O Holy Night

24/12/2020


Word of the day

24/12/2020

Waits – band of musicians who go around the streets at Christmas, singing and playing carols; street singers of Christmas carols; official bands of musicians maintained by a city or town; stays or remains in anticipation of an arrival or event.


Away In A Manger

24/12/2020


Rural round-up

24/12/2020

Regional economies: agriculture strong, tourism struggling:

Regions with large agricultural bases have surging regional economies while those which relied heavily on tourism were struggling.

The latest quarterly figures from Westpac McDermott Miller showed that Gisborne/Hawkes Bay have recorded a huge bounce in confidence, followed by Nelson-Marlborough-West Coast and Taranaki/Manawatū-Whanganui.

It showed the “optimists now outweighed the pessimists” in most regions, except in Northland, Otago and Southland – although the news was not entirely grim for the southern regions which had been hard-hit by the Covid-19 linked downturn.

Senior agri economist Nathan Penny said the bounce in confidence for most regions was a reflection of the general rebound in the economy, helped by news of positive vaccine developments overseas. . . 

Milk price forecast boosted by banks – Sally Rae:

Rabobank and ASB have both increased their farm-gate milk price forecasts to $7 for the 2020-21 season, following an improving dairy outlook.

Prices edged up again at last week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction — the last for the year — with an overall price increase of 1.3%.

Gains were strongest for the fat products; butter prices were up 6% and anhydrous milk fat up 1.9% while whole and skim milk powder lifted 0.5% and 1.2% respectively.

ASB economist Nat Keall said the result reflected the fact global demand was still holding up well, providing support for dairy prices. . . 

Westpac Agri Futures established to help young people into rural careers:

The importance of our primary industries has been recognised with a new sector to be included in The 2021 Ford Ranger New Zealand Rural Games.

The Rural Games will now include Westpac Agri Futures in association with Property Brokers and this is to be held on Friday 12th March in Palmerston North.

Westpac New Zealand General Manager Institutional & Business Banking, Simon Power said Agri Futures is all about encouraging the next generation into agriculture sector careers.

“The demand for staff across rural New Zealand has only grown since COVID-19, and Westpac understands the need to support efforts to encourage more Kiwis to enter the rural workforce.” . . 

Federated Farmers hails pragmatic migrant worker visa decisions:

Farmers and growers up and down the land will be pleased with the pragmatic decision by government to extend visas for migrant workers already on our shores.

“The six-month extension for employer-assisted work visa holders and the postponed stand down period for low-paid Essential Skills via holders will come as a relief for the primary sector heading into the Christmas and New Year period,” Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says.

“We thank Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi for listening to our case for this, and recognising a common sense approach. . . 

NZ Rural Land Company has quiet NZX debut :

The New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZRLC) has had a quiet debut on the stock exchange, listing at a slight premium.

Its shares touched a high of $1.31 in early trading compared with the issue price of $1.25 in the recent share float, before settling at $1.28 with only small volumes being traded.

The company raised $75 million in the public share float, which along with debt will give it about $100m for rural land buying.

NZRLC plans to buy rural land and lease it to farmers or other producers. . . 

Tractor and Machinery Association announces 2021 scholarships:

The Tractor & Machinery Association Inc (TAMA) is offering to industry trainees who are studying towards a certificate or diploma.

There are several $500 scholarships available to industry trainees who can demonstrate their commitment and potential contribution to the industry. Applications for 2021 open on 18 January and close on 5 March with successful applicants advised in May.

TAMA general manager Ron Gall said the scholarships are part of TAMA’s wider efforts to encourage younger people to stay working in the industry and take advantage of the valuable career path it offers. . . 


When a Child is Born

24/12/2020


Glory in simplicity

24/12/2020

This time last year we were preparing to celebrate Christmas with our Argentinean exchangee, his wife and two daughters who had come to spend a couple of weeks with us.

None of us could have foreseen that just three months later our borders would be closed  nor that on Christmas Eve this year we’d be wondering when, or even if, it might be safe for them to come back or for us to visit them.

But at least here we’re free to celebrate Christmas and our celebration will start tonight with a carol service.

However and with whoever you’re celebrating, or not, here’s a little  Facebook find to contemplate:

At Christmas, time deepens. The Celtic imagination knew that time is eternity in disguise. They embraced the day as a sacred space. Christmas reminds us to glory in the simplicity and wonder of one day; it unveils the extraordinary that our hurried lives conceal and neglect.

We have been given such immense possibilities. We desperately need to make clearances in our entangled lives to let our souls breathe. We must take care of ourselves and especially of our suffering brothers and sisters.

©JOHN O’DONOHUE

Excerpt from the unpublished collection of John O’Donohue
https://www.johnodonohue.com/

 


Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)

24/12/2020


All I want for Christmas

24/12/2020

North Otago now has sufficient irrigation to take the edge of droughts.

Those with water can still grow pasture and crops, those without it have options for grazing or selling stock.

But nothing beats rain and that’s what we’re getting for Christmas.

It won’t be what a lot of other people have ordered – campers, trampers and anyone else who was planning to be outside would have been hoping for sunshine.

But after only a little more than half our average 500mms or rain this year, it’s exactly what every farmer wanted.

Wishing you the joys of Christmas, whatever the weather,  and may 2021 be kind to you and yours (and ewe too).


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