Word of the day


Hypnopompic – the partially conscious state that precedes complete awakening from sleep; the fuzzy state between sleeping and waking.

Vote for Kiwi farmers


A Hawkes Bay farming couple need our votes to help them win Marks & Spencer Farming for the Future Champion of Champions.

“New Zealand is up against Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England making this the Grand Slam of farming,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Whatever happens, Hawke’s Bay deer farmers, Tim Aitken and Lucy Robertshawe, are winners already. They got into the 2012 Marks & Spencer Farming for the Future final by taking out the International award.

“We are extremely proud of them because that award is significant in its own right. Lucy and Tim’s deer farm was judged by Marks & Spencer to be their best international supplier.

“They could now become Champion of Champions but as this comes down to a popular vote, they are up against the more populous home nations. New Zealand’s got farming talent and Federated Farmers is asking all Kiwis to back Lucy and Tim. . . 

“Lucy and Tim are helping to put New Zealand’s primary industries on the biggest of big stages and it is great. Marks & Spencer is a prestigious brand selling New Zealand sourced food and showcases just how good Kiwi agriculture is.

“Marks & Spencer Farming for the Future recognises farmers for how well they treat their livestock, their technical excellence as farmers and their overall environmental performance.

“The Award also takes into account pesticide usage, payment schemes and even the use of sustainable raw materials.

“Tim Aitken and Lucy Robertshawe are not just a good farming story, they are a great farming story,” Mr Wills concluded.

You can vote here – and you can vote more than once.

Voting closes tomorrow, October 2nd, at midnight (I think UK time which is 13 hours behind NZ),

Contraband cheese


Smuggling might not be the oldest profession but it’s been around for as long as rules restricting trade.

It doesn’t usually involve something regarded as a staple food, but police in Canada are on the trail of contraband cheese:

. . . It seems someone has been smuggling cheap pizza ingredients north across the US-Canada border. Smuggling cheese across the border – may not seem as serious as drugs or contraband but it’s still very profitable and illegal. . .

The reason it’s profitable is Canada’s highly protected dairy industry.

The solution to the problem is simple – Canada should stop protecting inefficient farmers.

Opening the borders will increase choice and supply and reduce costs for consumers. It will also encourage efficiency among Canadian farmers who will have to meet the market or get out of the industry.

Hat tip: Black markets in everything cheese edition  at Offsetting Behaviour.

A tale of two industries


While dairy processing is growing to cope with increased supply and demand, sheep processing is retrenching.

Alliance has announced it will move sheep processing from its Mataura plant to Lorneville:

. . . Grant Cuff, Chief Executive of Alliance Group, said the change to the mix of processing across its Southland plants was vital for the co-operative, which is owned by 5,000 farmer shareholders.

“This proposal has been driven by the declining sheep and lamb numbers in the southern region and the reality that there is too much processing capacity for the amount of stock available.

“We’ve worked hard to create a sustainable complementary sheep, lamb and beef processing operation at Mataura and explored a wide range of options. However, it has become increasingly clear the future of Mataura Plant is as a beef processing plant.

“As a responsible co-operative, Alliance Group continually evaluates the best configuration of its plants, and with no material improvement in stock numbers forecast, we regrettably have to propose ceasing sheep and lamb operations at Mataura.”

Increased efficiency and lower overheads are always a priority for successful companies.

They are even more important for Alliance now in the wake of declining sheep numbers.

The  removal of sheep processing from Mataura will be difficult for those who lose jobs but it is in the best interests of the company and its suppliers.

Sheep farming in Southland has decreased as dairying has increased and the latter industry might provide work for some of those facing redundancy at Mataura.




Here are the jobs


Westland Milk Products plans to build a new processing plant at Rolleston.

. . . Westland chief executive Rod Quin said the plans indicated the confidence Westland had in the future of dairying in and outside of Canterbury.

”We expect that we will continue to expand our supplier numbers in Canterbury and if the Rolleston plant progresses, it will be of significant benefit to the local economy.”

At this stage Westland sends Canterbury milk by rail to Hokitika for processing, but the plan is to process that milk in Rolleston.

The nutritional dairy plant is expected to be built in Rolleston’s Izone Industrial Park.

Quin said new jobs would contribute more than $10 million a year into the local economy. Jobs would be created in such areas as engineering, maintenance, production and environmental management.

The site would include an extension to its railway siding for transporting milk powder. . .

Fonterra might not be happy about its competitor moving across the Southern Alps but it is good news for the local economy and the country.

These new jobs will be particularly welcome close to Christchurch as the earthquake recovery gathers momentum.

October 1 in history


331 BC Alexander the Great defeated Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela.

959  Edgar the Peaceable became king of all England.

1189  Gerard de Ridefort, grandmaster of the Knights Templar since 1184, was killed in the Siege of Acre.

1787  Russians under Alexander Suvorov defeated the Turks at the Battle of Kinburn.

1791  First session of the French Legislative Assembly.

1795  Belgium was conquered by France.

1800  Spain ceded Louisiana to France via the Treaty of San Ildefonso.

1811 The first steamboat to sail the Mississippi River arrived in New Orléans, Louisiana.

1814   Opening of the Congress of Vienna, intended to redraw the Europe’s political map after the defeat of Napoléon the previous spring.

1827  The Russian army under Ivan Paskevich stormed Yerevan, ending a millennium of Muslim domination in Armenia.

1843  The News of the World tabloid began publication in London.

1847  German inventor and industrialist Werner von Siemens founded Siemens AG & Halske.

1854   The watch company founded in 1850 in Roxbury by Aaron Lufkin Dennison relocated to Waltham, Massachusetts, to become the Waltham Watch Company, a pioneer in the American System of Watch Manufacturing.

1869   Austria issued the world’s first postcards.

1880  John Philip Sousa became leader of the United States Marine Band.

1880  First electric lamp factory opened by Thomas Edison.

1887  Balochistan conquered by the British Empire.

1890  The Yosemite National Park and the Yellowstone National Park were established by the U.S. Congress.

1891  Stanford University opened.

1898  Czar Nikolay II expelled Jews from major Russian cities.

1898  The Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration was founded under the name k.u.k. Exportakademie.

1903  Baseball: The Boston Americans played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of the modern World Series.

1905  František Pavlík was killed in a demonstration in Prague, inspiring Leoš Janáček to the piano composition 1. X. 1905.

1908  Ford put the Model T car on the market at a price of US$825.

1910  Los Angeles Times bombing: A large bomb destroyed the Los Angeles Times building in downtown Los Angeles, California, killing 21.

1918  World War I: Arab forces under T. E. Lawrence (a/k/a “Lawrence of Arabia”) captured Damascus.

1920 Sir Percy Cox landed in Basra to assume his responsibilities as high commissioner in Iraq.

1920 US actor Walter Matthau was born.

1924 US President Jimmy Carter was born.

1926  An oil field accident cost aviator Wiley Post his left eye – he used the settlement money to buy his first aircraft.

1928 The Soviet Union introduced its First Five-Year Plan.

1931  The George Washington Bridge linking New Jersey and New York opened.

1935 British actress and singer  Julie Andrews was born.

1936  Francisco Franco was named head of the Nationalist government of Spain.

1938  Germany annexed the Sudetenland.

1939  After a one-month Siege of Warsaw, hostile forces entered the city.

1940  The Pennsylvania Turnpike, often considered the first superhighway in the United States, opened to traffic.

1942 USS Grouper torpedoed Lisbon Maru not knowing she was carrying British PoWs from Hong Kong.

1942  First flight of the Bell XP-59 “Aircomet”.

1945 US musician Donny Hathaway was born.

1946  Nazi leaders sentenced at Nuremberg Trials.

1946  Mensa International was founded in the United Kingdom.

1947  The F-86 Sabre flew for the first time.

1949  The People’s Republic of China was declared by Mao Zedong.

1958  NASA created to replace NACA.

1960  Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1961  East and West Cameroon merged as Federal Republic of Cameroon.

1962  First broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

1964 The Free Speech Movement was launched on the campus of University of California, Berkeley.

1964  Japanese Shinkansen (“bullet trains”) began high-speed rail service from Tokyo to Osaka.

1965 Apostasia of 1965, a political move in Greece designed to overthrow the Prime Minister, George Papandreou.

1965 – General Suharto crushed an attempted coup in Indonesia.

1966 West Coast Airlines Flight 956 crashed with 18 fatal injuries and no survivors 5.5 miles south of Wemme, Oregon.

1969  The Concorde supersonic transport plane broke the sound barrier for the first time.

1971  Walt Disney World opened near Orlando, Florida.

1975  The Seychelles gained internal self-government.

1975  The Ellice Islands split from Gilbert Islands and took the name Tuvalu.

1975  Thrilla in Manila: Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in a boxing match in Manila.

1978  Tuvalu gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1978  The Voltaic Revolutionary Communist Party was founded.

1979 The United States returned sovereignty of the Panama canal to Panama.

1982  Helmut Kohl replaced Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor of Germany through a Constructive Vote of No Confidence.

1982  EPCOT Centre opened at Walt Disney World.

1982  Sony launched the first consumer compact disc player (model CDP-101).

1985  The Israeli air force bombs PLO Headquarters in Tunis.

1986 Goods & Services Tax (GST) was introduced in New Zealand.

Goods and Service Tax Act comes into force

1987  The Whittier Narrows earthquake shook the San Gabriel Valley, registering as a magnitude 5.9.

1989  Denmark: World’s first legal modern same-sex civil union called “registered partnership”

1991  New Zealand’s Resource Management Act 1991 started.

1992  Turkish destroyer TCG Muavenet (DM-357) crippled causing 27 deaths and injuries, by missiles negligently launched by U.S. aircraft carrier USS Saratoga.

1994  Palau gained independence from the United Nations (trusteeship administered by the United States of America).

1998  Vladimir Putin became a permanent member of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.

2009  The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, which acquired the judicial functions of the House of Lords, began work.

Sourced from NZ History & Wikipedia

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