365 days of gratitude

March 2, 2018

The phone rang, showing a number I didn’t recognise.

We got past the introductory pleasantries then on to the business – someone had suggested I would be a good candidate for a vacancy on a board, would I be interested?

I said thanks but no thanks – I really didn’t think it was a good match for my skills.

But being asked gave me a wee boost and I’m grateful for that.


Word of the day

March 2, 2018

Physis  – nature; the principle of growth or change in nature;
nature as the source of growth or change; something that grows, becomes, or develops; the translucent, cartilaginous disc separating the epiphysis from the metaphysis which is responsible for longitudinal growth of long bones.


Get job title right on census

March 2, 2018

DairyNZ points out the importance of getting job titles right on the census:

The census is our best opportunity to find out exactly how many people are working on dairy farms and in what roles. This is critical information that DairyNZ and government need so we can work together on things such as immigration policy, industry training, and ensuring we have capable people in the pipeline to do the work you need doing on your farm.

When you are filling in your census form on or before the 6th March PLEASE use one of the following job roles, and encourage your employees to do the same. Use the one that is the closest fit to the role you actually do. It will make a difference to us effectively working on your behalf. The job roles are:

  • Dairy Farm Assistant
  • Dairy Farm Herd Manager
  • Dairy Farm Assistant Manager
  • Dairy Farm Manager
  • Dairy Farm Owner
  • Sharemilker
  • Contract Milker
  • Relief Milker
  • Dairy Cattle Grazier


Friday’s answers

March 2, 2018

Thank you to Teletext who posed Thursday’s questions and can claim a virtual case of mixed stone fruit for stumping us all by leaving the answers below.


Rural round-up

March 2, 2018

Paving the way for better wool returns – Peter McDonald:

Is another “wool boom” on its way?

Well that’s a bold question to ask considering the prices we are receiving at this present time for our crossbred wool. If we can park the present and try to look to the future we may find some green shoots of optimism regarding wool.

I’m not going to list off wool’s attributes as most reading this column fully understand them and to a large degree here lies the problem. We know these attributes well but an entire generation of consumers has lost the connection with wool as a fibre. These characteristics I believe should be more relevant in the near future to connected modern consumers who are highly choice savvy.

Why am I optimistic? A growing global movement is expanding rapidly around fixing plastic pollution in our oceans. David Attenborough’s appeal through emotive images has placed the plastic catastrophe in our oceans directly into millions of living rooms. . . 

Record export lamb prices nudge terms of trade to new high:

Record export lamb and butter prices helped boost New Zealand’s terms of trade by 0.8 percent in the December 2017 quarter, to another new high, Stats NZ said today.

Export meat prices rose 7.5 percent in the December 2017 quarter, mainly reflecting high lamb prices (up 12 percent).

Total export prices rose 4.9 percent, with dairy and forestry prices also contributing to the rise. . . 

South Canterbury arable farmers lose $30m from stubble-burn ban – Pat Deavoll:

A fire ban and wet autumn and winter may have cost Mid and South Canterbury’s arable farmers more than $30 million, with several of them showing losses of more than $500,000. 

“I think the $30m loss is true, I’ve done the same calculations. It’s cost me a considerable amount of money,” said Federated Farmers arable industry group Guy Wigley, who farms at Waimate.

Wigley said every week of autumn planting which had been delayed had cost him about a quarter of a tonne of yield . . 

Call for farmers to report high-risk animal purchases:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) urges dairy or beef farmers who believe they may have animals that could be at high risk for Mycoplasma bovis infection to make contact immediately.

The Ministry’s Director of Response, Geoff Gwyn, says MPI is accelerating its tracing and surveillance programme so that a decision whether to proceed with eradication can be made as soon as possible.

“Right now, we need to hear from any farmers who have bought cows and calves or milk for calf feed from farms that have been publicly identified as infected. . . 

Farmers must voice concerns – Neal Wallace:

The chairman-elect of Beef + Lamb New Zealand is a Southlander who believes farming should not shy away from challenges or debate. He brought Neal Wallace up to date on what to expect when he takes over from James Parsons.

Andrew Morrison never intended having an involvement in farmer politics until he was drawn to make submissions on regional and district council plans.

Fearing councils could take control of riparian margins and strips and restrict cultivation on flood plains, Morrison lobbied to preserve landowners’ property rights and soon found himself involved with Federated Farmers.

It was an apprenticeship that taught him plenty and ultimately led to him being chairman-elect of Beef + Lamb New Zealand. . . 

High venison prices no big deal – Annette Scott:

European importers are starting to baulk at high New Zealand venison prices but it’s not a major concern – yet, Deer Industry NZ marketing manager Nick Taylor says.

“They are coming over here to negotiate export contracts saying it is very expensive but can we have some more.

“They still want it and they are still buying,” Taylor said.

But some importers are going home empty-handed, reluctant to pay the price some others, both from the United States and the European Union, are paying. . .

 

Richie McCaw’s flying milk run:

Fonterra provided nearly 20 million packs of milk free to 145,000 primary school students last year as part of its Milk for Schools scheme, now in its fifth year.

At the 2012 launch, 119 schools joined and last year 1431 schools took part.

To mark the fifth year, former All Black captain Richie McCaw will fly special helicopter milk runs to schools.

He will visit four schools selected from online entries saying why he should visit. Where possible, he will fly in to deliver milk. Local farmers will also be part of the visit. . .

Fonterra set to make further gains in global market with new Bangladesh partnership:

Fonterra is breaking new ground in South Asia’s rapidly growing dairy market, with the signing of a new distribution agreement that will make Anchor available to millions more consumers in Bangladesh. The deal is part of the Co-operative’s ongoing efforts to win in key overseas markets, by spreading the goodness of dairy nutrition.

The population of Bangladesh has grown by more than 10 per cent in the last 10 years reaching over 160 million people and it now makes up over two per cent of the world’s total population.  Matched by strong economic growth, consumers in Bangladesh are looking for affordable healthy nutrition options, such as high-quality dairy. 

Fonterra’s Managing Director of Sri Lanka and Indian Subcontinent, Sunil Sethi said Anchor is well placed to drive growth, while improving the wellbeing of Bangladeshis. . .

Joint venture company commences operations in Rolleston:

Pure Nutrition Ltd (PNL) the joint venture company formed by Ausnutria and Westland Milk Products, has commenced operation in the Izone business hub near Rolleston.

PNL is a stand-alone blending and canning company. It will can milk powders and other nutritional products sourced from Westland for Ausnutria and other customers. The company was established through an initial investment by Ausnutria of NZ$4.5million cash, and the transfer to Pure Nutrition of land owned by Westland at its Rolleston site, which had a value of NZ$3million. Ownership is 60% Ausnutria and 40% Westland Milk Products. . . 


What do we care about?

March 2, 2018

If a reporter asked you what issues do you care about, what would you say?

I’d say, in alphabetical order, those impacting on the economy, education, environment, health, security and welfare.

That’s not what Stuff thinks.

Its headlines says where new National Party leader Simon Bridges stands on issues you care about?

I took that to mean the most important issues but the story gives us the new leader’s views on the drinking age, marriage equality and euthanasia.

It then goes on to the environment, climate change, abortion, marijuana, and the regions.

This reminds me of the tiresomely repetitive focus on former Prime Minister John Key’s views on the 1981 Springbok tour which said a lot more about the questioner than the then-PM.

Stuff’s issues are ones on which many will have a view, and may care about deeply, but would most come top of mind if people were asked what they care about?

If you’re a socially liberal member of the media or wanting a debate in a university common room, maybe.

But I doubt they’d be listed by most other people who are much more likely to care more about matters which directly and practically impact their lives and their families.

Those matters are much harder to cover than most of the ones raised by Stuff which are conscience issues, with one-off votes. Most are not the issues which provide jobs, put food on the table nor do most produce policies which lead to a more productive country with happier and healthier people.


Quote of the day

March 2, 2018

Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities. – Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr Seuss) who was born on this day in 1904.


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