Tuesday, 13 February 2024 09:55

Farmers are doing more on sustainability

Written by  Staff Reporters
ACT MPs Andrew Hoggard and Mark Cameron wore gumboots to Parliament to highlight the role of farmers. ACT MPs Andrew Hoggard and Mark Cameron wore gumboots to Parliament to highlight the role of farmers.

Former Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard says farmers should be commended for their work around sustainability.

Delivering his maiden speech in Parliament this month, the Manawatū dairy farmer noted that farmers are always trying something new in their farming systems.

"Some work, some don't; we adopt, we adapt, and it's incremental. Like all good things, they take time.

"The biggest change I have seen isn't the physical one on the farms, but it's one of a mindset shift and what many farmers are looking at, as to what more they can do.

"We have seen the growth of catchment groups, and I see dairy farmers talking with pride at how much fencing of waterways they have done."

Hoggard recalled speaking on a farming panel at the World Dairy Summit in Rotterdam.

He says all the other farmers got up and talked about what they were going to do and maybe intended to do, whereas he was able to get up and speak about what we had done, all without subsidies - "a point that got a few laughs, but probably more grumpy looks from the EU".

He says the biggest risk to further progress is ignoring this change.

"If the feeling amongst farmers becomes, 'Why do I bother to do all this, because there is nothing I am doing that is being recognised?', they will give up.

"They lose hope; they stop doing. Farming will continue to evolve."

Hoggard acknowledged his former Feds colleagues who are in Parliament - Miles Anderson, Mike Butterick and Mark Patterson.

"My time in Feds has also prepared me for this role, from gaining knowledge around a myriad of issues to trying to find compromise amongst that broad church that is the Fed Farmers national council - to be the most difficult challenge of all, presenting at a select committee and trying to understand what the hell the question they just asked me meant in English."

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