Industrial dairy’s big payout

While it is good to see some of our farmers doing well I do have to wonder what Fonterra’s record payout for dairy farmers ($7.30 per kilogram of milk solids, up from $4.46/kg last year) will do to further encourage dairy conversions. New Zealand is currently rapidly converting diverse farms and forests into a monolith of dairy farms. The result is immense pressure on our carbon emission targets, waterways and food diversity.

If this season’s milk production was on a par with last year’s 1.25 billion kg of milksolids, the cooperative’s 10,711 farmer shareholders would each receive an average payment of more than $850,000.

It will be interesting to see if Federated Farmers continues to criticise people when we talk about ‘industrial dairy‘ if an average farm is producing over 100,000 kilograms of milk solids and being paid $850,000.

UPDATE

Check out No Right Turn’s calculations on how little it would cost industrial dairy farms to pay for their carbon pollution.

22 Comments Posted

  1. I have a friend who is managing a project to make a whole village carbon natural, it is being funded by a national energy supplier. Some very interesting points made here, I will send them this link. I particularly like your phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!” it summarises everything very well.

  2. One of my reasons for voting green in the next election is

    The dairy industry and its impact on Christchurch. Christchurch needs to be a major focus city for the green party this election and the water and the harm it is doing to canterbury water has to be high on the agenda across the country. If i didn’t now live in New York i’d be right on the front lines helping.

    Remember you need to be in power to effect change and you need to get into power by convincing people to vote for you. People vote for you when you offer positive solutions and you have to explaing things in a simple way. Stay away from carbon credits, carbon tax and carbon anything else.

    The greens need to send people out into rural NZ and get video of cows shitting in streams and upload it to utube etc. When the diary industry comes back and says farmers can’t afford to pay for their pollution point to the fact that the diary industry is paying record profits so that argument is a lie. However don’t confront the farmers directly as that will create farmer sympathy target the faceless corporation fonterra. The buzz phrase when describing this to the people is “privatize the profits socialize the costs”, which is what the dairy industry is doing.

    Of course instead the greens will come out and talk about social justice issues and socialism and blah blah carbon and blah blah carbon tax etc and how everyone needs to ride the bus. (note i don’t disagree with these positions its just the greens have the worst PR and they have no idea how to package a message.)

    Hows this for a campaign advertisment, take a clean glass of water add some fertilizer and add some cow shit then ask the question Would you drink this?

  3. Big Bro you are on the mark. Carbon trading is just not understood by anyone but polluted water sure is.
    Kevyn; that use of biodigesters should be industry standard and not just the dairy industry either, another great Green policy initiative

  4. Frog

    You and I will always disagree on the Greens social justice policy and the climate change con however we do see eye to eye on more issues than you realise, animal welfare being just one of them.
    I want clean rivers, I want the dairy industry to clean up its act (taxing them will not make one ounce of difference) and I want to see our recreational waterways and surrounding sea areas preserved for all kiwi’s.

  5. BB – thanks for the vote of confidence. Unfortunately I am a humble frog and wouldn’t get too high on the list. I couldn’t agree more with our mutual animal welfare stance – I’d push it if I were elected. What else would a poor frog do?!

  6. big bro Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    > kahikatea

    > “On the contrary, I think most New Zealanders would be appalled that the Government is proposing to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers money on buying carbon credits for dairy farmers who can afford to buy their own?

    > The level of support the Green have would not support your assertion, most see carbon credits as a con.

    Certainly not everyone in New Zealand agrees that carbon trading is the best approach. However, any sensible person would agree that Labour’s position on agricultural emissions is the worst of both worlds.

    By being part of the Kyoto protocol and having emissions above the limit, the country has to pay for carbon credits. and because Labour won’t pass the cost on to the farmers, that means its paid out of general taxes. This way you get the cost to the country (the bad part) without the incentive to improve (the good part). You can’t tell me that isn’t the worst of both worlds.

  7. Frog

    Your above post is brilliant, THAT IS the type of issue that will win you enough support to get back in after the next election.

    If you really wanted to ensure your survival you would also give the tedious social justice rubbish a miss as well, be that as it may if you were to concentrate your message on issues as you have highlighted in your post you are assured of survival.

    P.S..There is no fee for my campaign advice other than your sol-um vow that you will do something about animal welfare issues immediately.

  8. I concur with Kevyn’s comment, except for one thing – the remaining solid waste should go back onto the paddock to reduce the amount of fertilizer being used there. No sense in exporting fertilizer into the cities and then importing more of the fossil fuel kind than is needed from elsewhere. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

  9. Gerrit, A cheaper and more thoroughsolution is for every milking shed to have a biodigester. The methane can be used to power the milking shed and the remaining solid waste can be dried and palletized and sold to city gardeners.

  10. Totally agree with BB.

    Carbon credits are a conjob that will not make a blind bit of difference to climate change (or the now more correct term “climate variation”).

    Forcing the dairy industry to buy carbon credits will see the price of dairy foods increase. The cost of the carbon credits will be passed onto the consumer. Just like in every business, all costs are passed onto the consumer.

    Is there any research out there that can differentiate the difference between the ecological damage done by cows in paddocks vesus the collection of effluent from the cow shed.

    Back in the days when we farmed, the cow shed effluent (effluent that is heavily thinned with water during the mandatory daily hose down of the cow shed) was disposed off by spreading it back onto the last grazed paddock.

    Which is the more harmful?

    I would suggest the effluent from the cow shed would contaminate the worse.

    Possible answer is to collect and dispose of cow shed effluent much like human effleunt is collected through the sewerage system. Not suggesting pipelines to every farm but a settling and evaporation ponds in a regional collective endouvour.

    Does anyone know what the left over material could be used for. Spread back as organic manure?.

    Compressed into brick for high temperature incineration and electricity generation? (being carbon neutral and all).

    See a new business opportunity here. Effleunt collection, drying (will be costless as the climate gets hotter!) and resale for heating, power generation, etc.

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  11. kahikatea

    “On the contrary, I think most New Zealanders would be appalled that the Government is proposing to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers money on buying carbon credits for dairy farmers who can afford to buy their own”

    The level of support the Green have would not support your assertion, most see carbon credits as a con.

    If the Greens really want to ensure they make the 5% threshold they need to stop preaching to the converted, the longer you keep reminding the voting public that you are going to burden then with extra taxes the more you run the risk of not making 5%.

    Far better to concentrate on the damage the dairy industry is doing to our waterways, publish pictures, release video, produce billboards and watch your support grow, but DO NOT keep banging on about carbon credits, it might make your core supporters happy but it will not do anything to convince the fringe green supporter that you are worth voting for.

  12. Water and fertilizer = big dollar pay out for cow cocky.

    The amount of hyperbole that oozes from the green party makes carbon credits as useful as a blackjack in a game of chess.

  13. # big bro Says:
    April 11th, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    > This is exactly the type of thing that will help get the Greens over the 5% threshold, attack the dairy industry on what they do to the waterways (on that you will always have my full support) but please do not keep hammering the carbon emissions con as it will lose you as many supporters as it gains.

    On the contrary, I think most New Zealanders would be appalled that the Government is proposing to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers money on buying carbon credits for dairy farmers who can afford to buy their own.

  14. “February’s issue of NZ Property Investor has a piece saying just the same thing. What’s happening at the moment is that diary farmers have so much money they are looking for places to park it. One option is to buy a coastal property as an investment and uses the losses for tax purposes.”

    http://landlords1.wordpress.com/page/2/

  15. Frog I would agree with you had you not used Carbon emissions as an argument (not sure that food diversity is all that good either).

    This is exactly the type of thing that will help get the Greens over the 5% threshold, attack the dairy industry on what they do to the waterways (on that you will always have my full support) but please do not keep hammering the carbon emissions con as it will lose you as many supporters as it gains.

  16. what is the green party policy on this moratorium’..?

    (silly me..!..you are still all inhaling cheese etc..eh..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz

  17. and these b*stards can’t afford to take the measures to stop polluting our roads/waterways..?

    850 grand..!

    and they ‘need’ a moratorium to pollute ’till 2014..?

    this is madness..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

  18. Meanwhile, the cost to dairy farmers of making them pay the cost of their pollution under current policy (which gives them 90% of 2005 emissions for free) is less than 4 cents a kg. And they say they can’t afford it.

    Our dairy industry is not under threat. It does not need a five year holiday on paying its own way. It can afford to pay for its pollution now – and it should.

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