A Tapora dairy farmer has been named Climate Change Ambassador for the Auckland region.
Earle Wright is one of 15 ambassadors from around the country appointed as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change programme run by DairyNZ.
Ambassadors will promote better understanding of climate change and champion climate mitigation practices among farmers and the public.
Mr Wright, who has 300 cows on his 120ha property, says farmers need to be better informed if there is any hope of reaching the government target of a 30 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving a zero-carbon footprint by 2050.
He says a big part of reducing emissions is for farmers to become more efficient in their use of farming inputs, especially animal feed.
“The more efficient you are, the lower your carbon footprint per unit of whatever you produce, whether that be meat, milk or whatever,” he says.
Another concern for Mr Wright is pollution of the waterways, particularly the 700,000 tonnes of sediment that flows into the Kaipara Harbour each year, mostly from farmland.
Mr Wright’s farm was identified as a leader in preventing pollution through plantings and modifying catchments to prevent fertilisers reaching the waterways. At the same time, he has bolstered fish stocks.
“It’s been a big part of my life for the last 10 years, trying to get these messages through to other farmers,” Mr Wright says.
He hopes to organise meetings for Auckland and Northland farmers soon to spread the word on climate change. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says Earle strives to farm using the best environmental practices.
“Not only is he a farming leader who has been ahead of the game, but he is heavily involved in the community and wants to share his knowledge and learning with others,” Mr Mackle says.