Word of the day

September 28, 2015

Piscivorous –  feeding on fish.


Rural round-up

September 28, 2015

Freehold on Mackenzie Crown land not an easy ticket to millions, farmers say – Tim Fulton:

Farmers accused of making big profits from Crown land deals in the Mackenzie Basin say they are doing the bare minimum to make a living.

High Country property researcher and Lincoln University academic Dr Ann Brower says the Crown is missing out when tenure review land is sold freehold by farmers.

The median on-selling price per hectare was 493 times the Crown’s original sale price, she said. . .

Signs of movement on dairy as TPP negotiators meet in Atlanta – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – News media in the US and Canada are reporting signs of a deal coming together on access for dairy products into North America as trade ministers gather in Atlanta, Georgia, for the latest round of talks attempting to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment pact.

The Atlanta talks are being billed as potentially the final round of talks, although New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser has yet to commit to attend them, despite being in the US this week for climate change talks in New York.

He said almost a week ago that there was still no adequate offer from the key TPP dairy-producing countries – the US, Canada and Japan. Market access for dairy products and automobiles, and patent extensions for new generation bio-logic pharmaceuticals, are reportedly the only remaining sticking points of substance between the 12 countries negotiating the new Pacific Rim agreement, which US president Barack Obama is committed to concluding as part of a strategy to assert US geopolitical interests in Asia and counter the rise of China. . . 

No heavy hand – Neal Wallace:

Shanghai Maling president Shen Wei Ping has given an assurance he will not use his casting vote to exert control over Silver Fern Farms should shareholders agree to a partnership between the two food companies.

In an interview during a visit to Dunedin, Shen said the clause giving the Shanghai Maling Aquarius chairman the casting vote on the appointment of the chief executive and annual business plan, was an auditor requirement for reporting the company’s financial results.

He said the proposed deal between the Chinese company and SFF would be a true partnership with board decisions by consensus. . . 

Taggart returned as Ballance director:

Murray Taggart has been returned as a Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ward C director in the South Island after a three-way contest for the position.

Also seeking the directorship were Temuka intensive cropping and livestock finishing farmer Nick Ward and former chief executive of Silver Fern Farms Keith Cooper.

Mr Taggart, who is also chairman of meat co-operative Alliance Group, joined the Ballance board in 2009. He is a past director of CRT Society and Southern Farms NZ, past chairman of the National Meat and Wool Council and Federated Farmers, and past member of the National Board of Federated Farmers. . . 

Generic marketing questioned – Matthew Cawood:

WHEN you have powerful brands, do you need generic marketing?

Agrifood consultant David McKinna posed that rhetorical question to the recent 2015 Meat Industry Conference as part of his discussion on the rise of brand marketing.

“You don’t see your breakfast cereal in generic marketing campaigns. You don’t see generic campaigns for toothpaste. The brands do the job,” he said.

“Your industry has spent a lot of money on generic marketing. As they say in advertising, fifty per cent of it works, but we don’t know which bit.”

Dr McKinna foresees a future in which generic marketing takes a back seat, but doesn’t disappear entirely.  . . 

Government delivers National Policy Direction for Pest Management:

The National Policy Direction for Pest Management has come into effect.

MPI’s director of biosecurity and animal welfare policy, Julie Collins, says established pests are estimated to cost New Zealand’s primary sector up to $3.3 billion annually.

“Even small improvements to New Zealand’s pest management system could save millions of dollars in the long term.”

“The National Direction will support national and regional management of challenging pest issues such as wilding conifers, by ensuring consistent approaches to the way rules are set across New Zealand and that landowner obligations are clearly signalled and underpinned by robust analysis.” . . 

Wendy Harker making Holstein history in NZ – Sonita Chandar:

She may have made history by being elected the first female head of Holstein Friesian New Zealand but the new president says it will not define who she is or what she does.

Wendy Harker, a Te Awamutu breeder, is the first woman to take on the top role in the association’s 105-year history.  She has sat on the board for six years as a council member.

“I have been a part of the national team for six years,” she says. . .

Connie Sue Farmer-Wollenberg's photo.


Losing licence to farm

September 28, 2015

One of Australia’s top farmers is in danger of losing his licence to farm:

David Blackmore’s wagyu beef is on the menu at some of the world’s most famous restaurants. The Victorian farmer counts US chefs Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck, England’s Heston Blumenthal, and locally, Rockpool’s Neil Perry among his fans.

The heavily-marbled beef, from the famed Japanese kobe beef bloodstock, can fetch up to $150kg at gourmet butchers.

The 5th generation farmer is a poster boy for Australian produce, featuring in Tourism Australia’s campaign to attract food lovers to visit the country. Chef Martin Benn from three-hat Sydney restaurant Sepia recently took Blackmore’s wagyu to New York as part of a showcase of Australian food.

There’s a steady trail of documentary film makers through his farm in Alexandra, 150km from Melbourne.

On Monday, Blackmore, 65, received yet another award for his beef at the Sydney Opera House. He was the 2012 livestock producer of the year.

But now he looks set to lose the Victorian farm where he’s been raising cattle for the last 11 years after a neighbour complained to the local council, saying, among other things, the farm attracted too many noisy cockatoos.

Last month, a majority of councillors ignored the advice of planning staff who recommended the Blackmore’s business continue, albeit under strict new guidelines, including a bird management plan, voting 4-2 against the continued use of the farm to raise the prized cattle.

The decision has alarmed farming community and chefs such as Neil Perry, who’ve started a petition backing Blackmore and calling on the Victorian government to intervene.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) labelled Murrindindi Shire Council’s decision “absurd”, with the potential to “undermine the prosperity and future of agriculture in this state”.

VFF president Peter Tuohey said his organisation was worried that councils like this would use planning laws to stifle the growth of Victorian agriculture in rural areas.

“The fact is David Blackmore and his family were willing to comply with a raft of 20 permit conditions – from maintaining paddock cover to bird management,” Tuohey said. “Yet the councillors rejected the permit on the basis of three brief dot points that had already been addressed under the permit conditions.

“This is a roadblock to one of Australia’s most innovative livestock pioneering families.”

The 20-page planning report prepared by council staff was referred to several state government authorities, including the EPA, who all backed approving the continued use of the site to raise cattle.

While the VFF believe the Blackmores have a strong case to overturn the decision on appeal, David Blackmore told Business Insider he may look at selling up, and two other councils have already been in touch offering him incentives to relocate to their regions.

The Blackmore’s farm contributes an estimated $3 million annually to Murrindindi’s local economy and another $3m to the Victorian economy. It employs 10 people, along with Blackmore and his wife, Julie. Their beef is exported to 20 countries.

The planning dispute is over the intensity of the farming. Neighbours complained about noise and odours. Council is concerned about the environmental impact on the landscape.

Blackmore runs 1350 head of cattle on the 150 hectares, grain feeding them to create the distinctive marbling that’s the hallmark of wagyu beef.

He bought the farm in 2004 and says his stocking levels are lower than they were in 2001 under the previous owners.

“It’s been a feeding farm since 1998 and we did a lot due diligence before we bought it,” he said. “Everyone said we didn’t need a license.”

But Murrindindi council took a different view following the complaints. Blackmore says the problem was deciding what sort of permit was needed. Some argued it was a feedlot, but eventually it was designated as “intensive animal husbandry” and a permit was required.

Everyone signed off on it until it got to council. Blackmore has until the end of August to decide what his next step is. . . . 

We visited this farm a couple of years ago and were very impressed with what we saw and heard.

Blackmore has spent years and large sums of money in research, breeding, improving the farm, and developing and maintaining markets. His office wall was lined with awards and media clippings praising what he’d achieved on farm for animal welfare and environmental practices, and in the market.

Chef Neil Perry is furious. He’s been using Blackmore’s beef in all his restaurants since opening Rockpool Bar & Grill in Melbourne in 2006. The chef has started an online petition, appealing to Victorian premier Daniel Andrews and the agriculture minister to intervene so the Blackmores can continue to farm there.

“The council are saying this is all about intensive factory farming. I can tell you it’s not,” Perry told Business Insider.

“It’s just really ridiculous what they’re trying to say. There is no more ethical, sustainable farm in Australia and he’s a world benchmark for what ethical, sustainable farming is.

“This is what great farming is all about. It’s a beautiful and we should be proud of it.”

The chef has taken numerous other chefs to see the farm and laughs at the complaints about birds.

“Every time I’ve visited over the last 10 years there’s been cockatoos everywhere around the region,” he said. “How can they all be David’s fault?”

Blackmore says he put a lot of work into restoring the landscape on the farm over the last decade. The recommended permit, which council knocked back, demanded even more, but the farmer says he was already doing the work because “it was a good idea for animal welfare and economically as well”.

He cites the fact that the cattle put on 20% more average daily weight gain than they did in feedlot as proof that his farming methods work

“It’s because the cattle are happier,” Blackmore says. “We’re really open about what we do. It’s not as though we’re trying to put anything over anyone.” . . 

There is cold-comfort in the words of Shire mayor, Margaret Rae:

“It’s been disheartening to see that the message being portrayed is that Murrindindi Shire Council is ‘shutting down’ the Blackmore farming operation and that the owners are being ‘kicked out’. This is absolutely not the case,” the mayor said.

“Council’s refusal of this particular application does not prohibit Mr Blackmore from continuing to farm his land the way he was prior to choosing to intensify his program through intensive animal husbandry practices, which triggered the requirement to apply for a planning permit and also prompted concerns from neighbouring properties.”

Mayor Rae was one of the councillors who voted in favour of Blackmore being granted the permit he was denied. Her statement makes no mention of the fact that the vote ignored the advice of planning staff who recommended the beef farming business continue at its current level, albeit under strict new guidelines. . . 

Returning to how he used to farm would put an end to the business.

This is happening in Australia but it could easily happen here.

Meadow Mushrooms in Hawkes Bay, which has been operating for decades, is facing problems since a new residential subdivision was located near by.

The difficulty of maintaining the licence to farm will increase as urban sprawl,  lifetyle blocks and the imbalance in numbers and power between city and country continue to grow.


Quote of the day

September 28, 2015

Sue Fitzmaurice, Author's photo.
Being informed is more important and more adult than just being opinionated – Sue Fitzmaurice


September 28 in history

September 28, 2015

551 BC: Confucious, the Chinese philosopher was born (d. 479 BC).

48 BC  Pompey the Great was assassinated on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt after landing in Egypt.

351 Battle of Mursa Major: the Roman Emperor Constantius II defeated the usurper Magnentius.

365  Roman usurper Procopius bribed two legions passing by Constantinople, and proclaims himself Roman emperor.

935  Saint Wenceslas was murdered by his brother, Boleslaus I of Bohemia.

995  Members of Slavník’s dynasty – Spytimír, Pobraslav, Pořej and Čáslav – were murdered by Boleslaus’s son, Boleslaus II the Pious.

1066  William the Conqueror invaded England: the Norman Conquest began.

1106 The Battle of Tinchebrai – Henry I of England defeated his brother, Robert Curthose.

1238 Muslim Valencia surrendered to the besieging King James I of Aragon the Conqueror.

1322  Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor defeated Frederick I of Austria in the Battle of Mühldorf.

1448  Christian I was crowned king of Denmark.

1542  Navigator João Rodrigues Cabrilho of Portugal arrived at what is now San Diego, California.

1571:Italian artist  Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was born (d. 1610).

1708  Peter the Great defeated the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya.

1779  American Revolution: Samuel Huntington was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding John Jay.

1781  American forces backed by a French fleet began the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, during the American Revolutionary War

1787  The newly completed United States Constitution was voted on by the U.S. Congress to be sent to the state legislatures for approval.

1791  France became the first European country to emancipate its Jewish population.

1836 Thomas Crapper, English inventor, was born (d. 1910).

1844  Oscar I of Sweden-Norway was crowned king of Sweden.

1864  The International Workingmen’s Association was founded in London.

1868  Battle of Alcolea caused Queen Isabella II of Spain to flee to France.

1889  The first General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter as the distance between two lines on a standard bar of an alloy of platinum with ten percent iridium, measured at the melting point of ice.

1891  Club Atletico Peñarol was founded under the name of Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club.

1899 Premier R.J. (‘King Dick’) Seddon asked Parliament to approve an offer to the British government of a contingent of mounted rifles to fight in Transvaal.

NZ answers Empire's call to arms in South Africa

1901 US television host Ed Sullivan was born (d. 1974).

1916 Peter Finch, English-born Australian actor,was born (d. 1977).

1928  The U.K. Parliament passed the Dangerous Drugs Act outlawingcannabis.

1928  Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mould growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

1934 French model and actress Brigtte Bardot was born.

1939 – Warsaw surrendered to Nazi Germany.

1944  Soviet Army troops liberated Klooga concentration camp in Estonia.

1946 English singer Helen Shapiro was born

1958  France ratified a new Constitution of France

1961 A military coup in Damascus effectively ended the United Arab Republic, the union between Egypt and Syria.

1962  The Paddington tram depot fire destroyed 65 trams in Brisbane.

1971  The British government passed the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971banning the medicinal use of cannabis.

1973  The ITT Building in New York City was bombed in protest at ITT’s alleged involvement in the September 11 coup d’état in Chile.

1975  The Spaghetti House siege, in which nine people were taken hostage, took place in London.

1987  The beginning of the Palestinian civil disobedience uprising, “TheFirst Intifada” against the Israeli occupation.

1994  The car ferry MS Estonia sank in the Baltic Sea, killing 852 people.

1995  Bob Denard and a group of mercenaries took the islands of Comoros in a coup.

2000  Al-Aqsa Intifada: Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

2008  SpaceX launched the first ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1into orbit.

2009 The military junta leading Guinea, headed by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, sexually assaulted, killed and wounded protesters during a protest rally in the Stade du 28 Septembre.

2012 – Somali and African Union forces launched a coordinated assaulton the Somali port city of Kismayo to take back the city from al-Shabaab militants.

2012 – A Dornier Do 228 light aircraft crashed on the outskirts of the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, killing 19 people.

2014 – Hong Kong protests : Benny Tai announced that Occupy Central was launched as Hong Kong’s government headquarters was being occupied by thousands of protesters. Hong Kong police resorted to tear gas to disperse protesters but thousands remained.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


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