365 days of gratitude

June 7, 2018

My farmer and I both had computer problems.

A friend, who is also our accountant and much more technologically minded than either of us, stayed last night and over breakfast and the problems came up in conversation.

He said he could sort them and did for which we’re both very grateful.

 


Word of the day

June 7, 2018

Auric – relating to the aura supposedly surrounding a living creature; of, relating to, derived from, or containing gold, especially with valence; of or containing gold in the trivalent state.


Rural round-up

June 7, 2018

We can’t have any beef with the MfE on the matter of meatless days – can we? – Point of Order:

It might not be the facile question of the day but it deserves a place as a front-runner for the title.

It came from RNZ’s Guyon Espiner when interviewing Sam McIvor,chief executive of Beef and Lamb NZ.

The interview  (HERE, duration 4′ :37″0) was a reasonable followup to an idea which won headlines and air time for James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change.

New Zealanders should eat one less meat meal a week, he suggested. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand welcomes launch of Good Farming Practice Action Plan

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has welcomed today’s launch of the Good Farming Practice Action Plan as providing a whole of sector approach that builds on the good work already being done by individual industries.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO Sam McIvor says that the launch of the Good Farming Practice Action plan is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand’s agricultural sector.

“This is the first time that farming and horticulture leaders, regional councils, and central government have come together and agreed to a set of good practice principles, and actions to implement those across the country”, Mr McIvor said. . .

Horticulture supports action plan for water quality:

With the communication tools available today, consumers are able to access information about the origin of their food and make buying decisions based on how food producers show responsible and sustainable farming practices, Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.

“It is important for our fruit and vegetable growers to show they are using best practice when managing their properties and that they are offering healthy food,” Chapman says.

“So we support today’s launch of the Good Farming Practice Action Plan for Water Quality, on World Environment Day. . . 

More dairy farmers feeling financial pressure:

More farmers are feeling under financial pressure, and satisfaction with their banks has slipped, the May 2018 Federated Farmers’ Banking Survey shows.

The biannual survey drew 1,004 responses, more than double that of the last survey in November.  While results indicate the vast majority of farmers are still satisfied with their banks, those saying they were ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ fell from 81% to 79% since November.

The fall was particularly pronounced for sharemilkers (68.5% satisfaction, down from 77%) although for them the drop was mainly driven by more of them having a neutral perception rather than being dissatisfied. . . 

Shearers moot 25% pay rise – Neal Wallace:

Shearers and woolhandlers look set to receive pay and entitlement increases of up to 25% this season as the industry tries to retain and recruit skilled labour.

The recommendation from the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association is part of a three-year strategic plan focused on improving the association’s profile, lifting recruitment and retention rates, improving training opportunities and improving health and safety.

The industry has struggled to retain and recruit young people.

Association president Mark Barrowcliffe said the pay rise would also address the gap with Australia and help retain NZ wool harvesters. . . 

NZ orchards audited after biosecurity concerns :

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seizing plant material from five apple and stone fruit nurseries across the country, as a precautionary measure against biosecurity risks.

The seizures some after an audit found incorrect record keeping at a US facility which is responsible for screening apple and stone fruit plant cuttings before they are imported.

MPI response manager John Brightwell said following the March audit, it put an immediate stop to imports and began tracing plants imported from Clean Plant Centre Northwest – Fruit Trees.

Mr Brightwell said about 55,000 plants had been traced and five affected nurseries and a small number of growers were told plant material will be seized from their properties. . . 

MPI’s seizure of fruit trees unlawful:

The New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated, which represents commercial plant producers, is challenging the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI)’s intention to use section 116 of the Biosecurity Act to seize fruit trees that have been caught up in the US quarantine issue.

MPI announced today that it would be seizing approximately 55,000 fruit trees from 4 nurseries around New Zealand. It follows an MPI audit in March which uncovered incomplete and incorrect record keeping at a US facility, which is responsible for screening apple and stone fruit plant cuttings before they are imported. . . 


Thursday’s quiz

June 7, 2018

You’re invited to pose the questions.

Anyone who stumps everyone will win a virtual batch of shortbread.


Point of Order

June 7, 2018

Point of Order is a welcome addition to the blogosphere.

In their words:

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy produced by a small team veteran newspaper reporters who were responsible for much of the content of the authoritative weekly newsletter, TransTasman, before its change of ownership early this year.

Team members include – Bob Edlin, Brian Lockstone and Ian Templeton.

All are experienced, well connected with and informed about New Zealand politics.

The first posts indicate their work will be essential reading.


Agriculture convenient scapegoat

June 7, 2018

Should farmers be worried about the Zero Carbon Bill’s impact?

An agricultural leader says his sector has “some trepidation” that taking steps to protect the environment may have an unnecessary impact on the farming community.

Federated Farmers dairy sector chair Andrew Hoggard is keeping a close eye on the Zero Carbon Bill, with public consultations opening on Thursday.

The proposed legislation would put climate change targets into law, in line with the goal of the country becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.

“The key thing most farmers want to see with the Zero Carbon Bill is that it recognises the difference between methane and carbon dioxide,” Mr Hoggard told The AM Show.

“Methane is 75 percent of the gases that come from agriculture but it is a short-lived gas, unlike carbon dioxide – so it basically recycles.”

Mr Hoggard says the two are often confused, but if methane emissions remain “static”, have no greater impact. He says dropping methane levels by “4 or 5 percent” would bring them back to 1990 levels.

He added it “wouldn’t make any sense” if the Government considers cutting back on farming as a solution.

“New Zealand feeds about 40 million people in the world, so if we reduce our agricultural production by 20 percent to supposedly reduce emissions by 20 percent, there is effectively 8 million people that will be looking for food elsewhere and it probably won’t be done as well as what it is in New Zealand.” . . 

There is a danger with this Bill that politicians will act locally without thinking globally.

The ban on oil exploration here is an example of that. It is expected to increase global emissions by replacing New Zealand gas with coal gas from China.

There is a similar danger with the Carbon Zero Bill.

Any policies which increase the cost of food production and reduce the amount produced in New Zealand will provide the opportunity for increased production in other countries with much less efficient and environmentally sustainable farming systems.

Derek Daniell, one of this country’s leading farmers, sheep breeders and thinkers, says NZ agriculture makes a convenient scapegoat.

New Zealand’s environmental profile has been shafted by the one-sided, false accounting analysis of the Kyoto Accord.

Consider:

Why was New Zealand the only country to have agriculture emissions specifically included in Kyoto? Because the blame could be shifted to methane emissions from ruminants, even though the methane percentage in the atmosphere has been constant over the past 25 years. And ruminants have been around for 90 million years. Their methane emissions had a balance in the earth’s atmosphere long before the world became overstocked with humans, who are using up billions of years of stored energy as oil, coal and gas in a short binge.

No credit is given for the buildup of top soil and organic matter under our pastoral farming system, under the “single entry” accounting approach. This is a much more virtuous farming system than monoculture cropping, using herbicides and pesticides to kill competing plants and animals, and continually depleting the organic matter in the soil. How long is monoculture cropping around the world going to be sustainable?

Tourism is touted as a great industry for New Zealand, with recent growth to 3.7 million visitors. But no one talks about the 2.9 million Kiwis travelling OUT of the country, and spending more than $10 billion in the process. This is another example of “single entry accounting”. And no one talks about the continual increase in GHG caused by this two way travel.

The energy industry is another sector under attack from the current government, and environmental lobby groups. The local oil, gas and coal industry supplies the equivalent of 78 percent of domestic requirements, but reducing. We will become more and more dependent on an oil tanker sailing into the Whangarei refinery every six days. This is another example of “single entry” accounting. If the government restricts this sector, it will simply reduce the living standards of New Zealanders, because we will import more energy. And be less self sufficient. . . 

Derek’s column is worth reading in full which you can do if you click on the link above.


Quote of the day

June 7, 2018

The camel has his virtues – so much at least must be admitted; but they do not lie upon the surface. – Amelia Edwards who was born on this day in 1831.


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