Word of the day


Frazil – soft or amorphous ice formed by the accumulation of ice crystals in water that is too turbulent to freeze solid; ice crystals  ice crystals or granules sometimes resembling slush that are formed in turbulent water, as in swift streams or rough seas; a collection of stray ice crystals that form in fast-moving water.

Sowell says


Rural round-up


Dismiss protesting farmers as rednecks at your peril, Prime Minister– Claire Trevett:

The rules sheet issued by organisers of Friday’s Howl of a Protest showed farmers have learned from the errors of past protests.

It warned those taking part not to get into “heated arguments with people.”

“We want to be the sensible persuaders, not a bunch of rednecks.”

It is a valuable lesson, which was learned in the 2017 farmers’ protest in Morrinsville over Labour’s policy to charge for the commercial use of water. . . 

Farmers are riled up over everything and they’ve got a point – Kerre McIvor:

It takes a lot to get farmers off their land. But Friday’s Howl of Protest saw a goodly representation of every man and his dog fire up the Massey Fergs and John Deeres around the country and take to the streets in protest.

There wasn’t just one issue that had got them so riled up.

Farmers don’t see why they should be taxed to assist high-income city dwellers into electric cars when the rural community has no alternative right now but to use internal combustion engine 4WDs to do their work.

It’s not just the ute tax, though. It’s the moves to pricing on agricultural emissions. It’s the higher environmental standards on water. It’s the protection of sensitive land aka the land grab. It’s all of the everything. . . 

Mayor slams Shaw’s SNA claim – David Anderson:

Grey District’s mayor is unhappy at the lack of response from government ministers about concerns from West Coast leaders and iwi on Significant Natural Areas (SNAs).

Tania Gibson is seeking the support of all rural and provincial mayors around New Zealand in the battle to protect landowners from having their land locked up by the Government’s proposed SNA process in the new National Policy Statement on Indigenous Biodiversity (NPSIB).

In a letter to her fellow mayors, Gibson lambastes the attitude and response of Environment Minister James Shaw to opposition to the SNA process and the rural sector in general.

She told her fellow rural mayors that Shaw’s comments – “It is only a few Pākehā farmers down south whipping this up, spreading misinformation because they have always pushed back against the idea of any kind of regulation of protecting environmental conditions on their land…” have angered and disgusted her.

Still working to breed better sheep – Shawn McAvinue:

Texel stud breeders Alistair and Karen McLeod sold their grazing block in Central Otago to move to the Maniototo to continue their dream of breeding a better sheep.

Mr McLeod said people had been telling him he might be ‘‘getting a bit too long in the tooth’’ to be buying another farm to continue stud breeding.

‘‘When it’s your passion and you love doing it, it’s in your blood.’’

The McLeods had known fellow Texel breeders Mac and Mary Wright for about 25 years, meeting as New Zealand Sheepbreeders’ Association members, Mr McLeod said

Waitaki winemakers beat overall trend – Ashley Smyth:

Waitaki winemakers have been among the lucky ones this year, reaping a solid harvest despite a challenging year for New Zealand growers as a whole.

Waitaki Valley Wine Growers Association chairman Andrew Ballantyne said this year’s harvest was good.

“I think us and Central [Otago] were the only ones that were sort of up … We’ve actually had a pretty good run here in the Waitaki. It was a good harvest.”

Ostler co-owner and managing director Jim Jerram said there was a widespread problem with some frosts in the spring, which caused “major reduction in crops” in some South Island regions. . . 


Jimmy’s Farm hailed for protecting UK native breeds :

Jimmy’s Farm has gained Rare Breeds Approved Associate accreditation for its efforts in educating about the importance of the UK’s endangered native breeds.

The Suffolk farm, run by celebrity farmer Jimmy Doherty, has become the first recipient of accreditation, issued by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).

The charity has administered am accreditation scheme for farm parks for many years, creating a network which makes an important contribution for rare breeds survival.

The new Approved Associate scheme provides the opportunity to extend the benefits of RBST Approval for the UK’s rare breeds. .  .

Yes Sir Humphrey


What next?


The Howl of a Protest was the fifth farmer protest I can remember.

The first was in the mid-80s during the depths of the ag-sag. The second was against the fart tax. The third was before the 2019 election against Labour’s water policies. The fourth was a couple of years ago, organised by 50 Shades of Green against the policy that favours forestry over farming.

Friday’s protest was far bigger than any of those.

It was nationwide with more than 50 towns and cities involved.

Media coverage was generally fair. A minority chose to feature the tiny minority of off-message signs. Most reflected the mood which was measured and determined.

The number of tractors and utes that drove through Oamaru – many hundreds  of vehicles, carrying more than 1,000 people in total – illustrated the strength of feeling and the positive response from by-standers was heartening.

David Clark  sums it up well view:

I have been reflecting on yesterday’s farmer protests while going about my day feeding stock and delivering grain.

The protests in my view were well organised, peaceful and met with tremendous public support.

The political response got me thinking.

Minister for the Environment David Parker said on radio that he wasn’t backing away from ensuring Kiwi’s can swim in their rivers. We can and do safely swim in the river bordering our farm and in Lake Hood which is filled with river water. However I cannot swim in the Avon or the Heathcote or indeed many Auckland beaches during summer.

Minister for Agriculture Damien O’Connor and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have variously said the the government need to impose regulations and restrictions on farmers to ensure we are able to sell our agricultural produce to overseas markets and demonstrate that we are addressing environmental concerns, water degradation and methane from livestock.

New Zealand’s farmers are already one of, if not the most efficient producers of food in the world from a Carbon perspective. We have the second best water quality in the OECD and produce some of the highest quality grain, seed and horticultural products in the world.

Why don’t we talk of these successes?

We do and we have some excellent coverage of a lot of the successes in rural media and sometimes in wider media. But not everyone wants to listen.

Can we do even better? You betcha we can and we are on a path of constant improvement.

Yes we can do better and yes we are on a path of  constant, and continuous, improvement.

New Zealand farmers receive one of the highest unsubsidised farmgate milk prices in the world, our beef and lamb are at almost record prices as are our horticultural products. We simply can’t produce enough to meet with the demand for the food we grow.

It is these food products that are keeping the lights on in this country.

Some said yesterday it was a bunch of farmers driving flash new tractors and utes. I would say it was a demonstration of the investment by farmers in world leading technology to maximise performance, including modern, low emission Tier 3&4 engines.

Would the public prefer farmers were driving 1970’s Belarus Tractors and Lada Cars? Is that what we would view as success for our nation?

What farmers were speaking out about was a raft of policies being put in place with little or no consultation that will achieve nothing more than making food production more expensive, reduce our productivity and result in much more of NZ farmland being planted in pine trees by overseas investors speculating on our Emissions Trading Scheme.

As currently written, the Freshwater Rules would require our mixed arable farming system revert to dry land sheep grazing. That concerns me.

But above all else, farmers like me have had a gutsful of being vilified to suit a political agenda. We have had a gutsful of being slapped and that is why farmers took the very unusual step of taking to the streets.

The size of the crowds ought to have sent a very strong message to the government, their policies are wrong.

We have plenty of examples of what works when farmers and councils work together in catchment groups to clean up rivers. That model is far better than the top-down demands from Wellington desks.

But statements from the government show they’re not interested in that. So what happens next?


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