Word of the day


Tregetour – a person who performs tricks; a juggler or magician; a conjuror; trickster.

Rural round-up


See how we’re making meat better:

Knowing how our food is produced, and the implications for our health and the health of the planet, is more important now than ever before.

With growing public concern around the impact of farming, chemicals and additives, there’s a lot to look out for – and a lot of info to chew on!

So get more facts in your diet – and see how New Zealand’s natural production systems make a real difference to the things we all care about.  . .

Why we need agrichemicals – Jacqueline Rowarth:

While it can be seen as “environmentally friendly,” removing agrichemicals and moving to organic farming would have a significant impact on food supply, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth writes.

Tomatoes at 8c a kg have become a distant memory and concerns about food insecurity and costs are increasing again. Food banks are reporting ever greater demand and shelves are empty.

Around the world, the Global Food Insecurity Index has indicated that most countries are worse off than New Zealand, yet despite the obvious need for food, environmentalists are arguing for a dramatic change in agriculture – removing agrichemicals, such as nitrogen fertiliser and the “cides” that kill weeds, insects and the micro-organisms.

These are the chemicals that boost yields by overcoming nutrient limitations in plants, or controlling the weeds and bugs that reduce yields through competition for resources, or simply by consumption of the food before humans have access. . . 

West Coast sharemilker’s director skills recognised:

Hokitika sharemilker Siobhan O’Malley has received an Emerging Director Award from the Institute of Directors (IoD) Canterbury Branch.  

The IoD presents its Emerging Director Awards annually to people who show leadership, integrity and enterprise in their careers. Along with a year’s complimentary membership of the IoD and funding towards IoD governance development courses, each recipient receives a board internship and mentoring from an experienced director. Siobhan will intern on the board of civil contracting and construction firm Westroads Ltd.  

Siobhan and her husband operate a 400-cow herd-owning sharemilking contract in Kokatahi. They have previously worked on farms in North Canterbury, North Otago, Tasman and Mid Canterbury. In 2017 the couple won the New Zealand Sharefarmer of the Year award at the NZ Dairy Awards. . .

Changing careers fuels passion for dairy:

An aspiring beauty therapist has made the switch to dairy farming, where Waikato woman Tyla Ireland has found her calling.

After finishing high school, Tyla pursued a career in beauty therapy, becoming a qualified therapist two years ago. She was excited to turn her passion into what she thought would be a lifelong career.

“At school I enjoyed having my nails done and doing my makeup, but what really sparked my interest was the opportunity to make others more confident in their appearance,” said Tyla.

“I was excited to start my first job but found there weren’t many opportunities for new graduates. I decided to look at short-term calf rearing opportunities, which was when I was lucky to be approached for a full-time position on farm.” . . 

Aratu Forests announces 90-year riparian forestry scheme with ELandNZ:

Aratu Forests, one of New Zealand’s ten largest freehold forest plantations, has today announced an industry-first, 90-year ‘right to plant’ land management agreement with sustainable land-use company, eLandNZ – with the backing of the Gisborne District Council.

The scheme has been under development for two years and is set to create a permanent native forest buffer alongside waterways within Aratu Forests. In May ground will be broken as part of a community launch event involving Iwi, community groups and the Gisborne District Council.

eLandNZ’s Managing Director, Sheldon Drummond, says: “The 90-year agreement for mixed land use within Aratu Forests will see eLandNZ progressively manage revegetation of streamside buffers within the Aratu Forests estate that are unsuitable for timber plantation. . . 

Plans underway for UK”s first school of sustainable farming :

Plans are underway to develop the UK’s first school centred on sustainable food and farming to help the industry reduce its environmental impact.

The school, to be located on Harper Adams University grounds in Shropshire, will research production systems geared towards more sustainable farming.

It will also draw on expertise to develop knowledge and skills for farmers who are committed to sustainable food production.

Research topics initially will include livestock breed choice, diet composition, yield improvement, agricultural building design and on-farm renewable energy. . . 

Silly law is bad law


Someone complained about supermarkets in Wanaka opening yesterday.

. . .The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment did not confirm whether an investigation had started. . . 

Does anyone else see the irony, if they did investigate,  in making someone work on a statutory holiday to investigate if other people are working?

Easter trading law is full of inconsistencies.

Any business, except those in retail and licensed bars and cafes, could operate as normal should they have chosen to do so, providing they paid staff time and a half and gave them a day off in lieu.

You could buy a magazine at a service station or dairy but not at a supermarket or bookshop.

You could drink alcohol at a bar or cafe only if you had a meal – and that means a meal, not just a snack. But one person’s snack could be another’s meal.

Papers weren’t published yesterday but a lot of people would have been working to produce today’s papers.

That people should have the day off when everyone else does doesn’t take into account that not everyone else has the day off.

There are lots of businesses and service providers that don’t operate a five-day working week.

Cows were still milked, fruit and vegetables were picked, other crops were  harvested, hospitals, rest homes and residential homes for disabled people were operating, TV and radio broadcast, health professionals like GPS, dentists, vets and their staff would have been on-call. . .

Easter trading law is silly law and silly law is bad law.

The penalty of up to $1,000 reflects the lack of seriousness with which breaches are taken.

If it’s deemed that Good Friday should be a special case, it should be modeled on Anzac Day. People respect morning closures that day, I think they would should that law be applied to Good Friday too.

But the law doesn’t make a day holy.

My preference would be to leave it up to individual businesses to make their own decisions, provided, as is the case now, those staff who don’t want to work have the choice to not do so.

Saturday soapbox


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.

The secret of happiness is freedom and the secret of freedom is courage. – Thucydides

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