Sowell says


Rural round-up


$100 million cost to another epic failure – Barbara Kuriger:

Putting the cart before the horse’ could have been written especially for this Labour Government.

Time and time again over the past five years, they’ve made regulation announcements and set implementation deadlines but failed to put into place any practical process or reasoning behind them.

A classic example is the fiasco by David Parker and his Ministry for the Environment, to create workable regulations for intensive winter grazing (IWG) on sloping farmland, along with the process to implement them.

The intent of IWG regulations is to protect freshwater resources, the welfare of our animals and our exporting credentials. . . .

Central Plains Water Contributes $1M to local Community :

Over the past five years Central Plains Water Limited (CPW) has contributed over one million dollars to a variety of projects that enhance biodiversity in the CPW operational area. The Central Plains Water Environmental Management Fund (EMF) was established as part of the CPW consent.  CPW provides annual contributions of approximately $115,000 to the fund. 

The funds are administered by a Trust which allows for representatives from the community, iwi, environmental and recreational interests and the local councils. This group of individuals make the decisions around which projects to fund.

“We are delighted that CPW has been able to provide substantial funding for a range of projects within the catchment that make a real environmental difference. Environmental sustainability is a very important part of our business. We have a goal of being a world leader in environmental and sustainable practice and the EMF is just one of the initiatives in place to help achieve this goal,” said CPW Chief Executive, Mark Pizey.

Projects selected for funding by the Trust include wetland enhancement, projects that minimise nutrient losses to lowland streams and riparian planting. . . 

Lochinver Station joins Beef and Lamb NZ genetics programme :

One of the country’s largest farms will be the first in the North Island to take part in a Beef and Lamb NZ genetics programme.

Lochinver Station on the Rangitāiki Plains near Taupō joins Pāmu’s Kepler Farm near Te Anau as a progeny test site for the Informing New Zealand Beef (INZB) programme.

The across-breed Beef Progeny Test uses Angus, Hereford and now Simmental genetics to identify the performance of agreed-on traits.

Angus cows will be artificially inseminated at Lochinver in January 2023 with Angus, Hereford and Simmental bulls used at the North Island farm. . .

Recognition for forestry’s highest achievers :

This week at an awards dinner held in Auckland the New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) announced the winners of its three most prestigious awards. The 2022 recipients are acknowledged for their diverse range of skills and experience. From hard graft and commitment at grass roots level, to high level policy planning and execution, and academic leadership.

Forestry continues to be a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy. NZIF President, James Treadwell says “the industry is working hard to benefit New Zealand, and we are particularly proud of the high caliber of this year’s award contenders.”

The Prince of Wales Sustainability Cup is awarded to Jake Palmer. This award recognises the achievements of a young New Zealand forest professional who lives and breathes the principles of sustainable forest management. In addition to the sound science based land stewardship, the awardee must demonstrate a commitment to raising the profile, of the wise use and conservation of forests and their ecosystems. Treadwell commented “This award was instigated by Prince Charles in 2017. It’s especially poignant timing this year following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The mantel will pass to a new Prince of Wales, Prince William, to continue to champion environmentally positive forestry practices.”

The New Zealand Forester of the Year Award winner is Don Hammond. This highly coveted industry prize rewards a person for their exceptional contribution to the forestry sector throughout the past year. Hammond’s work this year has been fundamental to ensure that log export markets have remained open to forest owners in Aotearoa New Zealand. Presenting the award, Treadwell said “The entire forestry sector is very fortunate, to have had the right person in the right place. Hammond has navigated through very difficult waters to improve the lot of foresters across the nation.” . . 

Crop Farmer testing research for sustainable farming :

An arable farmer wanting to switch up his methods to become more sustainable is one of the first to participate in a new research project led by the Foundation for Arable Research.

South Canterbury fourth-generation farmer Andrew Darling, who grows wheat, barley, sunflowers and oil seed rape, will trial how he can phase out use of nitrogen over the next 18 months.

He said an ever-increasing fertiliser bill incentivised him to work with FAR to scale back on crop inputs.

“Last year around spring, when crop growth is key and we’re starting to put on urea products and nitrogen, the bill was about $700,” he said. . .

Data Driven agricultural solution are not the future – Eightwire

No, that’s not a misprint! Data-driven solutions are not the future of agriculture — they’re very much part of the present reality for farmers.

The agriculture industry is going through a sea change and data is playing a crucial role. The type of data that is collected and how it is collected, shared and used is a major challenge and opportunity for the sector. The challenges of dealing with data are common to all industries but it’s particularly challenging in the agriculture sector given the large datasets from a wide range of different sources.

There’s so much data involved in farming these days. You’ve got the operational side of things including machinery, sensors and technology that deliver data around the animal performance and wellbeing, pasture management, soil, feed, fertiliser and water. You’ve also got data from contractors and suppliers. It’s mind boggling to think about how much data is involved and how all of that data has to be managed by the farmer. And the thing is, the farmer shouldn’t have to add data management to their list of tasks on farm. . . 

James Meager for Rangitata


National Party members in Rangitata have selected James Meager as the candidate for next year’s election:

Mr Meager (Ngāi Tahu) lives in Ashburton where he runs a small consultancy business, servicing organisations in Mid and South Canterbury. He recently worked as a senior public lawyer at Simpson Grierson in Christchurch.

After studying at the University of Otago, James spent several years working at the university, including in a Māori health role, before taking up roles at Parliament.

“It’s a huge honour to be selected as National’s candidate for Rangitata,” Mr Meager says.

“Having been born and raised in Timaru, and now living in Ashburton, I’m acutely aware of the issues facing our region. I’m proud to have the opportunity to stand up for my home and to fight for the issues that matter most to our people. As a local boy, I will work tirelessly to deliver for our region as part of a Christopher Luxon-led National Government.

“I stepped up because hardworking Kiwis across Mid and South Canterbury are going backwards under Labour. I’m aspirational for our area and I will work tirelessly to get results.

“Labour is addicted to wasteful spending which is helping to drive up inflation and fueling a cost-of-living crisis, hitting Rangitata families in the pocket. Meanwhile, pleas for much-needed investment, like support for flood-stricken farmers, fixing the potholes on State Highway 1, and funding the Ashburton Bridge replacement, fall on deaf ears.

We’re also seeing local control of our water assets and polytechs stripped away and given to Wellington bureaucrats, and more pressure piled on our productive rural sector by a Labour Government that does not back farmers.

“I truly believe only National has the competence and capability to rebuild our economy and deliver the effective public services needed to improve the lives of all New Zealanders.

“My priority now is to meet as many people as I can across Rangitata, listen to them, and hopefully earn their support as their local MP.

“The Labour Party is on notice. Rangitata’s campaign to ensure Christopher Luxon is the next Prime Minister of New Zealand starts today.”

This is good news for the electorate and the party.

When normal isn’t normal


Patti Davis , Ronald Reagan’s daughter, writes of when a private loss requires public grief.

. . . My father was the beacon of light we all gravitated to, no matter how we felt about each other. When forces like this die, the fault lines in the family that were always there remain. Yet the beauty of memorial services and funerals is that for a while, that breakage is healed.

During the five days of services for my father, on each coast, we were more of a family than we’d ever been. I didn’t want it to end. As we were flying back to California from Washington, DC, for the final service and burial, I said to my mother: “Can’t we just fly around a bit more? Go to some other states? I’m sure they’d welcome us.” She smiled, sadly, and I’m not sure if she knew that I was saying I wanted the fragile peace we had during those days to last.

Several times during that period, friends remarked on how hard it must have been to mourn in public. I always said, “No, that actually was the easy part.” I felt thousands of locked hands beneath me, keeping me from falling. That’s also why I didn’t want the week to end. Once it did, I would be left with the solitariness of my own grief, slogging through the waters that would inevitably rise around me.

Even if you are the royal family, the most famous family in the world, everyone doesn’t see everything about you. There is grief that spills out in the shadows. We need to remember that when we watch the public ceremonies surrounding the queen’s passing. . .

Driving home through dark quiet streets, I knew the river of grief that was waiting for me, and I knew I would have to cross it alone.

My hope is that people remember this about the royal family: In the end, though they breathe rarefied air, they grapple as we all do with life and death, with the mystery of what it means to be human. When darkness falls, and they are alone, they sink into the same waters that everyone does when a loved one dies. And they wonder if they’ll make it to the other side.

Grief doesn’t end with a funeral but after it, people outside the inner circle of grievers return to normal life while those inside that circle are left to come to terms with the knowledge that normal isn’t normal any more.

And that normal is forever.

Grief is sometimes likened to an illness from which the grievers recover.

It’s more like a wound.

At first it bleeds profusely and the pain is so intense it’s all consuming.

The love and support of family and friends can help dull the pain and stem the blood, sometimes professional help is needed, but even with  that, the slightest knock will restart the bleeding and the pain.

Gradually a scab forms. At first it’s still tender and easily dislodged, often unexpectedly and at inopportune moments.

Eventually, and there’s no rule on how long that takes, the wound heals but the grievers are left with a scar that will always be with them and even years after the grief wound was inflicted it can hurt.

This doesn’t mean grief is always all consuming, nor that it’s not possible to be happy and enjoy life again.

It means that grief changes you and while you can, and most do, adjust to the new normal, it can never be normal as it used to be.

Tonight (New Zealand time), Queen Elizabeth II’s life  will be celebrated at her funeral and she will be buried beside her husband and parents.

The world will keep turning, the media will find something else on which to focus, and normal will be normal for most of us.

But not for those whose grief is so personal and who will have to adjust to a new normal without the one they loved – and still love because love is stronger than death.

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