The eagle has landed

20/01/2014


Word of the day

20/01/2014

Komorebi (Japanese) – the scene produced by interplay of sunlight and trees; sunlight that filters through the leaves of trees.


Rural round-up

20/01/2014

EU economist predicts fall in meat consumption – Carmen Paun:

Meat consumption will never reach previous levels, Tassos Haniotis, director of economic analysis at the European Commission’s directorate general for agriculture said on Tuesday. . .

Taking a shot at NZ farming’s next seven years – Pita Alexander:

Can we really forecast accurately what might happen with agriculture over the next, say, seven years and what the key issues may be for New Zealanders?

The answer is no, but in honour of Nostradamus and other great crystal bowl devotees let’s take a shot at what lies ahead.

Over the next two columns I will lay out 26 points for farmers and others to mull over. Who knows, 70 per cent of them might come to pass in some shape or other.

1 – There will be more volatility in the next seven years than there has been in the past seven on all fronts. You must include this, and cope with this, in your business plans.

2 – The importance of Fonterra for New Zealand will increase – it is important now but expect a further increase. . .

 

Farm cropping for the love of it – Jacquie Webby:

Nigel Wilson has been a cropping farmer pretty much “since he can remember” and for this South Canterbury farmer, it’s a full-on occupation with a serious array of equipment to help keep the wheels of his farming operation turning.

“I knew I didn’t want to be a dairy farmer and my parents had run a cropping operation, so here I am,” he says.

One of Nigel Wilson’s most productive (and picturesque) crops is white clover and he has about 100 hectares which is in full flower.

“White clover is grown for export to the United Kingdom,” says Nigel. . .

International Year of Family Farming in 2014:

A United Nations organisation is running the International Year of Family Farming in 2014 with the aim of raising the profile of family farmers and smallholders in developing and developed nations.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation is running the International Year of Family Farming in 2014 with the aim of raising the profile of family farmers and smallholders in developing and developed nations.

One of the New Zealand ambassadors for the year is Lake Grassmere sheep and beef farmer Doug Avery who says family farms are incredibly important as they provide people with what they need to exist – food.

He says worldwide families are responsible for most of the world’s food production which gives meaning to the slogan ‘every family needs a farmer’. . .

Dairy farmers from across the nation oppose supply management – The Bullvine:

Dairy producer groups from around the country have teamed up to urge Farm Bill conferees to oppose Supply Management. Dairy Farmers do not want a dairy Supply Management proposal known as the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP). A letter has been signed by following dairy farmer associations; The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association (DBA), California Dairies Inc. (CDI), National All Jersey, the Dairy Business Milk Marketing Cooperative (DBMMC), the Dairy Policy Action Coalition (DPAC), the Northeast Dairy Producers Association (NEDPA), and the Kentucky Dairy Development Council.
The letter urges conferees to follow the lead of the House of Representatives, which rejected this controversial new dairy program to impose milk quotas on dairy farmers by a more than two to one margin — 291-135– and replaced it with language that allows farmers to participate in a margin insurance program without being required to participate in the DMSP. “It simply is not factual when Representative Peterson states that all dairy farmers want the government to control the milk they produce on their farms through the (DMSP). Many dairy farmers from all over the country are aligned and opposed to Supply Management,” said Laurie Fischer, Executive Director of the Dairy Business Association. . .

A young dairy farmer with a passion for cows and education – Art 4 Agriculture:

I love educating the youth in the dairy industry and the youth about the dairy industry.

Let me introduce myself, I’m a dairy farmer with a passion for education.

Yes, that’s right, I milk cows on my family farm, 10 minutes from the beach on the mid-north coast of NSW, and I’m about to commence my career as a teacher.

My name is Emma Polson, I’m 24 years-old and I love being a farmer. . .


Time for @FarmersOfNZ?

20/01/2014

A Twitter initiative to give the public information about the day to day reality of farming in Canada  has sparked similar initiatives in the UK and Australia:

. . . The @FarmersOfTheUK series will see a different farmer every week sharing their life through tweets, pictures and videos.

“I created it because UK farming plc doesn’t do enough to shout about how great it is, so the idea was to let consumers and the public know the diverse nature of farming enterprises and the realities of food production,” said rural business adviser Simon Haley.

Mr Haley hopes the idea, based on a similar one in Canada, will generate a “feel-good factor” around farming. . .

There’s also one for Australian farmers.

Is it time for New Zealand farmers to launch @FarmersOfNZ to show the challenges and variety of day to day farming here?


Will women lose in culture clash?

20/01/2014

Speaker David Carter wants to modernise parliamentary protocols.

The move was prompted by a cultural clash over women’s place and Maori custom and initial reaction suggests women are going to lose.

It follows an incident during a powhiri last year where two senior female MPs were made to move from the front row of seats, reserved for speakers.

Chairman of the oldest local Maori authority, the Wellington Tenths Trust, Morrie Love, says there is no shift in society that warrants change at this stage.

He says by accepting the form of the powhiri, the area for that time is deemed a marae, and protocol needs to be genuine and authentic to marae tikanga.

One could ask where Mr Love has been if he doesn’t think there’s a shift in society at warrants change.

However, goNZo Freakpower has an explanation for the continuation of women being seated at the back:

. . . I’m not convinced by the justifications of protecting women from taniwhas and bad atua for hui seating arrangements. My theory is that it’s a face-saving gesture to the old male kaumatua. Men go deaf more readily than women, and the old geezers sit in the front seats to better grasp what’s going on. The sharper eared wahine can hear just fine from further back. . .

That might not help women be treated as equals but it is a better explanation for the practice than any others I’ve come across.


A better boarding pass

20/01/2014

Boarding passes – unless you haven’t got luggage to check in you have to have one, but they’re not very convenient.

They’re too big to fit neatly in a pocket or most handbags without bending and the information you need – departure time, gate number and seat are never easy to find.

But a better boarding pass might be in sight.

Peter Smart has been rethinking the design and come up with something much better than what we have now:

Among his improvements are:

Format

Wherever you keep your boarding pass, you’ll have taken it out and put it away multiple times before the gate. Traditional passes tend to get stuck and bend because they’re too long for your passport.

What if your boarding pass naturally folded to the size of your passport? No more bends or breaks. Just simple reuse of the existing perforation.

What you need. At a glance.

Rather than having to take out your entire boarding pass when trying to remember your flight number, what if key information was just a glance away? This is helpful when trying to distinguish between multiple boarding passes too.

Same size. New orientation.

Your boarding pass uses the same, standard dimensions of an old boarding pass. No new printers or cards – just a portrait orientation to reduce line length of information and make it easier to find and read.

A helpful hierarchy.

What if information was laid out logically in chronological order? A simple grid makes information easy to read and quick to act on. . .

 

If you follow the link you’ll see more improvements and pictures which show how simple but sensible the improvements are.


NZer of Year finalists

20/01/2014

The finalists for New Zealander of the Year are:

. . . Kaitaia GP Dr Lance O’Sullivan, the founder of the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust Catriona Williams from Masterton.

And Maori educator Dame Dr Iritana Tawhiwhirangi from Wellington.

Chief Judge, Cameron Bennett says these people follow a fine tradition of great New Zealanders whoâ ve forever changed our country for the better. . .

They were chosen from a list of 10 semi-finalists.


Irrigation’s not just for farmers

20/01/2014

IrrigationNZ chief executive, Andrew Curtis, shows irrigation isn’t just for farmers:

You finally made it out of the office and hit the road for a much-deserved break. Whether you towed a boat, carried mountain bikes or packed the caravan or tent for a quick escape this summer, chances are you took advantage of irrigation infrastructure.

While most of us think of our waterways as natural, the reality is many popular water destinations have been modified to support farming or energy production.  Your annual summer holiday just as likely included a dip in a river or lake that helps generate electricity or waters crops as it was swimming at the local pool.  

Increasingly farmers and irrigation scheme managers are incorporating recreation interests when they design new systems. Event managers and community groups are also recognising the unique potential of irrigation canals and storage ponds for fundraising and thrill-seeking. 

The challenge for those managing irrigation infrastructure is ensuring holiday makers and adrenalin junkies can be safely integrated into commercial operations, without impeding vital irrigation flows. We profile several irrigation schemes working with their communities to provide access to water for activities other than irrigation.

New Zealand’s largest irrigation scheme, the Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) is also one of our oldest. Depression-era labour was used initially to build the race which officially opened in 1945.

Several Mid Canterbury community groups already take advantage of the RDR’s 67km of canals – most visibly the ‘Peak to Pub’, ‘Big Day at the Office’ and Frostbusters’ multisport races. 

And this Easter, a new endurance horse-riding event is likely to see riders crossing the canals as part of 36 hours on horse-back in the district.

Ben Curry, CEO of the RDR, says it’s a balancing act providing access, as health and safety as well as operational and insurance issues, need to be taken into account. But the company tries to find ways to accommodate requests.

While swimming is not allowed due to multiple potential hazards within the water (some of which are submerged), fishing, duck-shooting and cycling along the canals are permitted. A local tourism company has just been given approval to offer high-end cycle tours along the RDR close to the foothills, and the Methven Walkway, created by the local Lions group and a well-used visitor attraction, meanders along sections of the race. 

“We had hoped that the RDR would have been included in the National Cycleway network. It’s still an aspiration,” says Mr Curry.

Lake Opuha is the jewel in the crown when promoters cite wider benefits from irrigation. The man-made 700 hectare lake not only provides water for 230 farms, but as the most accessible lake in South Canterbury, is a magnet for local boaties, kayakers and rowers. 

While rainbow trout were found in Opuha River before the dam was built, brown trout and salmon have since been released into the lake.

Opuha Water Ltd CEO Tony McCormick says since it was filled in 1998, the lake has been a popular destination for anglers and boaties.

His irrigation company supports community use of the lake and its related systems where it can.

Fundraising events are common and one of the most colourful is South Canterbury Diabete’s annual duck race held in an irrigation channel on Arowhenua Road. Fairlie Lions has run a duathalon and mountain bike event around the lake for the past two years and before that hosted fishing competitions. Local farmer and Lions member Murray Bell says the lake is the perfect setting. “It’s a great facility and the location is good as it’s convenient.” As a shareholder in the scheme, Mr Bell says he, like other farmers who supported the lake’s development, is buoyed by its success.

“The duathalon is such a small part of it. Any weekend you are there it’s crowded with boats and in the early mornings you watch the rowing clubs turn up.”

Keith McRobie is President of the Timaru Rowing Club and can vouch for Opuha’s value.

“We’ve used the lake pretty much since it was filled. We are quite limited in Timaru with just a 1km stretch of water so it was a Godsend to have something developed just 45km from town.”

Opuha is pretty much rowable year-round as it is sheltered and accessible during most weather conditions, says Mr McRobie.

Having access to the lake for the past decade has improved South Canterbury’s rowing results. “The schools here punch above their weight at a regional and national level. Every year we have one or two national representatives and Opuha is part of the reason.”

Discussions are underway with the irrigation company and supporters about dedicated facilities for rowing at the lake. Currently three Timaru schools leave boats stored on local farmers’ properties but ideally a purpose-built storage shed and rowing ramp will result in the future.

“We’ve had some discussions with the company and we’re very keen to pursue. If you compare us with Auckland or any other major city, 45 minutes is not really a problem,” he says.    

The Lake Opuha Users Group was created when the lake was first formed to initiate extra amenities for visitors and recreational users of the lake.

Committee member David Williams says their biggest project to date has been the building of a boat ramp to create safe access. Before that up to 150 cars would converge on a 300m section of lake edge that offered the easiest access. Now 90% of traffic has been redirected to the boat ramp greatly reducing the potential for mayhem, he says.

As a farmer himself, Mr Williams says the biggest challenge now is ensuring the lake’s recreational popularity doesn’t impact on its delivery of water to shareholders. “One of the biggest problems for Opuha in the future could be the issue of minimum flows. Some of the recreational fraternity would like to see fluctuations in river flows. But at the end of the day it is the irrigators who are paying,” he says.

Another issue, not created by recreational use, but occasionally compounded by poor behaviour by some boaties, is the spread of didymo. The irrigation scheme and recreational users will need to work together to tackle the algal bloom problem in the future, says Mr Williams.

“Irrigation has provided a great facility by putting this lake here. For the recreationalists there has been a big spin off. At the end of the day it’s been very positive for them and the economic value to our community is also positive.”

The Lower Waitaki Irrigation Company prides itself on a strong relationship with its community, says Chairman Chris Dennison.

“We’re very keen to add benefits to the whole community and not just through the economic driver that irrigation brings,” he says.

 Among its initiatives is the ‘Take A Kid Fishing’ day which the company resurrected in conjunction with the Waitaki Irrigators Collective after an absence of many years. 

Using a shareholder’s attractive tree-lined pond already stocked with trout, 700 salmon were released resulting in very happy young anglers, says Mr Dennison. “The farmer kept his pond open for several weeks after the event to allow the public to fish in a controlled environment with pretty good odds. For young people fishing is about catching fish and most of the kids went away with something for dinner.”

The company has also worked with a local high school to provide access for a fast water kayaking course. Kayaking experts created the course on the scheme’s intake channel by placing obstacles within the stretch of turbulent water and hanging gates from overhead wires. “The effects for us are minimal and the school has ended up with a really good course with easy access,” he says.

Irrigation schemes are developed, and largely paid for, by farmers but the benefits from them are shared well outside of farming.

The economic spin-off helps those who work for and service farms.

Environmental benefits include protecting fragile soils from wind erosion and enhanced flows in natural waterways.

And then there are the recreational opportunities outlined above.


Bevy of heavies

20/01/2014

He’s referring to the security guards who were present when Auckland mayor Len Brown opened a new transport station on Saturday.

. . . Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer says ratepayers need to be assured they are not paying for guards to protect the mayor from peaceful demonstrators protesting against his personal actions. He says ratepayers should not be paying for guards to protect the mayor while he battles personal issues.

“The fact is that wherever this man goes there’s always going to be a few hecklers, a few peaceful demonstrators and that’s no justification for bringing in the heavies and putting them on the public payroll.”

Mr Brewer says the guards would be justified if a genuine risk or threat had been directed at Mr Brown.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office has confirmed the guards at Saturday’s event were paid for by Auckland Transport – a division of the council. . .

The affair which is the cause of this might be private but the fallout is public and it’s costing the public.


January 20 in history

20/01/2014

250 – Emperor Decius began a widespread persecution of Christians in Rome. Pope Fabian was martyred.

1265 In Westminster, the first English parliament conducted its first meeting held by Simon de Montfort in the Palace of Westminster.

1356 Edward Balliol abdicated as King of Scotland.

1523 Christian II was forced to abdicate as King of Denmark and Norway.

1649 Charles I of England went on trial for treason and other “high crimes”.

1788 The third and main part of First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decided that Botany Bay was unsuitable for location of a penal colony, and decided to move to Port Jackson.

1840 Dumont D’Urville discovered Adélie Land, Antarctica.

1840 – Willem II became King of the Netherlands.

1841  Hong Kong Island was occupied by the British.

1885 L.A. Thompson patented the roller coaster.

1887  The United States Senate allowed the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.

1892  At the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, the first official basketball game was played.

1896  George Burns, American actor, comedian, was born (d. 1996).

1899  Clarice Cliff, English ceramic, was born (d. 1972).

1910 Joy Adamson, Austrian naturalist and writer, was born (d. 1980).

1921 The first Constitution of Turkey was adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.

1926 Patricia Neal, American actress, was born (d. 2010).

1929  In Old Arizona, the first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, was released.

1930  Buzz Aldrin, American astronaut, was born.

1934  Tom Baker, British actor, was born.

1936  Edward VIII became King of the United Kingdom.

1937 Franklin Roosevelt was inaugurated for a second term as President of the United States. This was the first inauguration scheduled on January 20, following adoption of the 20th Amendment. Previous inaugurations were scheduled on March 4.

1950  Liza Goddard, British actress, was born.

1952 Paul Stanley, American musician (Kiss), was born.

1957 Scott Base opened in Antarctica.

Scott Base opened in Antarctica

1959 The first flight of the Vickers Vanguard.

1960 Hendrik Verwoerd announced a plebiscite on whether South Africa should become a Republic.

1961  John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the youngest man, and first-ever Roman Catholic, to become elected President of the United States.

1965   Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, was born.

1981 Iran released 52 American hostages twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan was inaugurated as U.S. President, the oldest man to be inaugurated at 69.

1987  Church of England envoy Terry Waite was kidnapped in Lebanon.

1990  Black January – crackdown of Azerbaijani pro-independence demonstrations by Soviet army in Baku.

Soviet tanks in Baku during Black January.

1991 Sudan‘s government imposed Islamic law nationwide, worsening the civil war between the country’s Muslim north and Christian south.

2001  Philippine president Joseph Estrada was ousted in a nonviolent 4-day revolution, and was succeeded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

2009 Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America – the United States’ first African-American president.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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