The president of the pastoral industry body, the Grasslands Association, is concerned that prioritising the reduction of air pollution over greenhouse gas emissions could threaten the country's reputation for sustainable production.
The Institute of Economic research has released a report saying the Government should focus less on the emissions trading scheme and more on improving air and water quality.
It says climate change is largely out of the country's control and any action will come at a high cost to the economy.
However Grasslands Association president Pat Garden, a sheep and beef farmer, says consumers overseas need to be assured that New Zealand is "paying its carbon dues".
Pat Garden says research into ways of reducing emissions from farm animals, and in particular the way food affects digestion, will be an important part of lowering emissions.