365 days of gratitude

August 15, 2018

In Hawes Bay yesterday spring had sprung.

Daffodils were in full bloom and rhododendrons were in flower.

Back home spring is a bit later but the grass has started growing again and the first of the daffodils are blooming.

Today I’m grateful for signs of spring.

 


Word of the day

August 15, 2018

Helluation – gluttony; the act or habit of eating or drinking too much.


Rural round-up

August 15, 2018

Appeal decision a win for irrigators but more work needs to be done:

An appeal to Environment Canterbury’s Plan Change 5 nutrient modelling rules has been resolved with a major win achieved for irrigators, says IrrigationNZ.

A Hearings Panel on the Plan Change proposed a new requirement that would have effectively required that all older spray irrigation systems in Canterbury be replaced with new ones by 2020. It was estimated that this change would cost irrigators $300 million.

All parties to the appeal agreed that an error in law had been made when the Hearing Panel introduced this as a new requirement because no submitter had asked for this change.

INZ carried out testing on 300 irrigation systems in Ashburton and Selwyn districts over two summers recently which found that older spray irrigation systems can achieve good levels of water efficiency if regular checking and maintenance is carried out

First M bovis case confirmed near Motueka in Tasman – Sara Meij:

The first case of M. Bovis has been confirmed in the Nelson region.

Biosecurity New Zealand said on Tuesday a property near Motueka, in the Tasman district, had tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease.

Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said the affected property was a mixed sheep and beef farm.

The farm was identified through tracing animals from known infected farms and it was now under a Restricted Place Notice, which meant it was in “quarantine lockdown”, restricting the movement of animals and other “risk goods” on and off the farm. . .

At the grassroots: farmers contribute too – John Barrow:

I recently returned a little disappointed from the Local Government New Zealand conference in Christchurch.

From a dairy farmer’s perspective I was disappointed at the lack of recognition of the cost of farming and issues we are facing – all the emphasis was on urban.

The conference theme was We are Firmly Focused on the Future: Future Proofing for a Prosperous and Vibrant NZ. . .

Draft report on review of Fonterra’s 2017/18 base milk price calculation:

The Commerce Commission has today released its draft report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2017/18 dairy season.

The base milk price is the average price that Fonterra pays farmers for raw milk, which was set at $6.75 per kilogram of milk solids for the season just ended.

The report does not cover the forecast 2018/19 price of $7.00 that Fonterra announced in July.

The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation at the end of each dairy season under the milk price monitoring regime in the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA). . .

Four does go into one – Sonita Chandar:

Teamwork is the secret to success for the Southland farm judged the best dairy business in the land. Sonita Chandar reports.

Despite three of the four partners living in the North Island the success of a Southland farming business can be attributed to exceptional teamwork and good clear lines of communication.

Each partner brings strengths to the table but no one is above the others. They are all equals, make decisions as a group and share in the spoils of their collective success.

MOBH Farm, an equity partnership made up of Kevin Hall, Tim Montgomerie, Jodie Heaps and Mark Turnwald, won two category awards as well as being named the supreme winner at the 2018 Dairy Business of the Year awards (DBOY). . .

Farmers rally around Cancer Society fundraiser at Feilding Hogget Fair – Paul Mitchell:

The rural community is banding together to get behind the Cancer Society, with personal connections running as deep as their pockets.

The annual Hogget Fair at the Feilding Stockyards on Wednesday is one of the biggest in New Zealand. For the second year running, farmers will donate sheep to help those who are doing it tough.

The money raised from selling the sheep will go directly to supporting Manawatū-Whanganui cancer patients. . .

Rare heifer triplets thriving on Taieri farm – Sally Rae:

Holy cow – it’s a girl. Or in the case of a heifer calving on a Taieri dairy farm last week, it was a gaggle of girls, handful of heifers.

The first-calver produced a very rare set of heifer triplets on the Miller family’s farm at Maungatua. Andrew Miller and his father Jim had never encountered triplet calves before.

Andrew was particularly amazed the Kiwi-cross calves had all survived and were now doing well in the calf shed. . .

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The real rort

August 15, 2018

The furore over the leaking of  Simon Bridges’ expenses has highlighted the real rort:

. . the fact that Crown limo’s for the Opposition leader are charged out at a higher rate than is charged to Government . . .

If there is a reasonable and responsible reason for that, please tell me.

The only one I can think of is neither reasonable nor responsible – it’s a political decision to somehow disadvantage the opposition.

Ministers are running the country and they need to get around the country to do that. The opposition is there to hold the government to account, it can’t do that sitting in Wellington. Its leader’s travel is essential to the role, in the public service and making it more expensive is adding to the cost of democracy.

Why should taxpayers pay more for the opposition leader’s travel than that of government ministers?


Intermim CEO for Fonterra

August 15, 2018

Fonterra has announced the appointment of an interim CEO, Mike Hurrell, who will take over immediately:

Mr Hurrell is currently the Co-operative’s Chief Operating Officer, Farm Source – the unit responsible for working directly with the Co-operative’s farmer-owners. In that role, he is responsible for Fonterra’s global Co-operative farming strategy that includes farmer services and engagement, milk sourcing and the chain of 70 Farm Source™ rural retail stores throughout New Zealand. 

Mr Hurrell first joined Fonterra in the year 2000. His 18 years’ experience in the dairy industry has spanned four continents, including roles in Europe, the United States, Middle East, Africa and Russia. 

Fonterra Chairman John Monaghan says the Co-operative’s Board is clear that it is not best practice to have the Chairman and CEO stand down at the same time, but events have overtaken that decision. I have agreed with the Board that we will stop the global CEO search while we review the Co-operative’s current portfolio and direction.

“It’s important that we give ourselves the time to take stock of where we are as a Co-operative, breathe some fresh air into the business, then determine any changes that are needed.

The board has to know where it’s going before it works out who is best to lead it there.

“Appointing a new CEO is the most critical decision a Board will make. We will take all the time we need to find the right person.

“In the meantime, we need a new leader that can hit the ground running. Miles has great mana. He has a deep understanding of our business and has demonstrated his ability to manage large, complex business units in most of our global markets. Miles is well-respected both within our Co-operative and by our key global customers and wider stakeholders.

“Our CEO role requires intellect, energy and commitment. Miles brings that in spades.”

Mr Hurrell said he was excited by the challenge and as a proud New Zealander understood the responsibility that comes with the role.

“I’ve been part of the Co-operative for 18 years and understand that its true potential really comes down to its people.

“Theo leaves behind a talented leadership team that includes some of the best minds in global dairy. I’ve been privileged to be part of that group for the last four years and I’m totally confident that, by working as a team, we can deliver on the expectations New Zealand has of us.

“As a group, we haven’t always got everything right. Those lessons will be invaluable as we face up to challenges that are in front of us. . . 

The chair is right – appointing a CEO is the most critical decision for a board.

It is better to take time to get the appointment right, than to rush the process and get it wrong.


Fonterra forced pick-ups environmentally and economically costly

August 15, 2018

Fonterra chair John Monaghan says the regulation forcing the company to pick up all milk, anywhere is no longer needed :

We will push to get rid of the open-entry and open-exit provisions of DIRA; it’s well past the use-by-date.” 

Fonterra believes open-entry provision is no longer needed because the industry has become competitive.

Monaghan points out that main purpose of DIRA was to promote competition and to give farmers and Kiwis choices: today New Zealand farmers can choose from roughly 10 independent processors, only five of which are New Zealand-owned.

Farmers have more than enough options when they are looking for a company to take their milk.

They no longer need the safe-guard that forcing Fonterra to pick up milk from any farm, anywhere provided.

“Competition is a good thing for Fonterra and we believe competition is here to stay; Fonterra’s milk share has dropped from 91% to 82% because of competition.”

Monaghan says if the open-entry provision is left in place it will “wipe out the progress that’s been made.’

“Because once you have a few processors who’ve made inefficient investment decisions that only stack up with open entry, it has the potential to lead to significant excess manufacturing capacity in the industry.

“This creates a risk of a downward spiral of low-margin competition that will hold back moves up the value chain and ultimately result in business failures.”

Fonterra, and its shareholders, are forced to subsidise competitors and to prop up the inefficient ones.

Fonterra also points out that it can’t refuse a farmer joining the co-op based on environmental or animal welfare issues.  . .

A dairy company must have the ability to refuse to take milk from any farm which doesn’t meet its environmental and animal welfare standards.

Forcing Fonterra to pick up milk from anywhere has led to dairy conversions in places where it isn’t environmentally sustainable.

It also adds costs which have to be borne by all shareholders.

The Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) under which Fonterra was established is up for review now.

Changing it so the co-op is no longer forced to take milk from any and every farm that applies to supply it will bring environmental and economic gains.

It will also enable Fonterra to sanction suppliers who breach its standards.

 


Quote of the day

August 15, 2018

 There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read—unless it be reading while you eat.E. Nesbit who was born on this day in 1858.


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