Word of the day

28/02/2013

Rive – to rend or tear apart; break or divide into pieces, as by a blow; wrench open; cleave or split asunder; break, distress, harrow or rend.


Rural round-up

28/02/2013

Fonterra Announces Plan To Support And Grow Milk Supply:

Fonterra announced today a five-point plan to give farmer shareholders more flexibility in managing their farm businesses in order to support and grow milk production to support the Co-operative’s growth strategy.

The plan includes:
1. A bonus issue of one additional share or unit for every 40 held on 12 April 2013.
2. A further Supply Offer enabling Fonterra shareholders to sell the economic rights of some of their shares into the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund[1].
3. A Dividend Reinvestment plan enabling shareholders and unit holders to elect to receive dividends in the form of shares or units.
4. Flexible contracts to give new and growing farmers more time and options to fully back their milk production with Fonterra shares.
5. New opportunities for winter milk supply contracts in the upper North Island to fuel Fonterra’s new UHT plant at Waitoa. . .

Fonterra To Develop UHT Plant At Waitoa:

Fonterra today announced it will be investing more than $100 million in a new UHT milk processing plant at its Waitoa site in the Waikato.

Fonterra Chief Executive Officer Theo Spierings said the new plant would enable the co-operative to meet growing demand for UHT products in Asia.

“The new plant will enable us to increase our UHT production by 100 per cent over the next few years. The plant will include five new UHT lines that will produce a range of products including UHT white milk and UHT cream for the foodservice sector. . .

Federated Farmers awaits Commerce Commission examination of swaps:

Federated Farmers has asked the Commerce Commission to look into the selling of debt finance instruments known as ‘swaps’. This formal request was made last November.

“It is fair to say we have received a number of inquiries from members and even non-members regarding swaps,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“As most of these instruments were sold to farmers between 2007 and 2009, the impact of the global financial crisis upon interest rates saw concerns really only arise after 2009. . .

Drought makes high New Zealand dollar unjustifiable:

With widespread dry conditions and the first adverse event declaration in Northland related to drought, Federated Farmers believes there is no justification for the high New Zealand dollar.

“It seems dairy production is not just falling but in some key areas is starting to crash,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“DairyNZ confirms Northland’s February milk production is some 20 percent down year to date while in the Waikato, it is about 15 percent down. Speaking to Kevin Robinson, the vice-chair of Federated Farmers Dairy, milk production at his farm is down 15-20 percent and is falling daily. . .

PGG Wrightson lifts 1H profit by 55% onr etail, ag services, pays 2.2 cent dividend:

PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by Singapore-based Agria, listed first-half profit by 55 percent on earning s growth from retail and Ag services, allowing it to declare a 2.2 cents a share interim dividend.

Profit rose to $4.8 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $3.1 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations fell to $589 million from $694 million.

Wrightson sold its finance unit to Heartland New Zealand in August 2011 and booked a loss of $3.37 million in the first half of the 2012 that wasn’t repeated in the latest period. Revenue from discontinued operations fell to $1.5 million in the latest half from $13.6 million a year earlier. . .

A2 1H profit dented by UK JV, affirms FY earnings target of $11.2M –  Paul McBeth:

Feb. 27 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Corp, which markets milk products with a protein variant claimed to have health benefits, reported an 82 percent slide in first-half profit as the cost of setting up its UK joint venture eroded the bottom line. The shares gained 3.9 percent as it affirmed its annual earnings forecast.

Net profit dropped to $243,000, or 0.09 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31 from $3.4 million, or 0.53 cents, a year earlier, the Sydney-based company said in a statement. That came from a $1.5 million loss on establishing its UK joint venture with Robert Wiseman Dairies, which only started selling product in October last year. . .

Primary Wool Cooperative announces dividend payment:

Primary Wool Cooperative announces that on February 19, 2013, the Directors approved the payment of a 10% dividend to members. This comes on top of the annual 3 cents per kilogram rebate and last year’s 5% dividend, meaning that over the past 3 years, rebates and dividends have totalled an impressive $1.1M. These rebates and dividends, along with significant funding of industry-good activities such as the Campaign for Wool, demonstrate some of the ways Primary Wool Cooperative is delivering real benefit to the industry.

This is more good news for Primary Wool Cooperative, with the Just ShornTM brand being successfully rolled out into over 480 carpet retailers across North America and Canada on February the 18th 2013. . .

Farmers say ‘yes’ to rural stores merger:

Farmer Shareholders in the rural supply co-ops Farmlands and CRT have agreed to merge the two Societies with a majority of Farmlands and CRT Shareholders voting in favour of merger in today’s second special vote.

It means an immediate bonus for Shareholders in both co-ops. A bonus share issue of $32 million shares is being made to shareholders to distribute the retained earnings and unallocated reserves of the two co-operatives prior to merging.

And the two companies will distribute more than $8 million in an interim bonus rebate to Shareholders. This relates to their trading with the two co-operatives over the period 1 July– 31 December 2012. The rebate will be paid in a 60/40 share/cash split. . .

MPI Tech Transfer Survey Supports Red Meat PGP:

The findings of a Ministry for Primary Industries survey of technology transfer to farmers is more evidence of why farmers should want the red meat primary growth partnership programme to go ahead, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen.

The MPI survey says technology transfer has enabled farmers and growers to become world leaders in primary production during three decades of significant structural change. But the sector could now do with a boost because there are too few professionals and they need to be better linked to provide a more integrated approach to sharing new knowledge and information.

“This initiative runs right through our PGP programme that is bringing together the major meat companies, two banks and an accounting firm in an unprecedented collaboration. . .


Thursday’s quiz

28/02/2013

It’s another of those fortnights this week which leaves me without time to think about questions.

I’ll leave them up to you and give an electronic basket of stone fruit to anyone who stumps everyone.


Real referendum

28/02/2013

Quote of the day from Tony Ryall:

“Let’s be clear about this referendum – it’s not a citizens-initiated referendum, it’s a Parliamentary-initiated referendum,” says Mr Ryall.

“It has citizens, it has overseas visitors, it has children. This was a Green Party-funded, taxpayer-funded signature collection process. The Green Party paid staff members to go out there and collect signatures.

“They’ve got to prove they’ve got the right number of signatures, there’s up to a year before the referendum happens. The real referendum on this was the 2011 general election. We campaigned on it, we made it clear and we’ve got a mandate.”

The partial sale of a few state assets was the Bogey Man with which opposition parties tried to frighten voters during the election campaign.

National was explicit about the policy, the opposition parties were explicit about their opposition.

National won, they lost. That doesn’t mean everyone who voted for National supports the policy but it does mean they weren’t so opposed to it to vote for the parties which would not have done it.

 

 


Let it rain

28/02/2013

North Otago didn’t have much of a spring and while we didn’t enjoy the cold, wet start to summer it did provide good soil moisture levels.

We could do with some rain now but it’s not desperate.

The summer hasn’t been nearly as kind to farmers further north.

Three weeks ago a Northland dairy farmer told me he was down to once a day milking and would soon have to dry off his herd.

There’s been no rain since then and yesterday Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy declared a drought in the region and said other regions are likely to follow:

“This is recognition that we are now beyond what is a normal dry summer, and into an extreme climatic event. The entire North Island is extremely dry, but Northland is one of the worst-hit areas.

“The declaration of a medium-scale event means that extra Government funding will now be available to coordinate support through local organisations like the Rural Support Trusts. In extreme cases there will also be Rural Assistance Payments (RAPs) available to farmers in severe hardship.

“This drought decision has been made after receiving advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries, including soil moisture data from NIWA, and in consultation with the local community. It applies to the area north of the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

“We are closely watching other parts of the North Island which are extremely dry, in particular the Waikato and Hawkes Bay.

“Support is also available from Government agencies in all regions, even without a drought declaration. Farmers should contact IRD if they need help or flexibility with making tax payments, and standard assistance is available from the Ministry of Social Development.

“Farmers have been taking practical steps to deal with the dry, such as destocking and switching to once a day milking. It’s important to plan ahead and to ask for help when needed.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers, DairyNZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries are all working to help farmers get through this tough period,” says Mr Guy.

Federated Farmers believes Northland will be followed by other regions in fairly quick succession.

“Practically speaking an adverse event declaration like this is not about handouts,” says Matt Long, Federated Farmers Northland provincial president.

“What it means is that organisations like the Rural Support Trust Northland can now coordinate and deliver farm advisory and counselling services. As this is a highly stressful time for farmers and their families, access to counselling services is invaluable.

“Another thing the declaration triggers is flexibility from Inland Revenue. It is not about being excused obligations but the ability to set up individual plans with it; plans that need to be organised through a farmer’s agent or accountant.

 “While there are benefits called Rural Assistance Payments or RAP’s I have to be brutally honest and say that very few farmers will qualify. These are for absolute hardship and the last time there was drought here less than 16 farmers out of several thousand received them.

“I would say that support from the likes of MSD and Inland Revenue might also be good for farm workers and their families as the financial effects of drought cascades through our communities.

“Federated Farmers will of course activate our 0800 DROUGHT (0800 376 844) feed line. We will also be developing formal and informal initiatives for farmers, their staff and their families.

“We further recommend that farmers speak to their bank’s rural manager. This declaration confirms how bad things are and by keeping your bank fully informed they will work with you.

“What I want farmers to know is that they are not alone,” Mr Long concluded.

Droughts are physically, financially and psychologically challenging.

They’re a bit like a chronic illness .

The only cure is rain but the official declaration  does trigger help to alleviate some of the symptoms.

 


The enemy within

28/02/2013

Anyone wondering about recent poll results which show Labour still failing to make any traction will find part of the answer in Charles Chauvel’s valedictory speech (at 17:45):

. . . it is unproductive to keep trying to locate and exclude the supposed enemy within. Instead, in order to avoid history repeating, it is time for an honest, open, and overdue assessment of why the 2011 campaign produced Labour’s worst ever electoral result. Those responsible for it should make dignified exits, and all the undoubted talent and diversity of the caucus should be included in the shadow Cabinet. To put it another way, in Gough Whitlam’s immortal words, the party must have both its wings to fly. . .

Why would voters trust a party when a member admits it’s searching for an enemy within and riven by factions which means it can’t trust itself?


Exceptions

28/02/2013

“Is it really more blessed to give than to receive?”

“Oh, yes, definitely.”

“What if you’re giving insults?”

“Ah, that would be one of the exceptions that prove the rule.”


February 28 in history

28/02/2013

20 BC coronation ceremony of Liu Bang as Emperor Gaozu of Han takes place, initiating four centuries of the Han Dynasty‘s rule over China.

870 The Fourth Council of Constantinople closed.

1261 Margaret of Scotland, queen of Norway, was born  (d. 1283).

1638 The Scottish National Covenant was signed in Edinburgh.

1710  In the Battle of Helsingborg, 14,000 Danish invaders under Jørgen Rantzau were decisively defeated by an equally sized Swedish force under Magnus Stenbock.

1784 John Wesley chartered the Methodist Church.

1787 The charter establishing the institution now known as the University of Pittsburgh was granted.

1824 Blondin, French tightrope walker, was born  (d. 1897).

1827  The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was incorporated, becoming the first railroad in America offering commercial transportation of both people and freight.

1838 Robert Nelson, leader of the Patriotes, proclaimed the independence of Lower Canada (today Québec).

1844 A gun on USS Princeton exploded while the boat was on a Potomac River cruise, killing eight people, including two United States Cabinet members.

1849 Regular steamboat service from the west to the east coast of the United States began with the arrival of the SS California in San Francisco Bay, 4 months 21 days after leaving New York Harbour.

1865 Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary, was born  (d. 1940).

1870 The Bulgarian Exarchate was established by decree of Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz of the Ottoman Empire.

1883 The first vaudeville theatre opened in Boston, Massachusetts.

1897 Queen Ranavalona III, the last monarch of Madagascar, was deposed by a French military force.

1900 The Second Boer War: The 118-day “Siege of Ladysmith” was lifted.

1912 Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini, was born  (d. 1945).

1914 The Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was proclaimed in Gjirokastër, by the Greeks living in southern Albania.

1922 The United Kingdom accepted the independence of Egypt.

1925 Harry H Corbett, English actor, was born  (d. 1982).

1928  C.V. Raman discovered Raman effect.

1933 Gleichschaltung: The Reichstag Fire Decree was passed in Germany a day after the Reichstag fire.

1935 DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invented Nylon.

1939 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik was published.

1939 – The erroneous word “Dord” was discovered in the Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

1942 Brian Jones, English musician (The Rolling Stones), was born  (d. 1969).

1942 The heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) was sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed.

1943 Charles Bernstein, American composer, was born.

1945 New Zealand soldier David Russell was executed by a Nazi firing squad in Italy.

Kiwi soldier faces Nazi firing squad

1946 Robin Cook, British politician, was born.

1947 228 Incident: In Taiwan, civil disorder is put down with the loss of 30,000 civilian lives.

1953 Paul Krugman, American economist, Nobel laureate, was born.

1957 Cindy Wilson, American singer (The B-52′s), was born.

1958 A school bus in Floyd County, Kentucky hits a wrecker truck and plunged down an embankment into the rain-swollen Levisa Fork River. The driver and 26 children died in what remains the worst school bus accident in U.S. history.

1970 Daniel Handler, American writer, better known as Lemony Snicket, was born.

1972 The Asama-Sanso incident ended in Japan.

1972 The United States and People’s Republic of China signed the Shanghai Communiqué.

1974 Moana Mackey, New Zealand politician, was born.

1975 A major tube train crash at Moorgate station, London killed 43 people.

1985 The Provisional Irish Republican Army carried out a mortar attack on the Royal Ulster Constabulary police station at Newry, killing nine officers in the highest loss of life for the RUC on a single day.

1986 Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden  was assassinated in Stockholm.

1991 The first Gulf War ended.

1993 Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents raided the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas with a warrant to arrest the group’s leader David Koresh. Four BATF agents and five Davidians die in the initial raid, starting a 51-day standoff.

1995 Denver International Airport officially opened in Denver, Colorado to replace Stapleton International Airport

1997 – The North Hollywood shootout took place.

1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.

1998 – Kosovo War: Serbian police begin the offensive against the Kosovo Liberation Army in Kosovo.

2001 – The Nisqually Earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale hits the Nisqually Valley and the Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia area of the U.S. state of Washington.

2001 – Six passengers and four railway staff are killed and a further 82 people suffer serious injuries in the Selby rail crash.

200 More than 1 million Taiwanese participating in the 228 Hand-in-Hand Rally formed a 500-kilometre (300-mile) long human chain to commemorate the 228 Incident in 1947.

2005 Lebanon‘s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.

2005 A suicide bombing at a police recruiting centre in Al Hillah, Iraq killed 127.

2007  Jupiter flyby of the New Horizons Pluto-observer spacecraft.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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