Word of the day

August 11, 2015

Latrinalia – a type of deliberately inscribed marking made on latrines; bathroom graffiti.


Rural round-up

August 11, 2015

Singer is loving country living – Sally Rae:

She’s opened for the Hollies and sung for Robert Kennedy jun – now Bex Murray is holed up in the Hakataramea Valley and she could not be happier.

Miss Murray (29) is living on a sheep and cattle farm with her fiance Tom Hayman while continuing to perform at gigs throughout the country at weekends.

She is also hoping to help inspire and motivate other young rural women by sharing ideas through Young Rural Ladies, a social media site she has set up with Sarah Connell, another newcomer to rural life, and which has quickly gained a following.

Originally from Lake Tekapo, where her family has been involved in tourism for most of her life, Miss Murray’s dream growing up was always to be a famous singer. . .

City girl goes country and loves it – Sally Rae:

It’s a long way from London to Livingstone.

So when Sarah Connell made the transition from big city living to remote rural life in North Otago, it was a monumental lifestyle change.

But the former urban girl is loving country life on sheep and cattle station Dome Hills, even though shifting break fences and stock is something she once never dreamed she would end up doing. . .

Top class tenderness from tough country – Kate Taylor:

Quiet stock with good genetics is the secret to the success of Gisborne farmer Tom Savage at this year’s Steak of Origin Awards.

A hereford/shorthorn steer from Tom and Linda Savage’s Poututu Station won the crossbred section at the annual nationwide competition in May.

It was a surprising win for the couple as Tom Savage says it was a last minute decision to enter the awards after a tough season. . .

Farmers woes blamed on short-term focus:

There are calls for banks to ensure the wellbeing of dairy farmers during the current crisis.

Fonterra has slashed its payout to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids after another drop in global prices.

Rabobank analyst Hayley Moynihan says it’s important farmers manage to cope with the downturn.

“Banks take a very strong interest in the wellbeing of farmers, and they have an obligation to do so, and certainly a responsibility, because people can’t run their businesses and therefore the wellbeing of farmers is paramount.” . . .

NZ banks strong enough to weather downturn, dairy slump – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s lenders are in a strong enough position to weather slowing economic growth over the next year-and-a-half, while slumping dairy prices aren’t expected to pose as big a threat as they did in 2009, says Moody’s Investors Service.

The global rating agency has a stable outlook for the nation’s banking system, built on the expectation the country’s lenders will maintain strong asset quality and stable profitability in the face of a slowing economy. Moody’s anticipates slower gross domestic product growth of 2.9 percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016 as lower dairy prices crimp export incomes, though building activity in Auckland and Christchurch, persistently strong inbound net migration, and lower interest rates will support the economy. . .

Farmers to hold ‘urgent summit’ over milk prices:

Farming unions from across the UK will hold an “urgent summit” later to discuss milk prices, following widespread protests.

Some farmers are being paid less than the cost of production, the National Farmers’ Union says.

Protests have included removing large quantities of milk cartons from shops and blockading distribution centres. . .

New Zealand tourist providers should pay attention to advancements in Chinese agritourism –  Jason Young:

I’ve been incredibly lucky, over the last decade, to have the opportunity to travel regularly to China. In recent years, my research has turned to rural China allowing me to break out of the mega-cities and see some of the countryside.

During visits to farms and villages and by speaking with local academics, government officials and farmers, I’ve noticed the rise of Chinese agritourism. China has urbanised very fast. In the early 1980s roughly 200 million people lived in urban areas. Today the figure is closer to 700 million with projections of 1 billion urban dwellers by 2030.

Urban areas are often heavily populated, polluted and can lack green spaces. It is no surprise then to see people seeking ways of reconnecting with the natural environment and beginning to romanticise the image of a simpler rural life. . .

Breaking the cycle – farming sustainability requires change – Phil Beatson:

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

The need for change in the dairy industry has prompted me to revise an article I originally wrote back in 1999 that is still very much relevant today.

When it comes to the ongoing economic welfare of today’s farmers – the backbone of New Zealand’s largest industry – all sectors must work together to create change. As history demonstrates, without change, we will continue to get the same results. . .

 


The facts from farm consultants

August 11, 2015

Wairarapa Farm Consultants Baker and Associates are concerned the facts on Fonterra’s forecast payout aren’t being portrayed correctly in the media.

They say cash received last season is less than reported because of the way Fonterra structures its payout and outgoings are greater because reports focus on operating costs rather than total costs.

Their media release says:

 . . . 2. For most farms in the period July 2015 to June 2016 cash receipts for milk will be $3.29 per kilogram milksolid (kg MS) plus 30 cents dividend for shareholders, plus 70 cents in livestock sales and other income, a total receipts of $4.29.

  1. To operate their farm our clients will spend $3.94 per kg milksolid, plus they need $1.48 to pay the interest on core debt and meet seasonal finance costs. A further 34 cents is required to pay farm owner living essentials.
  2. At $4.29 income and $5.76 of outgoings we expect average debt to increase by $1.47/kg MS.
  3. Our model for an average farm producing 160,000 kg MS, produces a cash loss of $235,200.

  4. We await the fine print but expect farmer shareholders will take up the 50 cents of Fonterra Support, an interest free loan.

  5. This leaves about $1/kg MS of debt to be funded by banks.
  6.  Farmers without Fonterra shareholding and sharemilkers who dont have access to Fonterra Support will have relatively higher externalfunding requirements.
  7.  Our modelling suggests by October we expect a 10% reduction in the milking herd compared with the same time last year, there will be a 10% reduction in milk produced, with a 17% reduction in operating costs.

  8. We strongly encourage farm owners to consult with their sharemilkers and contract milkers who operate businesses subject too, and dependant on the farm owners decisions.

  9. Baker & Associates actively encourages its dairy farming clients to make conscious and well supported decisions on stocking rate, home grown feed and all expenditure items. Focus on the factors inside your control, make proactive and timely management changes. 

 That is good advice and Adolf at No Minister has some more suggestions:

. . . The dairy industry is flexible and resilient, for those who will accept change and think ‘outside the square.’ It is some years now since Adolf wrote up or read dairy farm budgets but the principles don’t change and all over the country farmers and their professional advisers will be examining options.

The level of debt is the overriding factor in these considerations and some, whose foolish banks obliged them by financing them into overpriced farms and herds when the payout was at its peak, will be forced to sell. They took the risk and they lost the gamble. That’s business. It is NOT a crisis.

There are many choices available and here are a few.

  • ·        Sell the herd and apply the sale proceeds to debt reduction.   Employ a keen young sharemilker.   With cow prices low it’s a great time for a sharemilker to make a start.
  • ·        If the soils are the right sort and any are, sell the herd and lease the property to a potato/onion grower for two years. They need fresh ground to control various diseases.
  • ·        Sell 20%of the herd and apply the proceeds to debt reduction. The reduction in operating costs will be significant as will be the reduction in stress levels for the farmer. Stop buying truckloads of urea. Stop buying bought in feed. Watch the cost per head of animal health drop as the stress on the cows is reduced.
  • ·        On a larger operation it may be possible to lay off one labour unit.

Of one thing you can be sure. It is not in the interests of the trading banks to see wholesale forced sales of dairy farmers and when I hear stories about farmers being forced to sell when they have not missed a payment on their mortgages I’m very skeptical. Maybe there is something else going on about which the public is not being told? . .

Adolf gives one example of a bank losing patience, I know of another.

Some people will have to sell but pushing people out is the last resort for banks and there is almost always more to the sob-stories than the public knows.


From 10,000+ to 40 possible flags

August 11, 2015

The Flag Consideration Panel has whittled 10,292 flag designs submitted down to a long-list of 40.

If you click on the link you’ll see who submitted each one.

I am open to change but am not keen on the black and white or black and grey ones second and third from the left in the third line and I don’t think the second from the left in the bottom line is a distinctively New Zealand image.

My favourite is third down on the left, designed by Kyle Lockwood, supported, or variations of which were submitted, by 12 others.

The silver fern: A New Zealand icon for over 160 years, worn proudly by many generations. The fern is an element of indigenous flora representing the growth of our nation. The multiple points of the fern leaf represent Aotearoa’s peaceful multicultural society, a single fern spreading upwards represents that we are all one people growing onward into the future. The bright blue represents our clear atmosphere and the Pacific Ocean, over which all New Zealanders, or their ancestors, crossed to get here. The Southern Cross represents our geographic location in the antipodes. It has been used as a navigational aid for centuries and it helped guide early settlers to our islands.

Chair of the panel, Professor John Burrows says:

. . . “We would like to thank everyone for their design suggestions and we’ve been impressed with the very high standard. The Panel made a unanimous decision and selected flag designs we believe best reflect New Zealand’s identity, as shared with us in the values and themes that New Zealanders expressed throughout this process.

In reviewing alternatives, we were guided that a potential new flag should unmistakably be from New Zealand and celebrate us as a progressive, inclusive nation that is connected to its environment, and has a sense of its past and vision for its future.

The Panel has made its preliminary selection of flag designs that it believes best represent the range of suggestions it has received. It is important that those designs are timeless, can work in a variety of contexts, are simple, uncluttered, balanced and have good contrast,” said Professor Burrows. . .

Public meetings didn’t attract many people. That isn’t surprising these days and the process has engendered a lot of interest:

10,292 alternative designs published

• 850,000+ online visits

• 6,000+ visits to workshops and information stands

• 1.18m+ people reached by Facebook

• 146,000+ views of the NZ flag history video

• 43,000+ New Zealanders have shared what they stand for (online & via post)

For the statiscially minded:

Stand for NZ's photo.
In an open letter the panel says:

We want to thank everyone for the 10,292 designs you’ve suggested. Each of these was viewed by every Panel member. We have been impressed with the very high standard and greatly appreciate the thought and hard work that went into these designs. As a Panel, we have now selected a long list of designs for further investigation as part of the design review process.

A great flag should be distinctive and so simple it can be drawn by a child from memory. A great flag is timeless and communicates swiftly and potently the essence of the country it represents. A flag should carry sufficient dignity to be appropriate for all situations in which New Zealanders might be represented. It should speak to all Kiwis. Our hope is that New Zealanders will see themselves reflected in these flags’ symbols, colour and stories.

In reviewing flag designs, first and foremost, we were guided by what thousands of Kiwis across a range of communities told us when they shared what is special to them about New Zealand. This provided the Panel, and flag designers, with valuable direction as to how New Zealanders see our country and how those values might best be expressed in a new flag.

The message was clear, and the Panel agreed. A potential new flag should unmistakably be from New Zealand and celebrate us as a progressive, inclusive nation that is connected to its environment, and has a sense of its past and a vision for its future.

In finalising the long list we invited a number of cultural (including tikanga), vexillology (the study of flags), art and design experts to review the selection, to ensure the designs are workable and there are no known impediments. Detailed due diligence will now be completed on these designs, including robust intellectual property checks.

As a Panel, we’ve been appointed by government to determine the 4 alternative flag designs in a neutral and unbiased way. We are committed to doing that. We have selected for the long list designs that we believe best reflect the values New Zealanders have shared with us and you can view these in the long list gallery:

By mid-September we will select the 4 alternatives which eligible voters will rank in the first binding referendum later this year. This will be the opportunity for people to express their preferences and make choices. We encourage you to make sure you are enrolled to vote so that you can take part in this nationally significant process. In March next year, New Zealand will make history when it votes between the current flag and the preferred alternative.

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa.

Regards,

Flag Consideration Panel:

  • Prof John Burrows (Chair), ONZM, QC
  • Nicky Bell
  • Peter Chin, CNZM
  • Julie Christie, ONZM
  • Rod Drury
  • Kate De Goldi (Deputy Chair)
  • Beatrice Faumuina, ONZM
  • Lt Gen (Rtd) Rhys Jones, CNZM
  • Stephen Jones
  • Sir Brian Lochore, ONZ, KNZM, OBE
  • Malcolm Mulholland
  • Hana O’Regan.

And for those who aren’t sure if we should be considering a change:

Brent Desmond Cook's photo.


Quote of the day

August 11, 2015

. . . what farmers already know is that this is a big picture game and what worries me about this country is our view is so short of term.

That doesn’t mean it’s not bad news or it’s not hard yards or it’s not a tough season.

But the people who seem to panic the most, drive the headlines and forecast the doom aren’t the people living in it. They’re the people looking to drive agendas or score points. . .Mike Hosking

 


August 11 in history

August 11, 2015

3114 BC   The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, used by several pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations, notably the Mayans, began.

2492 BC  Traditional date of the defeat of Bel by Hayk, progenitor and founder of the Armenian nation.

480 BC  Greco-Persian Wars: Battle of Artemisium – the Persians achieved a naval victory over the Greeks in an engagement fought near Artemisium.

355  Claudius Silvanus, accused of treason, proclaimed himself Roman Emperor against Constantius II.

1755  Charles Lawrence gave expulsion orders to remove the Acadians from Nova Scotia beginning the Great Upheaval.

1786  Captain Francis Light established the British colony of Penang.

1804  Francis II assumed the title of first Emperor of Austria.

1858  First ascent of the Eiger.

1892 Hugh MacDiarmid, Scottish poet, was born  (d. 1978).

1897 Enid Blyton, English author, was born (d. 1968).

1918 World War I:  Battle of Amiens ended.

1919 Constitution of Weimar Republic adopted.

1920  The LatviaBolshevist Russia peace treaty, which relinquished Russia’s authority and pretenses to Latvia, is signed.

1921  Alex Haley, American writer, was born  (d. 1992).

1929   Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

1929  The Bud Billiken Parade and Picnic began its annual tradition, which is now the oldest and largest African American parade in the United States.

1933 Jerry Falwell, American preacher, was born (d. 2007).

1934   First civilian prisoners arrived at Federal prison on Alcatraz Island.

1942 Mike Hugg, British musician (Manfred Mann), was born.

1942  Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil received a patent for a frequency hopping, spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.

1952  Bob Mothersbaugh AKA Bob 1, American musician (Devo), was born.

1952 Hussein proclaimed king of Jordan.

1960 Chad declared independence.

1962 The country’s first roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) ferry, New Zealand Railways’ Aramoana entered service between Wellington and Picton.

Picton ferry Aramoana enters service

1965  The Watts riots began in Watts area of Los Angeles.

1972 The last United States ground combat unit left South Vietnam.

1975  Governor Mário Lemos Pires of Portuguese Timor abandoned the capital Dili, following a coup by the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) and the outbreak of civil war between UDT and Fretilin.

1982  A bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 830, en route from Tokyo to Honolulu, killing one teenager and injuring 15 passengers.

1988  Al-Qaeda was formed.

1999 The Salt Lake City Tornado tore through the downtown district of the city, killing one.

2003 NATO took over command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, marking its first major operation outside Europe in its 54-year-history.

2003 – Jemaah Islamiyah leader Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, was arrested in Bangkok.

2003 – A heat wave in Paris resulted in temperatures rising to 112°F (44° C), leaving about 144 people dead.

2012 – At least 306 people were killed and 3,000 others injured in a pair of earthquakes near Tabriz, Iran.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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