Great summary article.

I spent about 9-10 months working on a dairy farm in West Coast in 2014. Dairy was in full swing out there, and a lot of land conversion was happening to transition bog land into pasture. I could already see the nitrate leeching problems happening, as the local kids had certain swim spots they treasured because they were free of manure runoff.

Not sure of the connection here, but I think it's interesting that NZ is an example of liberalizing ag (taking away the subsidies). I had my students analyze NZ's experience with liberalizing dairy in their undergraduate agricultural policy class. I wonder if liberalization like this needs to have environmental protections firmly in place to stop the inevitable scaling from having these kinds of impacts.

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Interesting. Didn't know you had done that. I'm from Canterbury, and the sheep to dairy transformation there in the past 20 years has been amazing. I think you're right about environmental protections being necessary, but it's not obvious to me that subsidized systems would be cleaner. I guess that without liberalization, NZ would have a more sheep and fewer cows, which would mean less runoff.

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