Word of the day

January 11, 2013

Guerdon -a reward or recompense; to give a reward to someone.


Rural round-up

January 11, 2013

Labour spokesperson’s quad confusion gets it sort of right:

Federated Farmers welcomes the belated support of Labour to reclassify quad bikes as agricultural vehicles, given the Federation has lobbied for this change.

“While we welcome Labour’s change of heart, it is a shame it did not come when Federated Farmers submitted for quad bikes to be reclassified as agricultural vehicles,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Transport spokesperson.

“Unfortunately for Iain Lees-Galloway, Labour’s Transport Safety spokesperson, he doesn’t seem to know that quad bikes

Gisborne Milk Co-op survival bid washed away by Fonterra ‘perfect storm’

Gisborne Milk Co-op survival bid washed away by Fonterra ‘perfect storm’ – Paul McBeth:

Gisborne Milk Co-op, the 66-year-old Bay of Plenty dairy supplier in liquidation, has lost a last-ditch bid to get back shares and supply arrangements with Fonterra Cooperative Group.

In the High Court in Auckland, Justice Rebecca Ellis turned down Gisborne Milk’s claim that Fonterra breached its empowering legislation, saying the Bay of Plenty firm made its own commercial decisions to surrender shares in the cooperative. The Dec. 17 judgment was published on the Justice Ministry’s website this week.

“It is difficult not to think of the shareholders Gisborne Milk as sailors caught in a perfect storm,” Justice Ellis said. “It is impossible not to have considerable sympathy for them. But none of their claims can succeed.” . .

are not and have never been classed as an agricultural vehicle. They are in fact classed as an ‘all-terrain vehicle.’ . . .

nternet paves way for southern merchants – Tim Fulton:

The days of wool merchants operating like “rag and bone men” have given way to flexible, efficient trading online, a large Canterbury operator says.

As a shed-buyer Mainland Wool is comfortable handling loads from one bale to 1000, using the Wool Online system to keep cost to a minimum.

The five-year-old company has become the biggest wool merchant in the South Island and is convinced of the value in electronic sales, which have become a fixture for southern operators.

One of Mainland’s three owner-operators, Dean Harrison, said online sales were ideal for them as an alternative to auction centres like Christchurch and Napier. . .

Satara boss Wilson takes final jab at Zespri fees in outgoing update – Paul McBeth:

Departing Satara Cooperative Group boss Tom Wilson has taken a stab at Zespri International’s brokerage fees at the expense of growers in his last update to shareholders.

The Te Puke-based kiwifruit and avocado grower is still in talks with Zespri, which controls the nation’s kiwifruit exports, over its 6% brokerage rate on gross sale proceeds and 6% of FOB sales, which Wilson says is costing growers between $60 million and $140 million every year.

“I continue to be amazed at the politics, patch protection and commercial arrogance that prevents this money going to growers – this should have been sorted years ago,” Wilson said. . .

‘Green’ Americans underpin price of beef - Jonathan Underhill:

It is possible to be too cute about cause and effect, but America’s determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bolster its fuel security ultimately benefits New Zealand beef farmers.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard known as RFS2, calls for 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be added to America’s transport fuel supply (excluding jet fuel) by 2022 from a target of 16.55 billion gallons in 2013.

Of the 2022 target, the amount from corn starch-derived ethanol is capped at 15 billion gallons. The drive for mandatory minimum volumes of biofuels began in 2005 and was a shot in the arm for corn growers. Ethanol from sugar cane and biodiesel from soy are also recognised by the Environmental Protection Agency which administers RFS2. . .

Top International Wine Media Eagerly Anticipating Nelson International Aromatics Symposium:

A select group of the world’s most influential wine commentators will be descending on the small country village of Upper Moutere, near Nelson in early February to taste, compare and discuss Aromatic wines.

They include internationally recognised wine experts Matthew Jukes and Jamie Goode from the UK, David Lawrason from Canada, Alder Yarrow and Jordan McKay from the USA, Cees van Casteren and Cuno Van’t Hoff from the Netherlands, Felicity Carter from Germany and Jan Arrnhenius and Jan Peterson from Sweden alongside some of New Zealand’s top wine commentators. . .

Demand Lifts Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island first wool auction for 2013 resulted in a strong market based on recent increased buying interest particularly from China.

Of the 21,900 bales on offer, 90 percent of the offering sold. The weighted indicator for the main trading currency compared to the last sale on 19th December was practically unchanged, lifting only 0.05 percent and having no impact on prices. . .

The ANZ Contest is heating up:

The District Finals are completed, the Regional Finalists have been found, and the anticipation is building because the next phase of ANZ Young Farmer Contest is about to begin. The ANZ Young Farmer Contest, now in its 45th year, is New Zealand’s Ultimate Rural Challenge, inspiring excellence, showcasing innovation and growing human capabilities.

District Finals are the entry level for the Contest and over 300 New Zealand Young Farmer members from throughout the country entered in one of 23 District Finals held in the last few months of 2012.

Each District Final was organised and run by a team of local volunteers. . . .

Beef + Lamb NZ has a competition to win dinner with the three Iron Maidens here.

And from Medical Humour:

Photo


Friday’s answers

January 11, 2013

Thursday’s questions were:

1. Who said:  “New Zealand is an irredeemably pluvial country.”?

2. Propsero and his daughter Miranda are characters in which Shakespeare play?

3. It’s pluie in French, pioggia in Italian, lluiva in Spanish and ua in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Which New Zealand band had a hit with Always Take the Weather With You?

5. Have you ever taken the weather with you?

 

Points for answers:

Andrei takes the honours, winning an electronic basket of apricots with five right.

Grant and Alwyn both got four with a bonus for the literary quote and travellers’ tale respectively.

Answers follow the break:

Read the rest of this entry »


One too many but better than none

January 11, 2013

At least 67 serving police staff have been arrested in the past three years.

That is disappointing but it’s not all bad:

Police Association president Greg O’Connor said the figures clearly showed that police did not look after their own – in fact they did the opposite.

”If there were no police officers being arrested and charged ever, I think the public would have rightfully more concern that there was covering up. No-one who has had anything to do with police – particularly lawyers who look after police officers – would ever say anything other than they’re absolutely and utterly thorough.”

Mr O’Connor said many of the cases highlighted by the figures would have been found not guilty by the courts because had the offender been a civilian, he or she probably would not have been charged.

And he reiterated that not all of those arrested were employed as police but were police staff.

”But even one is too many,” Mr O’Connor said.

Even one is too many, but none could signal corruption.

In some countries police and the legal system might turn a blind eye to any of their own who transgressed.

That that doesn’t happen here is a sign that New Zealand’s regular top place in the world  corruption perception index  is based on reality.


Biofuel growth fuels hunger

January 11, 2013

As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs, Elizabeth Rosenthal writes:

Recent laws in the United States and Europe that mandate the increasing use of biofuel in cars have had far-flung ripple effects, economists say, as land once devoted to growing food for humans is now sometimes more profitably used for churning out vehicle fuel.

In a globalized world, the expansion of the biofuels industry has contributed to spikes in food prices and a shortage of land for food-based agriculture in poor corners of Asia, Africa and Latin America because the raw material is grown wherever it is cheapest.

Nowhere, perhaps, is that squeeze more obvious than in Guatemala, which is “getting hit from both sides of the Atlantic,” in its fields and at its markets, said Timothy Wise, a Tufts University development expert who is studying the problem globally with Actionaid, a policy group based in Washington that focuses on poverty.

The USA is using 40% of its corn for biofuel. As a direct consequence of that corn prices in Guatemala which imports nearly half of its corn, have doubled.

Land in Guatemala that was used for growing corn is now producing sugar cane and African palm for bioethanol exports to Europe.

In a country where most families must spend about two thirds of their income on food, “the average Guatemalan is now hungrier because of biofuel development,” said Katja Winkler, a researcher at Idear, a Guatemalan nonprofit organization that studies rural issues. Roughly 50 percent of the nation’s children are chronically malnourished, the fourth-highest rate in the world, according to the United Nations.

The American renewable fuel standard mandates that an increasing volume of biofuel be blended into the nation’s vehicle fuel supply each year to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and to bolster the nation’s energy security. Similarly, by 2020, transportation fuels in Europe will have to contain 10 percent biofuel. . .

But many worry that Guatemala’s poor are already suffering from the diversion of food to fuel. “There are pros and cons to biofuel, but not here,” said Misael Gonzáles of C.U.C., a labor union for Guatemala’s farmers. “These people don’t have enough to eat. They need food. They need land. They can’t eat biofuel, and they don’t drive cars.”

The increase in crops grown for biofuel has helped the sale of New Zealand beef in the USA.

But that benefit for us comes at a high cost for the people in places like Guatemala.


Waste not . . .

January 11, 2013

Half the world’s food is wasted, a report from the UK Institution of Mechanical Engineers says.

 . . . the waste was being caused by poor storage, strict sell-by dates, bulk offers and consumer fussiness.

The study also found that up to 30% of vegetables in the UK were not harvested because of their physical appearance.

The institution’s Dr Tim Fox said the level of waste was “staggering”.

The report found that between 30% and 50% of the four billion tonnes of food produced around the world each year went to waste.

It suggested that half the food bought in Europe and the US was thrown away.

Dr Fox, head of energy and environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The amount of food wasted and lost around the world is staggering. This is food that could be used to feed the world’s growing population – as well as those in hunger today.

“It is also an unnecessary waste of the land, water and energy resources that were used in the production, processing and distribution of this food.

“The reasons for this situation range from poor engineering and agricultural practices, inadequate transport and storage infrastructure through to supermarkets demanding cosmetically perfect foodstuffs and encouraging consumers to overbuy through buy-one-get-one-free offers.”

Population growth

The report – Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not – also found that huge amounts of water, totalling 550 billion cubic metres, were being used to grow crops that were never eaten. . .

I was brought up with the mantra waste not, want not.

Those were the days when most people grew most of their own fruit and vegetables,  groceries were delivered once a week and very little was thrown out.

Now fewer people have gardens and many who live in cities go to the supermarket or deli every day. Living in the country means I’m not in town that often but it would be rare not to have at least three trips to the supermarket a week.

That makes it far too easy to buy something fresher and ignore older produce until it’s beyond redemption.

Before we left home on Christmas Eve I delved into the far reaches of the fridge and discovered some relics which were well past palatable and probably no longer healthy.

When we came home I did a serious pantry clean-out.

Lurking on the high shelves and in dark corners were jars and packets well past their use-by dates.

I take a reasonably liberal approach to such things. If it looks and smells okay chutney or jam a few months past its prime doesn’t worry me.  But if something has stayed on the shelf for years after it ought to have been consumed the best place for it is the compost bin.

However, I am sure that only a very small proportion of the food that comes into my kitchen goes out again as waste.

The report mentions waste in production and retail. Could part of the huge amount of food wasted be caused by an increase in dining-out?

It must be very difficult for restaurants to gauge how much food to prepare and once a lot of food has been prepped it has to be eaten or binned.  But no business would survive if it was chucking out half its food.

However, if you take into account waste in production, transport and processing as well as spoilage it isn’t hard to accept that around half the food produced is wasted.

Although that it happens when so many people don’t have enough to eat is shameful.


Gift wrapped

January 11, 2013

“Saying it’s better to know you’re loved every day, rather than just on special dates a few times a year sounds so romantic, but don’t you sometimes wish one of the every day loves would come as a gift wrapped surprise?” she said.

“Often they do,” she replied. “You just have to remember that gift-wrapped doesn’t always mean fancy paper with curly ribbon.”


January 11 in history

January 11, 2013

630 – Prophet of Islam Muhammad led an army of 10,000 Muslims to conquer Mecca.

1055 – Theodora was crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.

1158 – Vladislav II became King of Bohemia.

1569 First recorded lottery in England.

1571 Austrian nobility were granted freedom of religion.

1693 Mt. Etna erupted in Sicily. A powerful earthquake destroyed parts of Sicily and Malta.

1786 Joseph Jackson Lister, English opticist and physicist, was born (d. 1869).

1787  William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.

1807  Ezra Cornell, American businessman and university founder, was born (d. 1874).

1846 Ruapekapeka pa was occupied by British troops. Debate raged as to whether the pa was simply abandoned by its defenders or captured by the British.

Ruapekapeka pa occupied by British forces
1857 Fred Archer, English jockey, was born  (d. 1886).
1878 Milk was first delivered in bottles.

1879  The Anglo-Zulu War began.

1885 Jack Hoxie, American actor, rodeo performer, was born  (d. 1965).

1885 – Alice Paul, American women’s rights activist, was born (d. 1977).

1915 –Robert Blair Mayne, British soldier, co-founder Special Air Service, was born  (d. 1955).

1919 Romania annexed Transylvania.

1922 First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.

1934 Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, British computer scientist, was born.

1935 Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1938  Arthur Scargill, British politician, was born.

1946 Tony Kaye, British piano and organ player (Yes), was born.

1946  Enver Hoxha declared the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as dictator.

1949 First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles.

1957 The African Convention was founded in Dakar.

1962 An avalanche on Huascaran in Peru caused 4,000 deaths.

1964 – United States Surgeon General Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., published a report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health – the first such statement made by the U.S. government.

1972 East Pakistan renamed itself Bangladesh.

1986  The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland was officially opened.

1996  STS-72 launched from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.

1998– Sidi-Hamed massacre  in Algeria  killed more than 100 people.

2007 – China conducted the first successful anti-satellite missile test of any nation since 1985.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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