Our farming systems stand on the precipice of intense change. The task of how to feed a growing population that is set to reach 10 billion people by 2050 in the face of climate change, resource scarcity, and land degradation has forced innovation to spur. Scientists and technologists have blown the whistle on traditional farming methods and subsequently, new systems of agriculture have emerged. Plant-based meats have sprouted, cellular agriculture and alternative protein products have spread across supermarkets and fast food joints, and farmers have more environmental accountability. Thankfully, strides in technological development have opened the gates for a fourth agricultural revolution, but will New Zealand – with its national identity that’s deeply entrenched in traditional farming methods – be willing to move with it? In part four of a series, Findlay Buchanan talks to one of the pioneers growing the pastures of agricultural posterity.
It’s difficult to stomach New Zealand without livestock farming. It’s ubiquitous to our country where strewn across our landscapes are herds of bovine and sheep. And maybe we don’t need to. As many agree, there is still room to farm animals on New Zealand land. It’s just how we operate it. Similar to the land stewardship of Pāmu – Taupo Beef and Lamb have acclimated to solve some environmental tensions. It has capped livestock numbers to limit nitrogen entering the lake, culled growth hormones or the use of antibiotics on their livestock, and the animals are grass-fed as opposed to grain fed, among many other strategies to lower its carbon footprint. We share a Q+A with its farmers, Mike and Sharon Barton, who address the meaty issues of tomorrow.
To read more from Mike and Sharon, click here