366 days of gratitude

June 8, 2016

A friend invited me to join Rotary.

She had been very good at supporting me and it was at a time when I had spare time so I accepted.

One thing that had made me cautious about joining had been the weekly commitment to attend meetings, though once I joined I found it wasn’t very difficult.

Besides these days Rotary acknowledges that getting to a meeting each week isn’t practical for many members and irregular attendance is accepted.

Our club now meets only twice a month now anyway, though it happens that for various reasons those second and fourth Wednesdays often don’t suit me.

However, tonight I was able to go to the meeting and was pleased I did.

One of Rotary’s benefits is fellowship. That’s what we all got tonight and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

June 8, 2016

Aflunters – state of confusion or disorder; disarranged; flurry; bustle.


Rural round-up

June 8, 2016

 –  Allan Barber:

Introduction

I gave a presentation recently to a Beef + Lamb Field Day about the meat industry. I briefly reviewed the history of the industry, the impact of certain key events and the influence of politics leading up to the 1985 election. I then gave an appraisal of the present covering the last 30 years, post subsidies, when the sector had to modernise fast; and lastly I took a punt on predicting what might happen in the foreseeable future and how farmers and meat companies might have to adapt to survive and flourish.

For the purpose of presenting these thoughts to interested readers I have divided the presentation into three parts which will be published separately. The first part is a review of the first 100 years and how this period determined the structure of the industry. . .

 – Allan Barber:

Present

Today’s industry has many of the same characteristics as the mid 1980s, but a number of things have changed, mostly for the better.

In my opinion all parts of the meat industry (farmers, processors and exporters) have done a very good job of producing, processing and selling a vast range of products into a big range of markets. Since deregulation and subsidy removal, the sector has had to cope with a significant change in market demand while modernising farming methods and processing plants, achieving functional industrial relations and employment policies, developing more sophisticated products, improving packaging and coping with ever more stringent health and safety, hygiene and biosecurity compliance requirements. . . 

Measuring up – Gerard Hall :

Information is king and it’s turning grass and forages into dollars on Barnhill, an undeveloped hill block in Southland. Gerard Hall reports.

 The costs and benefits of growing feed on a northern Southland farm have come under close scrutiny.  

The decision to invest in pasture cages, monthly cuts and charting the results was an easy one for Guy and Vicki Goodeve who manage Barnhill, a 1019ha undeveloped hill block near Lumsden in Southland.  

Twelve homemade, one-square-metre cages range across six sites specifically chosen to accurately represent the three soil types, aspects (sun and shade), and altitudes on the farm. Each site is nine-metres square and includes a caged control area. The cages were all welded and netted for $1200. Farmer Glen McPhail is contracted to do the pasture cuts using a lawnmower. . . 

Heartland Bank warns dairy farm values could fall 40 percent from peak – Edwin Mitson:

Heartland Bank, the Auckland-based lender, has told investors it is monitoring the dairy sector “with close attention” at a presentation and has warned farm values could fall 40 percent from peak to trough if the downturn continues or worsens beyond current expectations.

Exposure to dairy farmers makes up 8 percent of its total lending book and 17 percent of its net receivables, which is the total money owed to the bank by customers minus amounts the bank accepts will never be repaid and has written off. . . 

NZ and EU agricultural partnership in Vanuatu:

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced a new partnership between the European Union, New Zealand and the Government of Vanuatu, aimed supporting sustainable agricultural development.

“New Zealand and the EU have a strong track record of working together with Pacific Governments to deliver development gains,” Mr McCully says.

“The Partnership we have entered into today will see the EU and New Zealand providing support to Vanuatu’s agricultural sector, and it is a model for further cooperation between the EU and New Zealand in the region. . . 

Forestry contractors focused on new safety laws:

Leading forestry contractors are moving fast to ensure they understand and implement systems for meeting new health and safety laws brought in last month. Under the guidance of their industry association – the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) – forest contractors are being encouraged to attend special workshops on the new legislation around health and safety in forestry workplaces. They have responded in greater numbers than ever before.

Ross Davis, President of FICA, says has they’ve seen a surge in contractor numbers attending new health and safety legislation workshops in Gisborne and Tokoroa. More are expected when the series of regional workshops goes to Balclutha on 16 June and up to Whangarei on 14 July. Contractors are turning out in droves for these events. . . 

5 Truths Every Farmer Needs to Speak – Uptown Farms:

A lot of what is happening in our world of farming is being driven by marketing that happens well after food leaves the farm. Labels are applied, misleading ads are run, misconceptions are often conveniently left to linger in our consumers’ minds.

The marketing done by the food industry is often not concerned with the facts and the common practice now seems to be to repeat these lies until they become truth by perception.

This puts farmers in a unique position. We can make the choice to stand up for fact and reason and sell our product based on its true qualities. . . 

The Search For Tastier Supermarket Tomatoes: A Tale In 3 Acts  – Daniel Charles:

One of my fondest childhood memories is of eating tomatoes. We picked them in the garden and ate them in sandwiches, sitting on a picnic table under the trees outside our house. That juicy, acidic taste is forever lodged in the pleasure centers of my brain.

For anyone with similar memories, supermarket tomatoes are bound to disappoint. Indeed, the classic supermarket tomato — hard, tasteless, sometimes mealy — has inspired countless bitter complaints.

Take a closer look at the tomato display in your local grocery store, though, and you’ll notice some big changes. . . 

Best snow in years – Mt Hutt to open with all lifts:

Canterbury’s Mt Hutt ski area is revelling in the white stuff – with a one-metre pre-season snow base being described as “the best in years”.

Two snowstorms in the past four days have delivered “wall-to-wall” snow across the mountain, leading ski area manager James McKenzie to declare that Mt Hutt is expected to open with all lifts operating on opening day (Friday June 10).

“A one-metre snow base is simply stunning and the best we’ve had pre-season since 2011,” he says.

“We’re so far ahead of where we usually are at this stage of the season, we’re planning to open with all lifts operating including the Triple Chair. . . 

Onus on Spreadmark companies to ensure vehicle certificates are valid:

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) is urging all spreading companies registered with Spreadmark – the industry guarantee programme – to check their vehicle certification status. The call from the Council follows an alert from auditors that companies registered with the Spreadmark scheme may, unknowingly, have trucks or aircraft with expired certificates.

Anders Crofoot, FQC Chairman, says the voluntary nature of the Spreadmark scheme means that companies may not necessarily receive an automatic test reminder and may not discover their vehicle certification is out of date until on or after it expires. . . 


Would you overrule dead’s wishes to not donate?

June 8, 2016

This morning’s Paul Henry poll asks would you overrule a dead family member’s wish to donate their organs?

Of course I wouldn’t and 87% of respondents agree with me.

I am listed as a donor on my driving licence and have discussed this with my family who are happy to abide by that.

If any of my family wanted to be a donor I wouldn’t dream of going against their wishes.

If they hadn’t made their wishes clear then I would be prepared to permit organ donations.

A more troubling scenario would be if I knew they didn’t want to be a donor but their organs could help someone else.

I would really struggle with that decision.

I wouldn’t necessarily follow all a dead family member’s wishes. If he or she wanted a private funeral, for example, I might not keep to their instructions.

Funerals are about the dead but for the living and my preference is, with a very few exceptions, for public celebrations of people’s lives.

Making a decision against someone’s wishes about a funeral like that wouldn’t worry me.

However, the idea of going against someone’s wishes to not donate organs is harder. That thought does trouble me but so too does the idea of failing to make a decision that could make a huge difference to someone else’s quality, and/or length of life.

The poll was prompted by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s announcement of consultation on organ donation.

“Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment and for people with organ failure it’s often the only option available,” says Dr Coleman.

“While we already have many of the elements of an effective organ donation and transplantation service in New Zealand we can do better.

“The consultation document sets out a number of changes which could increase our deceased organ donation rate.

“This includes raising awareness, standardising the way hospitals identify potential donors and how donation is discussed with families.

“A suggestion as to how we could better support the hospital team is to improve the driver licence system so medical staff are informed if someone has indicated they would like to become a donor.”

Demand for transplants in New Zealand, particularly kidneys, continues to rise while our rate of deceased organ donation remains comparatively low at 11.8 donors per million population in 2015.

The Government has invested $8 million in a variety of initiatives aimed at increasing organ donation and transplantation. These included support and education for hospital staff, work to help overcome cultural barriers and donor liaison co-ordinators. 

The consultation document follows a Ministry of Health-led review of deceased organ donation rates. The proposals are based on international best practice, local evidence and advice from an expert advisory group.

You can find out more on the issue and how to make a submission at the Ministry of Health.


Quote of the day

June 8, 2016

Life always rides in strength to victory, not through internationalism… but only through the direct responsibility of the individual. – Frank Lloyd Wright who was born on this day in 1867.


June 8 in history

June 8, 2016

68  The Roman Senate accepted emperor Galba.

793 Vikings raided the abbey at Lindisfarne in Northumbria, commonly accepted as the beginning of the Scandinavian invasion of England.

1191 Richard I arrived in Acre thus beginning his crusade.

1405  Richard le Scrope, Archbishop of York and Thomas Mowbray, Earl of Norfolk, were executed in York on Henry IV’s orders.

1671 Tomaso Albinoni, Italian composer, was born (d. 1751).

1690  Siddi general Yadi Sakat, razed the Mazagon Fort in Mumbai.

1776  American Revolutionary War: Battle of Trois-Rivières – American  attackers were driven back at Trois-Rivières, Quebec.

1783 Laki, in Iceland, began an eight-month eruption which killed over 9,000 people and started a seven-year famine.

1789  James Madison introduced 12 proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in the United States House of Representatives, 10 of which were ratified by the state legislatures and become the Bill of Rights.

1810 Robert Schumann, German composer, was born (d. 1856).

1856 The community of Pitcairn Islands and descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty consisting of 194 people arrived on the Morayshire atNorfolk Island commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.

1862 American Civil War: Battle of Cross Keys – Confederate forces under General Stonewall Jackson saved the Army of Northern Virginia from a Union assault on the James Peninsula led by General George B. McClellan.

1867  Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, was born (d. 1959).

1887  Herman Hollerith received a patent for his punched card calculator.

1906  Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law, authorising the President to restrict the use of certain parcels of public land with historical or conservation value.

1912  Carl Laemmle incorporated  Universal Pictures.

1916 Francis Crick, English molecular biologist; Nobel laureate, was born (d. 2004).

1928 Second Northern Expedition: The National Revolutionary Army captured Peking, (Beijing).

1933 Joan Rivers, American comedian and author, was born.

1934 Millicent Martin, English singer and actress, was born.

1940 Nancy Sinatra, American singer, was born.

1941 World War II: Allies invaded  Syria and Lebanon.

1942 Chuck Negron, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1942  World War II: Japanese imperial submarines I-21 and I-24 shelled the Australian cities of Sydney and Newcastle.

1948 Milton Berle hosted the debut of Texaco Star Theater.

1949 Celebrities Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March,John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson were named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.

1950 Sir Thomas Blamey became the only Australian-born Field Marshal in Australian history.

1953   A tornado hit Flint, Michigan, and killed 115.

1953  The United States Supreme Court ruled that Washington, D..C. restaurants could not refuse to serve black patrons.

1959  The USS Barbero and United States Postal Service attempted the delivery of mail via Missile Mail.

1962 Nick Rhodes, English musician (Duran Duran), was born.

1966 One of the XB-70 Valkyrie prototypes was destroyed in a mid-air collision with a F-104 Starfighter chase plane during a photo shoot. NASA pilot Joseph A. Walker and United States Air Force test pilot Carl Cross were  killed.

1966  Topeka, Kansas was devastated by a tornado that registers as an “F5″ on the Fujita Scale: the first to exceed US$100 million in damages. Sixteen people were killed, hundreds more injured, and thousands of homes damaged or destroyed.

1967  Six-Day War: The USS Liberty incident occurred , killing 34 and wounding 171.

1968  James Earl Ray was arrested for the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr.

1968 – The body of assassinated U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

1974  An F4 tornado struck  Emporia, Kansas,  killing six.

1979 Adine Wilson, New Zealand netball player, was born.

1982 Falklands War: Up to 50 British servicemen were killed in an Argentine air attack on two supply ships – RFA Sir Galahad and RFA Sir Tristram.

1984 Homosexuality was declared legal in New South Wales.

1984 An F5 tornado struck  Barneveld, Wisconsin, killing 9 and injuring 200; 90% of the homes, seventeen out of the eighteen businesses, and the three churches are destroyed.

1986  Kurt Waldheim, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, was elected president of Austria.

1987  The New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act was passed into law, establishing this country as a nuclear and biological weapon-free zone.

New Zealand becomes nuclear free

1992 The first World Ocean Day was celebrated.

1995 Downed U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady was rescued by U.S. Marines in Bosnia.

1995  The first release of the PHP programming language was released byRasmus Lerdorf.

2001  Mamoru Takuma stabbed 8 elementary school pupils to death during the Osaka school massacre.

2007 Newcastle, New South Wales, was hit by the State’s worst storms and flooding in 30 years resulting in the death of nine people and the grounding of trade ship, the MV Pasha Bulker.

2008 The Akihabara massacre: Tomohiro Katō drove a two-ton truck into a crowded pedestrianised area before leaving the truck and attacking people with a knife, killing seven and injuring ten.

2009 – Two American journalists wre found guilty of illegally entering North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of penal labour.

2013 – The Wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill took place in Stockholm, Sweden.

2014 – At least 28 people were killed in an attack on Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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