

    The Government also announced the Centre’s first three investments are helping farmers reduce emissions and future-proofing the sector’s export growth to provide greater economic security for all New Zealanders, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

    “A $7.8 million investment will go alongside Ruminant Biotech’s $9.5 million contribution to develop a methane inhibition capsule, or bolus, that provides at least a 70% reduction in methane over time what’s active,” said Damien O’Connor.

    “This will not only help us achieve our emissions reduction targets, but will establish New Zealand as a leader in the methane inhibitor industry globally.

    “We are also supporting our sheep farmers to reduce emissions by investing more than $2.2 million, alongside a $2 million contribution from Beef + Lamb New Zealand and other industry partners, to increase our supply of low-methane rams through genetic selection, introducing more low-methane traits into the national sheep flock.

    “The third project will invest approximately $6 million in urgently needed greenhouse gas measurement equipment and infrastructure. Product developers need greater access to testing equipment to prove the effectiveness of new products and get tools into the hands of farmers faster.”

    Damien O’Connor said as part of the joint venture, the government was working with ANZCO Foods, Fonterra, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms and Synlait. In the past week, Rabobank has also signed on to join the partnership.

    “Partners in the new joint venture have made an indicative funding commitment of approximately $35 million per year until 2025, matched by the Government. Thus, approximately $170 million will be invested in the first four years and we expect it to grow over time.

    “These are just the first of our investments as we continue to prioritize supporting farmers, investing alongside industry in solutions that secure the future of our primary industries and provide greater economic security for all New Zealanders,” Damien O’Connor said.

    The agricultural sector contributes almost 50% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s gross greenhouse gas emissions and approximately 91% of our biogenic methane emissions.

    The joint venture was also launched at the event and Sir Brian Roche was announced as chairman.

    Notes to Editor:

    The funding comes from $338.7 million over the next four years to strengthen the role of research and development for new tools and technologies to reduce emissions on the farm.

    It will have two key components – a new 50:50 public private partnership and a New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Center (NZAGRC).

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