Meat workers fight battle in small towns – Tim Ritchie:
Meat processing workers are among the heroes in our community, writes Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie.
Right now, millions of New Zealanders are in a lockdown, following the Government’s announcement last week that the country is in Alert Level 4.
However, the situation is quite different for the many people who work in jobs considered essential services — healthcare professionals, border agencies, media, public safety and local and national government.
But also playing a critical but less visible role are more than 25,000 Kiwis working in the red meat processing sector. That’s because the Government has recognised the importance of the food production sector and classified meat processing companies as an essential service. . .
Staying connected in isolation – a farmers’ guide – Karen WIlliams:
Sticking in our own bubble has never been as important as it is now. With New Zealand currently at Alert Level 4, everyone except those providing essential services must stay at home and self-isolate. Some farmers may feel that this is a continuation of their business as usual, because sometimes it can be a couple of days before we see anyone else.
Even though we must self-isolate, there are some steps that we can take to ensure that we are still virtually connected to the communities around us, be it all the farming families along the shingle road or just your immediate neighbours.
There are numerous examples of video calling technologies out there which we can use to stay connected, including WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and FaceTime. They’re pretty easy to use. WhatsApp and Facebook messenger can be downloaded from the iTunes store or through Google Play.
About 15 years ago I set up a neighbourhood email contact list which includes about 60 residents contact details along our road. I did this because of a burglary that I thought neighbours should know about and also a desire to make sure our community of farmers and lifestyle block owners stayed connected. It’s worked well, with many social occasions having sprung out of the initiative, and more recently it enabled the kick-start of our Community Catchment Group. Little did I know however that this email network would form the basis of our community connections during a pandemic! . . .
The kiwifruit industry is fighting for survival as it tries to pick and pack the season’s crop while enforcing Covid-19 restrictions.
The apple industry is also predicting problems with at least 10 percent of the crop not likely to be picked.
The nationwide lockdown has come right in the middle of the harvest season.
Mark Hume from Hume Pak ‘n Cool in Katikati normally employs 400 to 500 people in his packing shed, and about 180 pickers – all focusing on kiwifruit.
With the two-metre distance rule in place, his cool store will need to reduce staff by half. . .
Young farmer pumping out six times as many Delivery boxes as usual – Maddison Northcott,:
Bundling together six times as many boxes of vegetables as usual is helping keep one rural Canterbury farm in business, getting fresh produce to customers all over the region.
Dominique Schacherer, co-owner of the Spring Collective, a 16-hectare market garden in Leeston, said orders for their curated boxes had sky-rocketed, with bookings growing from 40 to 250 weekly boxes in a handful of days.
The collective opened three years ago with the goal of supplying sustainably grown produce to farmers’ markets, restaurants and supermarkets. . .
Working on the farm: your Covid-19 questions answered – Glen Scanlon:
As Covid-19 spreads around the world, it can be daunting keeping up with the information. For RNZ, our responsibility is to give you verified, up to the minute, trustworthy information to help you make decisions about your lives and your health. We’ll also be asking questions of officials and decision makers about how they’re responding to the virus. Our aim is to keep you informed.
They’re back to number one in the export earning stakes and remain critical to our food chain, so what can farmers get up to during the Covid-19 crisis?
Here are some of their questions:
I manage a small farm and at present the animals need water taken to them because the dams that supplied their troughs are dried up. We are also moving electric fencing every few days to give them pasture to graze on. Can I and my two regular part-time farm workers carry out this work? We have modified our work practices already and travel around the farm in separate vehicles and maintain distance between ourselves when out of the vehicles. . .
Why doesn’t Britain value its farmers? – James Rebanks:
They say eight people in our little village have got this plague. It seems weird that it would have found its way here, to these isolated northern farming valleys, where the snow clings on to the high fells, and the woodsmoke rises from the scattered farmhouses.
I always imagined that the apocalypse would look a bit like the movie of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. But this valley seems oblivious to the crisis — it is all daffodils, snowdrops, birdsong, and trees bursting into leaf.
My flock is down in the valley bottom. The first lamb of the year was born today and is now lying with its mother. I come in from the fields and the TV news is like something from a science-fiction movie — they are building giant makeshift hospitals in the city centers. People are dying in their hundreds every day. But not far from the farmhouse a duck has made a nest by our pond and has laid thirteen pale green eggs in the midst of a perfect downy circle. . .