Word of the day

17/01/2022

Interdigitate– to interlock like the fingers of two clasped hands; an interlocking of things with fingerlike projections; the  interlocking of toothed or tongue-like processes.


Sowell says

17/01/2022


Rural round-up

17/01/2022

Obsolete regulations block using CRISPR to develop safer potatoes, healthier tomatoes and climate resistant crops – Catherine Regnault-Roger:

CRISPR technology is a major technological breakthrough compared to the genome modification technologies that preceded it; developed then published by Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna in the international journal Science in 2012.

They received for this discovery, in a record time (only eight years) the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020! This shows the importance of this innovation.

The European legislative framework… considers that GMO regulations must be applied to products obtained by CRISPR. This in fact amounts to preventing de facto its development in the EU because this regulation, which dates from 2001, has become obsolete due to the advances in scientific knowledge that have been made over the past 20 years.

The CRISPR technique has many agronomic applications… which will revolutionize the agriculture of tomorrow in terms of phytosanitary inputs and fertilizers. . . 

‘We know that fruit will go to waste’ – Shannon Thomson:

Staffing shortages continue to bite for Central Otago orchardists.

Ongoing border closures and nationwide low unemployment has caused Horticulture New Zealand to call on growers to “club together” to make the best use of their resources.

Summerfruit New Zealand chief executive Kate Hellstrom said it had been a tough two years for growers and the organisation was working with other horticulture product groups and government departments to attract and retain as many seasonal workers as possible.

“We know that fruit will go to waste, which will affect profitability and morale, as some growers only have about half the staff they’ve had in previous seasons,” she said. . .

The changing face of farming – Ken Geenty:

Onfarm diversification can bring both motivational and economic stimulation to the benefit of your farming operation. By Ken Geenty.

About half the total area of New Zealand is taken up with farming, forestry and housing. The other half is in native land cover and mountains. 

On the farmed area over the past two decades Statistics NZ says the total number of holdings has decreased from 70,000 to 50,000 with a 13% decrease in the area farmed to 13.5 million hectares. About 13% of our population lives on farms. 

It seems a similar trend is happening world-wide. The United Nations predicts internationally an additional 3.3 million hectares of prime agricultural land will be taken up by urbanisation between 2000 and 2030. More corporate ownership, vertically and horizontally integrated to own the whole food system, will see a decline in family farms and rural communities. . . 

Shearing ‘in the blood’ of family at heart of Southland event – Evan Harding:

Patsy Shirley watches on as the shearers power into their work at a southern woolshed on Friday.

The Northern Southland Community Shears event is on, and Shirley is in her element.

She has been a key organiser of the event for more than 20 years, since being instrumental along with her family in moving it from Mossburn to Lumsden when it was about to fold.

More than seven national shearing and woolhandling titles are on the line at the farm venue near Five Rivers. . . 

Taranaki Soft Core – Jackie Harrigan:

Farming on the high-rainfall slopes of Mount Taranaki brings its challenges to a project to boost efficiency and reduce emissions. By Jackie Harrigan. Photos: Ross Nolly.

Donna and Phillip Cram have undergone their own quiet step change project over the last few years, quietly working away at increasing the efficiency of their farming operation.

“More production from fewer cows is our aim for reducing emissions as part of the sustainability of our farm business for the future.”

Wylam Dene Farms at Auroa is home to Donna, an accountant by trade, and Phil, a diesel mechanic from the United Kingdom. They met in the local Oeo pub and she encouraged Phil into the industry. . .

Why is price-fixing a crime for bread, but not for dairy? – Colby Cosh: *

A distinctly Canadian variety of brain damage was on full display over the holidays. Last week, as you may have read in the Toronto Sun, an Ontario judge approved a class action lawsuit against Canadian grocery companies that have already confessed to being involved in a conspiracy to fix retail prices for sandwich bread.

A few other grocers who have never admitted to any wrongdoing have been thrown in as parties. The defendants include the Loblaws grocery chain, which already handed out $25 gift cards to Canadian consumers after confessing its price-fixing to the Competition Bureau.

This story did not make much impact, and it is not so hard to understand why. Does shopping for bread stress you out particularly? Is your budget thunderstruck by the burden? Me, I don’t even buy much old-fashioned packaged sandwich bread anymore. When I was a kid the choices in the grocery stores were basically “white” and “brown,” but in my lifetime I’ve seen most grocery stores acquire pretty terrific bakeries.

This story did not make much impact, and it is not so hard to understand why. Does shopping for bread stress you out particularly? Is your budget thunderstruck by the burden? Me, I don’t even buy much old-fashioned packaged sandwich bread anymore. When I was a kid the choices in the grocery stores were basically “white” and “brown,” but in my lifetime I’ve seen most grocery stores acquire pretty terrific bakeries. . . 

* Hat tip: Offsetting Behaviour


Black Heels and Tractor Wheels – Emily Welch

17/01/2022

Black Heels and Tractor Wheels Podcasts are a Rural Women NZ initiative in which they share stories from a range of women around New Zealand.


Common courtesy no longer common

17/01/2022

The man in front of me at the supermarket checkout had a scarf loosely round his lower face and was ranting at the woman serving him about the requirement to wear a mask.

She responded with commendable restraint, he continued to rant, paid for his groceries and stalked out, still ranting.

I congratulated her on her response. She replied that the man’s ranting was mild compared with some of the behaviour she’d had to face.

Media reports back that up with stories workers in a variety of customer-facing roles having to deal with verbal, and sometimes physical, abuse from people who either don’t know, or don’t care that the people serving them don’t make the rules and even if they’d did, abuse is inappropriate.

I share the frustration people have about wearing masks. They’re uncomfortable  enough when the weather is cool, far worse when it’s hot. I also hate the way it’s hard to read people’s faces when masked and harder to recognise people I know.

But customers have to wear them only when in shops, the staff have to wear them all day.

And whether or not you think masks have a role to play in protecting the wearer, and others, from  Covid-19, the requirement to wear them is not the rule of people serving us in shops.

Common courtesy should stop people from taking their frustration out on shop staff, and probably would have in the past, but courtesy is no longer so common.

Please, thank you and excuse me are absent from many people’s vocabularies. Holding doors for people with walking sticks, prams or wheel chairs isn’t’ second nature to many; and other aspects of good manners and consideration for others that used to be normal behaviour, appear to be foreign concepts to them.

And  far too often doing as you would be done by has been replaced by doing what you feel like, with no heed of the impact it would have on other people.

 


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