Science-based information about agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand and options to reduce them is critical for supporting both behavioural change and the development of evidence-based policy.
Knowledge of what steps need to be taken to start the primary sector on the road to lower emissions is recognised as lacking across the industry. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not yet a routine component of integrated farm planning and management. But each farm is unique, and successful mitigation will depend on the identification and successful adoption of appropriate emission reduction technologies and practices.
The NZAGRC provides credible, science-based support to broader primary sector initiatives focused on mainstreaming climate change thinking into general farm business planning. We do this in several ways:
- Making sure this website and our social media channels bring you the latest science on agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in New Zealand and ways they can be reduced.
- Talking to farmer groups, agri-businesses, rural professionals and others in the industry about climate change, why it matters at the farm level and what can be done about it.
- Regularly hosting ‘State of Science’ webinars, where subject experts provide updates on key NZAGRC research into emissions mitigation options. For more, see our News and Events page.
- Hosting domestic and international science, farming and political delegations.
We also contribute research and analysis to the development of Government policy on agriculture and climate change. You can find these reports in the Publications part of this website.
We are involved in He Waka Eke Noa—a five-year Government-industry-Māori partnership set up in late 2019 to reduce primary sector emissions. This is in response to the Government’s legislated targets to reduce agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions by 2050. Under He Waka Eke Noa, all farmers and growers must know their greenhouse gas number by December 2022, have a written greenhouse gas management plan in place by December 2024 and be participating in a pricing mechanism for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions in 2025.
Looking ahead, with dedicated core funding now in place for outreach, we will be partnering with others to develop a programme to support farmers and growers move towards low emissions farming. More details will be provided on this page in due course.
Supporting MPI outreach objectives
In addition to core-funded activities, the NZAGRC is funded separately by MPI to provide specific outreach services to the primary sector under the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) programme. This includes:
- Developing and managing the Ag Matters website – a comprehensive source of plain-English information, videos and other resources for farmers and growers on climate change, agricultural greenhouse gases, soil carbon and current and future options for reducing farm-sourced emissions.
- Delivering climate change training for rural professionals, in partnership with Phil Journeaux at AgFirst, and the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management (NZIPIM). To find a training event near you, check the NZIPIM events page. Two types of training are offered:
- Greenhouse gas emissions on New Zealand farms: a free, one-day seminar designed to equip rural professionals with a high-level understanding of climate change, why agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are important in New Zealand, their sources, and how they can be estimated and reduced at the farm level. The seminar also covers New Zealand’s climate change targets and related policy settings, forestry and soil carbon science.
- Modelling greenhouse gas emissions at the farm level: a free, one-day training workshop aimed at farm advisors and consultants who want to work directly with farmers to help them estimate their on-farm emissions, identify mitigation options and model their impact on both emissions and farm profitability. Participants must have a good understanding of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions at the farm level and prior experience with either OverseerFM or Farmax.
- Writing articles for rural media explaining the science behind the main agricultural greenhouse gases and soil carbon, and current options for reducing emissions and increasing carbon sequestration in the soil.