Farming our way to net zero

The Climate Change Commission report, released yesterday, has heavy implications for agriculture.

The report says that without new technology to drive efficiencies, herd sizes will need to be reduced, with dairy cattle reducing by 13% on 2019 levels. It also says that some grazing land will have to be replaced with native reforestation. 

Happy Cow founder Glen Herud says, “Farmers often push back against emissions reductions but we can’t afford to be on opposite sides of this fight. We are all in it together.”

“We can’t keep increasing production per hectare, but we can increase income per hectare. Farmers will have to increase their skills to adapt. We need to move farmers up the value chain so they can earn more and contribute more to fight against climate change.”

Happy Cow Milk provides technology that allows farmers to receive greater income from fever cows, giving them the freedom to reduce herd numbers, increase native plantings and join the effort to bring New Zealand’s net emissions to zero.

Glen describes his technology as a “milk factory in a box”. 

“Farmers put their milk into a set of tanks and push a button to pasteurise the milk. From there, the tanks are delivered to community milk retailers. These can be cafes, schools or people doing home delivery.”

The tanks are connected to the internet so the temperature and quantity can be tracked in real time. All payments are processed through the Happy Cow app, with the farmer, retailer and Happy Cow each receiving a cut of each litre sold, instantly.

“We’re removing the complex and costly middlemen of the milk supply chain because we know that sustainable milk is local milk. Our farmers receive a 130% increase in revenue and in exchange, they take extra steps to protect the planet and improve animal welfare. When local farmers supply local customers, we can remove packaging and reduce food miles. It’s really a win-win for everyone,” Glen says.

The Happy Cow Milk community consists of 1 farmer (who can have just 50 cows), around 15 retailers or dispensers and around 1500 household customers. These people are connected by the app and where farmers can share stories and customers can ask questions.

Happy Cow is planning to get its first milk community up and running this year, and is crowdfunding shortly to scale its operations nationally and then globally over the next few years.

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