Word of the day

September 11, 2017

Omperlodge –  to disagree with or contradict someone.

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Rural round-up

September 11, 2017

Mt Albert Grammar School’s state-of-the-art agriculture centre hopes to attract urban students – Joel Kulasingham:

City kid Fatima Imran moved to New Zealand from Dubai, but now loves agricultural studies and is inspired to pursue a career in the sector – all because of her school’s farm.

Imran, 17, is a Year 12 student at Auckland’s Mt Albert Grammar School. Despite being situated in the heart of the country’s largest city, the school has a 9ha farm, and will today turn the first sod for a new multi-million dollar agri-food centre on the site.

It will aim to bridge the agricultural divide between rural and urban areas – and get city kids like Imran interested in the sector. . . 

Results to show strategy outcome – Hugh Stringleman:

Equities analysts and investors are keen to know if Fonterra can maintain value-add earnings when paying a higher milk price to its farmer-suppliers.

The dairy giant would announce its 2017 results on Monday, September 25, and was expected to confirm last season’s $6.15/kg milksolids payout to farmers and the 40c/share dividend to farmer-shareholders and unit investors.

There might be room for small increases in the finalised measures of both returns because of the strong dairy market recovery during the past 15 months. . . 

Irrigation course sprouts a bright career:

When William Bragg left school all he wanted to do was work with horses, but he soon realised this passion would not make him a fortune.

Bragg was working on his father’s dairy farm milking and herding cows in Waimate in 2014 when his father heard about a possible job at local irrigation firm Kirk Irrigation and suggested he apply for it.

Bragg, now 25, says he always liked the idea of design and engineering and he had excelled at technical drawing at school. . . 

Why butter prices are at a record high :

Europe is in the throes of a butter shortage.

Rising demand and a decline in milk production has led to a doubling in the price of the dairy spread this year. French bakeries want to raise the price of pastries, brioches and croissants that are dependent on butter, while the chief executive of Arla, the company behind the Anchor and Lurpak dairy brands, last week warned UK consumers that there would not be enough butter at Christmas.

The strains in Europe have global origins. The combination of falling milk output in key producing countries and adverse weather sent the international butter price to a record high in June, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization. . . 

Celebrate agriculture all year long for Canada’s big birthday

We were so impressed with how Canadian agvocates showed up to celebrate our country and our industry on July 1. Even though the hoopla surrounding has since quieted down, let’s keep the positive momentum going by celebrating Canada 150 and Canadian agriculture and food at every opportunity.

1. Start a conversation, share a moment
It could be as simple as sharing your Canadian ag moments in a photo, blog post or video, like Saskatchewan rancher Adrienne Ivey did with her video of a beaver herding cattle or Ontario farmer Sandi Brock’s Sheepishly Me vlog where she shares stories about sheep, family and farming. . . 


Vision based on science and experience

September 11, 2017

David Clark writes:

I also have a Vision…
…of where NZ is going to be taken.

When I was a young fella growing up, all I wanted to do was go farming, just like my Dad, my grandfather before him and my great grandfather who had jumped ship in Thames as an orphan in the early 1870’s. I knew that there was something very special about being able to farm the land and grow food.

Then along came the 1980s and the brutal recession brought on by the changes made the Lange Labour Government. As a teenager I still vividly remember watching Television News coverage of a farmer by the name of Dan Dufty being escorted off his North Waikato farm like so many other families were at the time. I remember the tears running down his face and the anguish in his voice.

I remember worrying about whether that would happen to us, things where pretty tight on our family’s small South Auckland Town Supply dairy farm during this time.

When I left school I was very fortunate to be employed by a family at Orere on their large Sheep and Cattle farm. They demonstrated to me that there was a future in farming if you worked hard and this set me on my course.

I wanted to get ahead and found that by starting a small contracting business, initially as a fencer, with a lot of determination, late nights and early starts I would be on a path to make my own way. There was no O.Es, no leering up. In 1994 my parents and I each sold up our assets in Clevedon and set off for the South Island to take up arable and stock farming in Mid Canterbury.

We started contracting out of necessity to help us fund the development of irrigation on the then dryland farm and in 2010 sold that Contracting run to then fund the installation of Centre Pivot Irrigators that were much more water efficient and resulted in less leaching than the earlier machines.

My wife Jayne and I farm here with our three young sons and my parents still live here on farm. This is our Turangawaewae.

But I sit here, thirty years on from that farmer being dragged off his farm and I wonder, no, I fear we are heading back to those very grim days. In my view we are standing in 1984.

Since I wrote my last article, I have seen overwhelmingly positive feedback who buy into the idea that poor water quality has many causes, urban, rural and industrial. Those many causes have many solutions best worked through on a catchment by catchment, community by community basis.

But sadly I have also seen the hatred and vitriol, and I’ve paid a lot of attention to the policies being proposed or hinted at by Labour and the Greens. I have come to the view that these policies, not in isolation, as a compounding effect will likely result in the biggest drop in agricultural economic confidence since the ‘80s.

A Water Tax levied on irrigation, primarily on the East Coast of the South Island to fund a payment of Koha to Iwi and then pay for waterway restoration across the Nation is inequitable and will be ineffective. There is no correlation between areas of poor water quality and areas of intensive irrigation; in fact quite the reverse applies. The tax will exempt all other farming systems and all urban and industrial takes from municipal supply even though it is very clear that poor water quality is also caused by other activities.

The Greens Nitrogen Tax intends to levy Dairy Farmers initially and other farming types soon after for Nitrate discharge even though other land forms leak Nitrogen, as does the DoC estate, Plantation Forestry and of course the discharges of treated and untreated human effluent and storm water, all of which will be untaxed. The cost of compliance with an Audit Quality Overseer assessment required on every farm, every year would be enormous. The suggestion that funding be used in part to coach farmers on Organics is nonsense.

Overseer was never designed to be used to levy tax and it is not reliable – up to 30% margin of error.

I fully understand that the agricultural sector must work to address water quality issues and I believe that we are already making very good progress with riparian fencing and plantings, upgrading of older irrigators to precision application of water, more targeted fertiliser usage and a major rebuild of farm effluent systems in the last 15 years. We have reduced our calculated Nitrogen loss here by 25% in the last six years. Progress is being made, largely voluntarily, however nationally and certainly in Canterbury, Regional Plans have been introduced to put significant onus on land owners to demonstrate a measurable reduction in agricultural externalities.

Farming under the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan will, is, delivering results for the environment, but it is expensive to make the changes required in our faming systems, taxing more money out of our business will slow the progress that we can make on farm due to cashflow restriction.

An inclusion of all agricultural emissions into an ETS will see us as farmers compete in the International Marketplace with another layer of cost as we compete against produce that is largely directly or indirectly subsidised and will see farmers struggling to compete with the same overseas product in our domestic market. An ETS on Agriculture in NZ will simply move food growing to a less efficient producer elsewhere in the world.

I hear people regularly saying we all must pay our dues to fight climate change, but I note that International Air Travel is excluded from the Kyoto Protocol because of the damage it would do to global tourism. Research and Development is the way to reduce livestock emissions, not Tax.

A Land Tax with an annualised charge levied over the value of an asset is just simply a new tax, not based on productivity or profit, just a tax and in my view a tax of envy. Farms have high asset values and low profitability, the affordability of an annualised charge will further undermine farming, especially in the sheep and beef sectors.

A Capital Gains Tax and its’ necessary partners, Death and Gift Duties will threaten the very core of New Zealand Agriculture, but not only Agriculture, but intergenerational ownership of all types of businesses across New Zealand and will result in more land and productive assets being lost to long-term corporate and offshore ownership.

Many families struggle to meet the cash flow and capital raising requirements of family succession at the time of the intergenerational transaction, which is done at or near to market values. The new generation of farmer invests their own capital and relies on either internal family or external borrowings to then buy out non-farming siblings; help expand the business to accommodate multiple siblings and provide money to buy a house for parents or otherwise fund their care and welfare.

If Government put their hand out for a Capital Gains Tax on the lifetime growth in the value of the asset, then that cash removed by way of a tax would be the very cash that was so badly needed to complete the intergeneration handover. I certainly understand the extreme difficulties caused by Death Duties in years gone by in New Zealand. They were abolished for very good reason.

Capital Gains Tax and Death Duties will make continued family ownership of the farms and businesses, on which New Zealand is built, extremely difficult.

In Argentina death and gift duties stall farms sales. People hold onto land and lease it rather than selling.

In Australia, CTG stalls farm succession and sales.

In my view the most significant policy of this election is Labour’s Employment Relations Policy which hands total control of workplace pay, conditions and terms across all sectors and all skills and puts the Unions in a centre role of negotiation and “Remove the ability for employers to deduct pay from workers taking low level protest action during an industrial dispute” . I would argue that most New Zealanders have a relationship with their employer built on mutual trust and respect and I don’t believe that most Kiwis wish to return to the ‘70s and ‘80s were the Ferries went on strike at the start of the school holidays, the works went out just as the lambs came on in January or Unions went out in sympathy for a workplace scrap going on at the other end of the country.

In my opinion, this election has got nothing whatsoever to do with the House Prices or Swimming in rivers, this election and the campaign of Labour is a desperate attempt by the Trade Unions to seize control of the New Zealand workplace.

At present we are living with an asset bubble, certainly in house prices in the upper North Island and arguably in farmland, this is no different to most Western economies that have binged on cheap and plentiful credit generated by the madness of Quantitative Easing. Arguably it is not the Government’s fault that we have “traded up” our family home, put a boat or overseas holiday or new car “on the house”, or generally lived beyond our means and racked up massive private sector debt secured against the family home.

We are enjoying interest rates well below the recent long run average and a credible statistical correction could easily see cost of borrowing lift from 5% to 8-9%, I’m not convinced that many home owners would not find their financial situation severely compromised by a near doubling of interest rates, nor do I think many farming businesses could stand such a shock.

I fully support the need for our society to have a robust and compassionate Social Welfare system to provide an outstretched helping hand to our fellow man as they go through a vulnerable time, but this must be a based on the principle of a hand up, not a hand out, and for us to be able to provide that compassion, we need to have a robust and stable economy in the first instance.

It is a culmination of all of these policies, not just one in isolation that I believe has the very real potential to create a collapse in economic confidence not seen in New Zealand since the 1980s.

The brutal and stark reality is that even with our business, which is very sound and holds only a very modest level of debt, there is simply not the money to pay these taxes and increased costs. The cumulative total of these taxes will far outweigh the taxable profit of our farm and will leave us cash flow negative and therefore un-bankable.

I don’t know where the Labour Party think the cash will come from, I can assure you it is not under the pillow in a cake tin.

I can very accurately tell you where the money for these taxes and charges will come from. These costs will come straight out of the till of the businesses in our local town that supply us with goods and services. I fear for the future of those business and the families employed by them, I really do. The ‘80s was very tough for service industries as well.

Land and CTG taxes will hit businesses big and small including health professionals like doctors and physiotherapists, shops, hair dressers, and trades people.

Will the people who think these new taxes are a good idea also think paying more for the goods and services these businesses provide is a good idea?

We have already suspended all none urgent expenditure pending the election outcome.

I and many other New Zealand farmers today are proud to have grown the grain for your cereal or toast; multiplied the seeds that were planted by other farmers to grow your vegetables and spuds; raised your tender meat; clipped wool for your warm clothes; produced the milk for your coffee and supported a multitude of local businesses along the way.

The words that resonate with me are those of retired US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack…

“Every one of us that’s not a farmer, is not a farmer because we have farmers. We delegate the responsibility of feeding our families to a relatively small percentage of this country… so the rest of us can be lawyers or doctors… or all the other occupations because we never have to think – Do I actually have to grow the food for my family? No, I go to the grocery store and buy it.”

I am proud to be a farmer, doing what’s right, we are not in the ‘80s, please don’t let us go back…

If you support what I have said, please stand together with me and I would really appreciate you sharing this post.

This vision is built on experience, science and facts not political theory.

A lurch to the left under a Labour-led government would undo much of the good that National’s careful economic management has achieved.


Quote of the day

September 11, 2017

You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty. – Jessica Mitford who was born ont his day in 1917.


September 11 in history

September 11, 2017

1185 Isaac II Angelus killed Stephanus Hagiochristophorites.

1297 Battle of Stirling Bridge: Scots jointly-led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeated the English.

1390  Lithuanian Civil War (1389–1392): the Teutonic Knights began a five-week siege of Vilnius.

1541  Santiago, Chile, was destroyed by indigenous warriors, lead byMichimalonko.

1609  Expulsion order announced against the Moriscos of Valencia; beginning of the expulsion of all Spain‘s Moriscos.

1609  Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan Island.

1649  Siege of Drogheda ended: Oliver Cromwell’s English Parliamentarian troops took the town and executed its garrison.

1697  Battle of Zenta.

1709  Battle of Malplaquet: Great Britain, Netherlands and Austria fight against France.

1758  Battle of Saint Cast: France repelled British invasion during the Souven Year’s War.

1773  The Public Advertiser published a satirical essay titled Rules By Which A Great Empire May Be Reduced To A Small One written by Benjamin Franklin.

1776  British-American peace conference on Staten Island failed to stop nascent American Revolutionary War.

1777  American Revolution: Battle of Brandywine –  British victory in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

1786  The Beginning of the Annapolis Convention.

1792 The Hope Diamond and other French crown jewels were stolen.

1802  France annexed the Kingdom of Piedmont.

1814  War of 1812: The climax of the Battle of Plattsburgh, a major United States victory in the war.

1847 Stephen Foster‘s song, Oh! Susanna, was first performed at a saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1847 – Mary Watson Whitney, American astronomer and academic, was born (d. 1921).

1857  Mormon settlers and Paiutes massacred 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.

1858 First ascent of Dom, the third highest summit in the Pennine Alps.

1860 – James Allan, New Zealand rugby player, All Black, was born (d. 1934).

James Allan.jpg

1862 O. Henry, American writer, was born (d. 1910).

1880 – Four children were killed and 13 adults injured when two rail carriages were blown off the tracks by severe winds on a notoriously exposed part of the Rimutaka Incline railway line.

1885 D. H. Lawrence, English novelist, was born (d. 1930).

1892 Pinto Colvig, voice actor for Goofy, Pluto, and Bozo the Clown, was born (d. 1967).

1893 First conference of the World Parliament of Religions was held.

1897 After months of pursuit, generals of Menelik II of EthiopiacapturedGaki Sherocho, the last king of Kaffa, bringing an end to that ancient kingdom.

1903  The first race at The Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin was held. It is the oldest major speedway in the world.

1906  Mahatma Gandhi coined the term “Satyagraha” to characterize the Non-Violence movement in South Africa.

1914 Australia invaded New Britain, defeating a German contingent at theBattle of Bita Paka.

1916 The Quebec Bridge‘s central span collapsed, killing 11 men.

1917  Ferdinand Marcos, 10th President of the Philippines, was born (d. 1989).

1917  Jessica Mitford, British writer, was born (d. 1996).

1921 Nahalal, the first moshav in Israel, was settled.

1922  The British Mandate of Palestine began.

1922  The Treaty of Kars was ratified in Yerevan, Armenia.

1922   The Sun News-Pictorial was founded in Melbourne.

1928 Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm made the first successful trans-Tasman flight.

First trans-Tasman flight

1932 Franciszek Żwirko and Stanisław Wigura, Polish Challenge 1932 winners, were killed when their RWD 6 airplane crashes into the ground during a storm.

1937 – Queen Paola of Belgium, was born.

1941  Ground was broken for the construction of The Pentagon.

1941  Charles Lindbergh’s Des Moines Speech accusing the British, Jews and the Roosevelt administration of pressing for war with Germany.

1943 – Brian Perkins, New Zealand-English journalist and actor, was born.

1943 Mickey Hart, American drummer (Grateful Dead), was born.

1944  World War II: RAF bombing raid on Darmstadt and the following firestorm killed 11,500.

1945  World War II: Liberation of the Japanese-run POW and civilian internment camp at Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak, by Australian 9th Division forces.

1950 – Anne Dell, Australian biochemist and academic, was born.

1951 – Hugo Porta, Argentinian rugby player, was born.

1956  People to People International was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

1961  Foundation of the World Wildlife Fund.

1961 Hurricane Carla struck the Texas coast .

1968  Air France Flight 1611 crashed off Nice, France, killing 89 passengers and 6 crew.

1970  88 of the hostages from the Dawson’s Field hijackings were released.

1972  Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco, California began regular service.

1973 A coup in Chile headed by General Augusto Pinochet toppled the democratically elected president Salvador Allende.

1974  Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 crashed in Charlotte, North Carolina, killing 69 passengers and two crew.

1977 Jon Buckland, British guitarist (Coldplay), was born.

1978  U.S. President Jimmy Carter, President Anwar Sadat of Egypt, and Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel agreed on the Camp David Accords a framework for peace between Israel and Egypt and a comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

1989  The iron curtain opened between Hungary and Austria.

1992  Hurricane Iniki devastated Hawaii.

1997  NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars.

1997  Scotland voted to establish a devolved parliament, within the United Kingdom.

1997 14 Estonian soldiers drowned in the Kurkse tragedy.

1998  Opening ceremony for the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

2001  The September 11 attacks in the United States.

2003 – The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety came into effect.

2004  Seventeen people were killed when a helicopter crashed in the Aegean Sea – among them were Patriarch Peter VII of Alexandria and bishops of the Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

2005 The Israel completed its unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

2007  Russia tested the largest conventional weapon ever, the Father of all bombs.

2012 – A total of 315 people were killed in two garment factory fires in Pakistan.

2012 – The first day of a series of protests and attacks; in which the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya was attacked, resulting in four deaths, including J. Christopher Stevens, the United States Ambassador to Libya

2013 – A 400 km long Human chain called Catalan Way was organized by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana for the independence of Catalonia.

2015 – A crane collapsed onto the Masjid al-Haram mosque in Saudi Arabia, killing 111 people and injuring 394 others.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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