Together we grow

May 18, 2020

“Together we Grow NZ” is a new initiative which aims to connect urban and rural communities.

“Together We Grow NZ” will showcase the importance of both communities working together by sharing stories, collaborating, and creating opportunities to highlight New Zealand’s farming background to the next generation.

The project was created by 15 women, who met while completing the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s leadership and governance programme “Escalator”.

The group continued working together during the Covid-19 lockdown and saw an opportunity to bring to light some of the stories of Kiwi food producers.

CEO of NZ Avocado Jen Scoular said isolation had given the group time to “look at where our food comes from” and to celebrate it.

“We’ve realised we love local produce and we’ve had the time to browse through recipe books and create new dishes to star on the family dinner table. Let’s keep doing that, let’s celebrate food provenance, the passion demonstrated by New Zealand food producers and our collective love of food”. . . 


Rural round-up

May 15, 2020

IrrigationNZ believes Budget 2020 missed opportunity for water investment to aid Covid recovery:

IrrigationNZ believes that strategic water storage in key regions could aid a post-Covid recovery which focuses on protecting jobs, creating new ones, achieving positive environmental outcomes, and contributing to climate change targets.

“But Budget 2020 has missed the opportunity for water storage to be part of the solution,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive Elizabeth Soal.

“IrrigationNZ understands the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19 but believes that strategic management of this essential resource remains important, and that a water strategy to guide spending would be beneficial,’’ Ms Soal says.

“We will continue to talk to the Government about how this can be done utilising the $20 billion unallocated funding, and the $3.2 billion infrastructure contingency fund.” . .

Workers not leaving quarters a problem – Sally Rae:

Farm workers refusing to leave their accommodation are causing headaches for farmers preparing for the start of the new dairy season.

A large number of dairy farming families, sharemilkers, contract milkers and employees move to new farms to begin new employment and milking contracts on June 1, known as Moving Day.

But Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said changes to tenancy law passed through the Covid-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Amendment Act, which placed general restrictions on all landlords, had left some farmers without employee accommodation.

Mr Walker had been contacted by more than 10 farmers with issues about former employees not moving out of the accommodation provided for working on the farm. . .

’Together We Grow NZ’ initiative launched to celebrate Kiwi farmers :

Some of New Zealand’s leading women in agriculture have launched “Together we Grow NZ”, a new initiative with a goal to connect urban and rural communities.

“Together We Grow NZ” will showcase the importance of both communities working together by sharing stories, collaborating, and creating opportunities to highlight New Zealand’s farming background to the next generation.

The project was created by 15 women, who met while completing the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s leadership and governance programme “Escalator”.

The group continued working together during the Covid-19 lockdown and saw an opportunity to bring to light some of the stories of Kiwi food producers. . . 

 

Groups set up to help the helpers – Annette Scott:

A red meat industry initiative to upskill rural professionals is focused on building capability to help enable a sustainable future for farming.

Launched in Canterbury as part of the Red Meat Profit Partnership Action Network Group, the initiative is bringing together small groups of rural professionals to work towards a shared focus and goals.

The group of 12 rural professionals has joined forces to develop their skills in helping farmers make positive changes.

RMPP group facilitator Richard Brown said the action group model lets young professionals achieve their goals as facilitators and experts. . .

Fonterra council future in the air:

Fonterra has asked its shareholders and sharemilkers to help determine the future of its 25-strong shareholders’ council, seven months after initiating a review of the council’s relevance and cost.

The dairy co-operative billed an initial farmer survey as the first stage of consultation to review the council’s role and functions and acknowledged that came only after criticism of the council’s performance by some farmers. 

The functions of the council, set up to act as a farmer-run watchdog for the co-operative, have not been amended since it was founded in 2001. . .

Helius secures major grant for $2.4m R&D project:

Helius Therapeutics has confirmed it’s the recipient of a substantial grant for its New Zealand-based cultivation, plant breeding and medicines research programme.

The $2.4 million research and development project has been approved for co-funding of up to 28% by New Zealand’s innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation. Supporting innovative and high-performing R&D businesses, the agency has committed to contributing up to nearly $600,000 (excluding GST) to Kiwi-owned Helius Therapeutics over the next three years.

Chief Science Officer at Helius, Dr Jim Polston, says Callaghan Innovation’s co-funding will help Helius advance unique cannabis genetics and develop safe, consistent, and high-quality, novel cannabis medications for clinical trials. . . 


Rural round-up

March 30, 2020

Essentially we are struggling – Sarah Perriam:

It’s a nice feeling to be essential huh?

But, farming in New Zealand is facing the perfect storm of challenges, which makes it hard to provide that essential service.

This week in Sarah’s Country we talk to to Lochie Macgillivray from the Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group who talks about the layers of mounting situations that the region’s farmers face from movement control with M bovis and the TB outbreak, water and feed storage issues and livestock returned from processors due to Covid-19 – all while being in drought.  . . 

Rural businesses carrying on – Annette Scott:

Being there for farmers is what Ruralco is about, chief executive Rob Sharkie says.

“And that means through all times where at all possible, the good and the not so good. 

“It’s about looking after our backyarders. That’s what we are set up to do.”

On the first day of the level three covid-19 Ruralco had 900 people through the doors.

“Nine hundred customers in one day is very busy but it wasn’t panic buying, it was the uncertainty. . . 

Covid-19: Farmer lobby’s strength on display :

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says COVID-19 has highlighted the strength of the farmer lobby. “

It shows the strength of Federated Farmers that we’re being looked to as the ‘go to’ source of advice and conduit of essential information to the agriculture sector during Covid-19,” she told Feds members in an email last night.

“We’ve found answers to pretty much every question our members have fired at us over the last week or two and it’s all summarised on our website and in the regular advisories we’ve emailed.” . . 

Food sector to continue as normal: Professor – Alice Scott:

It is business as usual for farmers around the country, despite Covid-19.

Emeritus Prof Frank Griffin says that as the nation scrambles to contain the virus, the food sector will continue as normal.

Prof Griffin has spent a career in animal health research.

He also has a strong interest in New Zealand’s food production systems and he is director of Agriculture at Otago (Ag@Otago), an initiative launched in 2016, involving more than 60 Otago researchers with active interests in agriculture. . . 

New associate director for Beef + Lamb board:

Wairarapa farmer Kate Wyeth has been appointed this year’s associate director on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand board.

Wyeth, who alongside her husband James, farms a 380ha sheep and beef farm in the Northern Wairarapa has a background in farm consultancy with BakerAg and is a facilitator on the Agri-Women’s Development Trust and chairperson on the Opaki School Board of Trustees.

She says she is excited by the opportunity to learn from and contribute to c’s governance team. . . 

Badge ‘just a tremendous honour’ – Toni Williams:

“It’s just a tremendous honour,” Women’s Institutes stalwart Jude Vaughan, the unsuspecting recipient of a WI Good Service Badge, said.

Mrs Vaughan was completely taken aback when presented with the award at the Mid Canterbury Federation of WI’s annual general meeting after a secret nomination of her peers at Lowcliffe WI.

“It just blows you away, it’s not for me, it’s for the organisation. The acknowledgement from your peers, that means so much,” she said.

In nominating Mrs Vaughan, members of Lowcliffe WI said: “She is very proactive member wanting to spread the WI word and fly our banner when possible. . . 


Rural round-up

November 3, 2019

Forestry conversions rules ‘totally out of control’ – Kate Newton:

Wealthy European buyers have snapped up four more sheep and beef farms to convert to forestry, as rural concerns over the sales ramp up.

Overseas Investment Office (OIO) decisions made in September and released today show the sales total more than 2200 hectares of land previously owned by New Zealanders, in Gisborne, Wairoa and Whangarei.

The new owners plan to plant 1600 hectares of the land as commercial forests.

Austrian count Johannes Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg, who purchased two other sheep and beef farms for forestry conversion in August, is the purchaser of two of the latest properties. . .

Farmers given breathing space on ETS but stress remains – Jo Moir:

The government’s “world-first” agreement with farmers on emissions means some farmers are grateful for the breathing space, but for others it’s just one less thing to worry about.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the agreement with farmers last week, putting agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme from 2025 – with a 95 percent discount rate.

Ms Ardern said the plan would give farmers autonomy over their own businesses. . .

Flying under the rural radar – Colin Williscroft:

The Women of Influence Awards often recognise women who contribute a lot but are not household names and this year’s rural winner fits that description, as Colin Williscroft found out.

Environmental planner and independent Resource Management Act hearings commissioner Gina Mohi was recently named the rural winner in the Women of Influence Awards.

The judges praised Mohi’s work balancing competing tensions around the productive use of land while having appropriate measures in place to manage environmental and cultural impacts on natural resources. . .

Look ahead with farm confidence – Annette Scott:

A programme to help sheep and beef farming partners plan for their future and adapt to change will next year extend to 20 rural centres.

The two-month Future Focus business planning programme, set up in 2017, equips farming partnerships to set a future path for their businesses, develop systems to achieve goals and lead their teams to success. 

The programme, delivered by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust to more than 130 sheep and beef farmers this year, will reach 320 farmers in 2020 with continued support from the Red Meat Profit Partnership. . .

Annual appointment for a trim but it’s no beauty treatment – Tracy Roxburgh:

Ladies, picture this if you will.

It’s been a long, cold winter and along with the extra layer of insulation you’ve acquired on your body, you’ve decided, to help keep yourself warm, to instigate a self-ban on your regular beauty therapy appointments.

But the sun actually has warmth in it now.

And very soon everyone’s going to be walking around in their next-to-nothings (undies, undies, togs, undies) so it would behove you to, well, sort yourself out.
Like, ASAP if not sooner. . .

 

North Canterbury farmer to represent New Zealand in Switzerland:

A young North Canterbury man will represent New Zealand at an international gathering of dairy farmers in Switzerland.

Robbie Wakelin, 28, has been selected to attend the 15th World Holstein Friesian Federation Conference in Montreux.

He was one of a record 17 people who were vying for the fortnight-long trip, which is being funded by Holstein Friesian NZ.

“It’s a really humbling experience to have been selected to be part of the New Zealand delegation,” he said. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 23, 2019

Todd Muller: This Government thinks farming is ‘yesterday’s industry’ :

Todd Muller says the current Government does not see agribusiness as part of the future of New Zealand’s economy.

National’s primary industries spokesman told The Country’s Jamie Mackay that this philosphy “runs deep” within the Labour Party, saying Helen Clark once described agribusiness as “a sunset industry” when she was Prime Minister.

“They have a philosophical view the primary industries, somehow, are not part of New Zealand’s future and I totally reject that view. I always have. I think food and fibre are going to be critical for New Zealand in the future”. . . 

(You’ll find a link to the interview if you click on the headline above).

Regenerative Farming: Can meat save the planet? – Bonnie Flaws:

Grazing animals are vital to addressing the climate crisis. Blink. Yep, you read that right. 

Cows, sheep, bison, even pigs, goats and chickens are part of the solution, not the enemy.

But ever since the 2006 UN report on livestock that blamed meat production for contributing to climate change, it’s been taking some flack.

However, a growing body of research shows that livestock, managed properly, help build organic matter and store carbon in the soil which is the second largest carbon sink after our oceans, according to the European Environment Agency. . . 

 

Understanding business empowers busy farmer – Sally Rae:

Jess Lamb loves being busy.

That is just as well, given the amount of things going on in her life, whether it is farming, children, part-time work as a beauty therapist or her involvement with the local fire brigade.

Mrs Lamb farms with her husband Greg in the Wendon Valley, near Gore, where their children Stevie (6) and Mac (5) are sixth-generation on the land.

She recently completed the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Understanding Your Farming Business programme, which aimed to equip and support women with the knowledge, skills and confidence to lift the performance and profitability of their farming business. . . 

Roadshows define agtech strategy – Colin Williscroft:

Farmers are being encouraged to have their say on the types of technology that will be of most benefit to the primary sector.

The Agritech Strategy Roadshow is travelling around the country seeking feedback to help identify key priority areas for Government action to support the sector.

Agritech New Zealand is partnering with several government agencies to develop a range of industry-led initiatives and actions to help the agricultural technology sector, lift export earnings and provide more innovation.  . .

Vegan food’s sustainability needs to give the full picture

The IPCC special report, Climate Change and Land, released last night, has found a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the “land”: largely farming, food production, land clearing and deforestation.

Sustainable farming is a major focus of the report, as plants and soil can potentially hold huge amounts of carbon. But it’s incredibly difficult as a consumer to work out the overall footprint of individual products, because they don’t take these considerations into account.

Two vegan brands have published reports on the environmental footprint of their burgers. Impossible Foods claims its burger requires 87% less water and 96% less land, and produces 89% fewer greenhouse-gas emissions than a beef version. Additionally, it would contribute 92% less aquatic pollutants.

Similarly, Beyond Meat claims its burger requires 99% less water, 93% less land, 90% fewer greenhouse emissions and 46% less energy than a beef burger.

But these results have focused on areas where vegan products perform well, and do not account for soil carbon or potential deforestation. This might change the picture. . .

Red meat and the environment: the facts:

Red meat is not only important for a balanced diet – it has an important role in balanced, natural farming, too.

There is a lot of talk at the moment about sustainable food and the impact eating red meat has on the environment.

We’ve teamed up with the Meat Advisory Panel to provide some useful, fact-based messages to help you have positive, engaging conversations about agriculture, red meat and the environment.

Without livestock, the landscape would change significantly, as we reported in the Landscapes without Livestock project.

This visualised the impacts of a reduction in beef and sheep farming on some of England’s most cherished landscapes over a 30-year period. You can explore one example with the image slider above. . . 


Rural round-up

October 18, 2018

Courses help women add value – Annette Scott:

Demand from women for new skills and confidence in their farming businesses shows no sign of abating with a national programme set to scale up for the third successive year.

Funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP) and delivered by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT), the Understanding Your Farming Business (UYFB) programme builds financial and communication skills that empower farming women to contribute more strongly to their businesses.

RMPP chairman Malcolm Bailey said the programme supports women in their role as critical farming partners by building on their business knowledge, skills and confidence. . .

Hard-working family on Greenvale farm since 1907 -Sally Rae:

Stud breeding is in the Paterson family’s blood.

Waikaka Station is home to the fourth and fifth generations to farm the Greenvale property — Laurie and Sharon Paterson and son and daughter-in-law Ross and Steph — while a sixth generation is looking promising.

Young Ollie (8) cannot wait to get on his motorbike while Emmie (6) is aiming to ride around the stock with her grandmother on horseback this summer.

Leo, the toddler of the family, has his boots on in the morning before his father, Ross quipped. . . .

Founder of stud mentioned in WW1 dispatches – Sally Rae:

Back in 1953, Matthew Kirkpatrick founded the Hereford stud that is now Waikaka Hereford.

One of Laurie Paterson’s earliest recollections of his grandfather was him driving an old, white, badly-dented Dodge car ‘‘rather like a tank’’.

‘‘So much so that one of the contractors always parked his car on top of the loading bank as he reckoned it was the only place safe from the boss.’’

Mr Kirkpatrick’s wartime experiences resulted in him being mentioned in dispatches for his work in the Imperial Camel Corps. . . 

Skills day and bark off planned by North King Country Young Farmers:

North King Country Young Farmers is on a mission to double its membership.

The active Te Kuiti-based club has a diverse member base of shepherds, dairy farmers and local rural professionals.

“Our aim is to help connect people and provide opportunities to socialise and upskill,” said member Christin Bentley. . .

Farmers play a pivotal role in fertility research success:

Dozens of scientists and more than 2000 farmers have been working together to improve cow fertility in New Zealand dairy cows. DairyNZ’s Jane Kay explains how this exciting four-year project is producing astounding results, with further studies planned in the future.

The North Island-based fertility project began in 2014, under the ‘Pillars of a New Dairy System’ DairyNZ-led research programme. This programme – funded from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), New Zealand dairy farmers (via their DairyNZ levy) and AgResearch – aims to provide management and genetic solutions to improve cow fertility and lifetime productivity. DairyNZ scientists Chris Burke and Susanne Meier headed the project, working with geneticists from New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), CRV Ambreed and AbacusBio. In 2014, farmers provided 2500 cows, contract-mated to selected sires, to produce two groups of heifers with extreme differences in their fertility breeding values (Fert-BVs). . .

New Zealand Winemaker awarded World Pinot Noir trophy for the second year in a row:

New Zealand winemaker Andy Anderson has again beaten wines from the best in the world at London’s prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) to take out the World’s Best Pinot Noir Trophy.

Anderson was awarded the world’s best Pinot Noir trophy for his 2014 Takapoto Central Otago Pinot Noir. The win continues a 12 year long winning streak for New Zealand taking out the IWSC World Pinot Noir trophy. . .

Labour shortages, hours of paperwork and uncertainty lead farmers to push for new ‘ag visa’

Fruit and vegetable growers say a lack of workers is keeping a lid on industry growth and leaving hundreds of tonnes of fruit at risk of being left on the ground every year.

Many are hoping a promised ‘agricultural visa’ for foreign farm workers will solve industry labour woes by allowing farms to hire a dedicated overseas workforce on a temporary basis.

In late August the National Party promised the visa would be delivered in “days, not weeks”, forcing senior Liberals to put the plan on ice saying it would cause diplomatic problems with governments in the Pacific. . .


Celebrating rural women

October 15, 2018

It’s the International Day of Rural Women.

This year’s theme is: Sustainable infrastructure, services and social protection for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

Rural women make up a quarter of the world’s population. They grow much of our food, strengthen economies and build climate resilience.

From championing access to clean water in Kyrgyzstan to boosting sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia, rural women are mobilizing to support one another, and their contributions are vital for both rural communities and urban societies.

Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women. . .

This year, we are calling for better public services, including health care, education, childcare and shelters, on which millions of rural women depend; and laws, policies and budgets to improve their livelihoods and well-being.

We stand in solidarity with rural women and their organizations everywhere as they seek to influence the decisions that shape their lives. . .

Most of the problems the day seeks to highlight  apply much more to women in the developing world where agriculture is a lot less sophisticated and there is a lot less mechanisation and a lot more uncertainty about land ownership and women’s legal rights.

When I was working as a rural journalist I was often the only woman at farming meetings and field days. Now it is much more common to see women not only in attendance but in positions of responsibility in  farming and rural organisations.

Rural women in New Zealand are much more involved in agriculture, apiculture, horticulture and viticulture and processing and support businesses in their own right or as active partners and they have equal rights under the law.

Organisations like the Agri-Women’s Development Trust do a lot of work to encourage rural women to make the most of their skills.


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