Word of the day

November 26, 2015

Obtund – dull the sensitivity of; blunt, reduce the edge or violence of; deaden; deprive of sharpness or vigour; make less intense.


Rural round-up

November 26, 2015

Farmers on knife-edge as land dries out:

Evidence of a dry El Nino summer is beginning to be seen in Canterbury, and has farmers worried.

Federated Farmers president William Rolleston said the region is not seeing a lot of rain and the nor’west winds are already drying things out.

Fire restrictions have been put in place for the rural district of Selwyn, as have restrictions on taking water from the Opuha dam. . . 

Opuha Dam at 80% capacity:

Early irrigation restrictions have helped South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam reach 80 percent of its capacity.

But with little rain expected in the coming months, farmers are being warned this summer could be harder than last.

The irrigation water supply from the dam was turned off for the first time in its 17 years of operation last February as a result of the drought. . . 

North Canterbury irrigaition proposal rejected:

Independent Hearing Commissioners appointed by Environment Canterbury have rejected a proposal to take water from a North Canterbury stream for irrigation and power generation.

The Kakapo Brook runs through Glynn Wye Station and co-applicants Rooney Group – owner of the station – and Mainpower proposed taking up to 1600 litres per second, to fill two large storage dams on the farm totaling 1 million cubic metres.

The water would be used for irrigating 500 hectares of the high country property and providing hydropower generation. . . .

Fonterra says 2016 forecast payout tied to dairy prices rising next year – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group has affirmed guidance for the 2016 milk payout to farmers, although chairman John Wilson said it was dependent on global dairy prices rising in the first half of next year from current unsustainable levels.

The world’s largest dairy exporter has forecast a farmgate milk price of $4.60 per kilogram of milk solids and a cash dividend of 35-to-40 cents per share for a total payout of $4.95/kgMS to $5/kgMS. . . .

Fonterra targets doubling of China revenue within five years, Spierings says – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, has set a target of becoming the number one dairy player in China and doubling its business in the country to $10 billion within the next five years.

Speaking at the cooperative’s annual meeting in Waitoa today, chief executive Theo Spierings said the new plan meant China could become 25 percent to 30 percent of total revenue.

When asked whether that would expose the cooperative to too much risk in one country, Spierings said China’s provinces could almost be regarded as countries in their own right. . . 

Results of shareholder voting at Fonterra AGM:

Fonterra shareholders have voted to pass seven of the eleven resolutions at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Resolutions eight, nine, ten and eleven, which were special resolutions put forward by Fonterra shareholders, were not passed. The Board and Shareholders’ Council had earlier recommended that shareholders vote against these resolutions.

The results of the resolutions are:

Resolution result / % in favour

Resolution 1: Approval of remuneration of Directors / 85.32%

Resolution 2: Approval of remuneration of Shareholders’ Council / 83.36% . . .

New technologies a paradigm shift for strong wool:

In a move to improve the returns of New Zealand strong wool growers, Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) has entered into a commercial agreement with to acquire the exclusive global rights to an innovative scour and dying process providing new opportunities for New Zealand strong wool previously only the domain of man-made synthetic fibres.

The two innovative technologies will considerably improve the ‘white and bright’ properties of strong wool, along with colour fastness enhancements that will provide a “paradigm shift” in the demand for end products using strong wool. . . .

Texel Poll Dorset Cross wins Mint Lamb Competition:

Hawarden farmer, and long-time corriedale exhibitor, Andrew Sidey took out the 2015 Mint Lamb Competition at the Canterbury A&P Show on November 11. His texel/poll dorset lamb was judged as the country’s best from paddock to plate.

This year the competition had an overhaul with the overall winner being decided on a combination of yield, tender test and taste results as opposed to just taste alone.

Mr Sidey drafted the lamb himself, and after entering for the past four years, believes that experience helped him take out the win. . . 

2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Awards / Ambassador Chefs to be Announced:

Mark your calendars: The 2016 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award holders will be announced on Tuesday 1 December, alongside five new Beef and Lamb Ambassador Chefs.

The announcement will take place as part of an exclusive 5 course degustation dinner, specially prepared by the five new Ambassador Chefs, on Tuesday December 1 at The James in Auckland.

The 2016 announcement is a special occasion as it marks the 20th anniversary of the Excellence Awards, establishing them as the longest running culinary awards in New Zealand. . . .

Week to Go Til Dairy Awards Entries Close:

There is [less than]a week to go until entries close in the 2016 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, including the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

Entries are being accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close at midnight on November 30.

General Manager Chris Keeping says there have been 360 entries received to date, including 358 who entered in time to be eligible for the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw of $12,000 in travel vouchers and spending money*. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

November 26, 2015

While I’m blogging lighter you’re welcome to pose the questions with no need to follow the five-question formula I used.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual black bun (in honour of St Andrews Day on Monday).

 


Bigger not better for boards

November 26, 2015

Fonterra has acknowledged change in its governance and representation is needed after more than half its shareholders voted for a smaller board:

. . .A total of 53.8 percent of shareholders voted in favour of the resolution put forward by former directors Colin Armer and Greg Gent to cut the board size from 13 to nine directors but it required 75 percent support to get it across the line under the cooperative’s constitution. It also needed support from 50 percent of shareholder councillors.

The resolution was opposed by the board and Shareholders’ Council, who both said a governance review already under way was a better option. Shareholders have been told the review will see an information booklet sent to them early next year, farmer consultations in February, and a May/June vote at a special extraordinary meeting. . . 

The board must deliver on the review:

The proposal to reduce the size of the Fonterra board is one the company can no longer ignore say its proponents, Greg Gent and Colin Armer.

The proposal failed to meet the 75 per cent support required to change the constitution but the level of support is a massive message to the board they say.

“The Trading Amongst Farmers proposal got 66 per cent support with millions spent so we are thrilled with the support we have received.

“Something has to happen now,” said Colin Armer. “The whole thing disappeared three years ago but there is nowhere for the board to hide now.”

“This is a huge success for us,” said Greg Gent. “We had little resources and the company worked hard against us.”

Mr Armer said the big loser in this debate was the Shareholders’ Council.

“The shareholders’ council has been found wanting and totally misread farmers’ views on the subject,” he said. “Their criticism of our proposal was absurd.

“The resurrection of the governance review after three years was a last minute jack-up between the Council and the board which had only one purpose – to defeat our proposal,” said Mr Armer.

He said that the governance review is still inadequate.

“This upcoming review needs independence, experience, and farmer input into its Terms of Reference,” he said. “Right now shareholders don’t know the terms of reference and the review is being conducted by a group that lacks the experience or independence needed to make sure we get the right structures into the future.”

Mr Gent said that he and Mr Armer had achieved what they wanted to.

“While we’d love to have got our proposal over the 75 per cent line we always knew that it was a huge mountain to climb,” he said. “The company has far better resources than us to communicate with its 10,000 shareholders.”

In spite of the result the pair are confident that the governance review will not be shelved for another three years. However they are not so sure that the review will result in a smaller board of directors.

“We will need to wait and see about that,” said Mr Armer. . . 

Bigger isn’t usually better for boards.

I am on one with 10 members and meetings always work better when at least a couple are absent.

That isn’t a reflection on the absentees, it’s not who isn’t there but that having fewer round the table almost always results in a more efficient and productive meeting.

Fonterra is a big company but it doesn’t need 13 directors to function well and would work better with fewer.


Quote of the day

November 26, 2015

Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. – Charles M. Schulz who was born on this day in 1922.


November 26 in history

November 26, 2015

43 BC – The Second Triumvirate alliance of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (“Octavian”, later “Caesar Augustus”), Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Mark Antony was formed.

783 – The Asturian queen Adosinda was put up in a monastery to prevent her kin from retaking the throne from Mauregatus.

1476 – Vlad III Dracula defeated Basarab Laiota with the help of Stephen the Great and Stephen V Bathory and becomes the ruler of Wallachia for the third time.

1731 William Cowper, English poet, was born (d. 1800).

1778 –  Captain James Cook became the first European to visit Maui.

1789 – A national Thanksgiving Day was observed in the United States.

1805 – Official opening of Thomas Telford’s Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

1832 – Mary Edwards Walker, American surgeon and activist, Medal of Honor recipient, was born (d. 1919).

1842 – The University of Notre Dame was founded.

1863 – American Civil War: Mine Run – Union forces under General George Meade positioned against troops led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

1865 – Battle of Papudo: The Spanish navy engaged a combined Peruvian-Chilean fleet north of Valparaiso, Chile.

1869  – Maud of Wales was born (d. 1938).

1876  Willis Carrier, American engineer and inventor (air conditioning), was born  (d. 1950).

1895 Bill Wilson, American co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, was born (d. 1971).

1918 – The Podgorica Assembly voted for “union of the people”, declaring assimilation into the Kingdom of Serbia.

1922 – Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years.

1922 Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, was born (d. 2000).

1922 – Toll of the Sea debuted as the first general release film to use two-tone Technicolor (The Gulf Between was the first film to do so but it was not widely distributed).

1923  Pat Phoenix, English actress, was born.

1924 – George Segal, American Pop Sculptor, was born (d. 2000).

1939 – Shelling of Mainila: The Soviet Army orchestrated the incident which was used to justify the start of the Winter War with Finland four days later.

1939 –  Tina Turner, American singer and actress, was born (d. 1986).

1942 – World War II: Yugoslav Partisans convened the first meeting of theAnti-Fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia.

1944 – World War II: A German V-2 rocket hit a Woolworth’s shop on New Cross High Street killing 168 shoppers.

1944 – World War II: Germany began V-1 and V-2 attacks on Antwerp.

1949 – The Indian Constituent Assembly adopted India’s constitutionpresented by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

1950 – Korean War: Troops from China launch a massive counterattacked against South Korean and United Nations forces (Battle of the Ch’ongch’on River and Battle of Chosin Reservoir), ending any hopes of a quick end to the conflict.

1960 – The National Party, led by Keith Holyoake, defeated Walter Nash’s one-term Labour government. Holyoake went on to become the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister.

'Kiwi Keith' begins 12-year reign as PM

1965 – In the Hammaguir launch facility in the Sahara Desert, France launched a Diamant-A rocket with its first satellite, Asterix-1 on board, becoming the third country to enter outer space.

1968 – Vietnam War: United States Air Force helicopter pilot James P. Fleming rescued an Army Special Forces unit pinned down by Viet Cong fire and was later awarded the Medal of Honor.

1970 – In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, 1.5 inches (38.1 mm) of rain fell in a minute, the heaviest rainfall ever recorded.

1977 – ‘Vrillon’, claiming to be the representative of the ‘Ashtar Galactic Command’, took over Britain’s Southern Television for six minutes.

1983 – Brink’s-MAT robbery: In London, 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million were stolen from the Brink’s-MAT vault at Heathrow Airport.

1990 – The Delta II rocket made its maiden flight.

1998 – Tony Blair became the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to address the Republic of Ireland’s parliament.

2003 – Concorde made its final flight, over Bristol.

2004 – Ruzhou School massacre: a man stabbed and killed eight people and seriously wounded another four in a school dormitory in Ruzhou, China.

2004 – Male Po’ouli (Black-faced honeycreeper) died of Avian malaria in the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, Hawaii before it could breed, making the species in all probability extinct.

2008 – The first of 10 co-ordinated attacks on Mumbai by Pakistan-based terrorists were fired.

2011 –  NATO forces in Afghanistan attacked a Pakistani checkpost in a friendly fire incident, killing 24 soldiers and wounding 13 others.

2012 – Aam Aadmi Party Indian political party formally started.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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