Rural round-up

 – Allan Barber:

Just when we thought New Zealand was about to enjoy the benefits of several new agreements, not least TPP, the world appears to be growing more and more averse to signing up to trade deals. There is a distinct trend towards self-reliance and protectionism among countries that have up to now been champions of the benefits of free trade, most obviously sizable blocs of voters in the United States, EU and Great Britain exercising their democratic right to protest.

The problem with free trade for disaffected voters is the direct connection with the theories of liberal economics and the rise of capitalism which have dominated the global economy for the last quarter of a century. When the benefits of capitalism were shared, resulting in generally higher prosperity, free trade was seen as a force for good, but in the years since the GFC capitalism has got a bad name, deservedly so in many cases. Economic hardship has not been shared equally – banking directors and executives were responsible for billions of dollars of shareholder losses, but most of them have got away with it and many continue to receive bonuses in spite of the losses. . . 

Sicily a melting pot for food production – Allan Barber:

Sicily has been taken over by the Saracens, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans,  Swabia, Austro-Hungary and Spain, before Garibaldi led the rebellion that led to the unification of Italy under one monarch, Vittorio Emanuele I, in 1861. Each of the occupying powers has brought something different to the food and agricultural produce of this unique island.

The Greeks brought olives, the Romans began wheat growing, bread making and wine production, the Arabs brought spices and invented dried spaghetti, the Normans were responsible for salted cod and the Spanish introduced candied fruit and marzipan, while the Italians have refined bread and pastry baking and wine making. There is no evidence of Swabian or Austro-Hungarian influences, although their occupations were fairly brief. . . 

Wool to take its rightful price – Alan Emerson:

Generally, nothing is as divisive in rural New Zealand as the debate about wool and how to market and promote it.

The possible exception is Merino.  Over the years the debates I’ve reported on and the “new initiatives” I’ve commented on have been legendary.  

It would have been the most soul-destroying, internecine and negative saga of our sector and I can remember back to the great acquisition debate and the rise of the Sheep and Cattlemen’s Association.  

The mistakes farmers or their representatives have made over the years have also cost us dearly. . . 

New season brings a new challenge – Sonita Chandar:

A showjumping career came to an abrupt halt for a Manawatu farmer who has found passion in dairying.

But now, contract milker Renae Flett has the best of both worlds – her new job allows her to keep her horse Giant in the paddock by her house – and she has big plans for the farm and her future.

She is the Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year and now has her sights set on the Share Farmer title. . . 

Cellular ag – Robert Hickson:

A US meat company is now an investor in vegan burgers, and selling them alongside meat patties. That’s just one of the signals pointing to big changes in food production systems in affluent nations.

Lab-grown meat gets the headlines, but burgers made from plant proteins are well ahead of that, and likely to have a much lower yuck factor.

Red meat consumption is trending downward in many western countries, which is an important influencing factor. . . 

Buzzing Blagdon bees have been caught 300m away – Brittany Baker:

The case of the missing swarm has been solved, but the hobbyist beekeeper who lost them has missed out on her pot of gold.

On Monday “two balls of bees” buzzed off from Gina Hartley’s garden.

Hartley, who was wanting to expand her at-home hive collection, turned to Neighbourly and Facebook for help in returning them. . . 

Results of Fonterra Shareholder Voting at Special Meeting:

Fonterra shareholders have supported changes to the Co-operative’s governance and representation model, including a reduced Board and changes to the election process for Farmer Directors.

At today’s Special Meeting in Palmerston North 85.96 per cent of votes were cast in favour of the governance recommendation, sufficient to meet the 75 per cent support required under Fonterra’s Constitution.

The results of the resolutions are:
% in favour
Resolution 1: Governance related amendments to the Constitution and the Shareholders’ Council By-laws 85.96 . . 

Yealands Wine Group puts in largest solar panel installation in New Zealand – Oliver Lewis:

A Marlborough winery has so many solar panels it could power 86 houses.

The Seaview Vineyard winery, owned by the Yealands Wine Group, has a total of 1314 photovoltaic panels across its roof.

The company first had solar panels fitted at its Seddon winery over the course of 2012 and 2013, which at the time was the largest installation in the country before it was surpassed. . . 


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