Not mentioning any names

04/04/2012

Answer of the day:

“There are previous Ministers who have been known not to read their papers, but the current ones I have in my administration do.” John Key, responding to a question.

He didn’t mention any names but the questioner did have a reputation for not being the most diligent of ministers when it came to reading papers.


Word of the day

04/04/2012

Pulveratricious –covered in dust.


Rural round-up

04/04/2012

All hands on deck to restore the waterway

The Waihopai River is suffering from severe sedimentation. What is being done to bring the Southland waterway back to better health? Shawn McAvinue reports.

Eels and freshwater crayfish from the Waihopai River in Woodlands were fair game for Mike Knight when he was 12.

Now 33, he wants the river to remain a happy hunting ground for his three children.

So 11 days ago, the former Woodlands School pupil rallied the whole school to plant 230 trees across half a hectare of the 256ha of dairy farm where he and his wife Vicki contract milk 700 cows. . .

Scary’ One Plan faces appeal – Jill Galloway:

Federated Farmers national dairy vice-chairman and Manawatu dairy farmer Andrew Hoggard says the One Plan has been “scary” for dairy farmers.

Federated Farmers is appealing parts of the One Plan to the Environment Court.

The plan is an environmental blueprint for water, land, biodiversity and air, with all consents for farmers rolled into one.

Horizons Regional Council said most of the outstanding issues were resolved at mediation. But in regards to water, there were still outstanding nutrient management problems and land management issues, such as the regulation of dairy farming and intensive farming activities, which were going to the Environment Court.

Mr Hoggard said when the One Plan was first discussed in 2005, dairy farmers thought it would be a non-regulatory approach, so they were “OK” about it. . . .

Migrants guides soften shock – Sally Rae:

Two new guides to help migrant dairy workers and their employers work together more successfully have been launched.   

 There are now about 1500 migrant dairy workers in the country, making up 6% of the workforce, with the majority from the Philippines.   

Demand had increased in recent years, as it had proved difficult to attract and retain local workers in some parts      of rural New Zealand, Immigration and Associate Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said .   . .

1986 winner says contest fantastic – Sally Rae:

Russell Whyte knows exactly the pressure the seven grand    finalists in the National Bank Young Farmer Contest will be    feeling when they arrive in Dunedin this month.   

Mr Whyte, now living in Christchurch, won the Young Farmer of      the Year title back in 1986 – the last time Dunedin hosted      the grand final.   

He described it as a “fantastic” experience, which was  followed by an “amazing opportunity” to travel to the UK, as      part of the prize package, which also included a tractor and  motorbike.   . .

Mill links paddock, plate – Gerald Piddock:

Plans for a new flour mill in Washdyke will give Canterbury grain growers control and opportunities to add value to their product.

The mill is being built by Farmers Mill, a new company set up by South Canterbury grain storage company Grainstor.

General manager Dave Howell said it was thought to be the first new mill built in New Zealand in 25 years.

It will be a showcase with state-of-the-art equipment not seen before in New Zealand, designed to mill soft wheat to a higher standard than some older equipment.

It will produce premium biscuit, baking and bread flours to the specifications of high-end customers.

“There are no New Zealand-owned mills and we wanted to have some control and add value over our own product that we grow,” Mr Howell said. . .

Shrek: the next generation – Matthew Littlewood:

WOOLLY WANDERERS: This merino pair, dubbed “Shrek’s cousins”, were discovered near the bottom of Ferintosh Station about a fortnight ago. While one has since been shorn, the other will be losing his fleece at the Mackenzie Highland Show on Easter Monday.

Ferintosh Station are making sure that two of their residents do not have the wool pulled over their eyes.

Pastoral lease-holders Marion and Gilbert Seymour spotted two wandering merinos near the bottom of the station about a fortnight ago.

It appeared that neither of them had been shorn in nearly seven years.

“We knew they were around somewhere, but we managed to capture them only recently,” Mrs Seymour said.

“They were quite docile, and couldn’t move very fast, because they were carrying a lot of wool.”

Mr Seymour, who is in his 80s, has already given one of the pair a decent haircut, but its mate will go under the clippers at the Mackenzie Highland Show in Fairlie on Easter Monday. . .

Argentines embrace change – Shawn McAvinue:

Are success and happiness possible in the Southland dairy industry? Shawn McAvinue talks to a 2012 Dairy New Zealand Dairy Awards finalist who’s working hard to achieve both.

When Argentine Leo Pekar and his partner Maricel Prado arrived in Southland 10 years ago to work on a dairy farm, they were welcomed with two months of solid rain. But the New Zealand Dairy Awards regional finalist wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

When they arrived in March 2002, they had little money and only thin PVC jackets to protect them from the heavy rain.

“I would get up at 4.30[am] and think, `what am I doing here’?”

The 35-year-old admitted he was not a morning person but his goals got him out of bed. . .

Grape crop down but hopes high – Gerald Piddock:

Waitaki winemakers will have a later than usual harvest this year after enduring a cold wet summer.

From late January in the Waitaki, it turned into a cold summer, making it a very difficult season for wine growers within the region, Waitaki Valley Wine Growers Association chairman Jim Jerram said.

It was a late harvest in wine producing regions across the country and the Waitaki was no exception.

“It was one of the coldest February’s on record and there was not a lot of sun.

“That has been the case for the whole eastern side of the country.”

Grape harvesting usually takes place in late April-mid May in the Waitaki. . .

Leadership lessons – Shawn McAvinue:

A free rural leadership course is set to give priceless results to the future leaders of the Southland rural sector.

Farmers Mutual Group Gore rural manager Sharon Paterson said she enrolled in the 2011 Generate rural leadership course to gain confidence.

She sells insurance for FMG in Gore and lacked confidence when cold-calling potential customers.

“Although I looked confident, I lacked a lot underneath. Now I just waltz up anyone’s drive to talk about insurance.” . . .

Onion harvest hit hard – Gerald Piddock:

Central Canterbury onion growers will have one of the worst harvests in 10 years.

The cold wet summer has slashed yields and delayed getting the crop off the ground.

Levels potato and onion grower Tony Howey said the poor crop along with the falling international markets made it a season for him to forget.

“About three years out of five you have a bad year, about two years out of five you might have a good year and probably once every 10 years you have a disaster, and this is that year.”

Trees on farms – exploring hill country options:

Following successful workshops in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, the next Trees on Farms workshop will be held on the King Country property of Barrie and Jude Tatham, and will explore the role of trees in hill country farm management, particularly in marginal or less productive areas.

Barrie and Jude own a 500 ha drystock farm near Piopio, which they operate in a share-farming arrangement with Kieran and Shona Bradley, running cattle, dairy grazers and sheep. The Tathams are previous Waikato Farm Environment Award winners, and their farm is notable for the diversity of species they have planted for nutrient buffering, stock shade and beautification. . .

Farmers getting better at growing meatier lambs:

Initial results from a large-scale meat testing programme show New Zealand farmers are getting better at producing the sorts of lambs that overseas customers are looking for.

The testing programme is part of the Farm IQ project, a joint venture involving Silver Fern Farms, Landcorp and PGG Wrightson.

The seven year sheep, cattle and deer research programme aims to turn the red meat industry’s traditional production-led approach into one that is market-led and focused on consumer needs.

DairyNZ urges farmers to prepare for animal tracing scheme:

Dairy farmers are being urged to prepare early for the introduction of a new animal identification and tracing scheme, especially if they’re planning stock movements over the winter period.

The recently adopted NAIT legislation (National Animal Identification and Tracing) introduces new obligations for farmers under the scheme from July 1 this year.

After this date, all cattle being moved will need to be wearing a NAIT approved electronic tag. Anyone in charge of animals and animal movements will need to be registered with NAIT.  . .

Primary industry training organisations to merge:

The Seafood ITO and the NZITO (meat and dairy sector) have today signed a Memorandum of Intent to investigate a full merger of the two organizations.

The merged entity will service a workforce of over 60,000 people nationally, covering three key export industries – meat, dairy and seafood.

These are all strategically important export industries.  The idea of an integrated primary sector ITO has been in the minds of both organisations for some time, and this is a significant step on the way. . .

T&G appoints new senior management team, directors:

Turners & Growers, the local fruit marketer, has announced new senior management and directors from new majority parent BayWa Aktiengesellschaft, and tapped local boardroom heavyweight John Anderson as an independent director.

The company confirmed the intended appointments of BayWa representatives Klaus Josef Lutz and Andreas Helber as directors, with Lutz taking up the role of chairman. Former National Bank head Anderson and Fonterra Cooperative Group director John Wilson have also been appointed independent directors. Jeff Wesley, Brian D’Ath and Christina Symmans resigned from the board on March 7.

T&G also announced plans to review the fruit marketer’s operation, which will be conducted by senior management. . .

The people’s champion retired:

The curtains have come down on the career of one of the most admired horses seen in New Zealand in recent years, the people’s champion Sir Slick (NZ), who had his final race in Awapuni at the weekend.

Now ten years old, Sir Slick (Volksraad x Miss Opera) showed that he was ready to settle into the green pastures of retirement when he ran home at the tail of the field in the Group 3 Awapuni Gold Cup.

Few would disagree there was a more fitting race for Sir Slick to finish his career on, having contested the Awapuni Gold Cup six times and winning it on three occasions: in 2007 (by 4.5 lengths), 2008 and 2010, and running second in 2009. . .


Fonterra opening second farm in China

04/04/2012

Fonterra’s chair and chief executive Sir Henry van der Heyden and chief executive Theo Spierings will be in China next week to open the company’s second dairy farm there.

In a newsletter to shareholders they also mention that China’s imports of milk in February were 45% higher than at the same time last year. New Zealand supplied 95% of the whole milk powder and 75% of the skim milk powder.

The trade weighted price of milk increased 1.5% in this morning”s globalDairyTrade auction after three months of falling prices.

the price of anhydrous milk fat increased 8.3%; cheddar was up 13.2%; milk protein concentrate went up 13%; rennet casein was up 13.8%; skim milk powder was down .8% and the price of whole milk powder was down 2,8%.

Arla, a european co-operative, and Murray Goulburn, an Australian co-operative, sold milk in the auction for the first time. The addition of more industry players highlights the GDT’s key role in international dairy trade.

 


Country kindy back to basics environment

04/04/2012

When we were in the Manawatu last month we passed a bright red corrugated iron building with a large sign proclaiming: Country Kindy.

Jill Galloway writes that it’s  all about giving children the chance to play and learn their own limits in the great outdoors.

“Why put kids behind high fences? Out here they can see the farmer walking his cows in for milking or they can see a storm rolling in. It is different childcare here. By wrapping children in cotton wool, they don’t learn much,” says Country Kindy’s Fiona Zwart, who insists on teaching a give-it-a-go philosophy at the centre.

You can find Country Kindy, on the corner of Milson Line and Te Arakura Rd, in a big red purpose-built barn between Feilding and Palmerston North.

Mrs Zwart and her husband Tom are owners of the private kindergarten, which is situated on 1 1/2 hectares. The building itself is 290 square metres, and the fenced playground 650sqm.

The remaining land consists of animal paddocks and the “farmyard”.

“Our aim was to create an environment that is back to basics,” Mrs Zwart says. “Kids learn how to handle a situation and know the consequences.” . . .

What a brilliant idea.

The rest of the story is worth reading in full. It tells more about the way Country Kindy teaches children rules and consequences, how to treat animals, fire safety and other life skills.

When our children were small there was a Playcentre in our district.

It was in an old house which community volunteers had done up and maintained.

When inspectors arrived from on high they weren’t impressed that it had only one loo plus a potty for emergencies.

That none of the parents present could ever remember a child having to use the potty didn’t sway them.

They were even less impressed by one of the mothers who added, “If there was a queue, they could always pop into the paddock next door, after all they’re all country kids.”


Winning over public vital

04/04/2012

Farmers are hard-working, entrepreneurial risk taking business people.

That’s how most of us in the industry see them. But that this isn’t necessarily the general perception because the biggest enemy for farming is emotion:

Dairy farmers need to win the emotions of the public if they are to reach their potential, says a top manager at DairyNZ.

About 300 farmers, investors and researchers heard the latest on dairying at the NZ Dairy Business Conference in Palmerston North last week. The conference was organised by dairy farmers for farmers.

DairyNZ’s manager of sustainability Rick Pridmore said a major threat to dairying was poor perception, which could restrict future growth, and its reputation on the international market.

“How do we turn that into an opportunity – the biggest enemy is emotion,” he said.

“Public perception is largely based on emotion.”

The way to combat that was to remove poor performers and to deal with things such as animal welfare, nutrient run off and effluent management.

Just how strong those emotions are is illustrated by the editor’s note in this month’s Countrywide (not yet online).

Terry Brosnahan wrote about a conversation with a passenger on a plane which was civil until Terry said he edited a farming magazine:

At that point his demeanour changed and from him came a tirade of abuse towards farmers. to him farmers were greedy polluters who profiteered from the high price of milk and meat. They had little regard for struggling Kiwi families even though farmers had received millions in handouts from taxpayers for adverse climatic events. . .

This anti-farming rhetoric is nothing new (though never as intense). A growing number of city dwellers are expressing anti-farming sentiments as economic times get tougher and jealousy rears its ugly head. these are struggling middle-income earners.

They read about high farm product prices and think farmers are rolling  in drought. they know little of the sacrifices farmer s make and the capital they risk, that it takes good management skills to run a successful farming business . . .

That doesn’t matter because as Dr Pridmore said, emotion beats facts.

There are plenty of good news stories about farming but they’re generally on the rural pages of newspapers, and in specialist publications or programmes.

Country Calendar is the exception, a rural focussed television programme that airs in prime time and highlights good farmers and farming practices.

But too often the only farming stories which hit the headlines in general media are the negative ones which feed the stereotypes and fuel the anti-farming emotions.


April 4 in history

04/04/2012

1081 Alexios I Komnenos was crowned Byzantine emperor at Constantinople, beginning the Komnenian dynasty.

1581 Francis Drake was knighted for completing a circumnavigation of the world.

1655 The the Infant of Prague statue was solemnly crowned by command of Cardinal Harrach.

1660 Declaration of Breda by King Charles II of England.

1721  Sir Robert Walpole became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom under King George I.

1802 Dorothea Dix, American social activist, was born (d. 1887).

1812  U.S. President James Madison enacted a ninety-day embargo on trade with the United Kingdom.

1814 Napoleon abdicated for the first time.

1818 The United States Congress adopted the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (then 20).

1841 William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia becoming the first President of the United States to die in office and the one with the shortest term served.

1850 The Great Fire of Cottenham, a large part of the Cambridgeshire village was burnt to the ground under suspicious circumstances.

1850 – Los Angeles was incorporated as a city.

1859 Bryant’s Minstrels debuted “Dixie” in New York City in the finale of a blackface minstrel show.

1866 Alexander II of Russia narrowly escaped an assassination attempt.

1873 The Kennel Club was founded, the oldest and first official registry of purebred dogs in the world.

1887 Argonia, Kansas elected Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in the United States.

1905 The Kangra earthquake killed 20,000, and destroyed most buildings in Kangra, Mcleodganj and Dharamshala.

1913 The Greek aviator Emmanuel Argyropoulos becomes the first pilot victim of the Hellenic Air Force when his plane crashed.

1918 – World War I: Second Battle of the Somme ended.

1930 The Communist Party of Panama was founded.

1939 Faisal II became King of Iraq.

1944 World War II: First bombardment of Bucharest by Anglo-American forces killed 3000 civilians.

1945 World War II: American troops liberated Ohrdruf forced labour camp in Germany.

1945 – World War II: Soviet Army took control of Hungary.

1946 Dave Hill, English guitarist (Slade), was born.

1949  Twelve nations signed the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

1949 Junior Braithwaite, Jamaican singer (The Wailers), was born  (d. 1999).

1951 Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia, was born.

1952 Gary Moore, Irish guitarist (Thin Lizzy), was born  (d. 2011).

1958 The CND Peace Symbol displayed in public for the first time in London.

1960 Senegal independence day.

1963 Graham Norton, Irish talk show host, was born.

1964 The Beatles occupied the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.

1965 The first model of the new Saab Viggen fighter aircraftplane was unveiled.

1967  Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” speech in New York City’s Riverside Church.

1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray.

1968 – Apollo programme: NASA launched Apollo 6.

1968 – AEK Athens BC became the first Greek team to win the European Basketball Cup.

1969 Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first temporary artificial heart.

1973 The World Trade Center in New York was officially dedicated.

1975 Microsoft was founded as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

1975 Vietnam War:  Operation Baby Lift – A United States Air Force C-5A Galaxy crashed near Saigon shortly after takeoff, transporting orphans – 172 died.

1976 Prince Norodom Sihanouk resignws as leader of Cambodia and was placed under house arrest.

1979 Heath Ledger, Australian actor, was born  (d. 2008).

1979  Jessica Napier, New Zealand actress, was born.

1979 President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan was executed.

1983 Space Shuttle Challenger made its maiden voyage into space (STS-6).

1984 President Ronald Reagan called for an international ban on chemical weapons.

1991 Senator John Heinz and six others were killed when a helicopter collided with their plane over an elementary school in Merion, Pennsylvania.

1994 Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark found Netscape Communications Corporation under the name “Mosaic Communications Corporation”.

2001 Dame Silvia Cartwright became Governor General of New Zealand.

Silvia Cartwright becomes Governor General

2002 The Angolan government and UNITA rebels signed a peace treaty ending the Angolan Civil War.

2007 15 British Royal Navy personnel held in Iran were released by the Iranian President.

2008 – In a raid on the FLDS’s YFZ Ranch in Texas, 401 children and 133 women were taken into state custody.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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