Government ‘tone deaf’ to meat industry’s needs – Sally Rae:
The Meat Industry Association has lambasted what is understood to be the approval of 15 long-term critical worker visas for halal butchers – when 45 are “desperately” needed – saying it shows the Government is “tone deaf to the needs of business”.
Muslim markets and many customers demanded meat be processed in the halal way; 49 out of 55 processing plants in New Zealand operated halal systems and relied on 250 halal butchers.
In a statement yesterday, MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said the “miserly” approval knee-capped the ability of the second-largest goods export sector to fully contribute to New Zealand’s economy and capture higher value from its exports.
Halal certified products contributed about $3.7 billion of annual export earnings. The sector could typically recruit only 100 halal butchers domestically due to New Zealand’s small Muslim population and the nature of the job. . .
Farmers will want to milk it – Sudesh Kissun:
Dairy farmers will be milking cows for as long as they can to capitalise on a record milk price this season.
Soaring farm input costs may erode profit margins, but a milk price near $9/kgMS provides farmers the chance to boost income and reduce debt.
Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell says farmers around the globe are facing inflationary pressures and NZ is no exception.
“But I don’t think there will be any adverse reaction to milk production,” says Hurrell. . .
T&G Global to invest millions in automated packhouse, orchard redevelopment –
Produce company T&G Global has announced it will pour in millions of dollars to expand its apples business to meet growing consumer demand.
The company will invest $100 million into a new automated packhouse and has committed millions more to orchard redevelopment across Hawke’s Bay and Nelson.
The announcement comes after T&G downgraded its full-year profit expectations in October, due to persistent labour shortages and rising shipping costs.
T&G, which is one of New Zealand’s largest apple growers and marketers, said its premium Envy apple was on track to be a billion-dollar brand. . .
Funding of hemp fibre innovation set to propel New Zealand on to world stage :
New Government funding will help a New Zealand hemp fibre company explore untapped opportunities – from soft flooring to food packaging that’s more environmentally sustainable.
The Government is contributing $1.34 million through MPI’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund (SFF Futures) to New Zealand Natural Fibres’ (NZNF) five-year research and development programme project. NZNF is the only hemp fibre company in New Zealand that controls its own supply chain end-to-end. The company is contributing a further $2 million in cash and in kind to the project.
“We plan to use the SFF Futures funding to develop our hemp growing, processing and marketing capability to ‘go further, faster’ towards taking a global leadership position in the development of industrial and consumer products made from hemp fibre,” says NZNF CEO Colin McKenzie.
“We are very pleased to have received government backing to continue our work with hemp fibre, which has huge potential to be part of the solution to some of the most crucial environmental challenges facing our planet today. . .
Gearing up for harvest:
The export cherry season is now underway and in New Zealand, summerfruit has started appearing in the supermarkets. In other words, the new season’s fruit harvest is gathering pace, as Christmas fast approaches and the great kiwi summer getaway also gets underway.
Tomorrow, the Auckland borders will finally be open. Unfortunately across some areas of the country, there is apprehension and reservations about this change. But let’s not pre-empt any negative thoughts. Our Auckland comrades have done it very hard for a long period. To help growers and packhouse operators prepare for in the event of a positive Covid test, we have worked with the Ministry of Primary Industries to pull together advice on what to do. Click here to access that advice.
The most important things to do are to isolate the worker and their bubble, alert your local District Health Board and follow their instructions regarding the public health implications, and contact your product group for further advice. In terms of any media interest, it is recommended to direct any journalist to your product group or HortNZ for any comment as you will be busy managing the response and we are all here to help you. . .
Once perceived as a problem, conservation grazing by cattle a boon to vernal pools :
Giving 1,200-pound cows access to one of California’s most fragile and biologically rich ecosystems seems a strange way to protect its threatened and endangered species.
But a recently published study suggests that reintroducing low to moderate levels of cattle grazing around vernal pools – under certain conditions – leads to a greater number and greater variety of native plants.
“We found that after 40 years of rest from grazing, reintroducing conservation grazing had – across the board – positive impacts on vernal pool plant diversity,” said Julia Michaels, a visiting professor at Reed College who led a three-year study in a Sacramento-area reserve during her time as a UC Davis Ph.D. student.
Ecologists consider vernal pools – ephemeral ponds that form seasonally – “islands of native habitat” amid California’s grasslands that are dominated by exotic grasses. These biodiversity hotspots harbor about 200 native species of animals and plants, such as the coyote thistle, which germinates under water and forms a snorkel-like straw to deliver oxygen to its roots – and then “fills in” its stem as the pool dries. . .