Rural round-up

Andrew Hoggard’s address to the Dairy Council at Federated Farmers’ National Conference, Wellington June 20, 2017:

As my three years being your dairy Industry chair comes to end, it is worth reflecting on what a rollercoaster ride the last three years have been for me. 
For the first two years it was mainly a huge focus around the downturn in prices with all the various attacks on dairy coming a close second, and this last year with prices thankfully recovering, the critics of dairy in particular and agriculture in general have really cranked things up.
The pressure isn’t just happening here in New Zealand, but it is a worldwide thing in the developed world, at my recent International dairy federation meeting we spent a quite a bit of time on the anti-dairy movement. 
The nuances are different in each country, but by and large it revolves around the animal welfare aspects, and the environmental aspects. Often the two are linked with the vegans pushing the animal rights side, pointing to the co-benefit of in their mind of saving the planet by going vegan.
 Likewise, the environmentalists will point out that we don’t need animal based agriculture anyway, as you can get all the nutrition you need from lentils, mung beans, and tofu. 
It is also not just the traditional hippy type activist’s that want to tell us how to farm us well.  . . 

Big sky thinking needed on meat and wool:

It’s time for “big sky forward thinking” on the cost, marketing and competition challenges facing the New Zealand meat and wool sectors, Rick Powdrell says.

In his final address as Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Industry Chairman, Mr Powdrell told delegates to the Feds’ national conference in Wellington today that tinkering at the edges of change are not going to cut it.

Complex ownership and marketing structures make achieving agreed national strategies very difficult, but in the face of “profitability squeezed at all levels”, and in the case of meat the future threat of synthetic protein, boldness and open discussion were more important than ever. . . 

Tap turned ‘on’ for Gisborne water recharge project:

A trial project to recharge the Makauri aquifer near Gisborne and deliver an economic boost to the region has been officially started by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today.

“This aquifer is crucial to the local economy but water availability is a major issue. Lack of water is holding back the further development of arable and horticultural industries which would mean more jobs and exports,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Call for New Zealand nominations for 2017 agribusiness leadership awards:

Nominations are being sought for the 2017 Rabobank Leadership Awards, recognising outstanding leadership among both accomplished and up-and-coming leaders in New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

The two peer-nominated annual awards – the Rabobank Leadership Award and the Rabobank Emerging Leader Award – are among the industry’s most highly-regarded accolades, acknowledging the critical contribution of good leadership to the success of the food and agribusiness sector. . . 

NZ warned about relying on whole milk powder:

Keith Woodford, honorary professor of agri-food systems at Lincoln University, said whole milk powder was mainly used by developing countries, and once they became more established, demand fell away.

Whole milk powder is one New Zealand’s biggest exports. In the year to March, whole milk exports were worth nearly $4.8 billion – more than a third of dairy export earnings.

More than 1.3 million tonnes of the product was sent overseas in the year to June 2016, AgriHQ figures show.

“I don’t think we’ve quite recognised in New Zealand the extent to which we’ve developed our industry focused toward a product which is used by countries while they’re developing rather than when they are fully developed,” Mr Woodford said. . . 

The green grass of Taranaki – Keith Woodford:

In early June, I made a quick trip to Taranaki to talk to the Rural Business Network, which is a mix of farmers and rural professionals. For me, the trip brought back many memories.

As a South Islander for much of my life, it was wonderful to see the lush green grass growing nicely even in winter, and to be reminded of the benefits of free-draining volcanic soils. And then to look up to snowclad Mt Taranaki, which was the very first mountain of any significance that I climbed while still a schoolboy. 

It was also in Taranaki, some 51 years ago, and as a city boy coming then from Wellington, that I first milked cows. My boss was Murray Scown who, with his wife, was sharemilking on the coast near Manaia. . . 

Creating a life outside the wire in horticulture:

Horticulture New Zealand national seasonal labour coordinator Jerf van Beek today told a breakfast function in Wellington, hosted by Corrections Minister Louise Upston and the Corrections Department, about the rewards of helping former offenders into permanent work.

In July last year, Horticulture New Zealand signed a memorandum of understanding with Corrections to enable Hawke’s Bay growers to employ people coming out of Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison.

“In addition to working for Horticulture New Zealand, I’m a Hawke’s Bay cherry grower who, with my wife and a group of mates, have volunteered to help at the local Hawke’s Bay prison for the past 13 years,” van Beek says. . 

MyApiary Takes Out Four Innovation Awards at Fieldays 2017:

The team from MyApiary certainly had something to be buzzing about last week, receiving four awards at the Fieldays 2017 Innovation Awards. The accolade comes at an opportune time for the Hamilton based smart tech company that is just launching its software product for commercial beekeepers.

Co-Founders Darren Bainbridge and Carl Vink along with marketing intern Steph Fankhauser were presented with the awards during the Fieldays Innovation Awards presentation breakfast on Thursday last week. With over 80 entries and a total of 10 awards on offer, the MyApiary team managed a solid performance. . . 

Biosecurity Key to Growth of Aquaculture Industry:

Front-footing biosecurity was the key focus of a recent workshop attended by more than 30 aquaculture operators, iwi and researchers from around the Bay of Plenty and New Zealand.

Facilitated by the Bay of Connections Regional Aquaculture Organisation (RAO), the workshop was held to formulate a more proactive approach to managing biosecurity risks and issues, including managing the risks fanworm and infestations on the region’s wharfs and waters. . . 

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