Word of the day


Dottle – a remnant of tobacco left in a pipe after smoking; unburned and partially burned tobacco in the bowl of a pipe.

Thatcher thinks


Rural round-up


Hands on training to develop future farmers – Colin Williscroft:

AS MOST farmers know, sometimes if you want something to happen you’ve got to get in there and give things a push yourself, rather than wait for action from elsewhere.

That was certainly the case for the Growing Future Farmers (GFF) programme, which recently signed a funding agreement with Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) to help it attract and train more young people in the red meat sector.

After winning the B+LNZ Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year award in 2016, Dan and Tam Jex-Blake realised that if they wanted to do something about the skill shortage facing the sector, they had to be proactive themselves.

Jex-Blake says there was and still is an absolute need to get more skilled people on-farm and the pipeline of young people wanting to enter the industry was drying up. . . 


Passion for growing agri-business education – Kate Taylor:

The introduction of agribusiness to New Zealand’s secondary school curriculum was a team effort, but continues to be driven by the enthusiasm of Waikato teacher Kerry Allen.

Kerry grew up near Rotorua on a dry-stock farm that has been in her family for more than 100 years. She worked in a plant nursery at weekends, did a horticulture degree at Lincoln University and then teacher training in Christchurch. After teaching horticulture and then science at Hillcrest High School for 18 years, Kerry took a new curriculum and resource writing position with St Paul’s Collegiate School in 2014.

The idea of an agribusiness curriculum grew from parent feedback that general education wasn’t meeting the needs of the primary sector. St Paul’s introduced agricultural and horticultural science classes, then expanded into agribusiness by using standards from other subjects, re-contextualised in a primary sector context. That worked, but they wanted to take it further as its own subject. They started getting other schools on board and began the process of asking the Ministry of Education to introduce it as a new subject. . .

Deer venture enters new territory – Sally Rae:

“We live it. We love it.”

North Otago farmer Bryce Burnett is talking about his family’s passion for the deer industry and venison which they have been producing at their Kauru Hill property for nearly 40 years.

It was his father Russell who made the move into deer, during the early stages of the industry, buying 30 hinds from Mark Acland in 1982 to add to his sheep farming operation.

Bryce took over in 2000 with his wife Janice, and, two years later, the couple decided to focus solely on deer on the 360ha property, inland from Oamaru. . . 

Bird highway takes flight – Country Life:

There’s a new highway taking shape at the southernmost tip of the North Island but not for sheep trucks or milk tankers.

Farmers like Stu Weatherstone, who operates one of Wairarapa’s largest dairy farms, are getting in behind the scheme to create a bird corridor across the valley.

The four year Tonganui Corridor project linking the Aorangi range in the east and the Remutaka mountains in the west involves planting and protecting tens of thousands of trees on strips and pockets of farmland in the South Wairarapa valley.

It’s hoped the corridor will eventually link the ranges and allow birds, insect life and other native species to flourish across the basin. . . 

Wine industry commences major research programme to protect and enhance New Zealand sauvignon blanc :

Bragato Research Institute (BRI) is excited to announce today that through a partnership with the government, work has begun on its Sauvignon Blanc Grapevine Improvement Programme. The research programme will develop new variants of New Zealand’s premier wine varietal, Sauvignon Blanc, to make the wine industry both more resilient and more sustainable. More resilient by identifying traits such as drought and frost resistance, and more sustainable by seeking natural resistance to pests and diseases.

“The New Zealand wine industry has a substantial track record of coming together to create large R&D projects for the benefit of the industry as a whole. This will be the first national grapevine improvement programme in the country,” says BRI CEO, Jeffrey Clarke.

BRI has designed an accelerated 7-year research programme that will apply the latest genome sequencing technology, after using established tissue culture techniques. This will allow BRI to create up to 20,000 entirely new variants of contemporary New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and then screen them to identify plants that exhibit the most useful traits selected by the wine industry. . . 

‘Replacing meat with highly processed food would repeat the health disasters of the 1970s’ – Dr Gary Fettke:

Wading through decades of nutrition research led orthopedic surgeon Gary Fettke and his wife Belinda to discover how health concerns over meat consumption have been falsified by statistical manipulation, misinformation, and biased promotion, and underlined the propaganda war designed to create a fear of meat and  drive its replacement with highly processed plant products. Dr Fettke outlined the outcomes of his extensive research in his opening statement to the Senate Inquiry into definitions of meat and other foods earlier this week, which appears in full below.

THE 1970’s saw the blame pointed at saturated fat and the introduction of low fat, sugary processed foods.

That was a health disaster.

We cannot repeat that with the demoniSation of meat and replacement with more highly processed and fortified foods. . .

Sowell says


Government gift to gangs


The government’s plan to ban the sale of tobacco to stop anyone aged 14 or younger now being able to purchase tobacco is a gift to gangs.

. . .The Government will gradually increase the age of purchase restrictions every year, meaning eventually there will be an age cohort who won’t be able to legally purchase cigarettes. . . 

The legal age of purchase is now 18.

Very few people start smoking as adults. It would be far better to just increase the purchasing age by a few years, 20 or 21 perhaps, and leave it at that.

It wouldn’t be much harder to police that age limit than sales under the current law are.

Making it illegal for people in the 30s, 40s and older to buy cigarettes would be much harder especially when for example someone aged 50 couldn’t buy cigarettes but someone a day older could; and what would happen to tourists who are addicted? Covid has inflicted enormous damage on tourism, this would be another blow to the industry.

Then there’s the inconsistency of the people who promote legalising, or at least decriminalising,  marijuana because they say prohibition doesn’t work, thinking it would work for tobacco.

There’s already a black market for tobacco and cigarette robberies are far from rare.

The government’s proposal will encourage more thefts and black market sales.

Gangs will take the ban on tobacco sales to anyone aged 14 or younger when the legislation comes into effect as an invitation to add it to their enterprises, almost certainly with the offer or other drugs such as marijuana and meth on the side.

I’ve always hated the smell of cigarette smoke and was delighted when it was no longer legal for tobacco addicts to inflict their smoke on others in enclosed public places like bars and restaurants.

I supported tax increases which have been proven to encourage people to drop the habit, but only up to a point. That point has now been passed and the high price that results is encouraging burglaries and illegal sales.

People can’t smoke inside public spaces, some councils have extended the ban to parks, sportsgrounds and beaches; employers can discriminate against smokers when taking on new staff and the government has made it illegal to smoke in a car with children.

That has made tobacco very expensive and the habit hard to maintain when there are so many restrictions on where people can smoke which has encouraged people to give up smoking.

The decrease in smokers might not be happening fast enough for the government but that’s not an argument for this proposal which will gift gangs another illegal product to sell.

%d bloggers like this: