Word of the day

January 2, 2014

Abligurition – extravagant or prodigal expense on food and drink; spending  in luxurious indulgence.


10 most annoying words about ag

January 2, 2014

The winner of AgChat Foundation’s #1 blog post in the Top #AgBlog Posts of the year is :

Jennie Schmidt (aka The Foodie Farmer) for her post, “Top 10 Annoying Words About Agriculture.

She begins:

A few weeks ago, I emailed around a poll to my farm and Ag friends both near and far to ask them to give me their top 10 words that most annoyed them that are used in referencing agriculture and farming. I received a lot of interesting responses. There were many, many repeats which I have ranked in order from top to bottom. What it boils down to is that as a culture, we want everyone “in their place”. We want to define the people whose opinions differ from ours and confine them to a box. Social media is littered with examples of people and organizations lumping together and defining those who hold different beliefs in a negative way. It is a way of stereotyping, generalizing, misrepresenting, and for some, the ulterior motive of spreading misinformation. . .

The worst words were:

1. “BIG” – In the context of activist groups, “big” is a derogatory term linked to the perception that the majority of farms are corporate farms.Frankly, the term “big” used in this context sounds rather kindergarten-ish. It has little to do with size but more to the idea that family farms are small farms whereas big farms must be corporate. . .

2. “Factory” – Activists now define climate-controlled barns as “factories”. If you are defining animal agriculture by agenda driven documentaries such as Food Inc, then you have chosen to limit your perspective and specifically elected not to look for balance in the whys and where-fores of food production in the current day. . .

3. “Industrial” – in modern agriculture, industrial is a word used to demonize progress and technology. Efficiency is apparently acceptable in other sectors, but not in farming. . .

4. “Douse” – A word used to describe pesticide application. This is the type of rig used to apply pesticides and fertilizer. There is a fine mist (which in this pic happens to be fertilizer) guided by our GreenSeeker to apply only what the crop needs. Our family eats what we produce. Agricultural inputs are expensive. Why would we “douse” anything we grow with pesticides or fertilizer? . . .

5. “Pump“- The word “pump” made the list thanks in part to Panera Bread’s failed @EZChicken antibiotic campaign that illustrated in cartoon manner, chickens being injected with antibiotics and that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. “Pump” really goes in line with the word “douse” as in every thing farmers do, we’re believed to do to the excess. Any good business person will tell you that makes no sense whatsoever, but I suspect most of those who throw these terms around have never run their own businesses. Its easy to criticize someones business when your paycheck is funded by “unnamed donors” to a non-profit. . .

6.  “Corporate“- as I said in #1, the majority of farms in the US are family owned and operated. They may vary in size, and they may be “incorporated” for tax purposes (C or S Corp) and for liability protection (LLC for example). . .

7.  “GMO/Frankenfoods” – Wow, this one is hot in social media these days. One of the prevalent anti-GMO claims is that the foods made from genetic engineering (GE) technology haven’t been studied and are not safe. A study in the journal Critical Reviews of Biotechnology looked at a decade of research on “GMO” foods and found no credible evidence that GMOs threaten health or safety of humans or the environment. A review of the study can be found here. . . .

8.  “SuperWeed” -Let me just say it like it is…. Weed resistance is not a genetic engineering issue, it is an agronomic issue. Weed resistance to herbicides did not begin with RoundUp or with GE crops. The chart below is from the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. It shows that resistant weeds were occurring well before GE crops were ever on the market. Notably, glyphosate/RoundUp which receives the most media attention, is 6th in chronological increase after 5 other classes of herbicides. You should also know that glyphosate/RoundUp did not come about because of GE crops. . . .

9.  “Shill” – while I consider “big” to be a rather kindergarten-ish word about Ag, “shill” is definitely a high school bully word. If you take the time to read the comments section of a polarized discussion on social media, often the first stone thrown is “you’re a shill for Monsanto”. Sometimes kindergarten is combined with high school and the commenter says “you’re a shill for Big Ag”. . .

10. “Agrarian” – Picture “American Gothic. The word “agrarian” brings a romantic notion of the days of old, and therefore, not being appreciative of where modern agriculture has brought our society as a whole. It demeans the profession that we love, and that somehow, all of society would be better off if we went back to subsistence farming. Agrarian, after all, is a society where the majority of citizens participate in farming, not the current 1.5% of the US population. . .

Although she is writing from her experience of farming in the USA, her concerns are shared by farmers and farming families here and no doubt in most other countries.

 


Thursday’s quiz

January 2, 2014

1. Who said: A resolution to avoid an evil is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced as to make avoidance impossible.?

2. What was the name of the ship captained by James Cook on his second and third voyages to the Pacific?

3. It’s résolu in French; risoluto in Italian, resuelto in Spanish and niwha in Maori, what is it in English?

4. Who said: “In War: Resolution,
In Defeat: Defiance,
In Victory: Magnaminity
In Peace: Good Will.” ?

5. New Year’s resolutions – do you make them, do you keep them?


If you want a castle . . .

January 2, 2014

Dot and Neil Smith were among the first people to take up the opportunity irrigation provided on the Lower Waitaki Plains.

They moved down from Northland more than 30 years ago and through hard work and good ideas established successful dairy farms.

Dot’s energy and enthusiasm didn’t stop there, she also established Riverstone Country, a store crammed with gifts, home and garden ware.

One son is dairying, the other, Bevan and his wife Monique, and his wife developed the award winning restaurant Riverstone Kitchen.

One reason for its well deserved reputation is its fresh fruit and vegetables from the expansive gardens which surround it.

The Smiths believe in their dreams and are prepared to work hard to realise them.

One of Dot’s dreams is to have a castle and she’s getting it.

Mrs Smith said . . . It would be the only ”new home” they had lived in.

”We have only ever lived in farm cottages on farms before, so this will be the first time we have had a new house.”

The 65-year-old said the chance to live in a castle was ”a dream come true”.

”Some people have a dream to own a Porsche. My dream has been to live like a princess in a castle, and really, everybody’s home is their castle.”

Although the castle would also have a ”secret tunnel”, along with a basement and dungeon, the building was intended as ”just a home”, she said.

”Hopefully, it will be lots of fun for the grandkids.”

TV3’s 3rd Degree profiled it, you can watch it here.

You can also read her story  in Dot Queen of Riverstone Castle, written with Nathalie Brown and published by Random House.


No tolerance for corruption

January 2, 2014

Friends from overseas opened a bank account here.

It was going to take a couple of days before it was activated by which time they were going to be somewhere else.

The teller said if they left the money with them she’d deposit it as soon as the account was activated.

They had no hesitation in giving her the money but said if they’d been in their own country they wouldn’t have trusted the bank staff.

We take such honesty for granted here but it isn’t something about which we can be complacent.

In Monday’s ODT (not online) Bob Jones recounted examples of corruption he’d encountered around the world and concluded:

. . . I mention all this given the outrageously light sentence of nine months’ home detention accord on utterly specious grounds to Christchurch policeman Gordon Stanley Meyer. Offering to trade fines for sexual favours is not simply sleazy, as the judge seemed to view it. It’s about a principle which is absolute, regardless of its nature or monetary dimension, It behoves the police commissioner to appeal this ridiculous sentence so that wiser heads can send a vitally important message, namely the corruption is corrosive, strikes at the heart of civil society and will absolutely not be tolerated.

New Zealand has regularly tops Transparency International’s index as the least corrupt country in the world.

The only way to stay there is to ensure no tolerance for corruption.

UPDATE: the column is now on-line at the NZ Herald.


Last call at the oasis

January 2, 2014

The people who brought the world An Inconvenient Truth have a new crusade – water.

Some of the issues identified in this trailer for Last Call at the Oasis are of concern here.

New Zealand by and large has plenty of water – though not always in the right places and water quality is good enough to drink and for swimming in most places.

But there is still pollution in some places about which we must not be complacent.


January 2 in history

January 2, 2014

366 – The Alamanni crossed the frozen Rhine River in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire.

533 – Mercurius became Pope John II, the first pope to adopt a new name upon elevation to the papacy.

1492  Reconquista: the emirate of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, surrendered.

1818 The British Institution of Civil Engineers was founded.
1860  The discovery of the planet Vulcan was announced at a meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris.

1871 Amadeus I became King of Spain.

1873 Thérèse de Lisieux, French Roman-Catholic nun, was born (d. 1897).

1896 – Sir Lawrence Wackett, Australian aircraft engineer, was born (d. 1982).

1938 The first official New Zealand airmail to the United States departed Auckland for San Francisco aboard Pan American Airline’s Samoan Clipper, a Sikorsky S-42B flying boat was piloted by Captain Ed Musick.
First official airmail flight to San Francisco
1947 David Shapiro, American poet, literary critic, and art historian, was born.
1949 Luis Muñoz Marín became the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.

1955  Panamanian president Jose Antonio Remon was assassinated.

1959  Luna 1, the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Moon and to orbit the Sun, was launched by the U.S.S.R.

1967 Francois Pienaar, South African rugby player, Sprinbok, was born.

1971 – The second Ibrox disaster killed 66 fans at a Rangers-Celtic football match.

1974  President Richard Nixon signed a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve fuel during an OPEC embargo.

1975  Reuben Thorne, New Zealand All Black, was born.

1999  A brutal snowstorm hit the Midwestern United States, causing 14 inches (359 mm) of snow in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and 19 inches (487 mm) in Chicago, where temperatures plunged to -13°F (-25°C); 68 deaths were reported

2001 – Sila Calderón became the first female Governor of Puerto Rico.

2002 – Eduardo Duhalde was appointed interim President of Argentina by the Legislative Assembly.

2004 – Stardust successfully flew past Comet Wild 2, collecting samples that are returned to Earth.

2006 – An explosion in a coal mine in Sago, West Virginia trapped and killed 12 miners and left another in a critical condition.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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