365 days of gratitude

October 3, 2018

One of the sadder aspects of growing older is losing the generation ahead of you.

I now have only one uncle and three aunts, the widows of my mother’s brothers.

Only one of those lives close enough to see often and this evening I had the pleasure of her company and that of a friend who was visiting when I called.

Tonight I’m grateful for conversation with my aunt and her friend.


Word of the day

October 3, 2018

Twitter-light – twilight; the light from the sky between full night and sunrise or between sunset and full night produced by diffusion of sunlight through the atmosphere and its dust.


People die without vaccines

October 3, 2018

A child has died from polio in Papua New Guinea.

The polio vaccine has been around for decades and the disease has almost been eliminated because of that – partly due to the efforts of Rotary.

Rotary, along with our partners, has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide since our first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need your help. Whether you have a few minutes or a few hours, here are some ways to make a global impact and protect children against polio forever. . .

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, anti-vaccers put up a billboard near Middlemore Hospital saying if you knew The ingredients in a vaccine would you risk it?:

An anti-vaccination billboard alongside Auckland’s southern motorway which prompted more than 140 complaints is being pulled, the day after it was erected. . .

Immunisation Advisory Centre research director Dr Helen Petousis-Harris said the billboard perpetuated the myth there are concealed issues with what’s in vaccines, which is “most unhelpful and quite untrue”.

“It’s absolutely misleading
.”

Petousis-Harris said the billboard had the potential to “hugely” impact public health, and said its placement in south Auckland targets vulnerable communities who “bear the biggest burden of these infectious diseases
“. . .

Petousis-Harris said it was important to clarify that when people talk about chemicals in vaccines, these are chemicals present in the environment that we come into contact with daily, and that we are born with in our bodies.

The chemicals in vaccines – just like in our mother’s breast milk – are in minuscule amounts and pose no safety risk whatsoever to humans and animals in those quantities, with the exception of course of an allergic reaction.” .. .

A very few people might have an allergic reaction to a vaccine.

The rest of us should have vaccines for our own sakes and to provide herd immunity which protects people who are too young to be fully vaccinated or the few who for medical reasons are unable to have them.

 


Rural round-up

October 3, 2018
Government blamed for pessimism – Neal Wallace:

Growing pessimism among dairy farmers has sent confidence plunging into negative territory for the first time since early 2016. The quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey of 450 farmers reveals confidence in the agricultural economy has fallen from plus 2% in June to minus 3% in September.

Those expecting an improvement in the next 12 months fell from 26% to 20% while those expecting conditions to worsen rose slightly from 23% to 24%. . .

Farmer group aims at land best practice  – Simon Hartley:

A farmer-led initiative covering six Aparima catchments in Southland is looking at ways to improve land management practices to benefit the environment and local communities.

The Aparima Community Engagement (ACE) project, which represents six local catchment groups, has been under way since March this year, and a fortnight ago briefed Environment Minister David Parker on its aims during his visit to the area.

The type of issues being tackled includes identifying best practice around the likes of buffer zones for wintering, and the use of crops and fertiliser. . . 

McDonald’s lauds Maori beef farm  – Hugh Stringleman:

Hapū-owned Whangara Farms, on the East Coast north of Gisborne, has been accredited to the McDonald’s Flagship Farmers programme, the first such appointment in the Southern Hemisphere. Under general manager Richard Scholefield for the past 12 years, the 8500ha group has become the 28th Flagship Farmer for the worldwide restaurant chain and the seventh beef supplier. . .

Hunting lobby wins concessions over tahr cull  – Kate Gudsell, Eric Fryberg:

The powerful hunting lobby has won concessions in the heated fight over the cull of thousands of Himalayan Tahr.

A meeting was held yesterday between Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and hunting groups including the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association and the Game Animal Council as well as conservation groups such as Forest and Bird, and iwi Ngāi Tahu with the hunting industry emerging confident at the outcome.

The hunting fraternity say Ms Sage has pulled back from positions which the industry had found unacceptable and forced her to re-think plans to cull 10,000 Himalayan Tahr from the Southern Alps.  . .

Seeka warns of possible PSA outbreak in Victorian orchard – Gavin Evans:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka, New Zealand’s biggest kiwifruit grower, says it may have found the fruit disease PSA in an orchard it is developing in Australia.

It has notified Agriculture Victoria of unusual bacterial symptoms and is removing suspicious plant material pending further test results. . .

Pāmu releases first Integrated Report – returns to paying a dividend

Pāmu Farms of New Zealand (Landcorp) has released its first truly integrated Annual Report for 2018 today.

Chief Financial Officer Steve McJorrow said the 2018 EBITDAR[1] of $48.5 million, announced on 31 August, was very pleasing, and reflected good milk and red meat returns, along with revaluation of carbon holdings (NZUs).

“We are also pleased to be back to paying our shareholders a dividend, which will be $5 million for the 2017/18 financial year. . .

Dairy Hub farm reserach to be revealed at field day:  – Yvonne O’Hara:

Kale versus fodder beet, phosphorous supplementation and buffer widths will be the focus of the Southern dairy hub’s next field day at Makarewa on October 10.

DairyNZ senior scientist Dawn Dalley said they would be updating those attending about the early results of the studies being carried out on site.

Farm manager Shane Griffin will be talking about the hub farm’s progress and Dr Ross Monaghan, of AgResearch, will discuss results of the nitrogen leaching study.

Dairy apprenticeship programme celebrates first birthday:

Federated Farmers is wishing happy birthday today to the Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy Programme on its first anniversary.

The pilot programme supported by MBIE, the PrimaryITO and Feds, was launched last year with the intention of finding more Kiwis keen to work in the dairy industry on farm, and keen to upskill into a farming career.

After almost a year Feds is proud to say we’ve had 193 employer expressions of interest, and 98 completed farm charters, enabling employers to enter the programme along with 180 eligible apprentice expressions of interest and 62 apprentices in the programme. . .

 

Celebrating winners

October 3, 2018

My farmer spotted these signs in Sydney a couple of months ago:

They were part of a campaign to raise money to help drought-stricken farmers.

”Would we get that sort of support in cities here?” my farmer asked.

When relatively few people now come little closer to farms than a glance out a window as they drive down a main road, and the anti-farming lobby is so vocal the answer could well be no.

But this gives me hope:  the ODT opines that the All Blacks are not our only winners: 

. . . Rugby experts suggest New Zealand’s winning formula is not as dark an art as our black jerseys suggest. Instead, they say, it is a result of hard work and good management, of understanding what the fundamental parts of rugby are, and ensuring players from a very young age learn those basics. In other words, cleverness and hard work.

So can we not dominate a global industry with our cleverness and hard work the way we dominate rugby? Imagine the benefit to New Zealand, to our economy, to our employment rate, to our tax take. The answer of course is obvious: we do. In farming
.

I’m a fan of Fred Dagg and Wal Footrot but sad that those images are close to reality for too many people who don’t know farmers and understand farming.

Our farmers are the All Blacks of international agriculture. Our livestock herds roam farms of natural grass, grass fed by little more than rainwater and manure. The resulting products are the envy of the world, yet our farmers compete on price with factory farmers from other nations, despite receiving none of the tariffs and subsidies many of our competitors do.

Our world-renowned horticulture industry employs thousands, sending prime produce across the globe despite the genuine tyranny of distance implicit in an industry where fresh is considered best
.

I wonder if there is still a lingering snobbery about people who get their hands dirty that means at least some urban people don’t recognise the many skills food producers need and excel at?

The irony is when the All Blacks win their innovation, hard work and brilliance is celebrated. When our farmers win, day after day, year after year, it seems a growing portion of New Zealanders feel nothing but resentment that farming is not just swaying grass and wildflowers. Instead they see a dark industrial evil, polluting rivers, producing emissions and ruining landscapes. Clearly there is an image problem needing fixing.

Mistakes have been made in the past which will take time to repair; and some by accident or deliberately, are still not using best practice.

But those are the minority. Most farmers take their responsibility to look after their stock, their land, waterways and the wider environment, and to treat their staff well, seriously.

Of course, animal welfare, land-use and pollution are serious issues; that is not up for debate. But it is hard to imagine another economically equitable industry without its own unwanted by-products.

Farming requires the landscape to remain covered in photosynthesising plant life. It is spread around the country, ensuring the ongoing existence of hundreds of small communities. In New Zealand, farming is cleaner, kinder and more efficient than virtually anywhere else on earth. It provides healthy, active, well-paid outdoor employment for thousands of Kiwis, and pays for the employment of many thousands more in support roles, including this country’s world-leading agricultural-science industry.

Thankfully many New Zealanders do still value what farming offers New Zealand. They know we are, as a country, world champion farmers and we are immeasurably better off because of that. It is right and natural to celebrate the exploits of our rugby players as they continue to do us proud on the international stage. But let us not forget that it is not the only international stage we excel on. Our farmers are proof of that.

This is high praise.

It is heartening to know that the hard work of farmers, their staff and the many people who service and supply them is recognised and celebrated.

 

 


Quote of the day

October 3, 2018
A farmer once told me one of the greatest luxuries of his life was to wake up early only to go back to sleep again. James Herriot who was born on this day in 1916.

October 3 in history

October 3, 2018

52 BC Vercingetorix, leader of the Gauls, surrendered to the Romans under Julius Caesar, ending the siege and Battle of Alesia.

42 BC  First Battle of Philippi: Triumvirs Mark Antony and Octavian fought a decisive battle with Caesar’s assassins Brutus and Cassius.

1283   Dafydd ap Gruffydd, prince of Gwynedd in Wales, became the first person executed by being hanged, drawn and quartered.

1574   The Siege of Leiden was lifted by the Watergeuzen.

1683   The Qing Dynasty naval commander Shi Lang reached Taiwan to receive the formal surrender of Zheng Keshuang and Liu Guoxuan after theBattle of Penghu.

1712   The Duke of Montrose issued a warrant for the arrest of Rob Roy MacGregor.

1739   The Treaty of Nissa was signed by the Ottoman Empire and Russia at the finish of the Russian-Turkish War, 1736–1739.

1835   The Staedtler Company was founded in Nuremberg.

1837 – Nicolás Avellaneda, Argentinian journalist and politician, 8th President of Argentina, was born (d. 1885).

1849  Edgar Allan Poe, US author, was found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore, Maryland under mysterious circumstances.

1873  Captain Jack and companions were hanged for their part in theModoc War.

1885 – Sophie Treadwell, American playwright and journalist, was born (d. 1970).

1888  The NZ Natives, the first national rugby team to wear the silver fern, played its first game in the UK.

NZ Natives team plays first game in UK

1906 – Natalie Savage Carlson, American author, was born (d. 1997).

1908  The Pravda newspaper was founded by Leon Trotsky, Adolph Joffe, Matvey Skobelev and other Russian exiles in Vienna.

1916 –  James Herriot, English vet & author, was born (d 1995).

1918  King Boris III of Bulgaria acceded to the throne.

1925 Gore Vidal, American author, was born (d 2012).

1929 The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was renamed toKingdom of Yugoslavia, “Land of the South Slavs”.

1932  Iraq gained independence from the United Kingdom.

1935   Second Italo-Abyssinian War: Italy invaded Ethiopia under General de Bono.

1941  Chubby Checker, American singer-songwriterwas born.

1942   The first successful launch of a V-2 /A4-rocket from Test Stand VII at Peenemünde, Germany, this was the first man-made object to reach space.

1949 Lindsey Buckingham, American guitarist and singer (Fleetwood Mac), was born.

1950  Korean War: The First Battle of Maryang San, primarily pitting Australian and British forces against communist China, began.

1952   The United Kingdom successfully tested a nuclear weapon.

1955  The Mickey Mouse Club debuted on ABC.

1957 Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems was ruled not obscene.

1961  – Rebecca Stephens, English journalist and mountaineer, was born.

1962  Project Mercury: Sigma 7 was launched from Cape Canaveral, with Astronaut Wally Schirra aboard, for a six-orbit, nine-hour flight.

1964   First Buffalo Wings were made at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.

1971 Kevin Richardson, American singer (Backstreet Boys), was born.

1981  The Hunger Strike by Provisional Irish Republican Army and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland ended after seven months and ten deaths.

1981 The Communist Party of Namibia was founded at a conference in Angola.

1981  The Space Shuttle Atlantis made its maiden flight. (Mission STS-51-J)

1986   TASCC, a superconducting cyclotron at the Chalk River Laboratories, was officially opened.

1990 German Unity Day:  The German Democratic Republic ceased to exist and its territory became part of the Federal Republic of Germany.

1993   Battle of Mogadishu: In an attempt to capture officials of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s organisation in Mogadishu, Somalia, 18 US Soldiers and about 1,000 Somalis were killed in heavy fighting.

1995  O J Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

2008  The $700 billion bailout bill for the US financial system was signed by President Bush.

2009  – The presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey signed the Nakhchivan Agreement on the Establishment of Turkic Council.

2013 – At least 134 migrants were killed when their boat sank near the Italian island of Lampedusa.

2013 – The Gambia withdrew from the Commonwealth of Nations.

2015 – 42 killed and 33 missing in Kunduz hospital airstrike operated by Médecins Sans Frontières.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia


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