Thursday, 09 April 2020 09:38

Feds call for pause on regulations

Written by  David Anderson
Katie Milne. Katie Milne.

The Government has been warned that it needs to back off some of its signalled regulations if it wants farming to help the NZ economy recover from the COVID-19 hit.

Federated Farmers national president Katie Milne told Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee that: "winter is coming" for the sector – and not just the freezing weather. 

She told MPs the double whammy of the drought and reduced capacity at meat processing works meant many farmers were carrying into the colder months more stock than they would wish, and feed was very tight. 

Milne said winter, in another sense, was the dampener on primary produce prices that would likely stem from world economies crashed by the virus crisis. 

"Meat that was getting $5-something a kilo is now bringing in $3, if we can get it off the farm. The milk returns (per kg of milk solids) had $7 in front of it this year, but there are predictions next year it will be $5." 

While the sector was working as hard as it could to keep things going, "farming will not come out of this unscathed," she told the committee.

Milne added that Feds also had particular concerns about the lockdown impacts on businesses downstream of producers and growers, which help keep farming running every day –  "the suppliers to the guy who fixes the hydraulic pump, the guy who imports the tractor tyres". 

She also sounded a warning about the potential for signalled government regulation in the environmental space to reduce agriculture’s earnings at a time when farmers - and the nation - can’t afford it. 

Milne pointed out that research done by agriculture sector agencies and Local Government NZ suggested the impact of the Essential Freshwater package, if not modified, could cut agricultural earnings by 10-30% in some regions. 

If pause was pressed on those regulations "that wouldn’t kick the can down the road" on progress because farmers were already underway with a host of environmental initiatives and work streams, she said. 

More like this

Feds exodus

OPINION: Expect some big changes in the Federated Farmers leadership team at their annual meeting next month.

Biodiversity budget support falls short - Feds

Federated Farmers say that while the latest draft of the National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity (NPS-IB) is a significant improvement, its success is undermined by a lack of funding on Budget 2022 to assist private landowners.

Where's the cream?

The dairy season ended last week with a record milk price, but farmers aren't popping the champagne.

Financial pressure on the rise - Feds survey

While farmer satisfaction with banks is relatively stable, many more farmers feel under pressure with costs on the rise, according to the new Federated Farmers Banking Survey.


Govt invests in wool

The Government says it is investing to create new product categories and new international markets for strong wool and is…

Machinery & Products

Making life easier

Many temporary sheep fencing systems can be troublesome, with reels jamming or breaking and the bugbear of silly hooks on…

Valtra's following grows

With the release of its N5 and T5 series of tractors, Valtra continues to expand its presence in the Australia-New…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

No free ride!

OPINION: This old mutt is getting somewhat tired of multi-national, tax-dodging, fund-raising group Greenpeace always given front and centre mainstream…

How come?

OPINION: A mate of yours truly is questioning exactly why the Māori ag sector have been given special budget funding by…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter