Word of the day

January 11, 2014

Smellfungus – a perpetual pessimist.; discontented person;  grumbler, excessive faultfinder;


Rural round-up

January 11, 2014

Inquiry after routine spray ruins vines:

The head of a chemical manufacturing giant has launched an investigation after winegrowers had their vines virtually destroyed after a routine insecticide spray went horribly wrong.

North Canterbury winegrowers Brent Knight and Trevor Bunting claim that a common moth insecticide used on the vines in early December last year had been mislabelled by Dow AgroSciences.

They say their vines have been devastated by the compound, which was sprayed over their vineyards.

The managing director of Dow AgroSciences says the company is investigating, but has not admitted liability. Pete Dryden says it is working with the growers to establish what happened, but would make no further comment. . . .

Federated Farmers’ options for red meat reform:

Federated Farmers has publicly released its discussion paper on major options for reforming New Zealand’s $6 billion red meat export industry. 

“The OECD-FAO expects world meat exports to increase by 19 percent by 2022, so the need for reform has never been clearer,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“The OECD-FAO said last year that meat prices will remain high in real terms over the next decade.  This was due to changing market fundamentals of slower production growth and stronger demand and represents the opportunity we have.

“What New Zealanders need to understand is that red meat could be so much more.  If it was a schoolchild then it would be the C+ pupil. The one with massive potential but has issues with concentration and does not play well with others. . .

Why I’m not an ‘agvocate” – Modern Milkmaid:

Advocating for agriculture is a worthwhile goal, no doubt. But who knows what being an agvocate means? Other agvocates. Your typical non farmer thinks you just spelt advocate wrong. The label serves only to identify yourself to others in the industry, most often those who farm the same way you do.

Lately, I’ve become frustrated and disillusioned with where I see agvocacy heading, primarily on twitter. Calling consumers ignorant, stupid, uneducated, brain dead, or scientifically illiterate for not understanding the industry is common. For many farmers, it’s the only life they’ve known. It makes it easy to forget that not everyone lives and breathes agriculture and food issues on a daily basis! I’ve lived both sides, and remember how difficult it was to cut through all the “facts” and “evidence”. We’re experts in our own field, but do you know every facet of the oil or aviation or whatever industries?! . . .

Vice getting prepped to be president – Abby Brown:

Federated Farmers national president Bruce Wills, who will stand down in July, says it is normal for the vice president to take over as national president.

“Dr William Rolleston is working to replace me,” Wills said.

All the board members expressed confidence in Rolleston. . . .

 Calendar showcases women in agriculture – Jaclyn Pidwerbesky;

The Women in Ag calendar initiative was founded by three women proud to be members of the agriculture business community and even prouder to be Saskatchewan farmers.  Our mission is to raise awareness within the ag industry by showcasing smart and talented women of all ages, backgrounds and professions, and to contribute to a cause that advances the presence of agriculture in Saskatchewan.

Thus, the 2014 Women in Ag calendar was born.  Women from many different careers are involved in this project. The calendar has been designed to display and represent these women in their everyday work environment.  Our goal is to create a platform for women to promote each other, work together, and network. . .

South Island Farmer of the Year Winner’s Field day:

One of New Zealand’s most successful primary producers will share their ideas, learning and innovation at the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year winner’s field day next month.

Peter Yealands, of Yealands Wine Group, won the prestigious title for the 2013 season and will host the field day at the Yealands Estate Winery near Seddon, Marlborough, on Thursday 13 February.

Lincoln University Foundation Chairman Ben Todhunter says the informative programme planned for the field day will have practical relevance for farmers and other producers across the primary industries. . .

The Best Farmers’ Market in Munster – John Daly:

According to a survey conducted by Bord Bia earlier in 2013, 68% of Irish people admitted buying local products to support the economy, even if they sometimes cost more. Many small food and drink producers began life at farmers’ markets, and the effect of such direct, weekly contact with the public has provided an important stepping stone to many a fledgling start-up.

Farmers’ markets allow producers to develop a loyal customer base in their community, gather valuable feedback and suggestions for new products, as well as a vital source of regular cashflow. Farmers’ markets have experienced substantial growth in recent years, from less than 100 in 2006 to well over double that number today. Recognising the importance of neighbourhood markets to the general economy as well as encouraging local enterprise, a voluntary Good Practice Standard for Farmers’ Markets was launched in 2009. . .


Saturday’s smiles

January 11, 2014

Today’s smiles brought to you by doting grandparents:

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him 62. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, “Did you start at 1?” 

After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old jeans and an even older blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. She heard the children getting more and more rambunctious and her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three year old say with a trembling voice, “Who was THAT?”

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: “We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire that hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.” The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, “I sure wish I’d got to know you sooner!” 

My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, “Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?” I mentally polished my halo and I said, “No, how are we alike?” “You’re both old,” he replied.

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather’s word processor. She told him she was writing a story. “What’s it about?” he asked. “I don’t know,” she replied. “I can’t read.” 

I didn’t know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door saying, “Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these, yourself!”

 When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, “It’s no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights.” 

When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, “I’m not sure..” “Look in your underwear, Grandpa,” he advised, “mine says I’m 4 to 6.”

 A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, “Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today.” The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. “That’s interesting,” she said, “how do you make babies?” “It’s simple,” replied the girl. “You just change ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’.”
“Give me a sentence about a public servant,” said a teacher. The small boy wrote: “The fireman came down the ladder pregnant.” The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. “Do you know what pregnant means?” she asked. “Sure,” said the young boy confidently. ‘It means carrying a child.”

 A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog’s duties. “They use him to keep crowds back,” said one child. “No,” said another. “He’s just for good luck.” A third child brought the argument to a close. “They use the dogs,” she said firmly, “to find the fire hydrants.” 

A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived. “Oh,” he said, “she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we’re done having her visit, we take her back to the airport.”

  Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good things, but I don’t get to see him enough to get as smart as him! 


GM crops can help counter affects of climate change

January 11, 2014

Dr Robert T. Fraley, co-winner of the 2013 World Food Prize writes on the role GM crops could play in countering the affects of climate change:

. . .  at the very same time the demand for food is skyrocketing, food production is under severe pressure from climate change. It is fair to say that this represents one of the greatest challenges in the history of humanity.

But it’s one that GM crops can help meet. In fact, they’re already being called on to do so. In Africa, for example, climate change is leading to more frequent and more severe droughts, which are threatening the continent’s staple maize (corn) crop. In response, Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA), a public/private partnership, is helping to improve food security and the livelihoods of smallholder maize producers in Africa by developing new drought-tolerant and insect pest-protected maize hybrids. WEMA is providing the technology royalty-free to African seed companies for distribution to smallholder farmers. The WEMA project is led by the Kenyan-based African Agriculture Technology Foundation (AATF) and involves Monsanto, CIMMYT (the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) and five National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa.

But water-efficient maize and the other advances we have already made are only the tip of the iceberg. Seeds that offer even better drought resistance, nutrition, higher yields, and many other benefits are now under development by scientists around the world.

In fact, continuing the advance of science is not really the issue. The bigger challenge is the social and policy barriers that block many of the potential innovations. . . 

It’s not science but emotion and  politics that are the stumbling blocks and there’s nothing new in that.

. . . Innovation in the food supply has evoked strong reactions throughout recent history. It happened when milk was first pasteurized a little more than a century ago. And it happened when Dr. Norman Borlaug, the father of the Green Revolution and founder of the World Food Prize, introduced his newly bred Mexican wheats to India and Pakistan. Some of Dr. Borlaug’s field trials were sabotaged. When others succeeded, rumors spread that growing the Mexican wheats would make the land sterile, or children who ate them would become sterile. In fact, these wheats ended up saving hundreds of millions from starvation.

Dr. Borlaug used to say it all the time: “You must be prepared for opposition.” I think those of us who believe in the promise of biotechnology have not prepared the way we should have.

I think all of us engaged in the struggle to feed the world need to create more understanding of the fact that the safety of our products never has been and never will be compromised. GM foods are the most thoroughly studied food products ever launched commercially. The issue has been examined in more than 1,700 studies by hundreds of independent research groups and reviewed by the world’s leading scientific and medical authorities, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Medical Association, the European Commission, and the World Health Organization. The consensus is clear. As the European Commission’s review concluded, there is “no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.” Yet doubts remain, and we in the scientific community need to engage in meaningful conversations to address them.

Although we have done a good job communicating with farmers, we haven’t connected as well with consumers. I am confident they will at least be open to listening to us if they know we’re listening to them.

I believe we can find common-ground solutions. They’ll be found around agriculture that minimizes the environmental impact of water and land use and that reduces the risk of political disruption. . . .

The Green Party is trying to urge New Zealand to follow the Tasmanian Government’s lead and have a moratorium on genetically engineered (GE/GMO) crops and animals.

There’s more than a little irony in this – the party which is most vociferous about its concerns about climate change and the impact of farming on the environment is equally determined to oppose one of the measures that could mitigate the impact of rising temperatures on food production.


The people are speaking

January 11, 2014

Dunedin mayor Dave Cull and some of his councillors are less than enthusiastic about the prospect of Shell drilling for oil and gas in the Great South Basin.

But yesterday’s ODT (print edition) had three letters under the heading ‘silent majority’ needs to stand up for Otago.

Stand up Otago. An empty slogan or a real call for action? The Otago Daily times (8.1.14) headlined with the dreadful news of major cutbacks at Macraes. As with all big business job losses the impact will be felt far beyond those directly affected. These jobs are skilled and well paid, making them even harder to replace in a region where wages have been driven down relentlessly in a crowded marketplace. . .

There is hope for a reversal of our sad fortune, particularly in the field of engineering. Peter McIntyre’s call for support of Dunedin’s push to service the gas industry in its exploration of southern waters should be a rallying call for our future.

Dunedin’s famous silent majority needs to lose its inhibitions and start shouting really loudly to drown out the lunatic fringe whose drums are already beating. Gareth Hughes is up and running with his beak in our business, babbling on with the usual scaremongering that is the trademark of his breed. Dave Cull needs to get off the fence and start thinking about real jobs for real people. Tim Shadbolt will be more than happy to champion Invercargill’s virtues as a base for drilling.

Dunedin still has the skills and equipment to support this enterprise. Should we lose out this time, we will have neither in the future.

Stand up Otago. The revolution starts now!Richard O’Mahony.

Wake Up Dunedin. You should be doing all you can to attract the drilling by Shell off the coast to be based in Dunedin. I visited Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1980 and it was a dull, old grey-stone city. When I visited again in the 1990s it was a bustling, bright city. Why? Because oil had been found in the North Sea and Aberdeen was the onshore base.

Our city could be rejuvenated if something similar was found off our coast. Come on Dunedin mayor and councillors, do everything in tyour powers to encourage use by shell and co of our city and have what could be a bright, vigorous future. Invercargill will take a welcoming attitude. Alexa Craig.

It is great news to hear that Shell has announced, along with its partners OMV and Mitsui E&P, it will go ahead with a $200 million test well for natural gas in the Great South Basin. the well will be located 150 KM offshore from Dunedin in 1350m of water, making Dunedin the ideal base.

Should a discover be made and the gas fields fully developed, then within five years, the potential employment opportunities and benefits for local business would be huge. The Berl report estimates the potential benefits will be: 256 jobs, $179 million spent regionally and $71 million generated per year in GDP for the local community over 45 years. In the first few years of development, there would be an excess of 1000 jobs created and $1 billion spent.

Dunedin and the Otago region need to roll out the red carpet to support the supply hub to be based in Dunedin. We are fortunate that we already have many of the required support businesses based in our city. Now we need the entire community to support this new industry. – Cr Andrew Whiley.

The ODT itself opines:

. . . What we cannot afford as a community is for one sector to stand against the chance of experiencing a possible huge economic boom. To convince Shell to establish here, and possibly keep Macraes operating longer, the whole community and its representatives must be united as one. Let us not allow this opportunity to pass by.

Shell has a choice about where it will base its on-shore support.

No-one doubts that Invercargill will put out the welcome mat.

Mayor Cull must get over his personal antipathy to the development and show the sort of enthusiasm these correspondents are if Dunedin and Otago are to have an even chance of being chosen.


Saturday soapbox

January 11, 2014

Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, to muse or amuse.

Love Quotes and Sayings's photo.


January 11 in history

January 11, 2014

630 – Prophet of Islam Muhammad led an army of 10,000 Muslims to conquer Mecca.

1055 – Theodora was crowned Empress of the Byzantine Empire.

1158 – Vladislav II became King of Bohemia.

1569 First recorded lottery in England.

1571 Austrian nobility were granted freedom of religion.

1693 Mt. Etna erupted in Sicily. A powerful earthquake destroyed parts of Sicily and Malta.

1786 Joseph Jackson Lister, English opticist and physicist, was born (d. 1869).

1787  William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.

1807  Ezra Cornell, American businessman and university founder, was born (d. 1874).

1846 Ruapekapeka pa was occupied by British troops. Debate raged as to whether the pa was simply abandoned by its defenders or captured by the British.

Ruapekapeka pa occupied by British forces
 
 
1857 Fred Archer, English jockey, was born  (d. 1886).
 
1878 Milk was first delivered in bottles.

1879  The Anglo-Zulu War began.

1885 Jack Hoxie, American actor, rodeo performer, was born  (d. 1965).

1885 – Alice Paul, American women’s rights activist, was born (d. 1977).

1915 –Robert Blair Mayne, British soldier, co-founder Special Air Service, was born  (d. 1955).

1919 Romania annexed Transylvania.

1922 First use of insulin to treat diabetes in a human patient.

1934 Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, British computer scientist, was born.

1935 Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1938  Arthur Scargill, British politician, was born.

1946 Tony Kaye, British piano and organ player (Yes), was born.

1946  Enver Hoxha declared the People’s Republic of Albania with himself as dictator.

1949 First recorded case of snowfall in Los Angeles.

1957 The African Convention was founded in Dakar.

1962 An avalanche on Huascaran in Peru caused 4,000 deaths.

1964 – United States Surgeon General Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., published a report saying that smoking may be hazardous to health – the first such statement made by the U.S. government.

1972 East Pakistan renamed itself Bangladesh.

1986  The Gateway Bridge, Brisbane in Queensland was officially opened.

1996  STS-72 launched from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour.

1998– Sidi-Hamed massacre  in Algeria  killed more than 100 people.

2007 – China conducted the first successful anti-satellite missile test of any nation since 1985.

2013 – One French soldier and 17 militants were killed in a failed attempt to free a French hostage in Bulo Marer, Somalia.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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