Word of the day

November 3, 2012

Animadversion – adverse criticism, unfavourable remark, censure; a critical and usually censorious remark.


Saturday’s smiles

November 3, 2012

Seamus found himself in dire trouble.

His harvest had failed and he was in serious financial trouble.

He was so desperate that he decided to ask God for help.

He went into the Church and began to pray… “God, please help me, I’ve lost my farm and if I don’t get some money, I’m going to lose my house as well, please let me win the lotto”.

Lotto night comes and somebody else won it.

Seamus went back to the Church… “God, please let me win the lotto, I’ve lost my farm, my house and I’m going to lose my tractor as well“.

Lotto night came and Seamus still had no luck.

Back to the Church… “My God, why have you forsaken me?? I’ve lost my farm, my house, my tractor and my wife and 17 children are starving. I don’t often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. Why won’t you just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order?“.

Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light as the heavens opened and Seamus heard a quiet voice: “Seamus, meet me half way on this one, buy a ticket“.


Rural round-up

November 3, 2012

European farmers surprisingly upbeat - Gerald Piddock:

European farmers are surprisingly upbeat about the future of their industry despite the continent being still very much in a recession, Beef+Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Petersen said he expected to see “doom and gloom” as a result of the recession.

“I have been pleasantly surprised at the mood of the farming population over here. They are very optimistic about the future and quite optimistic about the coming season.”

Petersen has been in Europe, meeting with counterparts and discussing their expectations for the coming year. He outlined his observations in a Beef+Lamb conference call. . .

Water priorities come up trumps - Jon Morgan:

The elephant in the room analogy is becoming a bit overworked, but I like it. Lately, the elephant has been really showing off. In the debate about freshwater quality the elephant is nitrogen leaching.

It was brought into the room by conservationists a few years back but attempts to prod it into life largely failed. It just sat stinking in the corner.

But a few weeks ago Judge Craig Thompson of the Environment Court climbed aboard and hit it with a big stick.

The elephant reared back on its hind legs and let out an ear-splitting roar, loud enough to be heard in every milking shed and dairy factory throughout the land. . .

NZ Commodity prices rise 1.3% in October, led by wool, cheese:

New Zealand commodity prices rose for the third straight month in October, led by gains in wool and dairy products while aluminium fell.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent last month with 12 commodity prices gaining two declining and three unchanged.

A slightly firmer New Zealand dollar meant the gain in the ANZ NZD Commodity price Index was a slightly lower 1 1 percent. . .

Fonterra’s Trading among farmers launches but I still don’t understand it – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve blogged about TAF before here and here. We now have a bit more information on how it will play out in practice. But to be fair, I still don’t really understand it and this view has been expressed by many observers in the media and the industry. It is not fully understood and some of the reason for this is Fonterra themselves don’t know exactly how the governance will work, as they are still undertaking a review.

My thoughts;

Will farmers sell some of their shares into the fund?
I think they will, there are lots of farmers who have very high debt levels, the drop in the forecast payout is making many farm budgets drop into the red. I think many of these farmers would sell 25% of their shares into the fund and use the proceeds to pay off debt.

The dividend portion of the shares is estimated to return net 4.2%-5%, farmers will be paying 7%-8% interest on their debt, so they make a greater return by reducing their debt.  . .

New director shows youth and wisdom -
THE RISING average age of farmers creates succession problems not only for farms and orchards; it is also seen in the boardrooms of primary producer businesses.

That’s why Zespri’s newest director Nathan Flowerday is pleased an Agmardt scheme which helped him get elected to Zespri’s board will be extended to others. 

Flowerday was the successful candidate in 2011 for an associate board trustee position created by Agmardt on its own board to give young farmers or growers governance experience. He believes that experience gave Zespri voters the confidence in him to elect him in July this year to the Zespri board. 

As a result, he and Agmardt are urging other agribusiness organisations to pick up the idea of creating an associate board-membership position, or at least establish observer positions on their boards. . .

Record Early Entries in Dairy Awards

There’s been a record-breaking response to the number of entries received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since entries opened just yesterday.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says 33 entries were received online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz yesterday – the first day people could enter the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. . .

Babich Wines Look to Expand in Marlborough

The 96 year old New Zealand wine company, Babich Wines Limited, announced today the sale of their 50% share of the Marlborough winemaking facility, Rapaura Vintners Limited to Treasury Wine Estates.

Rapaura Vintners Limited, an integrated winery, packaging and warehouse facility has been invaluable for Babich over the last 12 years as they have continued to grow production and sales of their Marlborough wines.

Babich Wines will now look to build their own state of the art facility in Marlborough – a move that will give the family owned wine company full control over their future winemaking in the region, where over 80% of the company’s production comes from. . .


RIP Southern Man

November 3, 2012

Speights Southern man is a victim of increasing urbanisation.

After more than 12 years on New Zealand television, the Speight’s Southern Man has been axed . . .

The Speight’s icon was originally played by Frank Whitten, who also appeared in Outrageous Fortune. Mr Whitten died early last year. 

Speight’s marketing manager Jonte Goldwater told NBR ONLINE that scrapping of the character had nothing to do with the loss of Mr Whitten. . .

Mr Goldwater told NBR ONLINE it was a long and hard decision, but the brand needed to acknowledge change.

He says the urbanisation of New Zealand meant the relevance of the outdoor life had changed. . .

I don’t drink Speights, or any other beer come to that. But if I did the idea that the outdoor life depicted in the Southern Man series is no longer relevant would have me crying into it.

You can see the new ad here.

I may be a traitor to my gender but I prefer the old series which started with this:

 

 


Politics ‘too complicated’

November 3, 2012

More than a third of British graduates admit that politics and government are too complicated.

Regardless of what sort of degree they’ve undertaken, graduates are supposed to have learned to research, reason, enquire and think.

If people with those skills can’t apply them to politics there’s little hope for the rest of the voting public.

. . . 36 per cent of people educated to degree level agreed with the statement that “politics and government seem so complicated that a person like me cannot really understand what is going on”. Among those who left school at 16 the rate was 65 per cent.

People in some countries are still dying for democracy and yet these people in Britain with centuries of democratic tradition can’t be bothered to do the little required to understand what’s what with the people who run the country and spend so much of their money.

But is it any better here?

When asked to list things which they liked least about Britain’s political system, 53 per cent cited “the quality of our politicians”. . .

That’s with a First Past the Post electoral system where the candidates have to win the support of voters.That doesn’t guarantee their quality or ability but it does mean they have to campaign on their own merits.

While MMP has brought in some very able politicians through party lists, I’m sure we could all come up with a little list of others who wouldn’t stand a chance if they were elected directly by voters.

Hat tip: Tim Worstall


Buy NZ lamb to save planet – UN

November 3, 2012

British farmers have been quiet about food miles since research began to show that meat produced here had a smaller carbon footprint than theirs in spite of the distant it travels to market.

That has now been backed up by a United Nations study which produced the headline of the week in the Daily Mail:

Buy New Zealand lamb to save the planet, say UN scientists – because British farming methods produce twice as much greenhouse gas:

British shops should sell New Zealand lamb rather than homegrown meat if they want to help protect the environment, experts have claimed.

The suggestion, likely to outrage British farmers, comes after a study found the amount of man-made greenhouse gases from food production is twice as much as previously estimated.

Growing food for sheep, cows and pigs takes up far more land and emits more greenhouse gases than producing crops for human consumption.

And some methods produce more harmful gases than others, they said.

The study claims Britain, for instance, would be better off importing lamb from New Zealand which has been produced more efficiently than on its own farms. . .

This could be used as an argument for going vegetarian but a lot of land which is suitable for grazing animals isn’t suitable for cropping.
The report doesn’t go into the environmental and economic impact or animal welfare concerns of killing all the farm animals if their pasture was converted to crop land.
A media release on the report from  the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR) says:
. . . While previous studies have looked at the contribution of agriculture to emissions, Climate Change and Food Systems assesses the entire food system’s emissions “footprint”—in total somewhere between a fifth and third of the greenhouse gases emitted by people on this planet.  This figure accounts for every aspect of food production and distribution—including growing crops and raising livestock, manufacturing fertilizer, and storing, transporting and refrigerating food. Agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of these emissions, but the combined contribution of transport, refrigeration, consumer practices and waste management is growing. . .
Crops also need fertiliser, storage, transport and refrigeration and contribute to waste.
However, the report does vindicate those of us who say that bringing agriculture into the ETS when none of our competitors are faced with similar penalties would do no good.
It would impose costs on what the UN recognises as very efficient food production and provide a perverse incentive for farming in other countries with less efficient systems.

November 3 in history

November 3, 2012

644   Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second Muslim caliph, was martyred by a Persian slave in Medina.

1468  Liège was sacked by Charles I of Burgundy’s troops.

1783  John Austin, a highwayman, was the last person to be publicly hanged at London’s Tyburn gallows.

1783   The American Continental Army was disbanded.

1793   French playwright, journalist and feminist Olympe de Gouges was guillotined.

1801  Karl Baedeker, German author and publisher, was born (d 1859).

1812   Napoleon’s armies were defeated at Vyazma.

1817   The Bank of Montreal, Canada’s oldest chartered bank, opened.

1838  The Times of India, the world’s largest circulated English language daily broadsheet newspaper was founded as The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce.

1848   A greatly revised Dutch constitution, drafted by Johan Rudolf Thorbecke, severely limiting the powers of the Dutch monarchy, and strengthening the powers of parliament and ministers, was proclaimed.

1867   Garibaldi and his followers were defeated in the Battle of Mentana and failed to end the Pope’s Temporal power in Rome.

1883    “Black Bart the poet” got away with his last stagecoach robbery, but left an incriminating clue that eventually led to his capture.

1886 Henry Reynolds launched his Anchor butter from a dairy factory at Pukekura, Waikato.

Birth of iconic Anchor butter brand

1886 – Manawatū rail link opened.

Manawatū rail link opened

1887   Coimbra Academic Association, the oldest students’ union in Portugal, was founded.

1903   Panama separated from Colombia.

1911  Chevrolet officially entered the automobile market in competition with the Ford Model T.

1913   The United States introduced an income tax.

1918   Austria-Hungary entered into an armistice with the Allies, and the Habsburg-ruled empire dissolves.

1918  Poland declared its independence from Russia.

1930  Getúlio Dornelles Vargas became Head of the Provisional Government in Brazil after a bloodless coup.

1935   George II of Greece regained his throne through a popular plebiscite.

1942   Second Battle of El Alamein ended – German forces under Erwin Rommel were forced to retreat during the night.

1942  World War II: The Koli Point action began during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

1943   World War II: 500 aircraft of the U.S. 8th Air Force devastated Wilhelmshafen harbor in Germany.

1944  World War II: Two supreme commanders of the Slovak National Uprising, Generals Ján Golian and Rudolf Viest were captured, tortured and later executed by German forces.

1948  Lulu, British actress and singer, was born.

1952 Roseanne Barr, American actress and comedian, was boprn.

1954  Adam Ant, English singer, was born.

1957  The Soviet Union launched Sputnik 2 with the first animal to enter orbit, a dog named Laika.

1964   Washington D.C. residents were able to vote in a presidential election for the first time.

1967   Vietnam War: The Battle of Dak To began.

1969  Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard M. Nixon addressed the nation on television and radio, asking the “silent majority” to join him in solidarity on the Vietnam War effort and to support his policies.

1973   NASA launched the Mariner 10 toward Mercury.

1974 – ‘Summer time’ reintroduced on trial basis.

'Summer time' reintroduced on trial basis

1978   Dominica gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1979   Greensboro massacre: Five members of the Communist Workers Party were shot dead and seven were wounded by a group of Klansmen and neo-Nazis during a “Death to the Klan” rally in Greensboro, North Carolina.

1982   The Salang tunnel fire in Afghanistan killed up to 2,000 people.

1986   Iran-Contra Affair: The Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa reported that the United States had been secretly selling weapons to Iran in order to secure the release of seven American hostages held by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon.

1986   The Federated States of Micronesia gained independence from the United States.

1988    Tamil mercenaries tried to overthrow the Maldivian government.

1996   Death of Abdullah Çatlı, leader of the Turkish ultra-nationalist organisation Grey Wolves in the Susurluk car-crash.

2007  Pervez Musharraf declared emergency rule across Pakistan, suspending the Constitution, imposing a State of Emergency, and firing the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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