Rural round-up

May 8, 2014

Despite Strong Currency, New Zealand Winemakers Are Thriving  – Neena Rai:

New Zealand’s wine exports hit a record high in the year through end-March, led by rising demand for new-world wines from British, American and Canadian consumers.

New Zealand wine exports reached more than NZ$1.3 billion in value in those 12 months—up around 9% on the year-earlier period, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.

The gain was fueled by a bumper harvest in 2013, which has made it possible for New Zealand’s vintners to ramp up wine sales overseas.

“The very robust export performance reflects the continued demand in key markets and increased availability of the wine from the 2013 vintage,” said Phillip Gregan, chief executive officer of industry body New Zealand Winegrowers. “We expect further strong growth in the year ahead when the 2014 vintage wines are released” he added. . .

Dairy firm wants restrictions removed:

Dairy livestock genetics company LIC is asking the Government to consider removing regulations that were imposed on it when it had a monopoly on national dairy herd testing.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has started consultation as the dairy industry prepares for the transfer of its core br 3_news.4_web_news.air

eeding database from the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) to DairyNZ.

MPI said it needs to decide whether it’s appropriate to continue regulating LIC once that’s happened.

LIC chief executive Wayne McNee said its farmer owners agree it’s time to do away with the restrictions. . .

Part A of WPC Ministerial Inquiry initiated:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye said today that the final part (Part A) of the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident will begin on 12 May.

“Part A will examine how the potentially contaminated whey protein concentrate entered the New Zealand international markets and how this was subsequently addressed,” Mr Guy says.

“Part A could not begin until the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) compliance investigation was complete, sentencing had occurred, and the appeal period had expired.

“Inquiry Chair Miriam Dean QC has been conducting preliminary work with the Department of Internal Affairs on a suitable date to begin the inquiry to ensure availability of other inquiry members and that a secretariat is available,” Ms Kaye says. . . .

Black beetle numbers on the rise:

AgResearch scientists warn that one more mild winter could result in a population explosion of black beetle.
 
“Recent AgResearch trial work shows that black beetle populations are on the increase and development is more advanced in autumn 2014 than in the previous five years,” says AgResearch Science Team Leader Biocontrol and Biosecurity Dr Alison Popay.
​“This means that the adult black beetles will have plenty of time to feed and build up fat reserves to help them through the winter.  If warm conditions continue through autumn and spring conditions are right, some farmers could be facing another serious black beetle outbreak next summer.” . . .

 

Food and beverage sector driving growth:

New Zealand’s food and beverage industry is well positioned for substantial growth, with exports on track to double in value in the next 15 years to US$40 billion, according to reports released today.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today released the 2014 edition of the Investors’ Guide to the New Zealand Food and Beverage Industry. The Investors Guide showcases the key factors driving New Zealand’s food exporting success: high-quality ingredients, disease-free status, comprehensive network of free trade agreements, world-leading business environment, and strong food science capability.

“The Investors Guide shows significant investment and acquisition activity which indicates a dynamic and growing industry, and we are seeing the results in export performance,” Mr Joyce says. . .

Timber products exported without chemicals:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming the expansion of a trial which has successfully exported timber products to Australia without chemical treatment.

“Forest product exporters are normally required to fumigate with methyl bromide or other chemical treatment during the summer flight season of the burnt pine longhorn beetle,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The non-chemical solution requires that inspected timber is either kept within an insect-proof environment until it is put in a container and sealed, or put in a container during daylight hours of the same day to avoid the nocturnal beetle. . . .


Rural round-up

April 23, 2014

Happy Earth Day! If you see a farmer, say thanks for being an environmental steward not just today, but every day!

LIC sets course to $1b horizon:

FARMER CO-OP Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) is revamping its executive team and aiming to raise revenue 500% by 2025.

Directors and farmer shareholders have given chief executive Wayne McNee the go-ahead to trim executive numbers from 11 to 8. The post of chief operating officer is abolished and four new management positions are advertised. Several current executives may settle for non-executive roles or quit.

Staff learned this month of a strategy to earn $1 billion in revenues by 2025; the animal breeding and farm technology service provider earned $200m last year. . . .

Focus shift for Landcorp:

STATE-OWNED FARMER Landcorp is seeking to make subtle but significant changes to its strategic direction.

Outlining the changes to Rural News, chief executive Steven Carden said the SOE wants people to realise there is a direct correlation between a strong Landcorp and a strong New Zealand farming sector.

Directors and staff know about the proposed changes, due for further discussion during another strategy session at a board meeting in a few weeks.

Historically the organisation has been relatively inward looking, he says. Now he’d like to see Landcorp working more collaboratively with other partners and looking well beyond the farmgate and engaging with others. . . .

Why scientific method sorts weak from chaff - Doug Edmeades:

According to my dictionary an anecdote is “a short narrative of an incident of private life”. Anecdotes are frequently used to sell dubious products to unsuspecting farmers. Their use is rife among fertiliser products.

You will all have heard them. “The chap at the end of the road put on some of that stuff – my word his lambs looked good this year”. Or, “This guy sold me some humate, I chucked it on a bad paddock down the back – now there are earthworms everywhere”. And one that has always intrigued me comes from the south, “Joe put some of that seaweed liquid fertiliser on and now hundreds of seagulls follow his plough”.

The seductiveness of anecdotes is that they are derived from observation and only a fool would dare tell a farmer that his observations are BS .. .

Farm Manager Finalists Milking 5000 Cows:

The eleven 2014 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year finalists are together managing 5200 cows producing more than two million kilograms of milksolids.

“These finalists represent a group of dairy farm employees that work extremely hard and put in long hours to harvest the country’s sought after fresh milk in the most cost effective, sustainable and efficient manner,” National Convenor Chris Keeping says.

“The finalists are also passionate about what they do and are keen to progress their dairy industry career.” . . .

Ten Farming Ambassadors Hailed In 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have finished another successful year, with Supreme winners from 10 regions recognised for their outstanding contribution to agricultural sustainability.

David Natzke, General Manager of the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, says the 2014 competition drew a “wonderful group of entrants” and the high standard made it a real challenge for judges to pick out the final Supreme winners.

“Attendance at all the regional award ceremonies was well up on previous years. This reflects a great recognition of the awards and how well they are managed and promoted in the regions.”

Taranaki was welcomed into the competition for 2014 and the announcement of the first Taranaki Supreme winner was another highlight, says Mr Natzke. . .

 

Rural Contractors NZ hits the road during May:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of road shows being held around the country during May.

RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton says rural contractors need to get to grips with proposed changes to health and safety regulations following the recent introduction of the Health & Safety in Employment Reform Bill into Parliament.

“There are some really major changes planned which will most definitely affect rural contractors,” he explains.

“The penalties for getting it wrong, should someone suffer a bad accident at their workplace, are very severe.” . . .

Great turnout for last Regional Final:

Crowds gathered at the Mackenzie Showgrounds in Fairlie Monday 21 April for the final stop of the AgriKidsNZ and TeenAg competition series.

The Aorangi Regional Final saw Hinds Agris, Ella Yeatman, William Ward and Hayden Jefferson from Hinds School take home the top honour for the AgriKidsNZ competition and High Country Hillbillies, Holly Malcolm and Ella Sanderson from St Kevin’s School were first in the TeenAg event.

The competitions test skills, strength and stamina while introducing youth to the fun side of agriculture. Primary and high school students from all walks of life are welcome to join in. . .

Get Your Entries In For NZ’s First Gaia Awards:

Over recent months, the debate on water quality has reached boiling point with reports and commentary from prominent figures such as Dr Jan Wright Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Sir David Skegg President of the Royal Society of New Zealand and Dame Anne Salmond calling for a shift in farming practices.

Fortunately, there are a growing number of producers bucking a trend of declining water quality and profitability through a focus on soil health. The Association of Biological Farmers (ABF) are hosting NZ’s first Green Agriculture Innovation Awards (GAIA) this August in recognition of these timely innovations. Entries for the Awards are closing soon! ABF wants to congratulate and celebrate not only the farmers and growers but also consultants and bio-fertiliser companies that, at a mushrooming pace, are changing the face of food production in New Zealand. . . .


Rural round-up

March 2, 2014

CPW shocked by ECan’s mistakes on nitrate loads – Tim Fulton:

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has admitted critical mistakes in calculating the nitrate loads for newly irrigated land in the Central Plains Water scheme.

Central Plains Water (CPW) has been stunned by a recommendation to halve its nitrate allowance under a land and water plan for the Selwyn-Waihora catchment.

The allocation was adjusted three times as CPW sought commitment from farmers to its scheme. Even though irrigators had been advised the calculations were subject to change, the nitrate allocation has bounced from 520 tonnes to 850t and back to 434t. . . .

The Heilala Vanilla story – Caitlin Sykes:

John Ross got a whole lot more than he was expecting for his 60th birthday.

 

A retired dairy farmer, Ross’ birthday wish was to sail to Tonga on a boat he’d built himself, have a family holiday and indulge his passion for spearfishing.

 

But he fell in love with the place. So much so that when a cyclone ravaged the Vava’u island group the year after he’d stayed there, Ross rallied a group of Rotary club friends to travel back to Tonga to help with the clean-up.

 

In thanks, a local family gifted him a plot of land, in exchange for him using it to provide employment for those living there.

 

The gift sent Ross on a journey of discovery, travelling around the globe to learn all he could about vanilla – a crop that only grows naturally 20 degrees either side of the equator and is perfectly suited to growing conditions in Tonga. . . .

Preparing a winner beats milking cows - Mike Dillon:

John Morell is one of a rapidly dying breed – rural owners who train their own racehorse from a farm.

 

Not only is that a rare group these days but farming owners who send their horses to professional trainers to be prepared are also becoming as rare as Len Brown supporters.

 

When Hall of Fame champion trainer Dave O’Sullivan was a year or so from putting his feet up he declared he had just one horse in his stable who was owned by a farmer.

 

“A few years ago half my team was owned by farmers,” he declared at the time. . .

Countdown to the NZ Product Wars – Bruce Wills:

What Shane Jones told Parliament regarding Countdown will probably not be news to thousands of current and former Australian dairy farmers.  You see they’re the ones who have footed the real cost of Australia’s A$1 a litre supermarket milk war.

Last May, the head of Coles warned its suppliers Australians were paying too much for groceries at the same time a A$1.5 billion full-year profit was announced.  Several months later Woolworths, its arch rival, revealed a A$2.3 billion net profit.  Combined, the two groups were making a net profit of A$7,229 every minute.  I do not begrudge successful businesses given many pension funds rely upon success like this.  What I do begrudge is if high profits come from breaking smaller businesses through predatory, anti-competitive practices.  Something I see in the Australian dairy industry.

If the 2011 Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) investigation into the supermarket milk war is anything to go by, it may leave some people on this side of the Tasman feeling deflated with our Commerce Commission about to look into things.  . .

 

McNee to ring changes at LIC - Andrea Fox:

Big job changes and expansion are planned at LIC as Wayne McNee, the new chief executive of the genetics and information heavyweight, starts flexing his muscle.

McNee, formerly chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is proposing structural change that could affect 56 jobs – many of them executive positions – and create 17 new roles.

His plan is expand LIC in the South Island, target international markets and focus the business on farmer needs for the future, instead of head office decisions. . .

$15 billion bonanza - Hugh Stringleman:

Record dairy prices and milk payout forecasts have a strong tail wind, which should carry them through the rest of the season.

Competing countries have their own weather woes and are unable to increase supply in response to the favourable worldwide demand.

Most New Zealand dairy farmers are seeing a double benefit – more production and the record prices– although some are contemplating a premature end to milking because of drought. . . .

Good turn-out at field days – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland Field Days filled all exhibitor spaces for the first time on its new home site as the regional economy recovers strongly.

Early last week Northland was reported by ANZ Bank to have the best economic activity numbers among 14 regions nationwide.

The activity index was up 2.4% in the fourth quarter of last year, following a similar-sized rise in the third quarter.

The six-monthly surge was the biggest since 2004. . . .

 

 

The Heilala Vanilla story


Rural round-up

November 5, 2013

Fireworks blamed for death of horse – Delwyn Dickey:

Calls for fireworks restrictions in rural areas follow the deaths of several horses.

The deaths are being blamed on fireworks and a row has erupted between neighbours.

Alice Hayward says her horse Lucas panicked, tried to jump a fence and was impaled on a broken railing after a Silverdale fireworks display in August. . . .

NZ commodity prices rise for fourth straight month, wool at 22-month high:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand commodity prices rose for a fourth straight month, and are now just 1.8 percent below the record set in April, as wool extended its rally to a 22-month high.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent in October to 327.6 for an annual increase of 23 percent. In April the index reached 333.5.

Eleven of the 17 commodities tracked rose last month, five fell and one was unchanged. Wool rose 10 percent, adding to a September gain of 13 percent. Beef, aluminium, butter, pelts and wood pulp rose 3 percent, whole milk powder rose 2 percent and sheep meat and logs rose 1 percent. Seafood and casein rose about 0.25 percent.

Skim milk and kiwifruit fell 2 percent, apples were down 1 percent, cheese fell 0.5 percent and sawn timber fell 0.25 percent. Venison was unchanged for a second month. . . .

 New LIC boss eyes up export potential – Andrea Fox:

Exporting is on the mind of new Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) chief executive Wayne McNee.

It’s hardly surprising given his recent background, but could signal a major new chapter in the journey of the New Zealand genetics and dairy information systems heavyweight.

The former pharmacist then career public servant says he spent a lot of time thinking about how to grow New Zealand exports in his immediate past post as chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

He says the fact that LIC was an exporting company – albeit in a very small capacity – was one of the attractions of the job. . .

Information shared at merino field day – Sally Rae:

Barbara Annan admits she knew very little about farming when she found herself widowed with three young children and a station to run.

Until her husband John’s sudden death in 1990, her role on Lindis Peaks Station, a 3759ha property near Tarras, had been limited to driving an old Austin truck feeding out, helping with tailing, and driving the Land-Cruiser, with the children on board, raking hay.

While she had wonderful help from friends and neighbours, she felt ”extremely inadequate”.

”I was devastated and didn’t quite know what to do,” Mrs Annan recalled, during a field day organised by the Otago Merino Association at Lindis Peaks on Friday. . .

Gold medals reward stock skills - Sally Rae:

Young Glenavy sheep farmer Ross McCulloch has proved he has an eye for stock.

Mr McCulloch (24) won Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand gold medals in both the sheep and wool sections at the recent Hawkes Bay A&P Show in Hastings, securing him a trip to Australia next year.

He will compete in a stock-judging competition at the Royal Queensland Show (also known as the Ekka) in Brisbane, a 10-day event which attracts about half a million visitors, in August. . .

Facing Facial Eczema and Raising the Bar:

New Zealand’s largest red meat genetics company is raising the bar in an effort to reduce the impact of facial eczema heading south and becoming more prevalent throughout New Zealand.

Focus Genetics chief executive Gavin Foulsham says they are upping the game and testing more sheep than ever before to breed rams which are resistant to facial eczema.

“We have been testing for facial eczema resistance for over 20 years and we are now seeing the benefit of continued selection. But we need to keep improving our genetics and keep on top of facial eczema, which is becoming more prevalent in many areas throughout the North Island.

“Facial eczema resistance is a highly heritable trait so farmers can significantly manage the disease in their ewe flocks by selecting for facial eczema tolerant rams.” . . .

Sunny start to NZ summer delivering bumper crop of blueberries

Growers say weather has created the sweetest fruit in recent years

An early, sunny start to summer is promising to deliver one of New Zealand’s best and maybe biggest blueberry crops in several years.

Blueberries are one of Kiwis’ favourite summer fruits, with supermarket sales surging upwards by a massive 36.3% from May 2012 to May 2013. New Zealand blueberries are increasingly in demand overseas, too, with exports growing from 850,000 kgs in 2012 to over 1,000,000 kgs in 2013.

NIWA is forecasting above average temperatures through until the end of December, and industry experts predict this will help create even more demand for blueberries. . .

Landmark winery sale falls through so property goes back on the market:

The receivership sale of a pioneering winery and hospitality venue has fallen through after the potential purchaser failed to obtain the necessary Overseas Investment Office approval in time.

Ascension Wine Estate has now been placed back on the market for sale through Bayleys Real Estate in a tender process closing on November 28th 2013. Bayleys senior sales person Scott Kirk, who was involved in marketing the property initially, said those parties interested in buying the land, building, assets and business earlier this year would be contacted shortly to assess if they were still motivated to buy the Ascension land and business.

Mr Kirk said a full advertising campaign would also be re-initiated immediately to generate additional interest from any new potential buyers. . .

Green Meadows Beef Challenges Kiwis to Stuff the Turkey This Christmas with Launch of Festive Blitzen’s Beef Box:

Green Meadows Beef, producers of 100% grass-fed, free-range Angus beef from South Taranaki are calling on New Zealanders to ditch roast turkey and other traditional meals this Christmas in favour of something more exciting. To celebrate this, the family owned brand is launching a special 7kg festive beef box in the run up to Christmas. The $139 Blitzen’s Box will contain a range of aged Green Meadows Beef cuts so New Zealanders can be ready for their Christmas roasts and barbecues over the holiday season.

“Most people associate Christmas with roast turkey or a glazed ham but beef is definitely becoming more popular,” says Green Meadows Beef director, Nick Carey. “In the UK, festive surveys have shown that turkey is actually falling out of favour and roast beef has now climbed to the second most popular Christmas dinner. It’s great to see people considering more options and we’re hoping Kiwis will follow suit.” . . .


Rural round-up

April 30, 2013

New Lincoln Hub plans unveiled:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have today unveiled concept plans for a world-class agricultural research and education facility to be sited at Lincoln, near Christchurch.

The Lincoln Hub concept plans and business proposal have been developed by a partnership of Lincoln University, DairyNZ and Crown Research Institutes (CRIs) AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, and Landcare Research.

“The Lincoln Hub has the potential to transform New Zealand’s farming productivity by providing a one-stop shop allowing information and ideas to be shared more easily,” Mr Joyce says. “Internationally, science and innovation parks that collect together public and private organisations in one place drive a lot of education, science and innovation. The Lincoln Hub can achieve this for New Zealand farming.” . .

AgResearch capitalises its strengths to boost science:

A mammoth $100 million investment in AgResearch’s core science resource will help boost its potential to support exports from the primary industries in reaching $60 billion by 2025, on current policy settings.

“It is no secret that some of AgResearch’s physical scientific infrastructure is getting a bit creaky,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“It was a genuine pleasure to be at the unveiling of an impressive roadmap that will also see the “hubbing” of primary research capabilities at and with Lincoln University. . .

Meat Industry excellence Group campaign warms up - Allan Barber:

The MIE organised farmer meeting in Feilding on Friday was attended by about 700 farmers which one speaker from the floor compared unfavourably with 2000 at the Drought Shout. However there is obviously an increasing level of support for substantial change to the meat industry’s operating method which results in volatile market returns.

Alliance and Silver Fern Farms were both represented and the respective chairmen, Owen Poole and EoinGarden, spoke in support of the group’s aims. Poole told the meeting the industry was working constructively to develop an improved model which was simpler than MIE’s plan and it was important to ensure the two plans were complementary. . .

MPI’s loss is LIC’s gain but Primary still comes out on top:

The resignation of Wayne McNee, Ministry for Primary Industries Director-General, to take up the position of Chief Executive at Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), will still see this talented person working in and for New Zealand’s primary industries.

“This role shows the versatility of Wayne who has performed to a very high standard with the public service and now departs for a high profile leadership role in a company important to New Zealand agriculture,” says Bruce Wills, President of Federated Farmers.

“Wayne has put the Ministry on the right path for farmers following the merger of the old MAF with the Ministry of Fisheries. I feel disappointed in one regard because he leaves it, just when we are starting to see the fruits of his work appear in this new and dynamic Ministry. . .

Budget 2012; support for frontline conservation work:

An additional $20 million over four years has been allocated to the Department of Conservation in Budget 2013 to provide for additional frontline roles and the upgrade of recreational facilities, Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced today.

“The four year funding package complements the Government’s recently announced tourism investment. It recognises that DOC is the Government’s primary agency responsible for providing infrastructure, visitor services and nature-based experiences that support the tourism industry,” Dr Smith says. . .

Innovative Dairy Companies Form Partnership to Boost Exports:

Two of New Zealand’s most innovative dairy companies are forming a partnership to boost exports to one of the world’s fastest growing consumer markets.

Synlait Milk will next month despatch the first consignment of a2® Platinum™ infant formula destined for mothers and infants in China. a2 milk™ contains only the A2 version of the beta casein protein which is more comparable to protein that mothers naturally produce than other versions of the beta casein protein found in standard milk.

Synlait Milk will be processing a2 milk™ from 10 suppliers from August this year and will further expand production to meet the requirements of A2 Corporation when a2® Platinum™ infant formula becomes available to mothers in New Zealand and Australia later this year. . .

Brancott Estate Celebrates the End of a “Sensational” Vintage:

Vineyard beats the weather to harvest pristine, flavoursome fruit

Early predictions of an outstanding vintage have proven true for Brancott Estate, the pioneers of the original Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, who have successfully completed harvest ahead of autumn rain, and with fruit that bears all the characteristics of the region.

“The season has been so dry until now and this has delivered a sensational vintage for Marlborough” says Patrick Materman, Chief Winemaker for Brancott Estate. “While we’ve enjoyed the sunshine, it hasn’t been a particularly warm season, tracking around the long-term average in terms of Growing Degree Days. This, combined with the lack of rain, is a real positive for vineyards. The dry conditions mean pristine fruit development and allow us to make harvest decisions based on optimal flavour development, while the relatively cool temperatures ensure the aromatic expression and balance of natural acidity that has made Marlborough famous.” . .


MPI founding DG moves to LIC

April 29, 2013

The man who oversaw the creation of the Ministry of Primary Industries and became its first Director General, Wayne McNee,  has resigned to take up the role of chief executive of Livestock Improvement.

. . . After becoming the General Manager of PHARMAC in 1998, then Chief Executive of PHARMAC in 2001, Mr McNee became Chief Executive of the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) in 2008. He was appointed as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) in 2010 and then as Chief Executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries in 2011, following the merger of MAF and MFish. . . 

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said:

“I’ve enjoyed working with Wayne over the last two years. He has overseen the merger of MAF with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Fisheries to create the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2012,” says Mr Guy.

“The merger has resulted in savings of over $20 million a year and created a new strategy of ‘grow and protect’. MPI now has the ambitious target of doubling exports from the primary sector from $30 billion to $60 billion by 2025.

“Wayne has created great relationships with key stakeholders, both here and internationally. He knows that businesses are the engine room of economic growth.

“I’m sorry to see Wayne go but his new role as Chief Executive of the Livestock Improvement Corporation will utilise his skills, experience and knowledge. . .

MPI’s loss is LIC’s gain.


Rural round-up

March 19, 2013

Patchy rains helped some areas, others left dry, Landcorp’s Kelly says – Kristen Paterson:

Patchy rains have provided relief for some farming areas and left others without substantive moisture, says Chris Kelly, chief executive of state-owned Landcorp, New Zealand’s biggest farmer.

The west of the North Island saw higher rainfall, with 15-40mm from Northland to Waitomo down through to Taranaki. The West Coast, which applied for drought status last week, received 20-40mm with more expected to come. The East Coast fared the worst, experiencing no substantial rains, MetService says. . .

Govt awards more than $4m to environmental projects:

A project that will use recycled potato starch to produce more than 17 million compostable packaging trays annually is among the successful recipients of more than $4 million in government funding.

Environment Minister Amy Adams today announced funding of more than $4 million to 11 innovative waste minimisation projects around New Zealand.

Earthpac receives $2.1 million for a project to manufacture compostable meat and vegetable trays. The trays are produced by capturing starch generated from washing potatoes. . .

DCANZ Cautiously Welcomes Japan To TPP:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) today cautiously welcomed Japan to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.

DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey said it is a significant achievement to have Japan enter into the TPP. However, at the same time he hopes that Japan’s entry won’t delay the conclusion of negotiations beyond the October 2013 timeline and that they will support the basic premise of TPP.

“We encourage Japan to uphold the commitment made by TPP leaders in Honolulu back in 2011, which was the comprehensive elimination of market access barriers like tariffs on traded goods,” Mr Bailey said. . .

NZ Pork Disappointed With Appeal Dismissal:

The New Zealand pork industry is very disappointed by the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of its appeal regarding the Ministry for Primary Industry’s (MPI) proposed new Import Health Standard (IHS), Chairman Ian Carter said today.

“We are disappointed as we have concerns about the level of risk the new IHS constitutes.”

MPI welcomes judgment on pork imports

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is pleased with today’s Court of Appeal judgment which found that MPI followed the correct decision-making process before allowing imports of raw pork from countries where the disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is present.

At issue in this case was MPI’s response to an Independent Review Panel report and the process that led to the Director-General’s decision to issue four new import health standards for raw pork.

NZ Pork had alleged MPI did not follow the correct decision-making process.

“Agriculture is vitally important to our economy. In order to protect our primary producers from biosecurity risks, it is essential that we do the right thing when developing import health standards and that we base them on the best available science,” MPI Director-General Wayne McNee says.

NZPork appealed against the introduction of a new IHS relaxing the border standards for importing pig meat from countries with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS). . .

Hard yards pay dividends in Methven:

Matthew Bell is the latest Grand Finalist to be named for the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest. Matthew will be joining six other contestants at the Grand Final in Auckland 16-18 May.

“It’s still all sinking in…I’m over the moon!”, commented Matthew on his triumph on Saturday (16 March) in the Aorangi Regional Final at the Methven A&P Showgrounds and Heritage Centre.

Sam Bryan was runner up followed by Phil Campbell and Phil Wilson placing third and fourth respectively. . .


Milk DCD free

February 22, 2013

Ministry of Primary Industries tests have confirmed no traces of DCD in milk since November.

“MPI and the New Zealand dairy industry have conducted voluntary testing of New Zealand dairy products to build a comprehensive picture of the presence of DCD in New Zealand’s milk supply,” MPI Director General Wayne McNee said.

The tests have found no traces of DCD in milk collected from New Zealand farms after mid November 2012.

“We are releasing the core findings of the testing today to be as open as we can be with our markets and customers, despite the fact that the quantities of DCD found in our dairy products creates absolutely no food safety risk whatsoever,” Mr McNee said.

With the co-operation of the dairy industry, nearly 2000 samples of dairy products have been tested from all the major dairy companies.

Testing has specifically targeted dairy products using milk collected during the New Zealand spring last year from the less than five percent of dairy farmers who used DCD on pastures. Results have been coming in as recently as last week.

As expected, minute traces of DCD have been found in various dairy products already in the supply chain from a variety of companies. However, there remains no food safety risk – all traces have been significantly below the European Commission’s daily intake level for DCD.

“Importantly, tests on products made from milk collected from farms after mid-November show no traces of DCD at all,” Mr McNee said.

“These findings confirm our expectations. We have informed markets of them.”

There never was a food safety issue.

The problem was there was no international standard for DCD but the tiny traces found in some milk products late last year were well below the EU standard.

There was a perception problem but the prices have continued to increase in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade auctions since the announcement traces of DCD were found.

This shows that markets weren’t concerned, in spite of some opposition politicians attempts to manufacture a scandal.

It’s also a vote of confidence in New Zealand’s very high food safety standards and a reminder of why maintaining them is so important.


Rural round-up

January 29, 2013

NZ food is safe and our systems work:

Federated Farmers says New Zealand’s continual testing for impurities and open disclosure is why New Zealand primary exports are of the highest quality.

“We are aware some media reporting seems to have moved beyond facts and into uninformed opinion,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers spokesperson on food safety.

“Residues of DCD (Dicyandiamide) nitrification inhibitors were detected but the levels recorded were in the order of parts per million. These residues only came to light because New Zealand continually tests for and refines testing for impurities.

“I doubt many countries test to the level we do but once DCD was verified our consumers and trading partners were notified. We take this seriously, very seriously and any suggestion otherwise is scurrilous. . .

DCD scare will ‘enhance’ NZ’s reputation:

The head of Federated Farmers says Fonterra only had to report the presence of agricultural chemical dicyandiamide in its milk because of a “technicality”.

Both the Government and Fonterra have reassured the public and our trading partners that there is nothing to fear from dicyandiamide, also known as DCD, which is used to prevent nitrogen seeping into waterways.
Fonterra says the traces of the substance – found four months ago – were so small they were not worth mentioning. Federated Farmers CEO Conor English agrees, saying there has been a “massive overreaction”.

Red Meat PGP Collaboration Programme for Greater Farmer Profitability

The red meat industry has agreed to work together to promote and assist in the adoption of best practice by sheep and beef farmers, as part of a new $65 million dollar sector development project with Government co-funding.

Wayne McNee, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), has just approved a commitment of up to $32.4 million from MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s new Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.

This seven-year programme will bring together a number of participants in New Zealand’s red meat sector including co-operatively owned and privately owned processing companies that together account for a substantial majority of New Zealand’s sheep and beef exports, two banks and Beef + Lamb New Zealand. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Welcomes Government Support For PGP Programme

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen has welcomed the announcement by Wayne McNee, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), of the Ministry’s commitment of up to $32.4 million from the Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s proposed $65 million, seven year, Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.

“This will be a huge boost for the sector and will accelerate progress in an increasingly collaborative approach across a range of issues that are important for sheep and beef farmers,” Mr Petersen said.

The Collaboration programme involves industry participants AFFCO, Alliance Group Ltd, ANZCO Foods, ANZ Bank, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Blue Sky Meats, Deloitte, Progressive Meats, Rabobank and Silver Fern Farms, who following approval and contracting processes will match MPI’s investment and establish a joint venture entity to undertake the programme. The programme is open to new investors who can join once the programme starts. . .

Start networking with the farming world don’t become isolated – Pasture to Profit:

There is a new opportunity to network with the farming world. Farming can be a very isolated profession. Farms can be remote. The very nature of the profession means that you are often working alone. It’s that same feature which of course attracts people to farming. Farming gives you the ability to be your own boss and to make your own decisions. Running your own business can be both exhilarating & very stressful.

You don’t have to farm alone or in isolation! Today there are some very good online farming Discussion Groups. Social media won’t ever replace face to face talking with other farmers. However on for example; Twitter forums like #AgchatNZ, #AgchatOZ, #Agchat, #AgrichatUK provide an opportunity for talking to likeminded farming professionals. . .

 

2013 – Tipping Point Year for the ‘Blackcurrant Renaissance':

Over the last 500 years the blackcurrant has gone from being one of the most respected health foods of the medieval era to a staple household beverage, to being overshadowed by trendy new berries in recent times. But a Renaissance is underway and 2013 looks set to be a pivotal year for the blackcurrant industry, says global blackcurrant industry leader, Svend Jensen.

“For hundreds of years the blackcurrant has been a staple of the berry basket in European civilisation, as a health tonic and as a food. But over the last 30 years scientists have started to unveil the true health potential of the “king of berries”. New generation research started in Japan in the 1980’s and then the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Now exciting projects are also being undertaken by research teams in Scandinavia, France, Eastern Europe, and the USA,” says Jensen, President of the 5-year old industry group, the International Blackcurrant Association. . .

And from a new-found blog, The Farming Game, which aims to give an insight into the real world of farming in Australia, a bit of variety:

Wednesday night was the last night of this irrigation cycle with day shift wrapping up the final field Thursday afternoon, so it was an early start on Friday to go chipping. Volunteer cotton from last season was coming up in one of the refugee crops and needed to be removed, the only way to remove it is to chip it out so we had to walk up and down the rows and chip out the volunteer cotton and weeds with a hoe. Its not the best job to do but it needs to be done. . . .

And from the northern hemisphere – life of the farmer in January from the Peterson Farm Bros:


NZ milk is safe – MPI, Fonterra

January 28, 2013

Ministry of Primary Industry Director-General Wayne McNee says there’s  confusion about the suspension of a pasture treatment, DCD, in New Zealand and what this means for the safety of New Zealand milk products.

“Use of DCD was suspended by its manufacturers because very small traces of residue were unexpectedly detected in New Zealand milk. DCD residues have been only found in some milk powder products and not in other dairy products such as butter and cheese.

“The detection of these small DCD residues poses no food safety risk. DCD itself is not poisonous,” Mr McNee says.

“DCD is not used directly in or on food in New Zealand and never has been. It is a product used on pastures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the leaching of nitrogen into waterways.

“DCD manufacturers have voluntarily suspended DCD because New Zealand’s international dairy customers expect New Zealand products to be residue-free, where there is no internationally accepted standard for residues for particular compounds. An international standard has yet to be agreed for DCD.

Mr McNee says the European Commission has set an acceptable daily intake for DCD, and based on the highest DCD residue that was detected in New Zealand milk products, a 60 kg person would have to drink more than 130 litres of liquid milk or consume some 60 kg of milk powder to reach the Commission’s limit for an acceptable daily intake, and considerably more to have any health effects.

The Ministry says there is only a small amount of dairy product potentially involved in this issue. DCD has been used by less than five percent of the country’s dairy farmers who applied it only twice a year. Each application leaves only traces of residue on the grass for no more than a few days. This means only very small numbers of New Zealand cows could have come into contact with DCD in very limited time frames.

“The chance of any residues of DCD being present in milk products processed now is minimal,” Mr McNee assures.

“There has been no use of DCD on New Zealand pastures since September 2012, and now that its use has been suspended, it is not possible that any New Zealand dairy produce currently in production will have DCD residues in it.”

There has been absolutely no restriction on dairy sales in New Zealand because of this suspension of DCD use on pasture.

DCD is not melamine. It is a different chemical and has none of the toxicity that melamine has.

Fonterra is also reassuring consumers our milk is safe:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited Chief Executive Theo Spierings has today reassured global customers that New Zealand dairy products are safe to consume.

“We know some of our customers and regulators have questions.

“We need to answer them, and that’s exactly what we are doing.

“We have strong science and we are providing assurances about the safety of our products.

Let’s keep it in perspective. Our testing has found only minute traces of DCD in samples of some of our products.

“It is important to remember that the minute traces detected were around 100 times lower than acceptable levels under European food safety limits.

“The Ministry of Primary Industries has confirmed that the minute traces pose no risk to human health.

“DCD has never at any point been a food safety issue – and if it had been, we would have been the first to speak out. Fonterra has one of the highest standard food supply chains in the world, and safety is part of our DNA.

“Since November we have been closely involved in a working group with the Government, the fertiliser companies, scientists and other dairy industry representatives gathering information, scientific opinion, and undertaking tests.

“The bottom line? Our products are safe. Customers can rest assured,” said Mr Spierings.

Those are the facts.

DCD was only found in some milk powder products, not in butter or cheese. It poses no food safety risk and it’s not poisonous.

But when it comes to food safety perception and emotion will trump facts.

Overseas media is a carrying the story and that will be enough to make some consumers wary, regardless of the facts.

The risk isn’t a food safety one. It’s a perception and marketing one and will be higher in countries where people can’t trust their government and businesses to tell them the truth.


Someone else’s school reunion

November 11, 2012

Going to the reunion of someone else’s primary school wouldn’t normally make my list of enjoyable outings.

But when I’ve lived in the Enfield School’s catchment for nearly 30 years and know lots of the people who were going to it so was happy to accompany my farmer who is an ex-pupil to the reunion dinner.

The school opened in 1876 and closed a few years ago as a result of a declining roll.

This weekend’s reunion wasn’t to mark a particular anniversary, it was just to bring former pupils, staff and parents together and it was fun.

One of the ex-pupils, Wayne McNee, now heads the Ministry of Primary Industries.

He gave the toast to the school and did it well – lacing his speech with humour and keeping it short.

One of the messages he left us with was the way a teacher can influence a pupil’s life.


Rural round-up

October 29, 2012

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”. . .

Farmers may be pressured to trade shares for cash:

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. . .

Sheep take over Spanish streets:

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. . .

Community Activities and Bass Guitar Balance Busy Farming Lives:
Southland farmer Euan Templeton is not a big TV watcher.As well as running a 545ha sheep and beef farm at Waimatuku, east of Riverton, Euan and wife Linda are involved in a host of off-farm activities that “keep us young”.Music and gardening are key hobbies for the couple. Euan is captain of the local Boys Brigade company, a church elder and a member of the Lions Club. He also sings in the Southern Sounds Barber Shop Chorus and plays bass in a rock band.

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. . .


Rural round-up

July 25, 2012

Alliance expands greenhouse measuring programme:

Alliance Group is expanding a green-house gas monitoring programme to all of its suppliers after a successful trial.

The meat co-operative introduced the web-based Hoofprint programme late last year and tested it with farmers supplying meat for Sainsbury’s supermarket chain in the UK.

It’s a software system that farmers can use to measure and monitor agricultural greenhouse gases associated with beef and lamb production on their farms and improve their productivity. . .

Lean manufacturing helps Tru-Test Group become first to achieve NZQA certification:

Tru-Test Group is bucking the trend towards outsourcing manufacturing to lower-cost economies overseas. The world leader in electric fencing, milk metering and animal weighing and recording, has chosen to keep more than 80 per cent of its production in Auckland.

Reflecting this commitment to the local market, Tru-Test Group has become the first New Zealand company to achieve a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Level 2 Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing for its entire production and stores staff.

The NZQA qualification allows factory operators to become actively involved in developing systems that improve productivity and quality. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ has photos and presentations from the Red Meat Sector conference here.

Among them are:

Opening address – Wayne McNee, Director general of Minsitry of Primary Industry.

NZ political environment  – Colin James.

The International Meat Industry – an update  – Murray Johnston General Manager Merchandise  Progressive Enterprises

An Australian perspective – market development, access and outlook – Scott Hansen, Director, Meat & Livestock Australia

Domestic trends and measuring progress against the Red Meat Sector Strategy  –  Rob Davison, Executive Director Economic Service, Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Best practice implementation – tertiary institutions, crown research institutes and industry working together – Dr Andrew West, Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln  University

Dairy sector – best practice in action - Dr Mark Paine, Strategy Investment Leader for People & Business, Dairy NZ

And from Facebook:


MAF shortcomings, MPI responds

July 5, 2012

The independent report into the Psa incursion which has had such a devastating affect on kiwifruit orchards has  found shortcomings in systems and processes of what was then the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

It is up to what is now the Ministry of Primary Industry to respond swiftly and Director-General Wayne McNee has:

“The review has found shortcomings in the way MPI’s (then MAF) systems and processes were applied to the importation of kiwifruit, kiwifruit pollen, kiwifruit nursery stock, kiwifruit seeds and horticultural equipment, prior to the Psa outbreak.

“While the review also says that it does not automatically follow that these shortcomings contributed to the entry of Psa-V into New Zealand, improvements are needed, and MPI is moving immediately to implement those improvements,” Mr McNee said.

“The Ministry will implement all six recommendations from the review and will report to the Minister for Primary Industries in three months time on progress.”

Mr McNee said the review had found that although the biosecurity risks associated with the importing of goods could never be entirely mitigated, protections could be improved by MPI, industry and Crown Research Institutes working more closely to understand emerging risks.

Federated Farmers calls the report a robust but positive wake-up call.

Federated Farmers is convinced the independent and robust Sapere Research Group review into the entry of Psa will lead to significant improvements at the border.

“The old MAF was so confident in its import health standard for pollen, it said there was no peer-reviewed scientific evidence pollen was a pathway for bacteria,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President and spokesperson on biosecurity

“That contrasts strongly with the independent Sapere Research Group review of how Psa entered New Zealand. This review provides policy makers with a model for independently conducted post-border incursion investigations.

“The Sapere review cuts to the chase.  We can give credit to the new Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for opening itself up to soul searching analysis.  That said, it comes against a $410 million backdrop; the projected cost of this biosecurity failure.

“Even in tough economic times, Federated Farmers believes there should be more resources for biosecurity than just reprioritising current ones.

“We need biosecurity to be robust because it is our first and last line of environmental and economic defence.  Any homeowner knows scrimping on insurance is a false economy when you need to claim against it.  Incursions like Psa not only cost export revenue but jobs too.

“Biosecurity is a tangible feature driving our overall reputation as an exporter and as a destination.  Tourism is a risk vector, but benefits from high levels of biosecurity being maintained. We suggest passenger and cargo levies could be used to build a response fund.

“While the report doesn’t mention it, we also need robust systems to identify emerging disease threats and developments.

“Government Industry Agreements are an opportunity for the MPI to integrate information and improve communication with industry.  Yet the primary industries shouldn’t just leave biosecurity to government as ‘its job’.  We are pleased this report confirms recent moves by the MPI to give farmers a greater say on border protection.

“One practical example of what Federated Farmers wants to see reinstated is the Animal and Plant Biosecurity Consultative Committees.  Disbanded under the old MAF, they provided a valuable exchange of information between industry and the Ministry.

“We believe the MPI now has a golden opportunity to integrate them within Government Industry Agreement frameworks,” Dr Rolleston concluded.

The Psa, incursion has been to the kiwifruit industry what foot and mouth disease could be for livestock farming.

Whole orchards have been infected, businesses – and retirement plans – destroyed and millions of dollars lost from the local and national economy.

The response to the incursion was swift but that is no comfort for those whose vines were infected.

It might not have been shortcomings in MAF procedures which allowed the importation of the infection but MPI isn’t making excuses and is implementing all six recommendations in the report.

Every traveller and import could potentially carry something that poses a risk to our plants and livestock. It is impossible to have 100% protection against that but the adoption by MPI  of the recommendations should ensure an improvement in bio-security at our borders.

MPI’s response and action plan is here.


Rural round-up

March 21, 2011

Water rich New Zealand points to a brigther future -

“Being ‘water-rich’ means that future trade prospects, and therefore future standards of living, for New Zealanders are very bright,” Water NZ CEO, Murray Gibb told a meeting of the Kapiti Central Combined Probus Club yesterday.

His presentation showed how New Zealand is one of only very few developed countries that are net food exporters. “We are actually a sustainable virtual water exporter,” he said.

Woolly walls new dream for telco deal maker:

A prominent figure in the hi-tech sector, former CallPlus shareholder and managing director Martin Wylie, has put together a new investment group and finalised its first deal, purchasing the fast growing Eco Insulation Group of companies.

Eco, with franchised operations throughout New Zealand, is a leader in the supply and installation of insulation, specialising in unique green products using planet-friendly locally-sourced sheep’s wool insulation products. The company has seen huge growth in revenue in the last three years. . .

EU relaxes GM rules – NZ Farmers Weekly reports:

British farmers could soon be given access to genetically modified animal feed after the European Union voted to relax its zero-tolerance policy to contaminated feed being imported into Europe.

It marks a step-change in the EU’s approach to GM and comes following warnings of feed shortages and inflated prices with importers increasingly wary of shipments being turned away from ports in the EU.

Europe imports about 80% of its animal feed, much of it from GM growing countries in North and South America. . .

Farmy Army comes from far and wide –  Rural News reports:

FARMERS FROM all over the country have converged on Christchurch to help clean up the February 22 quake aftermath.

A force of 800 went in during the first weekend, at first using shovels and wheelbarrows before wheeled loaders got clearance.

“It’s been incredible the number of offers of help we’ve had,” Federated Farmers Dairy chairman for North Canterbury, Kieran Stone, told Dairy News. . .

McNee the man? – Rural News picks the man most likely to head the new Primary Industry Ministry:

THE MOST likely head of the new super ministry is current MAF Director General, Wayne McNee. He will oversee the merger and be acting Fisheries CE as well as DG of MAF, until the merger takes effect on 1 February 2012.

McNee is highly regarded in government circles. He’s seen as a skilled leader and change manager. He’s also credited with re-organising MoF – which was said to be in poor shape when he took it over two years ago. Prior to heading up fisheries, McNee worked in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

Since taking over at MAF, just before Christmas, McNee has already been ringing the changes. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 5, 2010

MAF director-general plans to be visible - Neal Wallace interviews Wayne McNee:

The new director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is looking forward to re-acquainting himself with those who he says work in “the engine room of the economy”.

Wayne McNee, who was raised on a North Otago farm, started his new position last Monday, and said he did not underestimate the importance of the role to New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy. . .

 Telford Polytech to be Lincoln run:

While it’s been described as a merger, the assets of Telford Polytechnic such as buildings, other improvements and staff contracts, will be transferred to Lincoln University without any cash changing hands.

The Telford brand will continue to be recognised, says Lincoln University vice-chancellor Professor Roger Field, with Telford becoming a division of the university and its 880 hectare Telford farm in South Otago remaining in trust ownership and management by the farm training institute. . .

Farm sales hit by doubt over OIO hurdles:

Uncertainty over foreign land deals is thought to be weighing heavily on efforts to sell a group of dairy farms in the central North Island.

Twenty-nine “designer” dairy farms created by Carter Holt Harvey around Tokoroa have been sitting on the market since early this year.

The company initially hoped to sell them for $224.5 million.

But a real estate agent involved in the marketing effort says interested parties are waiting for the outcome of the Crafar farms deal to set the tone on foreign farm ownership. . .

Wheat growers call in Comerce Commission:

New Zealand grain growers are appealing to the Commerce Commission and other government agencies amid fears large multinationals are achieving a dominant position in the local market and limiting access to markets for local produce.

“Our concerns are not solely regarding [Canadian company] Viterra but a general loss of transparency of grain markets and vertical integration across several multinationals operating in New Zealand,” said David Clark, chairman of the Mid Canterbury Grain and Seed Section of Federated Farmers. . .

Lamb stance comes up short: Jon Morgan writes:

When I asked two of the biggest meat companies, Silver Fern and Alliance, what effect they expected a 2.8 million plunge in lamb numbers to have on them, they said they were insouciant, which is a French word meaning they couldn’t care less.

I don’t believe this for one moment. Calling on my basic French again, they are talking merde du boeuf, or in patois (with appropriate gesticulation) – “conneries!”.

I don’t hold it against them. You would hardly expect them to reveal to their competitors their true concerns. But they must be at least a trifle uneasy. . .

It all bodes well for hazelnuts:

The seventh annual New Zealand Gourmet Oil Competition was held in conjunction with the Canterbury A&P Association annual show. The competition, open to New Zealand-produced olive, walnut, avocado and hazelnut oil, attracted more than 40 entries, with the judges awarding 25 medals. . .


New MAF DG from North Otago

October 15, 2010

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s new Chief Executive and Director General is Wayne McNee .

He’s been CE of the Ministry of Fisheries for nearly three years and before that was CE of Pharmac.

“In his current role, Mr McNee is responsible for managing New Zealand’s fisheries resources worth approximately $1.6 billion per annum, and employs around 460 staff in 19 offices in New Zealand. . .

. . . In his previous role as Chief Executive of PHARMAC, Mr McNee was responsible for an operating budget of $15 million and approximately 50 staff, and a pharmaceutical budget of almost $1 billion dollars . . .”

He will take up the appointment next month.

The official announcement says he has a Bachelor of Pharmacy and PG Dip in Clinical Pharmacy from the University of Otago and has undertaken general management programmes at Monash, Oxford and Stanford Universities.

It doesn’t also say Wayne comes from North Otago. He grew up in Enfield and went to Waitaki Boys’ High.


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