Rural round-up

November 6, 2014

Farmers flock to Ruataniwha meeting:

IrrigationNZ says it is heartened by the support from Hawke’s Bay farmers and growers who attended it’s ‘It’s Now or Never’ Ruataniwha meeting last night, jointly hosted with Federated Farmers in Waipawa, Hawke’s Bay.

Over 250 turned up to hear the ‘real life’ scenarios presented by South Island farmers with experience of irrigation development, says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“We had farmers from Canterbury and Otago breaking down how they make irrigation pay and what it’s done for their farming operations. They weren’t large scale dairy farmers either. Rab McDowell and Nick Webster showed how sheep finishing, beef, cropping and speciality seed, alongside dairy support operations can all benefit from reliable irrigation. Local irrigators, Arthur Rowlands and Hugh Ritchie also spoke on how and why they would make it work for them.” . .

Canterbury irrigation project making progress –  Kloe Palmer

The company behind a massive South Island irrigation scheme has unveiled the first stage of a project which will transform a swathe of dry Canterbury land for intensive agricultural production.

The huge project near Hororata will take most of its water from the Rakaia River, irrigating more than 60,000 hectares of farmland.

Huge pipes will eventually form a 130km-long underground network, which will be fed from a main trunk-like canal.

It’s still under construction, but soon water from the river will be flowing through it. . .

Dutch and NZ food innovation link:

Greater links between food innovation companies in this country and with those in the Netherlands is being predicted by the head of a Dutch food innovation network.

Roger van Hoesel from Food Valley Netherlands was in this country to attend the Manawatu Agrifood Business Forum.

He was being hosted by FoodHQ, a cluster of New Zealand food innovation organisations.

Mr van Hoesel said because the Netherlands and New Zealand were similar, collaboration would work. . .

New Zealand and Sri Lanka strengthen ties through milk and cricket:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has finished the first leg of a six day mission to Sri Lanka and India this week, promoting trade and New Zealand’s co-hosting of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2015.

Mr Guy met with President Rajapaksa and several Sri Lankan Ministers over the last two days.

“Our two countries are building a stronger relationship through the New Zealand-Sri Lanka Dairy Cooperation Arrangement (DCA). The DCA is our commitment to the development of Sri Lanka’s dairy industry,” says Mr Guy.

“New Zealand has one of the world’s most efficient dairy industries, and a lot of valuable expertise to share with Sri Lankan dairy producers.

“There are only 280,000 cows in Sri Lanka compared with 5 million in New Zealand and they are keen to improve their productivity. Genetics, animal husbandry, feeding techniques and technology can all play a part in this.” . .

Minister congratulates conservation innovators:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has congratulated the winners of the inaugural Conservation Innovation Awards.

The World Wildlife Fund Conservation Innovation Awards were presented at a ceremony in Wellington last night. The awards recognise innovative approaches to conservation issues.

Ms Barry presented the inaugural award to inventor Gian Badraun and Microsystems Research for their product ‘Trap Minder’, an early response system for monitoring predator traps and bait stations.

“I’m very impressed by how inventive and forward-thinking these solutions are in their practical approach to tackling key conservation issues, including the threat of ‘eco-invaders’ to New Zealand’s biodiversity,” says Ms Barry. . .

Challenge to return more value to the farm gate – West Otago grazier heads to global agri master class:

Learning how sheep and beef farmers in other parts of the world are tackling the challenge of “delivering more value back to the farmgate” will be high on the agenda for West Otago livestock farmer Nelson Hancox when he attends a gathering of leading international farmers in Australia this week.

Mr Hancox, a sheep and cattle producer from Kowai Downs, near Tapanui in the South Island, is among five leading New Zealand farmers selected to participate in the Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class, which commences in Victoria later this week.

The week-long Master Class will see 40 progressive farmers from across the globe gather to share ideas and information on the future of farming and participate in the educational program. . .


Rural round-up

November 4, 2014

Read the story not just the headline – Jon Morgan:

Milk not as good as we thought? Milk may do more harm than good – not quite the headlines to lift the confidence of dairy farmers.

Unfortunately, they and others like them have been seen in major newspapers, on TV news and on news websites around the world in the past week.

They come from a study by Swedish researchers that comes to the conclusion that drinking more than three glasses of milk a day may not protect bones against breaking, and may even lead to higher rates of death.

The study suggests certain types of sugars found in milk may increase inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage body cells.

To the credit of some reports, they also added high up in the story the researchers’ comment that they could not prove “cause and effect” and much more research was needed before anyone would be advised to limit their milk consumption. . .

Dairy farm focus on cost-cutting - Dene Mackenzie:

Dairy farmers will focus on the parts of their business they can easily change as their income drops in the 2014-15 season, according to ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley.

In his quarterly economic forecasts, released this morning, Mr Tuffley said the firstthings farmers would look at were likely to be feed and farm maintenance.

Last season, farmers had incentive to increase production through additional feed and, generally, the feed price was of secondary importance to feed availability. That resulted in palm kernel imports rising by 400 million kg, or 29%, on the previous season, at an additional cost of $120 millon, he said.

”This season, in many cases extra feed doesn’t pay. Farmers may reduce the amount of feed they purchase or make what they do have go further.” . . .

Uruguay link still strong - Sally Rae:

Back in the 1960s, a young Enrique Larraechea, from Uruguay, visited the Robertson family in West Otago and bought a Romney ram.

Decades later, Mr Larraechea has returned, recently purchasing rams from Blair Robertson at the Merrydowns stud at Waikoikoi, and his uncle David Robertson, at the Aurora stud at Palmerston.

Buying from the Robertson family had become a ”very, very nice family tradition” over the years.

”I feel very much together with them … we have complete faith in each other,” Mr Larraechea, known as Kike, said.

In the 1960s, he travelled throughout New Zealand looking at sheep. While the rams in the north were ”very nice” and very refined, they were not what he wanted in a commercial sheep. . .

Speech to Fonterra UHT plant opening in Waitoa - Nathan Guy:

It’s great to be here today at the official opening of Fonterra’s new UHT milk processing plant.

This is a $126 million project which has been completed in just 12 months, and has created 100 new local jobs.

It’s a real vote of confidence in New Zealand’s dairy industry, which continues to be a major contributor to our economy. Dairy is our biggest single export earner.

Our farmers produce a quality product that ends up in over 100 countries around the world. The primary sector is the backbone of our economy that generates around $4 million an hour. This helps the Government get back into surplus and invest in things like schools, hospitals and roads.

As a Government we have an ambitious goal of doubling the value of our primary sector exports to $64b by 2025. . .

 

 

Building sheepmeat demand globally:

The Sheepmeat Council of Australia (supported by Meat & Livestock Australia), Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Organismo de la Unidad Nacional de Ovinocultores (‘the National Mexican Sheep Producers Organisation’) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on sheepmeat cooperation.

The MoU recognises that the sheepmeat industries of Australia, New Zealand and Mexico share the goal of building sheepmeat demand globally. There are also a number of other common objectives including animal health and welfare, food safety, environmental sustainability, and industry profitability.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Director Andy Fox said there are considerable advantages to be gained by working together to further these objectives.

“The Australian and New Zealand sheepmeat industries are seeking to build relationships with producer organisations from around the world. The reality is sheepmeat faces strong competition in the marketplace from other protein sources. It is important the sheepmeat industry works together to promote our premium product,” Mr Fox said. . .

New Agri One chief executive appointed:

Lincoln University and Massey University are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Williamson as chief executive officer of their joint venture, Agri One.

Mr Williamson was formerly domestic marketing manager at Solid Energy and has extensive management and marketing experience.

Agri One was set up in 2011 with a focus on the two institutions working together to create new market opportunities. It promotes research-led education to assist farming and agri-food industries and facilitates professional development courses, joint research proposals, and seminars and symposia in the area.

It also undertakes a brokering role to introduce agri-food businesses to academics at Lincoln University and Massey University. . . .

 

 


Nuffield scholars announced

November 2, 2014

A diverse group of rural New Zealanders has been chosen as the latest crop of Nuffield Scholars:

Nuffield New Zealand and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced the scholarships at a function in Wellington for West Coast dairy farmer Bede O’Connor; Woodville dairy farmer Ben Allomes; Rotorua-based DairyNZ regional leader Sharon Morrell; Whanganui farmer, entrepreneur and conservationist Dan Steele and Fonterra employee Satwant Singh from Morrinsville.

The five new Scholars join more than 145 others who have been awarded Nuffield Scholarships in the past 60 years, which has been a substantial investment in New Zealand agriculture’s past, current and future leaders, says Nuffield NZ chairman Stuart Julian Raine.

“Only a handful are awarded each year so a Nuffield Scholarship is one of rural New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious awards. To be a Scholar is a life-changing experience.”

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries and provides an introduction to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.

One of the current 2014 Scholars is Palmerston North potato grower, agricultural contractor and equity dairy farmer Paul Olsen.

“It has been a brilliant experience for me, seeing other countries and a variety of cultures, mind boggling but also eye opening. New Zealand has a huge opening for the future, in terms of things like food proteins and niche products, it’s there for the taking. It’s a massive opportunity for us to take on the challenge.”

Olsen says the Nuffield name opened many doors.

“I visited some massive operations – people wouldn’t hold back. It was 100 per cent nuts and bolts business information you wouldn’t get any other way.”

He says the contacts made and networks formed will last a lifetime.

“I made some very strong contacts and friendships, especially through the UK, Ireland and Scotland. Many of them are coming to stay here in the next 18 months or so as well, either travelling individually or finishing their own Nuffield Scholarship travels.”

Nuffield Scholars travel internationally for at least four months in their Scholarship year (not necessarily consecutively), participate in a Contemporary Scholars conference with 60 Nuffield Scholars from around the world and attend a six-week Global Focus Programme with an organised itinerary through several countries with other scholars. They also have their own individual study programme with a research report due at the end of their travels.

The 2015 research topics are likely to cover issues such as the internal growth potential of China; recognising and utilising New Zealand’s greatest asset – its people; farming communities’ responses to changes in environmental regulations or other constraints; the potential of “Brand New Zealand” and how having communities involved in conservation will show value in looking after the environment; and farmer understanding of their financial and overall business health focusing around budgeting, risk management, stress levels for farmers, suicide levels and farming pressure.

The five 2015 scholars are:

Bede O’Connor, West Coast

West Coast dairy farmer Bede O’Connor is milking 340 cows on 170 hectares near Westport and is an elected director of the Westland Dairy Co-op. O’Connor, 43, has achieved a 25 per cent increase in production over the past three seasons after purchasing his family’s farm in 2011. He would like to develop a self-sufficient farming system to combat the influences of more frequently occurring climatic events. He is a member of the West Coast TB Free Committee, West Coast Rural Support Trust and the West Coast Focus Farm Trust. He was a regional judge for the Dairy Industry Awards Trainee of the year and is an active member of West Coast Federated Farmers.

Sharon Morrell, Rotorua

Sharon Morrell is a regional leader with DairyNZ in Rotorua. Her role is a mixture of direct farmer interaction and leading a small team running discussion groups, field days and workshops. She also works alongside strategic partners, including the BOP Dairy Stakeholders Group. After gaining a Bachelor of Agricultural Science Morrell worked as a MAF farm advisor. With husband Ross she has worked on farm and raised four children. She did some supervisory and consultancy work before moving to DairyNZ in 2010. She attended the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme in 2011.

Dan Steele, Whanganui

Dan Steele is a farmer and conservationist living and working on Blue Duck Station – a 1460 hectare sheep and beef station and conservation project at Whakahoro, surrounded by Whanganui National Park. After working with his parents on the neighbouring Retaruke Station for seven years, Steele built Blue Duck Lodge in 2005, started Blue Duck Station in 2006 and founded the Wild Journeys commercial jet boats partnership in 2010.

Steele is involved with the Ruapehu Regional Tourism Organisation (Visit Ruapehu), Ducks Unlimited, NZ Wetland Care and the Whanganui National Park Conservation and Historic Preservation Trust.

Satwant Singh

Satwant Singh works for Fonterra during the week and on the family dairy farm near Morrinsville at the weekends. Singh, 30 and her husband Sunil Krishna live in Auckland – during the week she is part of the Fonterra Commodity Risk and Trading team as an Originator. One of her achievements is the Guaranteed Milk Price programme for farmers. She became an area manager for Fonterra in Morrinsville (2008-2012) after working as a Service Specialist for Fonterra (2006-2008). Singh has a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours (Majoring in Marketing and Human Resources) and a Graduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Waikato.

Ben Allomes

Dairy farmer Ben Allomes and wife Nicky own a half share in an 850-cow farm at Woodville; are 50/50 sharemilkers on a 400-cow farm at Woodville and a 215-cow property at Ruawhata; and also lease two other properties. Allomes is a farmer-elected DairyNZ director and on their local school Board of Trustees. He has been heavily involved with NZ Young Farmers, Primary ITO, Dairy Industry Awards, Fonterra Network and DairyNZ. While president of Young Farmers, 2007-2009, he helped to restructure and reposition the organisation and jointly led the development of the NZYF leadership “Pipeline” programme now adopted by industry “Generate” Steering Committee.

You can read more about Nuffield here and find a lsit of previous winners here.


$100m freshwater fund

September 4, 2014

A re-elected National-led Government will spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire selected areas of farmland next to important waterways to create an environmental buffer that helps improve water quality.

National will also introduce a mandatory requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways.

National’s Environment Spokeswoman, Amy Adams, and Primary Industries spokesman Nathan Guy made the announcement at the Waituna Lagoon in Southland with Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key today.

“New Zealand’s freshwater makes us an incredibly lucky country. We have over 400,000 kilometres of rivers and more than 4,000 lakes,” Ms Adams says.

“New Zealand’s water is among the very best in the world and we want to keep it that way. These are the next steps in our considered and sensible plan to continual improvements in freshwater quality.

“We are particularly committed to improving the quality of our freshwater and have made a number of key decisions that previous governments have put in the too-hard basket.

“This Government has introduced national standards for freshwater to safeguard it for future generations,” Ms Adams says. “That new framework will give communities around the country the tools to maintain and improve the quality of their lakes and rivers.

“To continue this progress, the next National-led Government will invest $100 million over 10 years to further enhance the quality of freshwater through a targeted fund to buy and retire areas of farmland next to waterways.

“This fund will give councils another option to help manage freshwater by enabling these sensitive areas to be retired for environmental purposes,” says Ms Adams.

National will also introduce a requirement to exclude dairy cattle from waterways by 1 July 2017, and will work with industry to exclude other cattle from waterways over time on intensively farmed lowland properties, says Ms Adams.

“National is committed to building a stronger economy, particularly in our regions. We are also determined to improve the quality of our environment at the same time, and we are confident we can achieve both.”

Mr Guy says dairy farmers have done a fantastic job addressing some of the key environmental issues they face, and they have fenced over 23,000 kilometres of waterways – over 90 per cent of all dairy farm waterways.

“This is an incredible undertaking to do voluntarily. At the end of the day, farmers are environmentalists; they want to leave their land in a better state for their children, and their grandchildren.

“Our approach involves working collaboratively with farmers, water users and communities. You don’t get good environmental results by aggressively penalising and taxing key industries.” says Mr Guy.

“A mandatory requirement will bolster this great work and highlight the importance of this key environmental protection.

“We will work constructively with dairy farmers when developing the legislation, to ensure practical solutions in those areas with difficult terrain or which are subject to extreme weather events,” says Mr Guy.

Farmers have already done a lot to protect and enhance waterways on their own and with encouragement from milk companies and regional councils.

This policy will ensure even more is done.

 

 

A re-elected National-led Government will improve freshwater quality by investing $100m to buy and retire farmland next to important waterways. ntnl.org.nz/1BaGDWz #Working4NZ
Irrigation New Zealand applauds the policy:

Irrigation New Zealand supports National’s 2014 Water Policy announced today which recognises the value of irrigation and which continues to place the responsibility of cleaning up New Zealand’s waterways with the community.

“Instead of penalising irrigators National is taking pragmatic steps to sorting out New Zealand’s waterways issues,” said Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO.

“Ensuring riparian fencing and planting, especially in the lowland plains, will lead to big wins for restoring habitats and supporting aquatic life. This is what New Zealanders’ want to see – fresh water good enough to gather food from and enjoy recreationally.

“With the new freshwater fund and fencing requirements, plus objectives set by the National Policy Statement for freshwater, communities now have the tools to actively and collectively solve freshwater problems,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ chair.

A successful example of a communal resolution to a waterway issue using riparian fencing and planting is the Waikakahi stream on Morven Glenavy Ikawai Irrigation scheme. It has been restored over a number of years and is now thriving with aquatic life. See more detail here http://www.mgiirrigation.co.nz/environmental-management/

“This government understands that a water tax will not solve New Zealand’s freshwater problems and recognises that there is considerable public good to be gained from sustainably managed irrigated agriculture,” says Mr Curtis.

“There are proven significant socio-economic benefits to both the regional and national community from the productive use of water and it is right that this infrastructure is supported nationally. A water tax will only lead to higher food prices and no other country in the world has implemented an irrigation tax for this reason,” says Ms Hyslop.

The opposition’s policy would tax the majority who are doing what they can to clean up after the relatively small number of people who aren’t, or won’t.

National’s policy recognises that economic growth and environmental protection and enhancement aren’t mutually exclusive.

 


$22.5m for forestry

August 31, 2014

National’s Forestry Spokesperson, Jo Goodhew announced plans to invest invest $22.5 million over five years to further encourage and support the planting of new forests if the party is back in government:

Mrs Goodhew made the announcement at Knapdale Eco Lodge in Gisborne with Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key, National’s Primary Industries spokesman, Nathan Guy, and local East Coast MP Anne Tolley.

The Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) is a grant to help landowners to establish new forests of between five and 300 hectares.

“The previous AGS wound up last year. Through National’s responsible economic management we are able to commit to extending this worthwhile scheme for a further five years,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Our commitment to afforestation is another example of National’s long-term economic investment in regional New Zealand.

“Other examples are our recently announced $150 million investment in the Rural Broadband Initiative, our $212 million investment in new regional roading projects, the investment of $120 million into new irrigation projects, and initiatives like the recovery of windblown timber on the West Coast.

“Contrast that with Labour and the Greens – they would stifle the regions by bringing in a big new carbon tax, imposing large water resource levies, and introducing a capital gains tax on 100 per cent of productive businesses,  including farms.

“National backs the country’s regions to succeed.

“The start-up costs for forests can be a huge barrier, as forestry is a long-term game. It can be 25 to 30 years before forests are ready to be harvested and generate value. That’s why National wants to lower those cost barriers for regional New Zealand and make planting new forests easier,” says Mrs Goodhew.

The scheme will build on the success of the earlier AGS, but will be improved and simplified to make participation easier.

“We have looked at how the scheme could be further enhanced, to make it more accessible and flexible for applicants,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The scheme is projected to result in around 15,000 hectares of new forest being established. Much of this is expected to be on low-quality land not ideal for farming.”

The criteria for the new scheme will include:

Individual parcels of land between 5 and 300 hectares per grant application

Planting must be on land that is not already forestry land

A flat grant rate of $1300 per hectare from one funding pool for all applicants.

In return for a grant, grantees will forfeit carbon credits to the Crown for up to a decade.

“We expect the majority of people taking up this scheme will be farmers and other landowners wanting to diversify and better use marginal land,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The grant will go some way to alleviating the start-up costs of new planting, but we expect grant recipients to meet the long-term costs associated with developing and sustaining a forest.”

Forests have a number of environmental benefits. New planting will help property owners address soil erosion, water quality and biodiversity.

“The removal of carbon by forests plays an important role in helping New Zealand meet its long-term climate change commitments. Planting new forests contributes positively to reducing New Zealand’s net emissions.”

The Afforestation Grants scheme complements work already undertaken in this area, including the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative, the Erosion Control Funding Programme on the East Coast and the Hill Country Erosion Fund.

 

National backs our regions to succeed. This announcement is another example of our long-term investment in regional New Zealand. ntnl.org.nz/1vTC2oO #Working4NZ

 

 


Rural round-up

August 21, 2014

Increases for fish stocks show success of QMS:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced increases to catch limits for a range of New Zealand fisheries today, thanks to healthy stock levels.

“This shows the success of our world-leading Quota Management System (QMS). It is flexible and driven by science, which means that we can increase take as stock levels improve,” Mr Guy says.

Healthy stocks have led to increased Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for:

• Hoki 1 (10,100 extra tonnes across New Zealand)
• Orange Roughy 7A (1155 extra tonnes on the upper West Coast)
• Orange Roughy 3B (525 extra tonnes around the lower South Island) . . .

Just what the doctor ordered, no way or only a matter of time? - Allan Barber:

There are three possible responses to the prospect of an overseas, probably Chinese, investor buying seriously into the New Zealand meat industry: bring it on, not on your life or it’s inevitable.

So far Chinese interests have recently bought a minority stake in Blue Sky Meats and an application to buy Prime Range Meats is with the Overseas Investment Office; ANZCO is just under 75% Japanese owned with New Zealand management and staff holding the balance. ANZCO’s ownership structure has remained like this for over 25 years bringing positive benefits to the company, its suppliers and New Zealand as a whole. . . .

Back to the future? – Andrew Hoggard:

I am going to propose something provocative.  The big long term issue for us isn’t going to be water but will be employment and occupational health and safety. 

While the mention of water and farming gets some people worked up, the truth will eventually break through the spin and I think we are just starting to see this.  When it comes to employment matters though, our industries have been named by the government’s Worksafe NZ as the most dangerous.  Another part of government says a big minority of employers aren’t meeting basic employment law obligations.

If that’s not enough, we’re fully in the crosshairs of the Council of Trade Unions too. . .

It’s a super trim season yes, but milk and disaster, no – Chris Lewis:

Do you know that in the first half of 2014, the amount of global tradable milk grew by an amazing seven billion litres.  That’s enough milk to fill 2,800 extra Olympic sized swimming pools and it was available for export.  It goes to explain why Fonterra cut this season’s forecast payout by a $1 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS).

It would be nice if our politicians realised that farmers have good and bad seasons but they don’t.  All the spending promises seem to assume we’re constantly swimming in greenbacks.  We aren’t.  It is also why anyone, whether a Kiwi or a foreigner, who looks at a farm like a get rich quick property scheme will likely end up come a cropper. 

A farm is your business and your home.  This is why farmers are passionate about what we do and that makes us go the extra mile.  It is why I take exception to the line ‘milk and disaster’ being applied to dairy.  It is super trim season yes, but milk and disaster, no. It is great to see the latest GlobalDairyTrade average still in the US$3,000 a metric ton range but that slight 0.6 percent fall means we are on exactly US$3,000. . .

 High pin bones too prevalent in NZ – Yvonne O’Hara:

New Zealand has a rump angle problem, says Holstein Friesian classifier Denis Aitken.

As well as being a dairy farmer who is trying to retire, Mr Aitken, of Maungatua, is a member of the World Holstein Friesian Federation Type Harmonisation working group. He spent some time in Denmark attending its two-yearly meeting in May.

The working group was seeking to standardise or ”harmonise” 18 different physical traits in Holstein Friesians by classifying or precisely defining the ideal of each of those traits and promoting the evaluation system. . . .

Young Agricultural Professionals Are Driving Agricultural Development – Food Tank:

Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) is a global network of young agriculture and development professionals who are coming together to create innovative and sustainable agricultural development. YPARD enables its young members to share knowledge and information, participate in meetings and debates, promote agriculture among young people, and organize workshops.

Food Tank interviewed Rebeca Souza, a YPARD representative in Brazil, to discover what YPARD members have been accomplishing.

Food Tank (FT): How did you become a representative for YPARD?

Rebeca Souza (RS): Last year, I was doing an internship at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Three other interns and I decided to organize an event calling on young professionals to share innovative ideas to overcome world hunger and malnutrition. YPARD was one of our partners, and Courtney Paisley, the director, was attending our event. I came to her asking if I could be a country representative in Brazil since no one was appointed to this position yet. She said yes! . . .

 


Rural round-up

August 20, 2014

Waitaki River group objects to planned changes:

The Canterbury Regional Council is promoting changes to give growers and Meridian Energy, which runs the Waitaki hydro-power scheme, certainty of water supply.

But a Waitaki River users group says a deal to drop the river’s minimum flow would badly harm an already sick river.

The Canterbury Regional Council is promoting changes to give growers and Meridian Energy, which runs the Waitaki hydro-power scheme, certainty of water supply.

The plan includes a cut to the minimum flow by a third during a dry spell. . . .

Shark finning to be banned from 1 October:

A ban on the finning of all shark species within New Zealand waters will take effect from 1 October this year, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

“Implementing this ban has happened much faster than originally proposed. It reinforces New Zealand’s strong international reputation for sustainability and protecting our natural environment,” Dr Smith says.

The Ministers released a revised National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA-Sharks) earlier this year, which included a commitment to phase in the ban on shark finning in New Zealand by October 2016 at the latest. A first tranche of shark species was to be covered by the ban from 1 October 2014, a second tranche from 1 October 2015, and only the highly migratory blue sharks was to be left until 1 October 2016. . . .

Botulism scare prompts diary working group:

Last year’s botulism scare has prompted the creation of a new working group in the dairy processing sector.

It was one of the recommendations of the independent Government inquiry into the whey protein concentrate contamination, which sent shock waves through New Zealand’s dairy industry.

The inquiry highlighted a shortage of experienced people with processing expertise and so the group has been set up to fix that.

The working group will be chaired by Northland dairy farmer and former Fonterra board director, Greg Gent, who said it was an exciting project. . .

NZ software could scupper mouse outbreaks:

A New Zealand-designed software system designed to predict and tackle mouse outbreaks is being trialled in Australia.

MouseAlert is an interactive website which uses mapping technology to enable arable crop growers to record and view mouse activity in their local area in real time.

Landcare Research has been providing the expertise on building this information into computer models which can then forecast plagues of mice. . .

Farmers welcome GlobalDairyTrade stabilisation:

Federated Farmers is pleased to see stabilisation in the latest benchmark GlobalDairyTrade (GDT) online auction result but warns price volatility will likely continue until well into the last quarter.

“It is great to see GDT average still in the US$3,000 a metric ton range but that slight 0.6 percent fall means we are on exactly US$3,000,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Vice-Chairperson.

“It seems to underscore how similar this season is to 2012/13. At a similar point two seasons ago, the average winning price was just US$54 more except it had come up from the high 2,000’s.

“But before anyone traipses back to the beginning of the year to make a more dramatic story, any price before 1 June is completely irrelevant when you are talking about this 2014/15 season. . .

 

China dangerous market reliance or exciting market growth? – Andrew Watters:

The economic growth of China over the past four years has resulted in huge demand for New Zealand dairy and meat products; lifted our terms of trade to historical highs and provided a major fillip to agriculture and the wider NZ economy.

However the somewhat dramatic slide in global dairy prices since their peak in midFebruary has the appearance of China exiting the market causing demand to stall.

It has prompted several commentators to ponder whether exciting market growth has become market over-reliance.

At MyFarm we see ‘China growth’ as a major boost to farming industry returns – one that will have a profound affect for the next two decades. . .

 

Informercials used to sell NZ meat in China - Dave Gooselink:

TV shopping shows and infomercials have become a popular way of selling everything from exercise equipment to kitchen and beauty accessories. But one New Zealand company has struck gold in China with a very surprising product – packaged meat.

It’s home shopping as most Kiwis will be familiar with, but the Chinese shopping show is selling something a little unusual – prime cuts of New Zealand beef and lamb.

Most of us Kiwis, we’d never think about buying our lamb or beef on a TV shopping channel,” says Silver Fern Farms head of sales Grant Howie. “But in a 30-minute slot earlier this year, we sold 12.5 tonnes of our beef.” . .  .

Minister approves Marlborough coastal plan changes:

Plan changes to enable three new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds were signed off today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith at a function at the Marlborough District Council with Mayor Alistair Sowman and representatives from NZ King Salmon.

“These three new salmon farms at Waitata and Richmond in Pelorus Sound and Ngamahau in Tory Chanel are hugely important to Nelson and Marlborough’s aquaculture industry and wider economy. They will enable NZ King Salmon to grow its products from the current 6000 tonnes per year to 9000 tonnes per year in 2015 and 13,000 tonnes per year by 2033. These new farms will grow our GDP by $120 million per year, our exports by $50 million and employment by 150 new jobs,” Dr Smith says.

“I am well satisfied that our region can maintain the conservation and recreation benefits of Marlborough Sounds while enabling the growth of the aquaculture industry. These three farms will take up only about five hectares of surface water space out of a total area of over 100,000 hectares in the Sounds, or less than 0.01 per cent.” . .

The forest safety battle is not yet won

Point scoring in the media will not make our forests safer places to work, says the Forest Owners Association.

“The unions are claiming credit for a sudden reduction in the fatality and serious accident rate and Worksafe NZ is slamming us for a lack of safety leadership. These comments are unbalanced and unhelpful,” says association president Paul Nicholls.

“Political posturing and blaming others won’t save workers lives. To transform the industry’s safety culture, participants will need to acknowledge their past shortcomings and to share experiences and knowledge. They are less likely to be open to this if they are being publicly pilloried.” . .

Implementing Reform:

The sweeping reforms to the ways water is managed, as recommended by the Land and Water Forum two years ago, are now beginning to be implemented. The final shape and rate of reform will be very dependent on what government is elected in a few weeks. Therefore this is a particularly apt event looking at policy reforms that could reshape the way we manage and think about water.

“Implementing Reform” is the theme of the Water NZ annual conference being held at Hamilton’s Claudelands convention centre in the final week of the election campaign – 17 – 19 September.

Water reforms already implemented in Australia will be discussed in the first two sessions of the conference starting at 9.40 am on Wednesday 17. . .

 

 


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