Sector lobby group DairyNZ will take a leading role in developing a framework for dairy farmers to cut their carbon footprint as part of the government's wider response to climate change.

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett, who also has responsibility for climate change, announced the action plan at the National Fieldays event in Mystery Creek. DairyNZ is leading the plan in partnership with dominant dairy processor Fonterra Cooperative Group, and supported by the environment and primary industries ministries.

To build the foundation of a national framework, from June 1 this year through to November next year, DairyNZ has committed to hosting eight rural professional climate change workshops, name 12 climate change dairy farmer champions, host six discussions groups on climate change, and train 60 rural professionals on Massey University's greenhouse gas course.

To reduce emissions in the dairy sector, DairyNZ has committed to characterise and install farm system changes that could potentially cut emissions on farms, and set up 10 partnership farms across a range of farming systems by February next year, while Fonterra will lead on-farm recording, committing to undertaking a recording pilot involving up to 100 suppliers which it would share by November next year.


"Tackling the reduction of on-farm emissions is not going to be easy," DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said in a statement.

"It requires our government and the agricultural sector to work together, and as such, the plan is an important part of a broader work programme underway."

Last month, the Ministry for Primary Industries issued two tenders for economic analysis to underpin how the agriculture sector can mitigate biological emissions, which would then inform work by the joint government and industry Biological Emissions Reference Group which is scheduled to deliver a report by the end of the year on the costs and opportunities of what the primary sector can do to cut on-farm emissions.

Mackle said today's dairy action plan dovetails in with the BERG work.