Open Country & Nestlé partner to help farmers get ahead in offsetting greenhouse gases

Open Country and Nestlé are partnering in a new project to help farmers get a head start on offsetting greenhouse gas emissions by planting native trees on dairy farms.


The project aims to see trees planted on unproductive dairy farmland on Open Country supplying farms, including steep areas, gullies, riparian areas, and wetlands.

For every native tree an Open Country farmers plants, the project will fund a second tree, cutting the cost of plantings in half for farmers. Based on Government’s current communications, farmers may be able to use the new plantings to offset farm emissions under New Zealand’s proposed emissions pricing programme for agriculture.

Open Country Chief Executive Steve Koekemoer says the partnership will boost the uptake of tree planting already underway in Open Country’s catchment areas where Nestlé’s dairy ingredients are sourced from. The partnership will help farmers reduce the costs of their planting, while also aiming to offset emissions, increase farm biodiversity, and reduce their farms’ environmental impacts.

Nestle OC Tree Planting Project Launch Feb 23 JC SK 01

“This programme is a unique opportunity to see our farmers, Nestlé and Open Country working together for mutual benefit. It will help our farmers turn less productive dairying land into an environmental asset by capturing carbon and improving the environment,” says Steve.

“We know our farmers are focused on being good stewards of the land and many have already carried out significant planting work. This project will help them get a head start on further planting to offset emissions,” says Steve.

Once the requirements for verification of trees to be used in offsetting are prescribed within He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN New Zealand’s agricultural emissions pricing programme), the process will be adapted to factor these into the total farm cost through the programme.

Nestlé New Zealand CEO Jennifer Chappell said, “Dairy is Nestlé’s single biggest ingredient, and our vision is that the future for dairy can be net zero.

“We have a clear roadmap to achieve net zero emissions globally by 2050, including reducing our emissions by 20% by 2025 and 50% by 2030.”

“To help achieve this, it’s critical we work with the dairy industry to help reduce and offset emissions – and sequestering carbon on farm with initiatives such as this is an important contributor,” Jennifer said. 

stream planting

Open Country farmers are being invited to participate in the programme, which will kick off with the planting season in May and will run for five seasons with plantings being tracked and monitored for 20 years.

Up to 310,000 trees are expected to be planted in the first five years, with a full assessment of all farms every five years to show the consolidated tree number. The carbon sequestered will be calculated based on methodology prescribed by the New Zealand Government.

The New Zealand tree planting season runs from May to September. Participating farmers will buy trees from local nurseries of their choice and will be reimbursed by Open Country later in the season once trees are planted and verified on farm by Open Country.

kid handing dad plants