366 days of gratitude

March 14, 2016

A sore throat (the second this year and it’s only March) and disturbed sleep, left me decidedly unready to get up at the normal time this morning.

My farmer suggested I stayed in bed and I did.

When I woke two hours later the throat was still sore but I was feeling much more ready to face the day.

Today I’m grateful for the opportunity for extra sleep.


Word of the day

March 14, 2016

Soothly – in truth; truly.


Rural round-up

March 14, 2016

Shearers sharing their skills – Sally Rae:

Ryan MacLean came to New Zealand last year “to learn how to shear a sheep and grow grass”.

The young Scotsman arrived in October to work for a Napier-based shearing contractor before heading south in January to work for Warren White, of Waimate Shearing.

From a sheep and beef farm, Mr MacLean (20) has always wanted to be a farmer and he also enjoyed shearing.

The aim of his New Zealand trip was to increase his tally. . . 

Why farmers pay higher interest on loans – Stephen Franks:

Specialist farm lending can be very profitable. Competition does not seem to wipe out the premium farmers tend to pay compared to other mortgage lending. It has puzzled economists from time to time.

Andrew Little’s stupid threats reported on Stuff this morning remind me why good farmers pay too much for their mortgages. I suspect he has just helped ensure more years of super-profits for farm lenders.

I’ve seen no recent study, but the farm sector interest margin was estimated to average over half a percent over many years when I was a lawyer for various farm financing institutions and a director of Wrightson and its finance company arm. . . 

Fonterra ‘needs to be good corporate citizen’ – agribusiness professor:

Waikato University professor of agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth says farmers are concerned about the way Fonterra is treating the suppliers. Prof Rowarth says the farmers want their co-operative to be a good corporate citizen.

There have been suggestions that by cutting supply costs, Fonterra will be able to fund additional interest-free loans for farmers.

“This is ridiculous. Farmers do not want an interest-free loan,” says Prof Rowarth. “They want Fonterra to do a good job as a corporate citizen, as a marketing and processing arm, for its good product.” . . 

No Bailouts – Offsetting Behaviour:

Low dairy prices bite harder in New Zealand than elsewhere; dairy is a bigger part of our economy than it is elsewhere.

And so pressure for bailouts is potentially larger here than elsewhere. And so today’s “Things I love about New Zealand”: our Finance Minister’s response to dairy prices: . . 

Riding the milk roller coaster:

Dairy farmers are being urged to take a second look at their budgets against the background of a plummeting payout.

Fonterra now is forecasting a $3.90 payout per kg of milksolids, $1.75 below the average cost of production, and there’s fears that next season may be just as bad.

Farmers, who have already gone through their budgets to make savings, are being urged to get together with one another and farm consultants, to see what else they can trim.

Dairy farmers who move now stand more of a chance of riding out the milk roller coaster’s latest descent further into the trough, said Hayden Dillon New Zealand’s head of corporate agribusiness for accounting and advisory firm Crowe Horwath. . .

Predicted Growth Will Provide Challenges for Marlborough Wine Industry:

The Marlborough wine industry is so optimistic about the future that predictions are for an increase in producing vineyards of nearly 25 percent in the next four years.

But with that growth will come challenges, according to a Wine Marlborough, New Zealand Winegrowers, and Marlborough District Council labour market survey.

Undertaken last year, the survey shows that the industry is set to grow by 6,444 hectares by 2019/2020. Currently Marlborough has a total production area of 23,619 hectares, the predicted growth will take those productive hectares up to 29,270 – a 24 percent increase. . . 

Fourth Grand Finalist Confirmed in FMG Young Farmer of the Year:

Tony Dowman is the fourth Grand Finalist to be named in the 2016 FMG Young Farmer of the Year.

Tony is a 30 year old Farm Business Manager who took first place at the East Coast Regional Final in Dannevirke on 12 March.

Mr Dowman went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from FMG, Massey University, Ravensdown, Meridian Energy, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, STIHL and Vodafone. Tony also won the Massey University Agri-growth Challenge, Silver Fern Farms Agri-sports Challenge and the Ravensdown Agri-Skills Challenge.

The last time Tony competed in the Contest was in 2012. . . 


Farmers don’t want return to subsidies

March 14, 2016

Finance Minister Bill English has ruled out a Government bailout for struggling farmers to prevent widespread foreclosures.

“The Government has in place a system for dealing with hardship because you are going to see, for a small number of dairy farming families, some real distress.”

That is appropriate, a bailout isn’t.

The Government’s role was to provide a stable framework, such as low interest rates and favourable changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA), he said.

The dairy downturn is a short term problem. A stable framework provides a long term foundation which enables businesses to survive and prosper.

“If the opposition want to support the dairy industry they should vote for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and the changes in the RMA.” . . 

These won’t alleviate the short term pain of the low milk price but they will improve the medium to long term outlook.

Opposition MPs have other ideas:

Labour leader Andrew Little has called for banks to be “stiff armed” into not forcing dairy farmers off their land, warning that could see more farms fall into overseas ownership.

That is the sort of irresponsible and stupid behaviour you might expect in a banana republic.

Banks and farms are private businesses and government has no business meddling in them.

Some farms were subject to forced sales when the milk payout was above $8.

There will be some now it is so low but that is a matter to be sorted out by the banks, the farmers and their advisers.

His call came amid calculations by the Reserve Bank that in a worst case scenario up to 15 per cent of the $40 billion in dairy farm debt – equivalent to more than $5 billion – could be lost to the banks. . . 

That is very much a worst cast scenario.

Predictions in the mid to late 1980s that large numbers of farmers would be forced off their farms were wrong.

Banks knew that a flood of forced sales would depress land and stock values, further eroding equity and making the situation worse for lenders and borrowers.

That hasn’t changed.

A few of the worst cases will end in forced sales and those businesses which haven’t already acted to reduce costs and/or find other income will be on a very tight rein.

But banks will be prepared to let most businesses get through this. When, as it will, the milk price improves they will start addressing structural issues with those businesses which have them.

Something that appears to have escaped Little, is that small businesses which service and supply farms are probably more at risk than farms and no-one is suggesting they be bailed out.


Quote of the day

March 14, 2016

Whenever I don’t know whether to fight or not, I fight. –  Emily Murphy who was born on this day in 1868.


March 14 in history

March 14, 2016

44 BC – Casca and Cassius decided, on the night before the Assassination of Julius Caesar, that Mark Antony should stay alive.

313 – Emperor Jin Huidi was executed by Liu Cong, ruler of the Xiongnu state (Han Zhao).

1381 – Chioggia concluded an alliance with Zadar and Trogir against Venice.

1489 – The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sold her kingdom to Venice.

1590 Battle of Ivry: Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots defeated the forces of the Catholic League under the Duc de Mayenne during the French Wars of Religion.

1647 Thirty Years’ War: Bavaria, Cologne, France and Sweden signed the Truce of Ulm.

1681 – Georg Philipp Telemann, German composer, was born (d. 1767).

1757 Admiral John Byng was executed by firing squad, on-board the HMS Monarch, for neglecting his duty.

1794 Eli Whitney was granted a patent for the cotton gin.

1804 – Johann Strauss, Sr., Austrian composer, was born (d. 1849).

1833 – Lucy Hobbs Taylor, first female dentist in the United States, was born (d. 1910).

1844 – King Umberto I of Italy, was born (d. 1900).

1864 – Casey Jones, American railroad engineer, was born (d. 1900).

1868 – Emily Murphy, Canadian women’s rights activist, first female magistrate in the British Empire, was born (d 1933).

1869 – Defeat of Titokowaru.

Von Tempsky's death Kennett Watkins.jpg

1879 – Albert Einstein, German-born physicist, Nobel Prize laureate, was born (d. 1955).

1900 The Gold Standard Act was ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.

1903 The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, was ratified by the United States Senate.

1905 Chelsea Football Club was founded.

1910 Lakeview Gusher, the largest U.S. oil well gusher near Bakersfield, California, vented to atmosphere.

1914 – Bill Owen, British actor, was born (d. 1999).

1915 Cornered off the coast of Chile by the Royal Navy after fleeing theBattle of the Falkland Islands, the German light cruiser SMS Dresden was abandoned and scuttled by her crew.

1933 – Sir Michael Caine, British actor, was born.

1936 – Sir Bob Charles, New Zealand golfer, was born.

1939 Slovakia declared independence under German pressure.

1942  Orvan Hess and John Bumstead became the first in the world to successfully treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.

1945 World War II – The R.A.F. first operational use of the Grand Slam bomb, Bielefeld, Germany.

1945 – Walter Parazaider, American saxophonist (Chicago), was born.

1947 – Pam Ayres, British poet, was born.

1948 – Billy Crystal, American actor and comedian, was born.

1951  Korean War: For the second time, United Nations troops recaptured Seoul.

1958 – Albert II, Prince of Monaco, was born.

1964  A jury in Dallas, Texas found Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, assassin of John F. Kennedy.

1968 – Megan Follows, Canadian actress, was born.

1972  Italian publisher and former partisan Giangiacomo Feltrinelli was killed by an explosion.

1976 – Daniel Gillies, Canadian born New Zealand actor, was born.

1978  The Israeli Defense Force invades and occupies southern Lebanon, in Operation Litani.

1979 A Hawker Siddeley Trident crashed into a factory near Beijing, killing at least 200.

1980 Split Enz reached No 1 with I Got You from their True Colours  album.

Split Enz hit No.1 with 'I got you'

1980 A plane crashesd during final approach near Warsaw killing 87 people, including a 14-man American boxing team.

1984 – Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Féin, was seriously wounded in an assassination attempt.

1989 General Michel Aoun declared that he will act for the liberation of Lebanon.

1994 Linux kernel version 1.0.0 was released.

1995 Astronaut Norman Thagard became the first American astronaut to ride to space on-board a Russian launch vehicle.

1998 An earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit southeastern Iran.

2005 Cedar Revolution: hundreds of thousands of Lebanese went into the streets of Beirut to demonstrate against the Syrian military presence in Lebanon and against the government.

2007 – The Left Front government of West Bengal sent at least 3,000 police to Nandigram in an attempt to break Bhumi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee resistance there; the resulting clash left 14 dead.

2008 – A series of riots, protests, and demonstrations erupted in Lhasa and elsewhere in Tibet.

2012 – The International Criminal Court in The Hague issued its first verdict in the case of Prosecutor vs. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. At issue was the military use of children. Unanimously, the Trial Chamber, led by Sir Adrian Fulford, found Lubanga guilty of the war crime of conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 and using them in his rebel army The Union of Congolese Patriots.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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