366 days of gratitude

August 1, 2016

At the start of yesterday’s CANZ (Celebrants Association of New Zealand) workshop we were introduced to a few lines from John O’Donohue’s A Morning Offering  .

The last two verses were both an inspiration and a challenge for the day, and for life in general. *

Even before I was a celebrant I collected poems, readings and any other writing. Since I’ve become a celebrant I’ve become even more of an appreciator and collector.

When I got home I googled John O’Donohue which has enabled me to add some more wise words to my collection and for that I’m grateful.

* (I’ve chosen not to copy them because I’m not sure about the copyright. If you click on the link you’ll be able to read them anyway and you can find more of his writing at johno’donohue.com and goodreads).


Word of the day

August 1, 2016

Finick – to become excessively or affectedly dainty or refined in speech or manner; affect or display extreme daintiness or refinement; put on airs; to trifle; dawdle about.


Rural round-up

August 1, 2016

Farmers check out challenges in Zambia – Sally Rae:

When Nelson Hancox returned home from a trip to Zambia and had to write a brief statement on what he had learnt, it was not a difficult task.

“I wrote, ‘New Zealand’s a great place to do business’,” the Tapanui sheep and beef farmer said.

Mr Hancox recently attended a Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class in Zambia, which attracted 20 farmers from throughout the world and from a diverse range of farming operations.

The week-long programme brought farmers from nine key food and agriculture-producing countries to observe the potential of the Zambian agricultural sector and to discuss the challenges facing local producers. . . 

New regulations on live animal export rules announced:

New rules that will give the Ministry for Primary Industries greater visibility of the welfare of animals being exported from New Zealand will come into force on 25 August 2016, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced today.

“New Zealanders care deeply about the welfare of animals, and this was reflected during the consultation process” says MPI’s Director Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Julie Collins.

“The changes that are being introduced in August will further strengthen New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible exporter of animals and animal products.

They will give early effect to amendments made last year to the Animal Welfare Act 1999 that would have otherwise commenced in May 2020. . . 

Farming initiative the first of its kind for Northland and NZ:

A brand new farming initiative – Extension 350 – is an innovative programme, the first of its kind for New Zealand. Designed to lift on farm performance through improving farm systems and profitability through shared knowledge.

The programme aims to have 350 Northland farms involved in four years and is modelled on having clusters of five farms working together with business advice and direction provided to a Target Farmer by an expert consultant, with that relationship encouraged by a Mentor Farmer. The expectation is that the Target Farmer similarly influences a group of Associated Farmers.

The pilot scheme which ran at Candy Farm in Okaihau from 2011 to 2014 saw local farmers Alister and Lyn Candy make management changes which have resulted in greater resilience and an increase in profits of around $180,000 per annum. . . 

Farmers cooperating to lift performance:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed an innovative programme lifting the performance of 350 Northland farmers through shared knowledge.

“The first year of the Extension 350 programme will see the start of two dairy clusters and one sheep and beef cluster. Each cluster consists of five top performing ‘mentor farmers’ extending their knowledge, advice and direction to a group of five target farmers,” says Mr Guy. 

“These target farmers then interact and influence a surrounding group of five associated farmers, extending the benefits of top performing farm practice from the original target farmer. The farm clusters are supported with farm consultants and other service providers. . . 

War on predators: capture collective wisdom, Trust says

Plant pests must also be a focus

Hawke’s Bay-based conservation group Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust has welcomed the Predator-Free by 2050 initiative announced by the government earlier this week. It says the target is achievable but that success will rely on collaboration and information-sharing on a scale not yet seen in New Zealand conservation circles and that few have dared dream was possible.

“Conservation in New Zealand can no longer be purely the preserve of government agencies,” said Trust Chairman Simon Hall. “The job’s too big, the battle’s too fierce. Landowners and the private sector all have a role to play.

“It’s crucial for the success of this initiative, though, that Predator Free New Zealand Limited is able to harness not just the collective will, but also the expertise developed from decades of trial and error that exists in pockets right across the country.” . . 

Predator Free community fund to boost local conservation efforts:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today welcomed the efforts of a young Taranaki conservationist which will contribute to making New Zealand predator free by 2050.

Ms Barry met with 8 year-old Monte Woodward while visiting New Plymouth on Saturday.

“Monte is to be congratulated. He has worked hard to raise money by running sausage sizzles and washing cars to purchase two traps which will help protect some of our most vulnerable native wildlife from rats, stoats and possums.” Ms Barry says. . . 

Briefing Paper: Mt Pisa, Doc & the Hunting Issue
A tragedy waiting to happen:

Earlier this year, historic Mt Pisa Station closed public access gates that run through its property to the adjacent DOC-managed conservation estate.

It was an action taken by the principals of Mt Pisa – Murray, Jacky and Shane MacMillan – for the purpose of safeguarding unsuspecting recreational users from potential danger and death.

The adjacent Pisa Conservation Area is managed by the Department of Conservation and allows uncontrolled access onto its estate for recreational trampers, trail-bikers … and hunters.

At no stage does it warn recreational trampers, hikers and bikers that armed hunters may be sharing their space. . . 

$30 million cash injection from Ballance rebate:

Results at a glance
Total distribution to shareholders of $30 million ($76 million last year)
Rebate payment of $25 per tonne ($55.83 last year)
Total revenue of $837 million ($893 million last year)
Gross trading result of $35 million ($81 million last year)
Total sales volumes of 1.62 million tonnes (1.75 million last year)
Equity ratio of 81% (80.4% last year)

Farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients is distributing a total of $30 million to farmers this week, returning 87 percent of its 2015/16 $35 million gross trading result to shareholders. . . 

Sustainable Farming Fund open for applications:

The 2017/18 funding round for MPI’s Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) opens today.

“We welcome any groups keen to tackle a shared problem or develop a new opportunity related to the primary industries to apply for the fund,” says Investment Programmes Director Justine Gilliland.

“SFF supports farmers and researchers involved at grass-roots level and each year we receive a very high calibre of project applications.” . . 

Fonterra & LIC Investigating Tech Solution to Improve Farm Performance:

Fonterra and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are teaming up to develop a new online technology solution designed to provide farmers with a view of their operation in one place.

The two farmer-owned Co-operatives are combining resources, knowledge and expertise to look at the best way to bring together a farmer’s milk production and quality data, herd data, pasture data, local weather forecasts and more into one easy-to-use online portal.

Farmers will be able to see their private individual farm information in one place, allowing them to make faster and easier decisions about their farming operation. . . 


Fonterra payout steady

August 1, 2016

Fonterra has announced the forecast milk payout will remain at $4.25 and the  forecast earnings per share range for this season of 50 to 60 cents.

If the company achieves the higher figure it would make a total payout of $4.75 to $4.85. That’s still below break-even for many but given the continuing gloomy outlook for milk it’s not unexpected.

Chairman John Wilson said the solid forecast earnings per share range reflects performance improvements across the business and would be welcomed by farmers. However, with the Farmgate Milk Price forecast remaining at $4.25 per kgMS, it is another financially challenging season for farmers.

“The Co-operative is aware of how tough the situation on farm remains. We are focused on delivering as much cash as possible to our farmers by bringing payments forward while maintaining a strong balance sheet. This forecast is our best estimate at this early stage of the season. We will continue to update our farmers as we move through the season.”

Mr Wilson said the $4.25 Farmgate Milk Price reflects the continuing global uncertainty and the high NZD/USD exchange rate which continues to impact the competiveness of New Zealand dairy exports.

“The recent weakening of the Euro, combined with the continued strength of the New Zealand dollar, has meant a price advantage for European export dairy products.”

“We expect global milk supply and demand to come into balance over the course of this season. Farmers globally are producing less milk in response to lower prices and we are forecasting a three per cent reduction in our New Zealand milk collection for this season.”

Farmers here have seen the signals and have reacted to them. Farmers overseas, protected by subsidies, have been slower to cut production but they too are beginning to face the market, cut their costs and reduce production.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the returns from the ingredients, consumer and foodservice businesses continue to grow in-line with Fonterra’s business strategy to convert more milk into higher returning products.

“We are seeing the benefits of our investments in manufacturing over recent years. We now have more flexibility to make the right products at the least cost, delivering better returns for our farmers’ milk.

“Our good progress in continuing to increase value through our consumer and foodservice businesses, particularly in important markets such as China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Oceania and Latin America, is reflected in the lift in the earnings per share forecast.

“Constantly improving the performance of our business is an absolute priority and puts us in a strong position to create more value for our farmers. We are generating significant improvements and cash benefits through our ongoing business transformation that contribute to both our Farmgate Milk Price and our earnings,” said Mr Spierings.

Commodity sales are bread and butter, added value is the jam and cream which gives better returns and we need more of that.


Quote of the day

August 1, 2016

We travel to learn; and I have never been in any country where they did not do something better than we do it, think some thoughts better than we think, catch some inspiration from heights above our own.  –  Maria Mitchell who was born on this day in 1818.


August 1 in history

August 1, 2016

30 BC Octavian(later known as Augustus) entered Alexandria bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

10BC Claudius, Roman Emperor was born (d. 54).

69 Batavian rebellion: The Batavians in Germania Inferior (Netherlands) revolted under the leadership of Gaius Julius Civilis.

527 Justinian I became the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire.

607  Ono no Imoko was dispatched as envoy to the Sui court in China.

902 Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily, was captured by the Aghlabid army.

1203  Isaac II Angelus, restored Eastern Roman Emperor, declared his sonAlexius IV Angelus co-emperor after pressure from the forces of the Fourth Crusade.

1291  The Swiss Confederation was formed with the signature of theFederal Charter.

1461  Edward IV was crowned king of England.

1498 Christopher Columbus became the first European to visit what is nowVenezuela.

1545 Andrew Melville, Scottish theologian and religious reformer (d. 1622)

1619 First African slaves arrived in Jamestown, Virginia.

1664  The Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Battle of Saint Gotthard by an Austrian army led by Raimondo Montecuccoli, resulting in the Peace of Vasvár.

1774 The element oxygen was discovered for the third (and last) time.

1779 – Francis Scott Key, American lawyer, author, and poet, was born (d. 1843).

1798 French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Nile (Battle of Aboukir Bay)began when a British fleet engaged the French Revolutionary Navy fleet in an unusual night action.

1800  The Act of Union 1800 was passed which merged the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

1818  – Maria Mitchell, American astronomer and academic, was born (d. 1889).

1828 Bolton and Leigh Railway opened to freight traffic.

1831  A new London Bridge opened.

1832  The Black Hawk War ended.

1834  Slavery was abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 came into force.

1838 Non-labourer slaves in most of the British Empire were emancipated.

1840 Labourer slaves in most of the British Empire were emancipated.

1842 Lombard Street Riot erupted.

1855 First ascent of Dufourspitze (Monte Rosa), the second highest summit in the Swiss Alps.

1894 The First Sino-Japanese War began between Japan and China over Korea.

1902 The United States bought the rights to the Panama Canal from France.

1907  Start of First Scout camp on Brownsea Island.

1914 Germany declared war on Russia at the opening of World War I.

1916 Anne Hébert, French Canadian author and poet, was born (d. 2000).

1927 The Nanchang Uprising – the first significant battle in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Communist Party of China. This day is commemorated as the anniversary

1936 Yves Saint Laurent, French fashion designer, was born (d. 2008).

1937  Tito read the resolution “Manifesto of constitutional congress of KPH” to the Croatian Communist Party in woods near Samobor.

1941  The first Jeep was produced.

1942 Jerry Garcia, American musician (The Grateful Dead), was born (d. 1995).

1944  Anne Frank made the last entry in her diary.

1944  Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupation began.

1949 Kurmanbek Bakiyev, President of Kyrgyzstan, was born.

1951 Tommy Bolin, American musician (Deep Purple), was born (d. 1976).

1957  The United States and Canada formed the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).

1959 –  Joe Elliott, English musician (Def Leppard), was born.

1960 – Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declared independence from France.

1964  The Belgian Congo was renamed the Republic of the Congo.

1966 Charles Whitman killed 15 people at The University of Texas before being killed by the police.

1966  Purges of intellectuals and imperialists became official Chinese policy at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.

1967  Israel annexed East Jerusalem.

1968 The coronation of Hassanal Bolkiah, the 29th Sultan of Brunei.

1975  CSCE Final Act created the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

1980  Buttevant Rail Disaster killed 18 and injured dozens of train passengers.

1981 MTV began broadcasting in the United States and aired its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

1987 Maori became an official language in New Zealand.

Maori becomes official language

1993  The Great Flood of 1993 in the US Mid-West  peaked.

1995  The first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

1996  Michael Johnson broke the 200m world record by 0.30 seconds with a time of 19.32 seconds at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

2001 – Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore had a Ten Commandments monument installed in the judiciary building, leading to alawsuit to have it removed and his own removal from office.

2004  A supermarket fire killed 396 people and injured 500 in Asunción, Paraguay.

2007  The I-35W Mississippi River Bridge collapsed during the evening rush hour.

2008 – Eleven mountaineers from international expeditions died on K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth in the worst single accident in the history of K2 mountaineering.

2010  – Convention on Cluster Munitions entered into force.

2014  – Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence entered into force.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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