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Farmers investing in the environment – ANZ survey shows

Farmers are pre-empting signalled changes to environmental regulations by investing in environmental initiatives now, an ANZ survey reveals.


In the 2018 survey,  94% said they were aware of proposed changes to environmental compliance, and 93% had started investing in improved environmental practices, or had a detailed farm environment plan. Almost half were using technology to help them measure and monitor their environmental footprint.


“We are seeing plenty of great examples of farmers who are preserving and growing the value of their land and businesses through investment in environmental initiatives,” said Mark Hiddleston, Managing Director ANZ Commercial & Agri.


“We need to build economically sustainable, resilient farming businesses that we are confident can farm well into the future within the limits of the environment they sit in.


“The environment has to sit at the front of a business model - it can’t be growth first, environment second,” Mr Hiddleston said. “We’re encouraged to see how many of our customers not only have a detailed plan, but also have a good idea of the costs involved in implementing their plan and how they are going to manage that cost.”


Key findings:


  • 94% of customers said they were reasonably, or very aware, of proposed changes to environmental compliance.
  • 66% felt those changes would have a negative effect on business; 10% said it would have a positive effect and 23% felt it would have no impact.
  • 71% have either made a start or have a fairly detailed written environment plan. 14% have a very detailed plan.
  • 79% said they had some idea, or pretty good understanding, of costs of making changes detailed in their plan.
  • 58% said they would absorb the cost into total farm expenditure; 45% said costs would reduce overall farm productivity; 23% would reduce spending in other areas and 15% said they would require extra borrowing to cover the cost.
  • Over the past five years farmers spent an average $16,000 on environmental enhancements. 71% had invested in fencing waterways, 52% in riparian planting, 52% changes to fertiliser management, 38% into irrigation practices and 35% in changes to water use.
  • 45% were using technology to help record and monitor their environmental footprint.
  • Based on an ANZ survey of 330 dairy, red meat and horticulture/cropping customers from across New Zealand in April 2018.


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