Kupu o te ra


Ahurea – culture.

To celebrate Wiki o te Reo Maori.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Fertiliser levy for vegan fantasy would be handbrake on recovery:

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is slamming the Green Party’s “farming for the future” policy, which would introduce a levy on fertiliser and cost taxpayers $297,000,000 over three years to subsidise “regenerative and organic farming methods”.

Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “Agriculture will be a key plank in New Zealand’s economic recovery. The last thing our farming sector needs is a tax on efficiency in the form of a levy on fertiliser. Fertilisers help farmers produce more with less land, limiting the impact of agriculture on our outstanding natural landscapes. The Greens should be happy about that!”

“That the revenue from this tax will be spent on promoting ‘vegan plant-based practices’ adds insult to injury. The Government should focus on allowing the economy to recover, not wasting money on trendy environmental schemes.” . . 

Nothing sustainable without profit – Sudesh Kissun:

Chair of Dairy Environment Leaders programme Melissa Slattery believes that sustainable farming is highly important to young farmers. T

he Waikato farmer believes the upcoming generation of farmers are driven to learn and adapt, just like the previous generation did for the issues of their time.

“Opportunities will evolve for the new generation farmers who understand what is and will be required in terms of sustainability on farm,” Slattery told Rural News. . . 

Work together industry told – Annette Scott:

Verified sustainable production right across supply chains is key to New Zealand beef improving its standing on the world stage, says NZ Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (NZRSB) chair Grant Bunting.

The results of a pilot programme conducted by NZRSB and delivered at a field day on Rangitikei Station last week are proof NZ can do it, Bunting said.

The NZRSB, formed late last year, is about beef industry stakeholders from across the supply chain working to position NZ as a leading producer of beef that is safe and produced in a way that is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.

“We need to ensure we not only keep up with other countries, we want to be world leaders,” Bunting said. . . 

Living the dream:

Kiwi agro-ecologist Nicole Masters is living the dream, touring ranches in the United States with her horse for company.

“I love being able to integrate my two loves which are soil and horses all in one place.”

Nicole has been working in the US for seven years now, pretty much full-time for the past three years, running workshops and coaching clients on how to build soil health and optimise water cycles.

Ranging from bison farmers to winegrowers, her clients are progressive operators who are interested in food quality and improving livestock health and pasture diversity. . . 

Ben Tombs wins Tonnellerie De Mercurey Central Otago Young Winemaker regional competition:

Congratulations to Ben Tombs from Peregrine Wines who came first in the Tonnellerie de Mercurey Central Otago Young Winemaker competition held on Thursday 10th September at VinPro in Cromwell.

Ben was back to defend his title from last year so was thrilled to be again raising the cup. Last year, as he was on the Burgundy Exchange, he was unable to compete in the national final, so is extra thrilled to be heading up to Hawke’s Bay in November this year to represent Central Otago.

Congratulations also goes to Jordan Moores from Felton Road who came second and Rachel Bradley from Burn Cottage who came third. . . 

Cattle might be secret weapon in fight against wildfires, experts say. Here’s how – Katie Camero:

Evidence shows that wildfires have become more widespread and severe over the years, with the ongoing West Coast blazes bearing testament to the worrying trend.

Firefighters and farmers have tricks of their own to prevent fires from sparking and to contain them enough for successful defeat. But there might be a secret weapon that hasn’t been getting the attention it deserves.

Researchers with the University of California Cooperative Extension set out to evaluate how much fine fuel — grasses and other plants known to start fires — cattle eat and how their feeding behavior affects flame activity.

The team concluded that without cattle grazing, there would be “hundreds to thousands” of additional pounds of fine fuels per acre of land, which could lead to “larger and more severe fires.” . . 

We believe in people


RNZ is giving party leaders the opportunity of doing a *lift pitch:

(* I know they call it an elevator pitch, but in New Zealand they’re lifts, not elevators).


How did we get here?


For a while during lockdown farmers were feeling the love as criticism dropped and understanding and appreciation of the work we do, the food we produce and the export income we earn, grew.

The love didn’t last long and this from a Southland farmer expressed what may are feeling:

I can’t sleep

There’s a few things on my mind.

I know farmers are supposed to be resilient and just get on with things, but I’ve been chewing over the new laws our government has just passed for a wee while now.

“She’ll be right, we’ll figure it out”…

I’m just thinking how we’re going to get our balage and silage harvested. Our contractor shared a post that they can’t get specialized machine operators into the country because they aren’t considered important enough by our government. They haven’t got enough skilled operators here and will probably have to park up machinery during harvest…

If we can’t get our balage and silage harvested in a timely fashion, we won’t have enough food for our cows for the autumn and winter. The grass doesn’t grow well in the autumn and winter…

We can always feed them crop… except we can’t. Not without breaking the law…

If we graze our cows on crop over the winter, the paddock can’t have more then a 10 degree slope, we can’t leave foot prints deeper then 5cm and we must have it resewn before the 1st of November, along with several other conditions. If we can’t meet these conditions, we have to apply for a resource consent…which requires us to meet these conditions… but we can’t… our cows weigh nearly half a ton each. They’re going to leave foot prints…

We could all grass winter… but we would need a lot more silage and balage…which our contractor may not be able to harvest for us due to lack of skilled staff. It would require us to use up more of the farm over winter causing more damage to our pasture then if we were able to put in crops…

May be we just don’t worry about it, just get the crops in and carry on…business as usual. But we’d be breaking the law…

The worst thing I’ve ever done was get a speeding ticket on my way to see the midwife when I was pregnant with our second child…winter grazing is practically classed by our government as environmental terrorism.

…I’m just a farmer… trying to grow good food for people who think I’m a greedy maniac, trying to destroy the world…

We’ve worked so hard, these past years, to try to help change the face of dairy in NZ. When we converted the farm from sheep to dairy cows, we were going to be the complete opposite of “Dirty Dairy”. Water ways fenced off, nutrient budgets, farm plans, the latest effluent management equipment, all, way before it was law.

Then, a couple years ago, when all this wasn’t good enough, we upgraded again. Spending more then six figures to make sure we were “future proofed”

It’s still not enough

How do we have free range cows that don’t pee or leave footprints? We can’t build a barn, it’s insanely expensive and our cows aren’t really suited to standing on concrete for long periods. Besides what part of free range says “housed in a barn”? We can’t sell the cows, this farm is mainly suited to pasture, not crops for humans. We can’t sell the farm, it’s been in the family for nearly 150 years.

Besides, no one wants to go dairy farming…Lol, wonder why…

During lockdown, farmers were considered an essential service provider, yet rarely got mentioned. Not that we were worried about it. It’s was nice to be left alone to get with our job for a change…

Minister Parker and Minister O’Conner said when they came out with this law that they consulted with farmers and we were “happy” with these new rules.

They lied, on both counts.

How did we get here? How did we get to the point of having rules so outrageous, forced on us, that not even the top operators can figure out how to make it work?

They say it’s to bring the “laggards” up to a better standard. We must be pretty bad then, because our cows leave footprints 5.5cm deep on worked soil after a rain, sometimes more!

But hey, “we’re resilient, she’ll be right. We’ll figure it out.”
I know I usually try to see the bright side of things. I’m still farmings’ biggest cheerleader and I still back our farmers who try their best 100%. But we’re going to have to pull something out of the bag, team. I just haven’t worked it out… yet…

might have a glass of milk and try to sleep…

This was written before the Green Party released its agriculture policy which proposes to make farming even harder:

The Green Party’s agriculture policy is another slap in the face to Kiwi farmers at a time when we should be focused on growing our primary sector, National’s Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett says.

“Their nitrogen reduction limits are madness and would kill off dairying as we know it across the country.

“We are facing the worst economic downturn in 160 years and agriculture will lead our post-Covid recovery. With more than 220,000 people on unemployment benefits now is not the time to be putting the brakes on this still-functioning export industry.

“The Greens’ policy is yet another assault on Kiwi farmers after the Labour-led Government hit them with freshwater reforms that, in some cases, are unworkable and will shackle their ability to innovate while piling costs on to a sector that is vitally important to our country.

“National supports having cleaner waterways in New Zealand but we think there are smarter ways to achieve this. We have to back farmers to farm their way to better outcomes. They must see a pathway to improve while being profitable.

“Unlike Labour, National will work with farmers rather than against them.”

The farmer asked how did we get here?

The answer is through politics and politicians who don’t understand farming, its importance to the economic and social fabric of the country and the effort farmers have, and continue to, put into doing all they can to leave a much, much smaller environmental footprint.

And the answer?

It will take a change of government to get that.

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