Rural round-up

January 22, 2013

How will genetics feed the world?

As soon as the phrases “genetic improvement” and “new technology” are used in the same breath, the image that many laymen create is one of monsters and Frankenstein food, writes Chris Harris.

However, are the two really mutually exclusive or can they live together happily?

This year’s Oxford Farming Conference brought the questions on genetics, new technology, genetic modification and improvements in agriculture into sharp focus.

At a time when the global population is growing and growing largely in the underdeveloped and developing countries, the need to produce more food, more efficiently is unquestioned.

It is predicted that by 2050 the world’s population will need 100 per cent more food and according to the UN FAO 70 per cent of it must come from efficiency enhancing technology. . .

Government pushes banks to go rural but will it pay? – Swati Pandey and Rajendra Jadhav:

Working out of a tiny rented room furnished with a wooden table, small biometric authentication machine and shelf stacked with passbooks, Ganesh Dangi is a one-man bank for a village of 650 people in northwestern Rajasthan.

A business correspondent, or local representative, for State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) in Ranchhodpura village, 40 km (25 miles) east of Udaipur, Dangi is racing to sign up villagers to new “no frills” plans to meet a government target that every family in the district should have a bank account.

New Delhi plans to directly transfer cash payments for subsidies into these accounts, a move aimed at tackling graft in India’s creaky, corruption-ridden public distribution system.

If successful, the initiative could also bring modern banking to the doorstep of rural India, a goal towards which progress has so far been fitful despite mandatory targets set by the government and Reserve Bank of India. . .

Shear determination keeps business going – Sally Rae:

Shearing was Dave Bateman’s life.

After decades spent shearing, Mr Bateman saw a need for affordable shearing gear and established Dave Bateman Shearing Supplies at his Milburn home.

But following his death in May 2011 following a short illness, his widow Rayna was faced with a decision- continue with the business or walk away.

She did not have a business background but, for her, the answer was simple: ”I just took over – I couldn’t see it go”. . .

Fair success with Dorset Downs – Sally Rae:

North Otago Dorset Down breeders John and Wendy Dodd had a successful trip to the recent Canterbury A and P Association’s stud ram fair.

Mr and Mrs Dodd sold the top-priced Dorset Down ram at the sale, at $6200, along with two other rams at $6000 and $5500. They also topped the averages across the various breeds offered at the two-day sale at $5900. . .

Agriculture scholarships target Maori:

Ten new scholarships each worth $10,000 have been made available for Maori tertiary students studying agriculture.

The Whanui grants have been created by the independent charitable trust, Te Putea Whakatupu – in partnership with the national organisation, the Federation of Maori Authorites. . .

Helping Dairy Women Hold Their Own When Buying And Selling Stock:

Helping women who work in the dairy industry understand the ins and outs of purchasing stock is the focus of a series of practical workshops being held across the North and South Islands in February and March.

The Dairy Women’s Network is hosting the workshops to equip first herd buyers, or those looking to get involved in purchasing stock for the first time, with the skills and knowledge to understand the process of buying and selling stock, step by step, to make an informed decision. . .

Cambridge Stud Parade Today:

With the 2013 Karaka Yearling Sales less than a week away, one of the first drafts to arrive at Karaka at the weekend was Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan’s Cambridge Stud which is set to host its annual public parade tomorrow (Tuesday 22 January) at 1:30pm.

Having presented yearlings at the National Yearling Sales Series since the early 1980s, Cambridge Stud has dominated the leading vendor category by sale aggregate – racking up 31 straight years at the top in 2012. . . .


He helped racing, racing helped him

July 27, 2008

Tony Wall’s Sunday Star Times feature explains how Winston Peters helped the racing industry and how racing people helped him.

You can read the full story here  but this summary is not on line:

What Racing Has Done For Winston:

* Vela family, with interests in NZ Bloodstock at Karaka and Pencarrow Stud in the Waikato, reportedly donated at least $150,000 in amounts under $10,000 between 1999 and 2003 to NZ First.

* Wealthy breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, of Cambridge Stud, launched his own campaign to get NZ First back into parliament, spending thousands of his own money on newspaper advertsiements. The racing industry also backed the party through its Fair Tax campaign.

* Billionaire expat Owen Glenn, a racehorse owner, donated $100,000 to NZ First’s electoral challenge of the 2005 result in Tauranga.

What Winston Has Done For Racing:

* Reduced totalisator duty to 4% from a headline rate of 20%, pumping around $32 million a year into the industry.

* Decreased the tax write-down period for stallions and broodmares, encouraging more people to buy racehorses for tax advantages and potentially benefitting breeders by millions.

*This year’s Budget allocated a further $19m for a co-sponsorship scheme over a three-year period to enable “substantially higher prize money offered by the creme de la creme of New Zealand races.”

I don’t have a problem with people donating to political parties providing they are decalred as required by electoral law. But New Zealand First has declared few donations while the party and its leader have been staunch critics of the influence of big business and anonymous donors in politics.

The more we learn the more it looks like gross hypocrisy


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