Bay of Plenty farmer Fraser McGougan has been appointed a climate change ambassador as part of the dairy sector's Dairy Action for Climate Change initiative.
He is one of 15 dairy farmers nationwide who will champion the climate change cause as part of an 18-month long commitment by the dairy sector to help farmers understand climate change, the scientific research under way, and the environmental mitigations they can undertake on their farms right now to reduce their emissions.
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the 15 men and women all represented best environmental farming practice for their farm system.
"They run their farms profitably and sustainably and are serious about reducing on farm greenhouse gas emissions.
"Many farmers are already leading with environmental practices, but these 15 people have taken it a step further. They have not only been ahead of the game, but have undertaken to share their knowledge and learning with others."
Mackle said Fraser strived to farm using best environmental practice for his farm.
"He runs his farm profitably and sustainably, and has undertaken to share his knowledge and learning with others.
"From today he will work with the rural community to help other farmers understand the challenge of climate change and what options they have right now to reduce biological emissions on their farm."
Fraser McGougan is a fourth-generation farmer running the family farm of 420 cows near Whakatane. He and his wife aim to focus on what they can do well and keeping costs down.
The McGougans won the Best People Leadership in the Dairy Business of the Year awards, as well as Low Input with Best Financials and Best Bay of Plenty-Central Plateau Farm Performance in 2016.
"As younger farmers we are looking to the future," McGougan said.
"I want our farm to be seen as an example of what can be done on a pretty standard farm, while balancing profitability and environmental standards.
"Small steps now lead to big differences down the track. We've already reduced our use of fresh water, decreased nitrogen use and are retiring and replanting native bush. But I know we are just at the beginning of this journey.
"All farms are different, and one size doesn't fit all – but I look forward to working with other farmers who are heading in the same direction."
Mackle said emission reduction was a challenge facing the entire food sector worldwide, and New Zealand was well placed to take on opportunity to showcase sustainable dairy to the world.
"New Zealand is already one of the lowest emission producers of dairy in the world. But for New Zealand to achieve its 2030 target, we must look at ways to reduce all gases across all sectors.
"This isn't just about dairy – all sectors need to scrutinise the way they operate. Only together can we help New Zealand transition to a low carbon economy."
Climate change ambassadors:
Aidan Bichan - Wairarapa, Carterton
Andrew Booth - Northland, Titoki – near Whangarei
Dean Alexander - Southland, Winton
Devon Slee - Canterbury, Ashburton
Earle Wright - Auckland, Tapora
Fraser McGougan - BOP, near Whakatane
George Moss - Waikato, Tokoroa
Jacqui Hahn - Waikato, Te Awamutu
John Hayward - Waikato, Te Kuiti
Keith Riley - Horizons, Dannevirke
Kevin Hall - Southland, Edendale
Theona Blom - Canterbury, between Hororata and Rakaia
Trish Rankin - Taranaki
Vern Brasell - Wairarapa, Carterton
Wayne Langford - Golden Bay