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Carbon-neutral dairy farming isn’t just sustainable, it’s more profitable too

Not only could carbon-neutral dairy farming be a sustainable way to mitigate climate change, but it could also be a profitable enterprise for New Zealand’s farmers, writes Prem Maan from Southern Pastures.

The Covid-19 crisis has shown us what can be achieved in New Zealand if we work towards a common goal rather than wholly directed by self-interest.

In my view, farming in New Zealand could be driven by a similarly united ambition to become carbon neutral and then, ultimately, a net extractor of atmospheric carbon. There is a clear need to make our farms more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. Farming that produces more each year with fewer inputs and is resilient to climate volatility is in our common interest.

It would be useful to see this goal articulated by the government. Instead of punitive regulations, a bold approach would be to educate farmers and reward them for improving soil carbon sequestration, preserving valuable nutrients on-farm and reducing methane emissions to make animals more productive – all with the ultimate pay-off that premium markets will pay more for traceable products that have this kind of story standing behind them.

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