Firkytoodle – to caress sexually, indulge in foreplay; to pet; to canoodle.
New Zealand Apples and Pears Inc (NZAPI), the industry association representing all apple, pear and nashi growers in New Zealand, has released an updated crop estimate for 2021.
In January, the industry was forecasting a gross national crop of 558,672 metric tonnes, 5% down on the 2020 harvest. The export share of the gross crop was forecast to be 374,751 metric tonnes (20.8 million cartons), 7% down on 2020, reflecting a shortage of available labour and significant hail events in the Nelson and Central Otago regions.
“As we near peak harvest, it has become increasingly clear that we will not achieve those initial forecasts”, NZAPI CEO Alan Pollard said. . .
“What a slap in the face to the horticulture and viticulture sectors today’s $350,000 ‘wellbeing support package’ is as they face losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” says ACT Primary Industries spokesperson Mark Cameron and Immigration spokesperson James McDowall.
“These people don’t need workshops, they need workers,” says Mr Cameron.
“To get this pitiful news in a week when it’s become clear that Hawke’s Bay is short of thousands of workers and estimates its apple losses alone will run to between $100 and $200 million this year is just sickening.
“The Government doesn’t seem to understand the lifecycle of plants, having rationalised that a sector that had ‘had it good’ for a number of years could suck up one rotten harvest. . .
Immigration NZ overturns decision on sheep scanners’ work visas – Riley Kennedy:
Immigration New Zealand has given the green light to 11 foreign sheep scanners to help New Zealand farmers.
Sheep scanning happens around April and May and is the pregnancy test for ewes due to give birth this coming spring.
It comes after the scanners’ applications for critical worker visas were previously denied, however, an Immigration NZ spokesperson said it recently received new information about the availability of sheep scanners in New Zealand.
The department then informed employers who had applied for workers and had been declined, that their requests would be reconsidered. . .
The Winter Grazing Action Group (WGAG) is stressing to farmers the importance of having grazing contracts in place for the coming season.
The group was set up by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor last year in response to a report from the Winter Grazing Taskforce, which made 11 recommendations to help ensure that animal welfare became a key part of all winter grazing decisions in the pastoral supply chain.
He said the action group’s job was to recommend ways to improve animal welfare following what he called “a lot of concern about managing winter grazing for cattle, sheep, and deer across the country”. The group’s 15 members represent industry organisations, government, vets, farmers, and other rural professionals. It is supported in its work by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
WGAG Chair, Lindsay Burton said the group was keen to emphasise the need for grazing contracts for livestock when grazed off farm to make sure health, nutrition and welfare needs are understood and managed especially during periods of greater risk like winter. . .
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking feedback on proposed regulations for organic primary sector products.
“The proposals set out the details of the proposed regime for organic food, beverages, and plant and animal products,” said Fiona Duncan, director of food skills and science policy.
The proposals outline the processes that would apply to businesses marketing organic products. Producers and processors of organic primary products, as well as importers, exporters and domestic-focused businesses, will be interested in how these proposals could apply to them.
“With these proposals, consumers would be better able to tell which products are organic and make more informed choices about what they buy,” said Ms Duncan. . .
Harness the power of earthworms – Paul Reed Hepperly:
When moist, practically all soils from tundra to lowland tropics support the activity of earthworms. Largely unseen, earthworms are a diverse, powerful workforce with the capacity to transform soil into fertile ground.
Found in 27 families, more than 700 genera and greater than 7,000 species, earthworms vary from about 1 inch to 2 yards long. Their living mass outweighs all other animal life forms in global soils. Although we may view earthworms as being both prolific and productive, do we fully appreciate our human capability to favor their beneficial efforts as allies allowing farms and gardens to flourish? I think not.
Earthworms’ powerful activities include promoting favorable soil structure, increasing biological diversity, improving soil function, balancing nutrients needed by plants and animals and optimizing living soil. . .
What’s happened to kindness?
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says Covid-19 has taught the tourism industry “not to be so cocky” after a slump in international tourism saw it lose its spot as the top export earner to the dairy industry.
“We have just gone through an amazing 12-month period in our country where we have learnt a lot about ourselves, as people, as a community and as sectors and industries,” O’Connor told an audience of agricultural leaders and politicians at Central Districts Field Days in Feilding on Friday.
“The tourism industry learnt not to be so cocky, that’s not to go around saying how great they are and how big they are, cause it can change,” said O’Connor, who has previously held the role of tourism minister. . .
Was the industry ever cocky?
And the industry isn’t a single entity, it’s a collection of businesses big and small, many out of the main centers where the jobs it sustained also sustained the communities.
The workers were also volunteers in fire brigades and ambulance services, they bought fuel at the local petrol station and supplies at local shops, their children went to schools which employed teachers.
There were legitimate questions about whether there was too much of a good thing, especially its impact on sensitive natural areas.
But we all got to enjoy the benefits of the export income it earned and the jobs it created.
Many of those tourism businesses, other businesses and services that supplied and supported them and their staff, and whole communities are now under threat because the government shut our borders.
Doing that prevented the widespread devastation that Covid-19 has brought, and is still having, in many other countries.
But the government’s reluctance to safely open borders to countries like Australia is costing jobs and businesses.
The only cockiness is from the government that is basking in international adulation and a minister suffering from a very bad case of foot in mouth disease.
Saturday’s soapbox is yours to use as you will – within the bounds of decency and absence of defamation. You’re welcome to look back or forward, discuss issues of the moment, to pontificate, ponder or point us to something of interest, to educate, elucidate or entertain, amuse, bemuse or simply muse, but not abuse.
When every benefit received is a right, there is no place for good manners, let alone for gratitude. – Theodore Dalrymple