Rural round-up

Merino work recognised – Sally Rae:

Bill Gibson, the elder statesman of the merino industry, has been recognised for his vast contribution to the breed.

Mr Gibson, who lives in Wanaka, was presented with the Heather Perriam Memorial Trophy at the Otago Merino Association’s recent merino excellence awards in Queenstown.

In presenting the award, Mrs Perriam’s husband John said it was a privilege to present the trophy to someone who was deserving of it “in every possible way”. . . 

Double-header for Ginger at the sheep dog trials – Hamish MacLean:

It has been a big week for Omarama farmer Ginger Anderson.

Not only did the 70-year-old win the short head and yard national title with Don at the New Zealand dog trial championships at Omarama on Saturday, but he was also named a life member of the New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association.

Now a four-time national champion, the 15th life member of the association, who for 12 years served on the judging panel, had no plans on ending his days of competing in the sport. . . 

Farmers satisfied with banks but pressure building for some:

Farmers overall remain satisfied with their banks, but pressure is building and sharemilkers are feeling it most a Federated Farmers survey has revealed.

The Federated Farmers Banking Survey, which is undertaken quarterly to gauge the relationship farmers hold with their banks, has indicated that perceptions about ‘undue pressure’ have gradually built.

Federated Farmers Dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard says that it comes at no surprise considering the current environment.

“Despite sharemilkers being particularly exposed at present bank satisfaction remains strong overall.” . . 

Dual role at Feds for multi-talented farmer:

Federated Farmers newest provincial president Simon Williamson is used to flying high and has taken the reins of both Federated Farmers High Country Industry Group and North Otago Province.

The high country farmer, who also holds a pilot licence and is president of the local jockey club, joined the Federation 13 years ago. He recently took over as Federated Farmers’ High Country Chairman from Chas Todhunter, and at the North Otago provincial Annual General Meeting this week, he was elected provincial president. He replaces Richard Strowger.

Federated Farmers President William Rolleston said: “Simon is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job.” . . 

Speech by Guy Wigley, Chairman of Federated Farmers Arable Industry Group at the Arable Industry Conference in Ashburton:

The past 12 months have been a rollercoaster.  The year started quietly with no biosecurity incursions – life seemed to be dominated by the price of milk – then along came velvetleaf. 

This is not specifically an arable industry weed as it is across all farming types and the arable industry will be able to manage this weed better than most.  However, it highlights how crucial biosecurity is to the wellbeing of our industry and the country as a whole. 

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) has done an outstanding job in its response to the velvetleaf incursion mobilising large numbers of staff from its networks with the aim of eradicating velvetleaf from New Zealand. . . 

Board cut in doubt – Hugh Stringleman:

The 75% yes vote needed for Fonterra’s constitutional changes to governance and representation will be close and might fail to attract sufficient support.  

Fonterra’s area managers have hit the telephones, asking if farmers need any more meetings.  Chairman John Wilson acknowledged many shareholders were uncertain about the change to the voting process.

 “(We) recommend you support the different process as we are very confident it will give the outcomes the co-operative is looking for. . . 

Flood farmers still recovering – Richard Rennie:

Shaun O’Leary’s racehorse did not earn a Melbourne Cup win last November to pay for the damage the June floods inflicted on his property at Whangaehu.  

Nevertheless, O’Leary retains his optimism about horses and farming with a refreshingly optimistic and philosophical mindset.  

The family runs 690ha in the hard-hit Whangaehu Valley southwest of Whanganui, milking 1500 cows on the flats alongside the Whangaehu River. .  .

The economics of butterfly farming:

Karl Rich has been helping to farm an altogether more delicate animal than those usually associated with agribusiness.

The Lincoln University Agribusiness and International Development Associate Professor was recently part of a multi-disciplinary, international group of researchers looking to develop an innovative approach to conservation in India — butterfly farming.

The group wants to aid conservation of butterflies in Western Ghats, “an area with some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world and one threatened by unsustainable agricultural and land use patterns,” Associate Professor Rich says.

He says in developing countries conservation efforts can be very challenging. . . 

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