Davis will resign if partnership schools close

July 24, 2017

Kelvin Davis, Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP says he will resign if the two partnership schools in the north are closed down:

 . . The MP Kelvin Davis said Māori wanted a measure of autonomy over the education of their children.

“So if they were to close they would no longer exist, that would be a bottom line for me, so the fact is they can exist as special character schools, that’s the bottom line to me.” . . .

The party’s policy on partnership schools is confusing – saying it wants to close them but would continue to support kura kaupapa and special character schools.

Whether the two in Northland would be safe under this policy is debatable but Davis’s threat is not.

It’s also yet another sign that Labour can’t sing from the same song sheet in opposition and so are still a long way from being a government-in-waiting.


Young Farmers and future ag benefit from bequest

July 13, 2017

A media release from Young Farmers announces the bequest of a farm to the organisation:

NZ Young Farmers have been donated a 74-hectare farm in Auckland and will use it as a vehicle to showcase agriculture to New Zealand youth.
Located between Manurewa and Whitford, the dairy farm was generously donated by the late Donald Pearson.
NZ Young Farmers CEO Terry Copeland said the farm would be a vehicle into the future and will offer exponential opportunities in displaying a wide range of industries including, horticulture, dairy and sheep and beef operations.
“This is not a money making exercise for NZ Young Famers but rather an amazing opportunity to further our emphasis on engaging with students in Auckland schools to showcase the vast array of careers available in the Agri-sector.”
Although details are yet to be finalised, Mr Copeland said he expected the farm to be a doorway to innovative technology and a masterclass in the future of farming.
“There is enormous possibilities and we are excited about the partnerships this will bring across the industry to communicate the opportunities the sector can offer New Zealand’s youth.
To have this facility in the heart of Auckland presented a substantial asset the industry needs and will play a significant in the Ministry of Primary Industries target of attracting an extra 50 000 employees to the sector by 2025.”
Recently Mr Copeland spoke of the need to make Auckland the next emphasis for attracting youth into Agri-food careers.
“How do we engage with the next generation in Auckland? Currently 39 per cent of all high school students in New Zealand reside in Auckland and only 29 per cent of all students reside in rural areas, so we have a real problem and this farm will give us a solution.”
Mr Copeland said NZ Young Farmers through its PGP partnership with DairyNZ and RMPP funding, is constantly working with urban schools to sell a positive message around Agri careers and the farm would add stronger foundations to that message.
“We will be able to let as many students as possible visit, explore and view the incredible opportunities this sector offers.”
The gift itself was extraordinary, because Mr Pearson (who has no children of his own) had no formal relationship with NZ Young Farmers, he said.
“But he knew he didn’t want his land carved up and sold off to residential housing. His passion for agriculture and belief in the organisation to use it to bring people into the sector has left a legacy that all of the Agri-sector will celebrate for decades to come.”
Donald’s friend Bryan said he and his Father in Law, Graham were keen to help NZ Young Farmers to set up the farm because they wanted to realise his dream.
The gift would ensure the farm’s future, with Bryan reporting he had already had one developer approach them.
“Donald initially didn’t know what he wanted to do with the farm if he died, but he knew what he didn’t want to happen, which was to have it end up all subdivided.”
NZ Young Farmers chairperson Jason Te Brake was excited about the opportunities the farm now afforded the organisation.
“The gifting of the farm was an extremely generous donation by Donald, and one which will play a significant role in allowing NZ Young Farmers to continue to connect and develop the future people of the primary industries. The farm is intended to showcase the primary industries to New Zealand youth, and this aligns perfectly with NZ Young Farmers strategic direction and compliments the rewarding results we are already achieving through our school based programmes.”
The farm will begin trading under NZ Young Farmers from September.

This farm would be worth about $3 million in the country. It’s development potential in Auckland  would make it even more valuable.

This is a very generous bequest and provides a wonderful opportunity for Young Farmers to close the urban-rural divide.

Agriculture, horticulture and supporting industries are in desperate need of staff yet they aren’t seen as attractive career opportunities by many city-raised young people.

This farm will help Young Farmers show case agriculture and horticulture to city kids and open their eyes to work and business opportunities.

It will also help teach them that farming can be sustainable – economically, socially and environmentally.


Rural round-up

June 16, 2017

Mānuka genes could help fight myrtle rust – scientist:

Mānuka tree genetics has the potential to help the myrtle plant family develop resistance to myrtle rust, a scientist says.

The airborne disease has spread to Te Puke, meaning there are 46 infected properties across Northland, Waikato, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said it was no closer to containing the spread, which affects all members of the myrtle plant family – including pōhutakawa and mānuka. . .

Steady progress with Primary Growth projects – Allan Barber:

It is eight years since the Primary Growth Partnership programme was announced by the then recently elected National Government. At the end of 2016 there were 20 projects under way and just two completed, but 30th June sees the completion of FarmIQ, the largest of the red meat sector programmes. This seems to be an appropriate point to evaluate the success of PGP, in particular the six meat and two wool programmes which have been allocated total Crown and industry funding of $342 million.

The key point about PGP is its funding structure, with the taxpayer and industry putting up approximately half each, thus ensuring industry commitment to a better than even chance of a successful outcome. Nevertheless, as a general principle, the larger the amount of money invested, the greater the difficulty of measurement and the wider the potential for missing the target. . . 

Impassioned plea for rural health research funding:

The head of the national rural health group today made an impassioned plea for the government to consider much-needed rural research.

Michelle Thompson, chief executive of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) says there is a strong feeling that rural health outcomes are poorer than urban health outcomes but until they have the hard data they can’t be sure whether there is a difference or understand the scale of the difference.

Earlier this year the RHAANZ presented its five most urgent priorities to government, one of which included comprehensive rural health research support. . . 

Cartel’s gonna cartel – Eric Crampton:

Canada’s dairy cartel continues to impress. After Canada negotiated increased access to Canadian markets for European cheesemakers, the dairy cartel managed to do this:

Under the terms of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada has agreed to allow nearly 18,000 additional tonnes of European cheese to be imported tariff free.

But CBC News has learned that when Canadian officials briefed their European counterparts on how they would allocate the quota for importing this new cheese, not everyone around Europe’s cabinet table felt Canada’s approach lived up to the spirit of the negotiations.

A European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak, characterized the state of things as a “row.” . . 

Beef and Sheep sector outline key priorities in their 2017 Manifesto: “Blueprint for partnership with the New Zealand Government”:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) are presenting the sector’s priorities to all political parties ahead of this year’s General Election.

The two organisations, who represent New Zealand sheep and beef farmers and meat processors, marketers and exporters have outlined in a manifesto a set of key priority policy areas on which to base a stronger partnership with government. 

MIA Chief Executive Tim Ritchie said the sheep and beef sector is our second largest goods exporter and a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy. . . 

Launch of Māori Kiwifruit Growers Forum an industry first:

The Māori Kiwifruit Growers Forum was officially launched yesterday in Tauranga, representing a first for the kiwifruit industry.

The forum has been created to advocate for the interests of Māori growers in the sector and is a partnership between Māori kiwifruit growers, Te Puni Kōkiri and Zespri.

Minister for Māori Development, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell attended the launch at Te Hua Whenua Orchard in Welcome Bay. . . 

Finalists selected in NZ Sheep Industry Awards:

Leading farmers, scientists, a retired sheep breeder and a ground-breaking stock trading company are among the finalists selected in this year’s Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

This year’s Awards feature five people-related categories in which finalists were selected by a team of judges representing the farming and agribusiness industries.

These “people” awards sit alongside the Supplier of Year Award, where processing companies nominate a top supplier and four genetics awards, in which the top three animals in each category are selected through the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics evaluation. . . 

Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit on show at Fieldays:

From dairy to blueberries and from milk to beer, agribusiness diversification is the hot topic at this year’s National Fieldays according to ANZ’s Managing Director Commercial & Agri Mark Hiddleston.

Visiting Fieldays this week, Mr Hiddleston said many producers were looking outside their main business for ways to make their operations more profitable and resilient.

“In just half an hour I met three different dairy farmers who either have, or are in the process of, looking at other forms of milking. That might be diversifying to milking sheep or goats, or moving into something entirely different, such as hops to support the craft beer industry,” Mr Hiddleston said. . . 

Resurgent New Zealand Dollar Lowers Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Nathan Arthur advises that the rise in the New Zealand dollar generally saw corresponding lowering of local wool prices in most areas apart from fine crossbred fleece and some targeted coarser types.

Of the 7,930 bales on offer 56 percent sold. . . 

The value of a good rural school:

The integral role that a school plays in a local community is heightened in rural locations where it becomes a focal point for social activity and where a real sense of ownership is instilled among parents.

With more people seeking out lifestyle properties where they can raise their families away from the pressures of a fast-paced city, the educational opportunities on offer are very much part of the decision-making process. A good rural school is a key driver for a tree change lifestyle.

It’s not just a matter of reading, writing and arithmetic. The small country school takes on a life of its own. It’s usually a Civil Defence base, often its swimming pool is available to families after-hours via a key system, the principal will know all the children by name and will sometimes be teaching, and pet days are part of the school calendar. . . 

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A farmer’s tan from Agri 67


Dave Finlay QSM

June 5, 2017

Dave Finlay has received recognition for his decades of service to irrigation, agriculture, sport and the community.

Mr David Finlay has played a key role in organising the irrigation of farmland in the Lower Waitaki region.

Mr Finlay has served for 41 consecutive years on the committee of the Lower Waitaki Irrigation scheme and the Board of the Lower Waitaki irrigation company, a scheme that irrigates more than 19,000 hectares of farmland.

In the 1990s he was a key player in the Irrigation North Otago group that developed an irrigation solution for the hills and downlands of North Otago. His contributions to irrigation have transformed the region and he has overseen the developments from inception through to completion.

In 1976 he was a founding member of the Lower Waitaki Golf Club and served as the Club President for four years. He is an active member of the St Kevin’s College Foundation and is involved with leading meetings, raising funds and recruiting new members.

He was a member of North Otago Federated Farmers and served a two year term as the Meat and Wool Chairman, representing the region in Wellington.

Mr Finlay has also held several coaching and administrative roles for North Otago Rugby and his efforts have encouraged schoolchildren to take up the sport.

Dave’s enthusiasm and dedication are legendary, he has more than earned this recognition for his service.

The ODT covers Dave’s QSM and other Southern recipients of honours here.


Rural round-up

June 2, 2017

Differing water quality rules still an issue – Sally Rae:

Simon Williamson has been re-elected president of North Otago Federated Farmers.

Speaking at the branch’s annual meeting in Oamaru, Mr Williamson, who farms between Omarama and Twizel, said it had been a busy year ”on many fronts”.

It was apparent the two regional councils – Environment Canterbury and the Otago Regional Council – were still taking a very different approach to water quality. . .

Cows make a comeback – Neal Wallace and Mel Croad:

Buyers are chasing breeding cows and heifers in what could be the first sign of a revival in breeding cow numbers.

In-calf heifer and breeding cow fairs across the country in recent weeks have drawn large galleries of buyers paying prices akin to those paid in Australia where the herd was being rebuilt.

Prices for in-calf Angus heifers at Temuka exceeded $2400 a head in early May when a lack of numbers saw two fairs rolled into one. But prices were helped by farmers rebuilding breeding herds. . .

Decision ‘simple arithmetic – Maureen Bisop and John Keast:

They may have suspected it was coming, but the announcement of the proposed closure of Silver Fern Farm’s Fairton plant in Ashburton was still devastating for many of the 370 workers set to lose their jobs.

The proposal to close the 125-year-old plant was put to staff at a meeting in Ashburton last Wednesday. A two-week consultation period was to follow, although if there was significant feedback that this was too short or too long, that would be considered. It was hoped to have a final decision on May 31.

Most workers already knew the future of the plant was uncertain. The seasons were shorter and there was an ever dwindling supply of lambs. . .

NZ Binxi builds 20% stake in Blue Sky Meats, may revisit takeover after getting OIO sign-off – Rebecca Howard:

China’s Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co won’t rule out revisiting its takeover of Invercargill meat processor Blue Sky Meats now that the deal has Overseas Investment Office approval, having abandoned the bid in March when the OIO process missed a deadline.

“We don’t have any fixed position on what our next steps will be,” Richard Thorp, chief operating officer of Binxi Cattle’s local unit NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, told BusinessDesk after the OIO gave the deal a greenlight this week. . .

Principals fear visa change – John Lewis:

Proposed changes to New Zealand’s essential skills visa could result in some small rural Otago schools closing, principals say.
Many parents working in the region’s dairy industry are migrants, and their children make up a significant percentage of rural school rolls.

The proposed changes will limit essential skills visas to one year, and after a maximum of three years, immigrants would have to leave New Zealand for at least 12 months before applying for another work visa. . .

Honoured for advocacy role – Nicole Sharp:

Doug Fraser is a name well-known in the farming circle.
Dedicated to the sector and the people who work in it, for a long time Mr Fraser has been a strong voice in Federated Farmers.

His behind-the-scenes work and advocating for farmers was recognised recently at the Southland Federated Farmers AGM, when Mr Fraser was awarded life membership.

Former Federated Farmers president Don Nicholson presented Mr Fraser with the award, speaking of his time working with Mr Fraser. . .

Health hub has 25 exhibitors – Annette Scott:

Getting like-minded health organisations together to change how rural people think about health has been the driver for the inaugural Fieldays Health Hub.

Health issues affecting rural communities would be the focus as a whole host of relevant health professionals and organisations delivered interactive health care of the future messages, Mobile Health chief executive Mark Eager said. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 4, 2017

$30m Maori investment in kiwifruit – Pam Tipa:

$30 MILLION will be invested in building 10 kiwifruit orchards on Maori land in the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne over the next 18 months, says entrepreneur Te Tumu Pairoa, in partnership with Quayside Holdings.
In the single-largest kiwifruit investment ever made on Maori land, at least 90ha of semi- and unproductive land will be converted into grower businesses.

Te Tumu Paeroa has developed a unique model for the enterprises, to allow full ownership of the orchards to transfer to landowners in an estimated 12-17 years after achieving a targeted rate of return on capital invested. . .

Young auctioneer takes on Australia:

Twenty-two year old Kurow man Madison Taylor had a busy week at the Sydney Royal Easter Show recently — not only was he representing New Zealand as a bareback rodeo rider, he was also representing his country as New Zealand’s top young auctioneer.

Taylor won the Heartland Bank Young Auctioneer of the Year title at the Canterbury A&P Show in November.

Part of his prize was a trip to Sydney to get involved with the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association’s equivalent competition at the Royal Show. . .

Meat exports to fall this season – Hugh Stringleman:

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Economic Service has forecast 2-3% reductions in lamb and beef export revenue this season despite rising world prices.

The meat processing season was well advanced and the recent rises in prices would not bring out any more livestock for slaughter or boost the season-long revenues above those of last year.

Lamb revenue for 2016-17 was forecast to be $2.53 billion, down 2.1% from the previous season. . .

Sheep and beef profit up 12% – Hugh Stringleman:

A 12% increase in sheep and beef farm profit expectations because of good livestock feeding conditions and higher lamb and beef prices is being forecast by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Economic Service.

It published a mid-season update for 2016-17 incorporating its predictions for the season as a whole in lamb, beef, wool and the average sheep and beef farm accounts. . .

Ploughing expertise put to the test – Alexia Johnston:

Dedicated ploughers will be eyeing up a place on the national stage when the next New Zealand Ploughing Championships qualifying event takes place in Timaru.
The top performers will compete in the nationals at Thornbury next year.

But first, they must perfect the art of creating straight furrows on a local level.

To do that, contestants will compete in one or more of four classes atthe Timaru event — conventional ploughing, reversible ploughing, vintage ploughing and horse ploughing. . .

Sheep breeding just one talent – Sally Rae;

Stuart Albrey is a man of many talents.
He’s a sheep-breeding, gymnastics-coaching school teacher who is also handy with a pair of knitting needles and a spinning wheel.

”I’d do brain surgery if they’d let me. I’d put my hand to anything,” he quipped during the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders Association of New Zealand’s conference in Oamaru last week.

Mr Albrey and his wife Sue have 450 Polwarth, merino, Romney and Corriedale sheep on their property at Arno, near Waimate, of which about one-quarter are white. . .

Bridging the urban-country divide:

Seven city teenagers – from Riccarton, Hillmorton and Cashmere High Schools in Christchurch – last week got a taste of ‘life on the land’, spending a week with four farming families in the Central, Mid and South Canterbury regions.

The visit was part of an innovative Farm Experience (FX) Program, developed by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank to help bridge the ‘urban/rural divide’, giving city teenagers the opportunity to spend a week on-farm, living with a farming family and learning about life on the land and food production.

This was the first FX Program to be held in New Zealand. . .

 


Schools can’t teach everything

April 20, 2017

Outgoing Education Minister Hekia Parata is right – schools can’t teach everything:

Outgoing Education Minister Hekia Parata says a push for schools to cover all civic and social responsibilities needs to be resisted – saying families and society must step up.

Parata highlighted the issue during an exit interview with the Herald before she steps down from the role on May 1, with Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye expected to take over.

“We should demand a lot from our education system because we have a quality one. But we shouldn’t demand everything,” Parata said.

“Financial literacy, sex education, bullying – any number of issues – whenever they emerge in the public domain the first response is, ‘This should be taught by schools’. I think there needs to be a much fairer shared responsibility here between parents, family, whanau.

“Schools are there to deliver an education. They are not there to take over all the roles and responsibilities of families or society. The more there is balance in those expectations the more the schools can have the space to be the best that it can be.” . . 

A lot of what is called educational failure is parental and societal failure.

Teachers can’t be held responsible for children who don’t have the foundation skills for learning when they start school.

Children who don’t have the language and behaviour skills and other basic requirements for learning by age five are at a significant disadvantage which the best of teachers will struggle to overcome.

Giving children the love, attention and helping them master the skills they need before they start school is the responsibility of parents.

Not all parents have the ability and/or will to nurture their children, to teach them all they need to ensure they’re school-ready, and to support and supplement their education once they’re at school.

That is a failure of both parenting and society, not schools.


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