Fieldays Focus: Managing natural resources wisely

Rear view shot of a man looking out at his sheep in a New Zealand farm

Fieldays is back again and with so many changes on the horizon for farmers, our Associate Director of Natural Capital Agribusiness, Dana Muir shares her perspective on the future of agribusiness in New Zealand.

At BNZ, we know it’s the harnessing of natural resources that producers have always been intimately attuned to. Consumers are demanding more environmentally friendly, natural and nutritious food.

Change is afoot, and we feel privileged to work with our customers to take farms to the next level of efficiency, health and profitability.

This is why we’ve established the BNZ Natural Capital Team, who are dedicated to helping producers enhance the management of their natural resources, ensuring a direct and positive impact on the future quality of their land and produce.

People and points of view

Last year, we asked our agribusiness customers a series of questions to capture their thinking on four specific forces impacting agribusinesses at present: agricultural technology, environmental policy, consumer trends and producer mindsets.

The outcome was a report about the future of agribusiness called Shift Happens. When discussing environmental management, we found more than 85 per cent are moderately or highly concerned about the impact that policy changes will have on their profitability and operational ability in the next five years.

Producers also recognised the growing importance of being able to offer sustainably produced goods.

Maximising the potential of natural resources

The term ‘natural capital’ refers to the value on-farm natural resources provide. Often the value of natural resources is not obvious, but we know instinctively that by planting more trees we are helping to build biodiversity and climate health; by better managing our soil quality we can grow higher quality food; by protecting our waterways we are able to enhance the quality of New Zealand water.

A standout example of an Agribusiness customer that is doing this well is Momona Farm.  They’re using advanced farm planning and land use capability tools to map their entire property, assist with sustainability and maximise profitability.

Now, streamlined farming systems make the farm and its environmentally sensitive areas, much easier to manage.

Keeping pace with change

We’re consistently impressed with how many of our agribusiness customers already manage their natural resources in a way that is best-practice. We also know that there are some producers who are struggling to determine the best way forward.

We work with industry experts to bring our producers up-to-date and share straightforward advice and resources to help guide their planning process. Improvements to livestock genetics, agri technology, soil management, and traceability are helping lift the efficiency and value of New Zealand primary products, while aiding environmental management.

Planning for the future

In each region, a BNZ Natural Capital specialist will be working alongside producers, policy makers and industry to support the future of agribusinesses through more efficient use of natural resources.

What does success look like? To us, it’s the producer you meet in 50 years’ time, telling you about the great work done by past generations which has enabled them, and future generations, to produce quality food for the world to enjoy.

If you’re interested in having a chat about natural capital, get in touch with a BNZ agribusiness specialist on 0800 273 916, or come have a coffee and say hi to us at Fieldays (site:F60).