Rural round-up

August 31, 2015

Why people oppose GMOs even though science says they are safe – Stefaan Blancke:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have met with enormous public opposition over the past two decades. Many people believe that GMOs are bad for their health – even poisonous – and that they damage the environment. This is in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence that proves that GMOs are safe to eat, and that they bring environmental benefits by making agriculture more sustainable.

Why is there such a discrepancy between what the science tells us about GMOs, and what people think? To be sure, some concerns, such as herbicide resistance in weeds and the involvement of multinationals, are not without basis, but they are not specific to GMOs. Hence, another question we need to answer is why these arguments become more salient in the context of GMOs. . .

Win over dumping celebrated – Patrick O’Sullivan:

Local growers are celebrating after winning their fight against the relaxation of anti-dumping measures.

They have been lobbying against a proposed relaxation of the measures, which threatened the local canning industry.

Cabinet had agreed in principle to change the rules which would have resulted in anti-dumping duties only after damage to local industry was proven, with the duties removed after an Automatic Termination Period (ATP).

Dumping is illegal under World Trade Organisation agreements. . .

El Niño predicted to give farmers a rough ride over spring and summer –  Michael Forbes and Caleb Harris:

Climate scientists are warning farmers to brace for a large-scale El Nino, with rainfall expected to drop by 15 per cent in some regions and increase by the same amount in others.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) is projecting the upper North Island and east coast of both islands will be hardest hit by dry conditions, which could mimic the devastating drought that shaved $618 million, or 0.9 per cent, off national GDP in 1997-98.

Principal climate scientist Andrew Tait said there was a 97 per cent chance El Nino would continue until October and a more than 90 per cent chance it would persist through until April 2016. . .

Retired farmer gives helping hand to struggling sharemilkers  – Hannah Lee:

A man who knows a thing or two about how tough farmers are doing it right now is helping out with a free meal.

Retired Lepperton farmer Bob Pigott said the industry has always had its ups and downs, but the current conditions were pretty dire.

As a way to lend a helping hand, Pigott has donated $1000 in meal vouchers at Sporty’s Cafe and Bar in New Plymouth, for sharemilkers who are in need of a night away from the stress of the job.

“To go from $8.25 to $3.85 payout, I mean, it’s pretty disastrous.

“It’s part and parcel of the job though isn’t it, prices go down and come back again – it’s happening again but I think it’s a lot worse this time.”  . . .


Quote of the day

August 31, 2015

. . . the social investment approach is not about cutting costs in the short term.

It is about working out where to spend money – possibly more money – to save it in the long term.

And it is about spending money only on things that work. –  Audrey Young


Quote of the day

August 27, 2015

If you sit in a room with people with diametrically opposed views, you’ll ultimately find you have 80 per cent in common. Do you want a better environment, a world your kids can live in, to leave your farm a better place when you leave? We found in the GM debate that when you isolate the fundamentalists, they are never going to change their view. It’s about taking people with you; not ‘I’m right and you are wrong.’ By giving a bit, we’ve gained a lot in the last five years. . . Dr William Rolleston.


Rural round-up

August 26, 2015

Potential for more dairy exports to South East Asia:

A new government-commissioned report highlights the potential for the New Zealand dairy industry to increase its exports of consumer products into South East Asia.

New Zealand is already the largest supplier of milk powder to countries in the region and also has a strong share of the trade in most other dairy products.

But the report said growing demand offered plenty of opportunity for consumer-ready dairy products as well. . . 

More changes for Alliance leadership – Neal Wallace:

There is further change at the head of Alliance Group with two of the longest serving directors announcing their retirement.

Less than a year after chief executive Grant Cuff retired, directors Murray Donald and Doug Brown have announced they are also to retire, effective from December’s annual meeting.

That leaves chairman Murray Taggart as the only supplier representative with more than four years’ experience. . . 

Ravensdown caps fertiliser price:

Ravensdown – the fertiliser farmer co-operative – has capped the price of its superphosphate product to give farmers a firm number to budget with. 

Chief executive Greg Campbell said the product’s price will be fixed at $320 a tonne until the end of November.

Superphosphate is a fertiliser used on dairy, livestock and cropping farms.

Mr Campbell said the company’s balance sheet was in good health, which allowed it to delay any possible price rises.

He said this was a first for the company. . . 

Halfway mark in 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Referendum:

One in five registered voters have cast their vote at the halfway mark in the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons said the turnout was pleasing and he was encouraging farmers to vote before the voting closes on September 10.

“It is important for farmers to have their say and ensure that the organisation has a strong mandate to continue its activities on behalf of farmers.”

By the end of this week farmers throughout the country will have had the opportunity to attend one of the 53 referendum information meetings being hosted by Beef + Lamb New Zealand Directors, the local farmers of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Council and members of Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s senior management team. . . 

More crop insurance more problems? – Brad Wassink:

Helen Fessenden at the Richmond Fed recently published an informative article in Econ Focus on the history and development of the federal crop insurance program — and on why many are criticizing it.

Under the new farm bill, crop insurance is estimated to be nearly 20% more expensive than under the previous 2008 bill. It is expected to cost $41 billion over five years.

Some contend that the program should be viewed as a success. For one, its reach is nearly universal: 90% of farmland is covered. They claim that the substantial benefits provided by the program negate the need for one-off disaster relief packages — for damages caused by a natural disaster such as a hurricane or severe drought — that are often expensive and inefficient. The new crop insurance programs cover even more crops.

But as Fessenden notes, economists, taxpayer groups, and the GAO all point to the program’s core problem: . . 

South Canterbury Rural Support Trust's photo.

Submissions sought on carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and diazinon reassessment:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) welcomes submissions on its reassessment of some organophosphates and carbamates (OPCs). The reassessment will cover substances containing carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and diazinon used as active ingredients in veterinary medicines or in substances used as non-plant protection insecticides (in and around buildings, on hard surfaces, and in industrial situations).

This reassessment follows the EPA’s previous OPC reassessment in June 2013, which considered only OPCs that were used as insecticides for plant protection.

This reassessment application has been prepared by the staff of the EPA on behalf of the Chief Executive. It is being undertaken because of concerns about the safety and well-being of people and the environment resulting from the use of carbaryl, chlorpyrifos and diazinon. . . 

And with a hat tip to : Kiwiblog:

 


Quote of the day

August 25, 2015

“What we’re trying to do is create options for New Zealand over the next 20 years so we never recreate the same dependency that we used to have 40 years ago, which was [on] Britain,” he said. “Southeast Asia, for us, is frankly our number one insurance policy if things go the wrong way in China.” –  Tim Groser


Quote of the day

August 24, 2015

. . . But I’m also sure that we can write all the rules and regulations we like. What is going to make the step change in our workplaces is different attitudes and different behaviours. And that’s going to involve all of us, not just the health and safety rep with the high-vis vest. Every single person in the workplace has got to contribute to that. Michael Woodhouse

 


Market will find whey

August 20, 2015

Russian police have caught a band of cheese smugglers:

Russian police say they have broken up an international cheese smuggling ring that earned up to £20 million supplying banned western dairy products, in the latest twist in the country’s war-on-drugs style campaign against embargoed foreign food.

Russia banned a range of food products including cheese from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Australia in 2014, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Russia following the annexation of Crimea.

In a joint raid involving at least four law enforcement agencies, officers found 470 tons of banned western rennet, a substance containing enzymes used for cheese production, along with forged labels from major cheese producers, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The “international criminal group,” which had been supplying illicit cheeses to shops in Moscow and St Petersburg, had earned two billion roubles (about £20 million) since launching their operation earlier this year, police said. . . 

Where there’s will for cheese which the government won’t allow, the market will find the whey, or the rennet or whatever else it needs.

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,692 other followers

%d bloggers like this: