365 days of gratitude

October 15, 2018

International Rural Women’s  Day, gives me cause to appreciate how much better life is for a rural woman in New Zealand than it is for the many in other parts of the world.

It’s not something I take for granted and it is something for which I”m grateful.


Celebrating rural women

October 15, 2018

It’s the International Day of Rural Women.

This year’s theme is: Sustainable infrastructure, services and social protection for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

Rural women make up a quarter of the world’s population. They grow much of our food, strengthen economies and build climate resilience.

From championing access to clean water in Kyrgyzstan to boosting sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia, rural women are mobilizing to support one another, and their contributions are vital for both rural communities and urban societies.

Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women. . .

This year, we are calling for better public services, including health care, education, childcare and shelters, on which millions of rural women depend; and laws, policies and budgets to improve their livelihoods and well-being.

We stand in solidarity with rural women and their organizations everywhere as they seek to influence the decisions that shape their lives. . .

Most of the problems the day seeks to highlight  apply much more to women in the developing world where agriculture is a lot less sophisticated and there is a lot less mechanisation and a lot more uncertainty about land ownership and women’s legal rights.

When I was working as a rural journalist I was often the only woman at farming meetings and field days. Now it is much more common to see women not only in attendance but in positions of responsibility in  farming and rural organisations.

Rural women in New Zealand are much more involved in agriculture, apiculture, horticulture and viticulture and processing and support businesses in their own right or as active partners and they have equal rights under the law.

Organisations like the Agri-Women’s Development Trust do a lot of work to encourage rural women to make the most of their skills.


Word of the day

October 15, 2018

Ascus – a membranous, often club-shaped structure inside which ascospores are formed through sexual reproduction in species of the fungi known as ascomyce.


If there’s one thing party members hate . . .

October 15, 2018

. . . it’s MPs behaving badly, acting stupidly and putting themselves before the party.


Rural round-up

October 15, 2018

Big changes coming – Neal Wallace:

Farming will change fundamentally if new freshwater quality management rules restricting intensive winter grazing and fertiliser use are introduced.

The Government last week released Essential Freshwater: Healthy water, fairly allocated, a report on how to improve freshwater quality within five years.

While it lacked detail the Government singled out winter grazing, hill country cropping, feedlots and nutrient use as causes of degraded water quality that will be a focus. . .

No rural-urban divide found here – Neal Wallace:

Anna Jones never forgot her rural roots when a career in journalism took her to live in some of England’s largest cities. Having experienced life on both sides of the fence she realised she had to do something about the role of the media in the urban-rural disconnect. She told Neal Wallace there are faults on both sides.

ANNA Jones concedes alcohol was involved in a game she created called Farmer Jargon Bingo, played with friends one evening in the English city of Bristol.

A simple concept, it required her urban friends to provide their definition of commonly used farming terms which the farmer’s daughter, journalist and Nuffield scholar duly recorded. . .

 

Move around world never regretted – Sally Rae:

Harry might have met Sally but when Rory met Frank, it was to lead to a move to the other side of the world.

Irish-born Dr Rory O’Brien is research manager at DRL Ltd, based at Invermay’s Agricultural Research Centre. Originally known as Deer Research Laboratory, it was established by Prof Frank Griffin in 1985 within the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Otago.

It has worked closely with veterinarians and farmers for more than 30 years to develop and make available custom-diagnostic services. . . 

Moo beat music for process manager – Sally Rae:

Working in a shiny new $240 million nutritional formula plant is a far cry from a dream of being a musician.

But Nathan McRae, process manager at Mataura Valley Milk on the outskirts of Gore, has no regrets about eventually choosing a career in the dairy industry.

His interest was sparked in Europe during a year-long OE with his wife. He decided he wanted to take the opportunity the industry offered and pursued that interest when he returned to the South.

Gore-born-and-bred, Mr McRae has lived in the Eastern Southland town all his life, with the exception of his OE. . .

Commission releases draft report on Fonterra’s 2018/19 Milk Price Manual:

The Commerce Commission today released its draft report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual for the 2018/19 dairy season.

Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said Fonterra’s 2018/19 Manual remains largely consistent with the purpose of the milk price monitoring regime under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act.

The Commission has no concerns with Fonterra’s amendments to the Manual this year. However, the treatment of farmer support and the capacity of standard plants remain aspects of the manual that would benefit from revisions to improve consistency with the purpose of the regime and clarity, respectively. . . 

Hill country landscapes focus of five-year project:

Hill country landscapes are the subject of a comprehensive research project which focuses on growing diverse pastures to sustainably lift productivity and profitability, and benefit rural communities.

The five-year project, which is a collaboration between Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment, PGG Wrightson, Seed Force and the Federation for Maori Authorities, will be looking at legumes and forage options for hill country, matching land use with land use capability, developing pasture management guidelines and building strong rural communities.

B+LNZ ‘s Research Manager Tanya Robinson says field work, led by Professor Derrick Moot from Lincoln University, has already started with plot trials evaluating a number of legumes and forages. . .

A sheep that stole the A and P show:

An enterprising sheep stole some of the limelight at the Ellesmere A and P Show on Saturday, gatecrashing a ribbon ceremony and masquerading as an alpaca after escaping from a pen at the shearing shed.

The cunning plan came unstuck when there weren’t enough ribbons to go around, leaving the opportunist ovine without so much as a stitch of silk to wear, with barely anywhere to hide and looking decidedly sheepish as it stood beside the beribboned alpaca section winners with their owners in the main oval. . . 

Low emission cows: farming responds to climate warning – Jonathan Watts:

From low-emission cows to robotic soil management, the farming industry will have to explore new approaches in the wake of a UN warning that the world needs to cut meat consumption or face worsening climate chaos.

That was the message from Guy Smith, vice-president of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), this week as policymakers began to discuss how Britain can address the challenges posed by the recent global warming report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Farming and land use are set to move to a more central position in the climate debate in the wake of that report, which urged countries to widen their emissions-cutting efforts beyond the energy industry to agriculture and transport. . .

 


CK to save $billions

October 15, 2018

The government has a new strategy to save billions of dollars – relying on common knowledge (CK) instead of research and facts.

The seed for the initiative was planted by Energy Minister Megan Woods.

When asked about advice to back up her assertion that MBIE was wrong to say a ban on oil and gas exploration would have a negligible impact on domestic emissions and likely increase global emissions she said it was “very common knowledge” that was “widely held”.

“When the Prime Minsiter heard this she said a light went on and she immediately ordered a whole-of-government strategy to base all policy on CK,” spokesperson Bright Spark said.

”We’ll be able to ditch all the working groups for a start and that will save millions, but that’s only the beginning.

”With CK to guide us there will be no need for most of the roles at Treasury and the research positions in policy development at all the ministries and government departments will go too.

”We’ll be able to get rid of all the research bodies and a lot of the work of universities will become redundant.

”We won’t need robust data and scientific methods if we’ve got CK, especially if it’s widely held.

MS Spark said she didn’t have exact figures for the savings, but based on CK, she could confidently say they would soon amount to billions.

When asked about National’s Energy and Resources spokesperson Jonathan Young‘s assertion that Woods had failed to defend the indefensible, Ms Spark said it was common knowledge that this was merely an opposition tactic to discredit assertions based on facts.

”With CK, facts are an outmoded, and expensive concept. We won’t be taking any notice of them.”

Ms Spark said the government was working on an even more radical suggestion to base all policy on common sense (CS) as well as, or instead of, CK.

”But we’re having difficulty finding any. It’s a pretty rare commodity around here and we’re not sure there will be enough to make it work.”

 

 


Word of the day

October 15, 2018

He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more. P.G. Wodehouse who was born not his day in 1881.


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