Contractors need staff pronto – Annette Scott:
Without skilled operators rural contractors risk having millions of dollars of essential agricultural machinery sitting idle this spring.
After an urgent meeting with Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor, Rural Contractors is surveying members amid rising concern over the pending labour shortage.
Results so far reveal up to 1000 skilled machinery operators will be needed for the spring and summer.
Many will need to be brought into NZ, Rural Contractors president David Kean said. . .
Pork producers are calling on the Government to urgently review its policies on skilled migrant workers as severe staff shortages hit.
Pig farmers rely on experienced workers from overseas to meet a shortfall in staff with the necessary skills required to work with the country’s herd.
However, they are concerned skilled migrants already working on farms might not have their visas renewed or existing workers trying to return from overseas will be blocked, leaving many farmers with significant staffing shortages.
“The sector’s strong preference would be to have a pool of available skilled and unskilled New Zealand workers,” New Zealand Pork chief executive David Baines said. . .
Aerial top-dressing, deer among highlights of past century – Richard Davison:
In common with a record 70 families set to receive their Century Farm awards in Lawrence last month, the Mackies, of South Otago, were unable to share their story when Covid-19 intervened. Here they take the opportunity to do so, looking back over the Copland and Mackie families’ 100 years of farming the same land, with reporter Richard Davison.
Given the ups and downs of farming, it’s no mean feat to stay put on the same land for a century and more.
Every year, though, the Century Farms event in Lawrence marks a swag of families from across New Zealand achieving just that, and last month a record 70 families were due to pick up 100- and 150-year awards.
We all know what happened next, but many of those families’ stories still deserve to be told, helping paint a picture of the gambles, innovations, hard work and lighter-hearted moments of New Zealand farming down the years. . .
Growing native plants creating legacy – Keri Waterworth:
The quality of water entering lakes, rivers and streams from farms in the Upper Clutha catchment is improving due to the thousands of natives planted around waterways on those farms. One of the nurseries supplying the plants is Wanaka’s Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust nursery. Kerrie Waterworth reports.
Nestled in the shelter of an extensive QE11 convenanted kanuka forest beside Lake Wanaka, the Te Kakano Aotearoa Trust nursery is at the end of an easy walk through the QEII Covenant Kanuka forest beside Lake Wanaka.
On the Tuesday afternoon I visited, it was one of the two nursery volunteer afternoons held each week during winter, and only the second since the nursery reopened following the Covid-19 lockdown/restriction periods. . .
A petition has been launched calling for the Government to ease temporary work visa conditions for international winery workers impacted by Covid-19.
The petition, started by Cait Guyette, is calling for the Government to allow grape harvest workers already in New Zealand to stay until vintage 2021.
Guyette, who is from the United States but had a permanent job at a winery in Marlborough, said she felt disheartened there had been no leniency to allow harvest workers to continue working in New Zealand’s wine industry. . .
It’s the vast embodiment of outback beauty and heartbreak — a sweeping western NSW cattle station that is, by turns, arid no-man’s land and lush waterbird haven, home to ancient Indigenous artefacts, the ghostly trail of Burke and Wills and now the nation’s newest national park.
“It can be very good and then it can be vile,” said Bill O’Connor, 84, owner of Narriearra station, which has just become the largest block of private land bought for a national park in the state’s history.
With nearby Sturt National Park, Narriearra will create a conservation area of close to half a million hectares, or twice the size of the Australian Capital Territory.
The 153,415-hectare station sits in the north-west corner of the state, with the dog-proof fence of the NSW-Queensland border forming its northern boundary. . .