Petition of Steve Abel on Behalf of Greenpeace: Cut Synthetic Fertiliser, for our Climate Change

Key Points
  • Federated Farmers does not support the petition request to ban all synthetic nitrogen by 2024.
  • We are a pan sector organisation - our membership is broadly representative of the wider primary production sector: it includes the dairy, sheep and beef and arable sectors, and it includes members engaged with a diversity of other on-farm enterprises (forestry, honey, viticulture, horticulture, tourism) across a diversity of production systems (including regenerative, precision, and organic farmers).
  • Nitrogen is vital for all plant growth – whether it is used to grow plants to feed animals or humans . Farmers and growers use nitrogen fixing plants such as clover, and synthetic nitrogen and animal manure to supplement the nitrogen in the soil.
  • Whether the original nitrogen source is applied fertiliser or fixed in the soils by legumes or applied by animal manures makes little to no difference to any losses than may occur.
  • The agricultural sector is proactively working to reduce nitrogen emissions through techniques such as good management and sophisticated techniques such as precision agriculture.
  • The growth of agriculture since the radical economic re-structuring of the 1980s has significantly increased its economic contribution to the nation.
  • Linked to this growth the net effect of land use changes at the national scale has only lead to very modest increases in nitrogen loads over the last 30 years; and further the most recent five or ten years period indicates that most trends are either relatively flat or reducing.
  • Federated Farmers firmly believes that meeting the twin challenge of sustaining economic growth alongside improving environmental wellbeing must be predicated on a clear understanding of contemporary state and trends, and continued strengthening of the public[1]private partnerships is needed to maintain or accelerate our current trajectory.
  • Independent Consultants AgFirst estimated that removing nitrogen fertiliser or using a substitute explored the costs to the primary sector would cause a drop un national gross output of close to $20 billion and a reduction in employment in the order of 75,000
Click on the document on the right to view the full submission