Beef + Lamb New Zealand has a vision: For New Zealand sheep and beef farmers to be world-leading stewards of the natural environment and sustainable communities.
The future of New Zealand farming requires that this vision becomes reality.
Beef and lamb production in New Zealand is based around extensive, low input systems. Farmers do have environmental challenges – particularly around sediment loss from hill country – but they are undertaking a wide range of initiatives, including farm environment plans specific to their property.
New Zealand sheep and beef farmers have made huge productivity gains over the past 25 years. Land area farmed has decreased by 28% and there are 50% fewer sheep and 23% fewer cattle. Over this same period, the sector doubled its export earnings.
As a result, significant environmental gains were made – a 21% and 40% reduction in nitrate leaching and greenhouse gas emissions, respectively, per kilogram of saleable product.
Carbon emissions have reduced to 19% below 1990 levels.
The majority of New Zealand sheep and beef farmers are committed to protecting and enhancing native biodiversity and habitats across their farms. About one third of sheep and beef farmland is under native vegetation. Furthermore, 47% of QEII-protected land sits on these properties. QEII Trust protection is initiated voluntarily by farmers.
However, the sector wants to build on these achievements. B+LNZ is working on a refreshed environment strategy that will drive further improvements in water, climate change, soil and biodiversity.
Because the individual farmer is the person who has to make the change, we are equipping them with the knowledge and tools to best manage their resources and make change if that is required. In this way, farmers can realise the shared vision – He kaitiakitanga mot e tai ao.