Rural round-up

September 18, 2017

DairyNZ slams farm tax proposals – Hugh Stringleman:

All of New Zealand’s 12,000 dairy farms face an average $18,000-a-year additional taxes under the carbon and nitrogen taxes proposed by the Green Party, DairyNZ has calculated.

Add in the Labour Party’s proposed water tax and those 2000 farms that also irrigate face more than three times the impost, an average of $63,000 per farm.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said details on the proposed new taxes were sketchy, but his economists used what was available from Labour and the Greens to come up with the figures. . .

Sell-off surprise – Alan Williams:

A process for the surprise sale of most Landcorp farms to young people will start very quickly if National is re-elected, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

Landcorp was unaware of the plan till told just before it was announced.

He hoped to have several farms leased to young farmers during the next term.

That would be the first step towards them buying the farms over the next five to 10 years. . . 

From milk to advanced medical nutrition – a farmer’s journey from Southland to Toronto:

Dylan Davidson was a passenger in a car when the driver lost control after a deer ran out. The car rolled and left Dylan with two broken vertebrae in his back and several other injuries. Dylan lost a lot of weight from being in a coma for three weeks, and Dylan’s parents, Paul and Carol Davidson, said the Milk Protein Concentrate (MPC) from Fonterra farmers’ milk played a key part in the healing process. The value of milk protein in human nutrition and muscle recovery has been well known for many years – but, as delicious as milk is, it takes litres of whole milk to do what a small amount of milk protein concentrate (MPC) can. . .

Florida’s Farmers Look At Irma’s Damage: ‘Probably The Worst We’ve Seen’ – Dan Charles:

When the worst of Irma’s fury had passed, Gene McAvoy hit the road to inspect citrus groves and vegetable fields. McAvoy is a specialist on vegetable farming at the University of Florida’s extension office in the town of LaBelle, in the middle of one of the country’s biggest concentrations of vegetable and citrus farms.

It took a direct hit from the storm. “The eyewall came right over our main production area,” McAvoy says.

The groves of orange and grapefruit were approaching harvest. But after Irma blew through, it left “50 or 60 percent of the fruit lying in water [or] on the ground,” says McAvoy. Many trees were standing in water, a mortal danger if their roots stay submerged for longer than three or four days. . . 

Predator Free 2050 Ltd on the hunt to fund bold conservation projects:

New Zealand conservation groups committed to broad scale predator eradication are encouraged to lodge an expression of interest for funding and support from Predator Free 2050 Ltd.

The organisation – tasked with eradicating possums, rats and stoats from New Zealand by 2050 is seeking Expressions of Interest from regional and local councils, community organisations, mana whenua, businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations and other entities capable of delivering eradication initiatives in line with its 2025 goals. . . 

 

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Rural round-up

September 16, 2017

Young farming families able to buy Landcorp farms:

A National Government will help young families into their first farms by allowing young farmers to buy state owned farms after they’ve worked the land for five to ten years.

“The Government owns a large number of commercial farms through Landcorp, but there is no clear public good coming from Crown ownership and little financial return to taxpayers,” Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“We think that some of these farms are better off in the hands of hard working young farming families who are committed to modern farming and environmental best practice. . .

National to strengthen bio-security rules:

A re-elected National Government will strengthen biosecurity rules, toughen penalties for stock rustling and help exporters add value, National Party Primary Industries Spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“These policies will help grow and protect the primary sector sustainably, and support our goal of doubling the value of our exports to $64 billion by 2025,” Mr Guy says.

“We are proud to support the primary sector which is the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy, helping us earn a living and pay for social services. . .

Adapting dryland farming to climate change:

Seven years of dry weather and relentless wind erosion in the early 2000s had devastated the Flaxbourne-Starborough landscape of South Marlborough, one of the country’s earliest farmed areas.

Doug Avery’s Grassmere farm Bonaveree was one of those affected. “Over-grazing during the long dry was harming the financial, environmental and emotional sustainability of the farm,” recalls Barbara Stuart, regional co-ordinator of the NZ Landcare Trust (NZLT). “People like Doug were stressed, heartbroken, even a bit ashamed about what was happening.” . . 

AFFCO’s first chilled shipment unloaded in China – Allan Barber:

AFFCO chairman Sam Lewis visited China last weekend to greet the first container of AFFCO chilled meat to arrive for distribution to eager food service and retail customers throughout Henan Province in east-central China. The arrival was marked by an official reception at Zhengzhou attended by the NZ Trade Commissioner Liam Corkery, MPI representatives Dave Samuels and Steve Sutton, and a Kangyuan executive. According to Lewis the speed of customs clearance for the consignment was a record for meat shipments, taking no more than three hours for the whole process.

The distributor, Kangyuan Food Company, has cool storage and frozen storage facilities and imports more than 10,000 tonnes of meat annually from New Zealand, Australia and South America to supplement its own domestic processing capacity of 600,000 sheep and 100,000 cattle. Kangyuan is also the largest distributor of Halal product in China. . .

Time to walk the talk – Allan Barber:

There are large operators, small suppliers, traders and third party agents and, in times of tight livestock supply, the lines between them start to get a bit blurred and the classifications move around, depending on who is making the judgement.

From a competitor’s perspective one company’s large supplier is a trader who is always presumed to earn a massive premium over schedule, far higher than loyal suppliers who don’t have the same bargaining power. Of course it’s invariably other companies that are the guilty parties when it comes to using third party agents, generally the stock firms. As always the truth isn’t quite so simple. . .

Irish dairy farmers fortunate that consumers drinking ‘real milk’ – Caroline Allen:

While Irish liquid milk producers have been protesting about the possibility of a milk price war, there is still an appreciation of milk as a healthy natural product in this country, Mary Shelman, former director of Harvard Business School’s agri business programme, told AgriLand.

Shelman who is the “absentee owner” of a 475ac farm in Kentucky, which is a cash grain operation divided between corn and soya beans, was in Dublin last week to deliver a number of addresses. She was at UCD’s Michael Smurfit School and also delivering lectures for Bord Bia’s talent programmes, including the Origin Green Ambassador programme. . . 

 


Rural round-up

September 15, 2017

Dairy conversions falling:

DairyNZ says a fall in the number of dairy conversions in Canterbury signals strongly that fears of a big rise in dairying there are unwarranted.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) reports 20 consents were granted for new dairy farms in the last financial year — nearly half last year’s figure and a huge drop on the 110 granted in 2011.

The last year in which only 20 conversions were consented was 2007. . . 

Dairy farming a game changer for Englishman

Poacher turned gamekeeper is an idiom as old as the hills, but gamekeeper turned Waikato dairy farmer? Now that’s new. The dairyman and former gamekeeper is Ben Moore, who with wife Lizzy farms 450 cows at Okororie, near Tirau in Waikato.

Ben, from Hampshire, in the south of England, was a professional gamekeeper of pheasants in Rotorua when he met Lizzy, daughter of Federated Farmers leader and former dairy industry director Tony Wilding, nine years ago.

New Zealanders would be rightly surprised to discover that right here at home exists a world straight out of Downton Abbey including plus-fours, gun loaders, ground beaters and all. . .

Rural sector underpins growth – Alexia Johnston:

South Canterbury’s rural sector is being credited as a major contributor to recent economic growth.

 Latest economic development figures from Infometrics show the Timaru district has experienced 1.3% growth in the latest June quarter.

That figure is well above the 0.8% recorded for wider Canterbury, but was below the nationwide figure of 2.8%.

Timaru district’s gross domestic product (GDP) for the year to June was $2318million. . .

Wings stabilise irrigators in wind – Maureen Bishop:

The design trials are over; now the field trials have begun for a new irrigator ”wing” aimed at providing stabilisation in times of high winds.

The galvanised wing is the brainchild of farmer Greg Lovett and kite-maker, inventor and engineer Peter Lynn.

The high winds of spring 2013 which destroyed hundreds of irrigators, prompted Mr Lovett to look at some method of stabilising irrigators which could prevent them toppling over.

He sought expertise advice from Mr Lynn. As a pioneer of kite surfing and buggying, and the holder of the record for the world’s largest kite, Mr Lynn knows a lot about wind and its power. . . 

Southland arable farm thrives when dairying flourishes :

Balfour arable farmer Chris Dillon says the first rule of arable farming is that you don’t treat your soil like dirt.

Dillon became the Federated Farmers Southland arable chairman this year and feels strongly that arable farmers deserve strong representation even if they are a small group in the region.

“Arable farms are a minority group in Southland but we play a very important part in it as well,” he says . .

Hail and wet weather take a toll on vegetables – Gerard Hutching:

Hail in Pukekohe and cold, wet weather throughout the country have hit vegetable crops but it is too soon to say how much more consumers might have to pay for potatoes, lettuce and cauliflowers this spring.

Pukekohe grower Bharat Bhana said the hailstorms which came through the region in the last few days had done more damage than wet weather, but in other parts of the country a wet spring has come on top of a soggy winter.

“Onions are smashed, lettuce have got bullet holes in them, looks like a flock of chickens has gone through,” Bhana said. . . 


Labour’s no-show

September 15, 2017

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was supposed to visit Coe’s Ford on the Selwyn River to talk about the party’s water tax.

She didn’t show up.

Ms Ardern’s office pulled the plug on the visit, with a message to media saying: “With regret we have had to cancel the Coe’s Ford media event with Jacinda Ardern, due to flooding”.

However when Newshub arrived, the river wasn’t flooded or flooding at all. . . 

Whatever the reason, it wasn’t the only Labour no-show.

Federated Farmers had hosted a meet-the-candidates meeting in Wanaka last Friday.

Labour’s candidate didn’t show up and didn’t have a stand-in.

The Green candidate didn’t show up either but did have a stand-in, MP Eugenie Sage.

She was asked how the water tax would be used to make water cleaner, she couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.

She was asked why farmers who are doing everything right should be taxed to clean up waterways that other people have degraded. She couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.

She was asked why farmers should be taxed to clean up urban waterways. She couldn’t give a satisfactory answer.

I ran into the Labour candidate when I went to vote on Monday.

I asked her how campaigning was going. She said it was busy and Waitaki was a huge electorate.

I said I knew that, adding that I’d been at the Wanaka meeting and noticed she hadn’t.

She said she had to pay all her own expenses and couldn’t afford to go.

I’ve since learned that neither she nor the Green candidate went to meetings in Cromwell, Fairlie and Waimate.

It’s not easy campaigning in seats you have no chance of winning and it’s both harder and more expensive in the rural seats which cover such a big area.

But the no-shows could also be seen as a reflection on how little respect Labour and the Green Party have for the regions and rural issues.

 

 

 


Rural round-up

September 14, 2017

Maniototo farmers challenge Ardern to visit them on water tax

A group of Central Otago farmers are challenging Jacinda Ardern to visit their farms to discuss Labour’s water tax plans.

The group of women, known as Water Maniototo, say they cannot afford a royalty on irrigated water, planned at one to two cents per thousand litres of water, and it could drive some off their land.

Francine Hore, who farms sheep at Patearoa, says she supports fixing up the nation’s waterways, but many farmers are doing everything they can already. . . 

Lambs hit $7/kg – Annette Scott:

Low global stocks pushing lamb markets above the odds for this season is positive news for the New Zealand sheep industry but farmers are not yet jumping with excitement, Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Miles Anderson says.

Latest trade statistics revealed average export prices for both chilled and frozen product were tracking well above any prices seen in recent years, including 2011, the last time NZ saw such strong global demand for lamb.

Demand for chilled lamb had held solid in recent months, driven by the tight supply with chilled prices reaching historically high levels. . . 

Broken business makes comeback – Annette Scott:

From a business that was “essentially broken” to one recording a modest profit in less than 12 months, NZ Yarn is now poised to add value for New Zealand woolgrowers.

Over the past year the Canterbury yarn processor has spun its own turnaround project.

Getting back on its feet to lift returns for farmers and shareholders had been the focus of NZ Yarn’s reinvention, chief executive Colin McKenzie said.

“A year ago the business was essentially broken.

“We have reinvented, repositioned and resized operations and moved from making sizeable losses to recording our first modest profit in July,” McKenzie said. . . 

Millions tune in watch start of fresh NZ milk sales to China through Alibaba – Gerald Piddock:

Milk New Zealand’s trade agreement with global online retailer Alibaba has been launched with millions of Chinese consumers tuning in to watch the event.

The Chinese-owned company’s Collins Road Farm is just south of Hamilton and its 29 New Zealand farms will supply Alibaba with fresh milk to be sold on its online platform.

Organisers of the launch rented a satellite facility for the day to enable it to be live streamed directly to China. In attendance were 10 of China’s biggest social media influencers including Yuni and Joyce, who are known as the Chufei Churan twins in China.

The pair are considered the Chinese Kardashians with social media follower numbers larger than New Zealand’s entire population. They and other influencers videoed the event and the farm directly to their followers in China. . . 

Water royalty point of divergence – Nicole Sharp:

Water and the environment are two of the key talking points for Southern Rural Life readers this coming election. As voting day fast approaches, reporter Nicole Sharp talked to the candidates in the rural electorates of Waitaki and Clutha-Southland about these two issues that will affect rural voters.

Water is crucial to the agricultural sector and all candidates and their parties standing in the Waitaki electorate this upcoming election want to do all they can to preserve water quality now and in the future, they say.

Current Waitaki MP and National candidate Jacqui Dean said National’s new policy statement on freshwater, which was announced last month, would pursue a target of 90% of rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. . .

 

Canterbury cropping farmer embraces environmental limits – Tony Benny:

Third-generation Canterbury cropping farmer David Birkett isn’t phased by tougher environmental regulations and says they can even lead to an improved bottom line. He talked to Tony Benny.

David Birkett’s farm is near Leeston, not far from what has been called New Zealand’s most polluted lake, Te Waihora/Ellesmere, and he’s well used to close scrutiny of the environmental effects of farming there by the regional council, members of the public and media.

“There’s a bit of pressure on farmers but they gain out of it, that’s the silly thing. I can’t understand someone who doesn’t bother to try to do the best they can because your bottom line is going to be better,” he says.

“Doing some measuring and making sure you know what’s needed, most of the time you’re actually financially better off than what you’d previously been doing.” . . 

Adding value more than just adding cost – Nigel Malthus:

The term ‘value added’ is too often used as a vague generic, and farmers need to consider specific strategies for adding value, says Rabobank analyst Blake Holgate.

Speaking at the recent Red Meat Sector conference in Dunedin, Holgate noted that most lamb was still exported frozen, returning $6906/tonne instead of chilled at $11,897/t.

“By and large we’re still treating sheep meat as a commodity market, so the lower value frozen export market still makes up about 80% of what we export, while the higher value chilled market, that’s worth nearly twice as much per tonne, is only 20%. . .


Rural round-up

September 14, 2017

Politicians blame dairy farm ‘villains’ for water pollution – Peter Jackson:

One of the more disturbing aspects of this election campaign is that we are being invited to vote for, or against, future taxes that will not be quantified until some time after the next government has been formed.

Casting a vote always involves an element of trust, especially under MMP, where proposed policies come up for negotiation in the process of forming a government.

This is wonderful for politicians, who know full well that come September 24 they will be able to trade away what they promised 24 hours earlier. . . 

Composting barns can be a dairy solution – Keith Woodford:

There is increasing recognition that 24/7 paddock wintering of cows is not the way forward for New Zealand dairy. The challenge is to find solutions. These solutions need to achieve good environmental management, they need to be animal friendly, and they also need to make economic sense.

Over recent months I have been on a personal journey of learning about composting barns. That journey is ongoing and I have more to learn. But I am now at a point where I am confident that composting barns can be a major part of the strategic solution for New Zealand dairy. They can be win-win-win for the environment, for animals, and for profitability.

There is one important qualification to the above statement. It is that none of us yet have all of the answers for New Zealand conditions. Also, there is evidence that some farmers are going into composting barns with a poor understanding of the critical factors for success. . . 

The Resilient Farmer – Beatties’ Book Blog:

The Resilient Farmer

Doug Avery

Penguin

RRP $40.00

‘I am filled with rage. So much rage. I raise my fists to that impassive sky and I bellow like a bull. And those clouds, those beautiful, dark, moisture-filled clouds, vanish out to sea. And my wife, who has also felt the lash of my anger and my nasty,

drunken misery, watches me through the windows of our front room, and is afraid and helpless.’

By turning his thinking around not only did it save his farm from ruin, it also saved his marriage and probably his life. . . 

DairyNZ election draws in farming expertise:

Two positions on DairyNZ’s board have attracted six dairy farmer candidates for this year’s director election.

From September 25, levy-paying dairy farmers will vote for their preferred candidates – farmer colleagues whose experience and leadership could help shape DairyNZ priorities and objectives.

Electionz.com returning officer Anthony Morton says levy-paying farmers will have a month to vote. . . 

The most dangerous phrase in the English language? We’ve always done it this way.

Kiwi Ingenuity of “Black Water Rafting” Continues to Thrill – 30 Years On:

The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company Celebrates 30 Years

One of New Zealand’s most iconic adventure tourism offerings – Black Water Rafting – celebrates 30 years this month. Pioneers within New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry, Waitomo’s Legendary Black Water Rafting Company was born in 1987 – taking visitors through Waitomo’s glowworm studded underground world in inner tubes. Thirty years later, today hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers have taken part – including Peter Jackson, Chelsea Clinton and Katy Perry.

The idea for Black Water Rafting came from Waitomo local Pete Chandler – who developed the business along with partner John Ash – and New Zealand’s first professional adventure cave guide Angus Stubbs – who is still with the company and also celebrates 30 years service this month. In 1987 Pete enticed adventurous backpackers to experience Black Water Rafting for $10, the team drove their branded ute around encouraging adventure seekers to enjoy the underground thrill. . .

 


This is why we’re #backingbill

September 13, 2017

Prime Minister Bill English had a very clear message in Ashburton yesterday:

. . .”We want to achieve higher environmental standards and apparently no one’s thought of this until about six weeks ago. It’s all new, apparently, lifting the quality of water in our rivers – brand new idea,” he said.

“All that tells you is they [opposition parties] take no notice of you. They have no idea what you do, how you do it or why you’re so good at it.

“We’re backing you”.

Farmers were “being lectured” by people who did not understand the regions and National was committed to both raising productivity and environmental standards.

“Any politician who does not know about the intensive, difficult, critical, collaborative work that’s gone on around water quality must be living on another planet,” he said.

“It will be cash sucked out of your business, taken out of this region, sent off to Wellington and people who don’t even know what you do or how you do it will be deciding how to make you do it better. And that’s a ridiculous waste of time and money.” . . 

That’s so true –  it will be cash sucked out of your business, taken out of this region, sent off to Wellington and people who don’t even know what you do or how you do it will be deciding how to make you do it better.

This is what happens when parties don’t have MPs in the regions.

They are out of touch and have no idea what’s happening.

National knows, understands and values the regions.

But the PM and the party aren’t just pushing farming :

National leader Bill English has strayed from the expected message of cows and crops in regional New Zealand.

English hit the campaign trail in Palmerston North and Levin on Monday but there was more than just fancy farming promises in his bag of tricks.

The leader once again turned his attention to pressing social issues, saying it’s worth focusing on vulnerable people one-by-one. . . 

English started his day at Te Tihi in Palmerston North, where the staff brought him up to speed on Te Tihi’s clients: 95 Housing New Zealand households, 224 individuals – 43 per cent of which run out of food every week due to lack of money.

They also told English about their alternative resolution model pilot, which offered a pre-charge alternative resolution to non-serious offenders.

The programme, which launched in 2013, has included 39 local Māori. Between the 39 there was a total of 1039 offences, costing the community $14.25 million.

Of the 39, 22 continued to engage with Kainga Whānau Ora over the past few years and the total cost of their offending dropped from $663,000 in 2013 to $105,725 in 2016. Meanwhile, 16 of the 22 haven’t come back into the justice system.

In the past, Palmerston North man Rodney Wilson received up to 80 police callouts relating to domestic violence in a year. Since becoming part of the programme, Wilson has had one callout relating to domestic violence.

“If it hasn’t been for Whānau Ora, I’d be locked up in jail,” Wilson told English. “I live for my daughter and her children, and I can’t be with them if I’m in jail.”

Wilson was picked up by police after trying to pawn a stolen laptop and he was given the choice of joining the programme.

With the help of his navigator – similar to a case worker – he set goals for himself and put a plan into motion in order to achieve his aspirations. He now works as a cleaner and has a closer relationship with his family. 

English asked Wilson what was different about this programme.

“When you’re finished with the programme, it’s not over. They’re always here to help me.”

Then the National leader turned his attention to the staff: What works well? How is this programme different? What do you need from central government to get the programme to scale?

English was engaged with the clients, directors, navigators, police, Housing New Zealand staff, and DHB staff in the room.

He truly wanted to know how to help break the cycle for more New Zealanders in the same situation. . . 

But in each location he finished with social issues, sharing the story of what was happening in Palmerston North and a similar programme run by Life to the Max in Levin.

“If they can change 39 families, they can change Palmerston North,” he said.

These were families with the most challenging set of social circumstances, and English said National wanted to help them, and other struggling Kiwis.

“It’s worth focusing on them one by one.” . . 

“We’ve been in Government a long time but we still have a lot of things we want to do. We haven’t run out of steam and we haven’t run out of ideas,” English said.

Focusing on people one by one is National’s social investment policy in action, turning lives around.

This is why we’re #backingbill.

 


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