Agricultural debt an economic winner - Brian Gaynor:
New Zealand has a strange attitude towards debt. We criticise the agriculture sector for having too much debt even though it generates the bulk of the country’s export earnings.
Meanwhile individuals are encouraged to take on more and more debt albeit this generates little economic activity and makes residential property less and less affordable for new home buyers.
This weird situation is highlighted in a recent report by the Ministry of Primary Industries, an amalgam of the old agriculture, forestry, fishing and food safety ministries. It also comes through in a major report by ANZ Bank, “Greener Pastures: The Global Soft Commodity Opportunity for Australia and New Zealand”. . .
Dairy farming representatives have suggested that some highly indebted farmers may find themselves under pressure from their banks to sell the economic rights to some of their Fonterra shares for cash.
Fonterra has released details of the shareholders fund which it’s launching next month as part of its Trading Among Farmers plan.
TAF will allow outsiders to invest in the dividend earnings from shares that farmers deposit in the fund, in exchange for the cash value of the shares. . .
Scientist pursuing life-long fascination – Sally Rae:
Julie Everett-Hincks’ fascination with sheep breeding and lamb survival began at a young age.
Now a senior scientist at AgResearch Invermay, Dr Everett-Hincks grew up on a sheep farm in South Otago and, as soon as she could walk, she was out with her father on the farm.
Even as a young girl, she wondered “why some sheep made better mothers than other sheep”. . .
Ministry boss operation focussed – Tim Fulton:
The petrol-head running the Ministry for Primary Industries loves his engines, although he’s been known to pad around Pastoral House in a sports jacket and the most modern of casual shoes. This man you could have just met at a BBQ is Wayne McNee, a leading driver of the country’s economic growth.
He’s spending a fair bit of private time getting ready to marry for a second time and has only just quit ploughing plenty into his son’s motor-racing career.
Jamie McNee is a top New Zealand hope, having excelled in Toyota Racing formula four and then the Toyota Championship where he finished third, winning a couple of races.
McNee senior says motor-racing is one of his passions but it got to a point with Jamie, spending roughly $150,000 a year, where he couldn’t sustain the cost of funding his career. . .
Spanish shepherds led a flock of more than 2,000 sheep through central Madrid on Sunday in defence of ancient grazing, migration and droving rights threatened by urban sprawl and modern agricultural practices.
Many tourists and residents were surprised to see traffic cut to allow the ovine parade to bleat its way across some of Madrid’s most upscale urban streets.
The right to use droving routes that wind across land that was open fields and woodland before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great metropolis it is today has existed since at least 1273. . .
All this makes for a busy life, but Euan reckons they have achieved a fairly good balance between the demands of their coastal farm and their off-farm interests. . .