I’m Farming and I Grow It

July 4, 2012

This video by three farming brothers from Kansas has become a YouTube hit.

Mashable gives the background:

Three brothers from Kansas recently took LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” rewrote the lyrics and created a fun music video to showcase their farming lifestyle.

Now, the Peterson brothers are the latest rural sensations on the web, attracting  2.8 million YouTube views in a week for their “I’m Farming and I Grow It” parody. Greg, Nathan and Kendal Peterson star in the video with cattle, crops, tractors and hay bales. . .

 You can see more on their Facebook page.

Hat tip: Whaleoil.

Word of the day

July 4, 2012

Vivify – to give or bring life to;  endue with life or renewed life; to enliven, animate; to make more lively, intense, or striking; to impart vitality or vividness to.

Rural round-up

July 4, 2012

Lifting Maori Business – Sheryl Brown:

Life works in mysterious ways according to Roku Mihinui, chair of Kapenga M Trust, the winner of the BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award for Dairy, 2012.

After accepting the Ahuwhenua Trophy on behalf of farm staff and the Trust’s 915 shareholders, Mihinui confessed the 998 cow dairy operation found themselves short of milk for cups of tea at their field day during the competition.

“My daughter was helping with the catering and she asked me where the milk was for cups of tea – we were right beside the milking shed and we had no bloody milk!” The dairy unit is hardly short of milk either – producing in excess of 370,000kg milksolids (MS) this season. Despite the milk mishap and a wet day to showcase the farm, the judges were impressed by the presentation of the property. The Trust beat other finalists Tauhara Moana Trust and Waewaetutuki 10, Wharepi Whanau Trust to take the coveted trophy. . .

Outram breeders win trophy for best carcus – Sally Rae:

Outram Limousin breeders Rob and Jean Johnstone have been awarded the Alan Dodd Trophy for the champion carcass in the annual Otago-Southland beef carcass competition.   

The competition, which attracted 32 entries, was held at the  Alliance Group’s Mataura plant with hoof judging by Mark Cuttance, from PGG Wrightson, and hook judging by Mervyn  Wilson, of the Alliance Group. . .

Animal Welfare Committee annual report:

The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) issued its 2011 Annual Report today.

The development and review of codes of welfare was the main focus of NAWAC’s work in 2011. The Transport within New Zealand Code was issued during the year and the Committee finished deliberations on a review of the Meat Chickens Code and a new Goats Code.

The Transport Code covers all animals transported by land, sea or air within New Zealand. It provides clarity about who is responsible for the welfare of animals at all stages of transportation and gives direction about how this must be achieved.

Committee chairman, John Hellström, said the Code has been rapidly adopted by industry since its launch in September.

“It is gratifying to see this code, like the earlier dairy, sheep and beef and pig codes being widely adopted within industry guidelines.” . . .

The report is here.

Blackenbrook First South Island Winery to be Vegetarian Approved:

 Family owned and operated Blackenbrook Vineyard in Tasman, near Nelson is proud to be the first Vegetarian wine producer in the South Island approved by the New Zealand Vegetarian Society.

Blackenbrook’s white and Rosé wines will carry the Vegetarian Society Approved Trademark (see attached photo) which is run under strict licensing criteria from the UK Vegetarian Society. 

The first wines to be labelled with the distinctive logo will be bottled in early August and include Blackenbrook Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Riesling 2012, Pinot Gris 2012 and Rosé 2012.  Next year Blackenbrook Gewürztraminer, Muscat and Chardonnay will be added to this list. . .

Owaka herd manager is Farming to Succeed:

Owaka herd manager, Shane Bichan, says his eyes have been opened to opportunities in the agriculture industry after attending AgITO’s South Island Farming to Succeed programme sponsored by FIL New Zealand.

“It was brilliant, it was an eye opener, I came home on such a buzz. I came away with a new mentor – course facilitator Grant Taylor is an amazing man.

“He talked about turning your blinkers off and seeing what else is out there – I would’ve been happy to listen to him each day even without the farms we visited. . .

Lucky Young Farmer member awarded trip of a lifetime:

AgriVenture New Zealand has teamed up with New Zealand Young Farmers this year to award an AgriVenture scholarship to one lucky NZYF member.

The scholarship is valued at $7000 and includes a fully paid six to twelve month AgriVenture programme to the recipient’s choice of destination country.

AgriVenture gives young people aged between 18 and 30 the opportunity to travel and work on a farm, in horticulture or home management in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Europe and Japan. . .

ETS imposes cost on food production

July 4, 2012

The left are continually complaining about the cost of food.

But they are also criticising the government for taking a cautious approach to the Emissions Trading Scheme which would impose extra costs on food production.

Those who produce the food understand the damage it would do to their industries and the costs to consumers by forcing agriculture into the scheme before 2015 – or later if our trading partners don’t include agriculture in their schemes.

Federated farmers reminds us it is only biological emissions which are exempt.

“All farms and orchards have been in the ETS since July 1, 2010 – farms pay the  ETS on fuel and electricity, they pay it indirectly through the supply chain on  things as diverse as processing costs, animal remedies, wire netting, fencing,  feed and fertiliser.”

Dairy NZ says:

The Government’s confirmation that it will defer the entry of agricultural emissions into the ETS until at least 2015, pending a review to assess whether such technologies exist, is sensible and pragmatic, says DairyNZ General Manager Policy and Advocacy Simon Tucker.

“DairyNZ’s position is that agricultural emissions should not be included in the ETS until practical, economically viable mitigation technologies are available under farm-level conditions,” Mr Tucker says.

“We are pleased to see the Government take a considered view of where our country sits, relevant to our trading partners, to ensure we can make progress while still being competitive.”

“The dairy industry is committed to a strategy of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions intensity and maintaining its position as world leaders in low carbon intensity dairy production.

“New Zealand’s dairy sector is working through the challenge of finding practical ways to reduce our emissions by investing heavily in research.

“To-date our investment in dairy farm system research shows it is quite possible to make good progress in this area by making efficiency improvements on farms. But we do not yet have a reliable silver bullet.

“DairyNZ alone invests nearly $1m each year into reducing methane and other agricultural gas emissions through funding the world-leading science being carried out by the Pastoral Green House Gas Research Consortium (PGgRC).

“A similar amount of funding is being invested into a seven year DairyNZ-led research project where dairy cows are being evaluated to see how efficiently they can convert feed into milk while reducing emissions.

“DairyNZ has also maintained that New Zealand’s dairy farmers should not face a price on carbon until our trading competitors face similar and equivalent obligations. 

“It’s appropriate that this is also a factor in the Government’s 2014 review.

Dairying is one of the food producing industries which would face huge costs if the ETS was imposed on it. Greenhouse vegetable growers would also face very high costs and they too welcome the government’s latest announcement:

Wim Zwart, Chair of Tomatoes New Zealand, said that the move would be widely welcomed by the country’s greenhouse vegetable growers.

“The decision to extend transitional measures designed to reduce the initial cost impacts of the scheme beyond 2012 is particularly welcome,” said Mr Zwart.

“The ETS has had a major impact on production costs for many of New Zealand’s hothouse tomatoes growers, making them less competitive against those overseas growers who are not facing carbon costs.”

There are over 200 tomato growers in New Zealand who produce standard and specialty fresh tomatoes with a farm gate value of $90 million per annum. In 2011 the tomato export market was valued at approximately $15 million.

“This is a common sense decision that will allow our growers to continue to expand and grow the commercial export market,” added Mr Zwart.

“Many hothouse tomato growers have been investigating and introducing innovative measures to reduce emissions. This will provide them with some short term certainty around production costs and some more time to prepare for the long-term impacts of ETS.”

Food producers are putting large amounts of money into research in an effort to find cost-effective ways to reduce emissions.

Some progress is being made. Scientists at Waikato University are looking at how enzymes in the rumen might be manipulated to make dairy cows more productive and reduce the greenhouse gases they produce.

But they are a long way from finding something which can be used on farms.

Until that and other research produces results that can be widely applied there is nothing at all to be gained  by imposing extra costs on the industry and ultimately consumers.

GDT down 5.9%

July 4, 2012

We were in England a month ago and read the result of Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade auction on-line on Tuesday night.

The following morning we were on a Dutch dairy farm and our host showed us a farming paper which had the GDT auction on its front page.

That day the trade weighted index had gone up, last night it went down again by 5.9%.

That takes it back below the long-term average:

The price of anhydrous milk fat dropped 10.4 %; buttermilk and cheddar were down .7%; lactose dropped 3.8%; milk protein concentrate was down 3.6%; rennet casein dropped 4.5%; skim milk powder dropped 9.8%; whole milk powder was down by 4.1%.

Independence Day

July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day to the USA.

This time last year we were in New York and watched the Macy’s fireworks display from the deck of the aircraft carrier, now museum, Intrepid.

Walking back to our hotel we serendipitously wandered into Don’t Tell Mama which served delicious food.


Life imitating soap

July 4, 2012

We were on the other side of the world for most of June but even from there I got a sense that Ewen Macdonald’s trial for Scott Guy’s murder was being treated like a soap opera.

Losing a husband, father, son and brother is more than enough for any family. To lose him to murder made it worse and having a family member on trial for it  compounded the tragedy.

On top of all that the family had their personal business displayed in court to a packed gallery and relayed to the world through the media.

It was life imitating soap but these people aren’t actors, they are real, human beings facing a real and on-going tragedy.

My knowledge of media law is very rusty but some of the commentary and comments I read and heard seemed to be sailing very close to prejudicing a fair trial.

Many certainly showed little regard for the people whose lives had been torn apart by the murder and its aftermath.

In spite of the dignity with which Bryan Guy, father of the victim and father-in-law of the accused, faced the media and his plea for privacy now it is unlikely they will get it.

This isn’t a script with a happy ending and the media is almost certain to write more episodes, with or without the co-operation of the major players.

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