Farmers sometimes struggle to get their points across on pricing agricultural emissions and ‘leakage’ but Whangarei High School Year 9 student Nicky Wellwood gets it. This is the speech she recently gave at a school event….
I’m here today to talk to you about a very serious issue affecting climate change, stemming from New Zealand….rugby.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But this accusation is just as wild as suggesting limiting New Zealand’s dairy industry will help the climate crisis.
The more hoof prints in New Zealand, the smaller the global carbon footprint.
Just like in rugby, we are number one in the world. Our dairy industry cares for our cattle, and our outdoor, pasture-based, natural system is in vast contrast to other countries’ intensive farming practices.
Our milk production emits half the emissions of competitors per the same amount of product.
Do we really want to decrease our dairy industry at the expense of great climate impact from less efficient farming in other countries?
New Zealand’s dairy industry has become the scape cow for our climate problems. In reality, with 95% of our clean milk exported, it’s our saviour.
Many farms have also invested in planting native trees, for erosion control, stock shelter and just to keep NZ beautiful. Not to mention our economy, with 21 percent of New Zealand’s cha-ching coming from the dairy industry.
Number one lowest emissions, 95% of milk exported, 21% of the economy from the dairy industry…have you heard of any of these statistics before? Probably not. New Zealand’s dairy industry is often portrayed as a villain.
I’ve become aware of anti-dairy sites and people containing false and exaggerated “facts” and stories. To me, growing up on a farm, such comments are obviously written and said by
people who have never stepped foot on a New Zealand dairy farm. These are hurting our hard working, early-rising dairy farmers.
Dairy farming has always been both a physically and mentally challenging job. But New Zealand dairy farmers have always put on their literal and metaphorical gummies and slogged through.Growing misguided resentment is causing the mud to rise, and unfortunately some farmers’ red bands just aren’t high enough to wade through. These farmers contribute to the suicide rates, with farmers up more than 4.5% than the city dwellers.
These farmers have generally been giving their all to support our country and our planet. These farmers have been putting the lives of their animals and people ahead of their own, but the lack of recognition is the final straw in the silage stack. You’ve heard about racism, about sexism. But here is a new one. I call it professionalism, the vilifying of someone based on their profession.
New Zealand’s population is becoming increasingly urbanized, making farmers an easy target for “professionalism”. But let’s not be ignorant. Get out there and don’t believe everything you hear, because not everything is as black and white as a Friesian cow.
The more hoofprints in NZ, the lesser the global carbon footprint.
Thanks for listening, I hope my speech hasn’t gone in one ear and out the udder.