Rural round-up

December 5, 2019

Escalator programme provides next step up – Alice Scott:

Rebecca Smith is a wife, mother, farmer and qualified veterinarian.

She is now also a graduate of the Agri Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator programme.

Escalator is a leadership and governance programme for women involved in the primary industries and rural communities and is run by the Agri Women’s Development Trust. The Escalator programme equips women with the tools, confidence and support they need to successfully lead and govern in their chosen fields.

Each year, the programme receives around 80 applications from around New Zealand, which need to be whittled down to just 14. . . 

Olive yield doubles through change of technique:

Using New Zealand fruit tree management techniques instead of the olive grove management methods used in the Northern Hemisphere and Australia has at least doubled olive yields at trial sites across New Zealand, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)-funded research has shown.

MPI supported Olives New Zealand to carry out a three-year research project, through its Sustainable Farming Fund.

The project explored ways to increase market share for New Zealand olive oil, with the aim of increasing the average harvest tonnage of less than 10kg per olive tree to 15kg.

The researchers exceeded their own expectations, reporting a yield of 20-35kg per tree by the end of the project. . . 

Rural firms promote ingenuity :

A campaign celebrating unique rural enterprises has been launched by the Wanaka A&P Society.

Four rural businesses in the Clutha area will front the Acres of Ingenuity campaign.

They were selected in a competition focusing on diversification in farming and land use.  

Salmon farm and restaurant Hook, tourist attraction LandEscape, cherry growers and exporters New Zealand Cherry Partnership and honey production company Taylor Pass Honey feature in the campaign.

“All four enterprises are using their land in unique and varied ways in an effort to create a viable and sustainable business,” Wanaka Show event manager Jane Stalker said. . . 

Hemp growers aiming high – Sudesh Kissun:

New regulatory changes are forcing some horticulture and dairy farmers to look at a new crop – hemp.

About 1300ha are now assigned by growers across New Zealand for the 2020 hemp crop. HempFarm NZ founder Dave Jordan hopes the 2021 crop will increase four-fold.

“Who knows, it could be more if we can sell our story well to the New Zealand public and business sector,” Jordan told Rural News. . . 

Nutrition key to productive cows – Yvonne O’Hara:

A productive cow is the dairy world’s equivalent of a triathlete, ruminant nutritionist Andrea Murphy, of Alexandra, says.

Therefore, nutrition which meets her energy requirements is essential to keeping her healthy and productive and enhancing her longevity within the herd.

Ms Murphy was one of the committee that organised the New Zealand Association of Ruminant Nutritionists’ first conference in Gore last week.

More than 80 people, including fertiliser company representatives, veterinarians, agronomists and animal feed consultants, attended the day.

‘‘I often use the analogy of sport. Just like an athlete, the better the nutrition of the individual the better the performance, both in training and on game day,’’ Ms Murphy said. . . 

Hay bale art challenge is on as designs appear in paddocks – Alastair Dowie:

The challenge has been set as Newstead’s Hutton family unveiled their new hay bale artwork.

The well-known annual construction on the Pyrenees Highway near Newstead has been creating widespread interest and comment.

This year the Christine and Craig Hutton and children Maddy, 17, and Charlie, 14, hope fellow district farmers will take up the challenge and construct their own works of art.

Ms Hutton said the artworks started in around 2012 and were spasmodic for the first few years, but more regular in the past few years. . . 


Rural round-up

May 13, 2018

Farming programme empowers Maori women in Northland – Bayley Moor:

A programme aimed at upskilling and empowering Māori women in the farming industry has seen its first cohort from Northland graduate.

Graduates from across Tai Tokerau with backgrounds as private farmers, trustees on Māori land and working in the dairy and beef industries were presented with their certificate after completing the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Wāhine Māia, Wāhine Whenua programme. 

Wāhine Māia, Wāhine Whenua is an intensive programme providing participants with skills from industry experts including measuring farm performance and potential, business planning, finding and accessing financial information – all condensed down into three, full-day workshops, to make it more accessible for time-poor women.  . .

DIRA distorts Fonterra decisions – Hugh Stringleman:

The review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act is well overdue considering the degree of added competition recently, which has implications for the open entry rule, Fonterra says.

“The industry has become highly competitive with a relatively large number of new entrants often backed by deep capital and global businesses,” it said.

“Open entry limits our farmer-shareholders’ and the industry’s ability to maximise value.

“It distorts investment decisions and leaves Fonterra’s farmers underwriting risk for competitors, who cherry-pick their suppliers.” . . 

Farmers want rules for agents – Nigel Stirling:

Mulitple lawsuits being brought by farmers against a South Island livestock firm looks like being the catalyst for regulation of the industry.

Five civil claims against Rural Livestock and a Serious Fraud Office investigation into a former employee of the Christchurch firm have prompted Federated Farmers to call for livestock agents to be licensed in a similar manner to their counterparts in the real estate industry. . . 

Scoring carbon emissions – Brian Easton:

A powerful social law suggests we often explain or do things the wrong way. This may be particularly true when we try to address Global Warming.

Gilling’s Law, one of the most powerful laws in the social sciences, states that the way you score the game shapes the way it is played.* A simple example is that once rugby was boring with a typical score of 9 to 6 – three penalties to two. Later the score for a try was raised from three points to five, bonuses were given for scoring a lot of tries (and also to a loser who gets close to the winner). The changed incentives led teams to take risks to score tries with the result of much bigger scores and a livelier game. . . 

Low cattle pressure, yet an environmental problem in New Zealand – Robert Bodde:

Mark and Pennie Saunders are milking 2,000 dairy cows on the New Zealand South Island. Due to the scale, the cost price is lower than average despite the solid financing. The entrepreneurs see availability of labor and environmental measures as the biggest threats.

Their cows and young cattle older than two months walk 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the meadow. Mark and Pennie Saunders have therefore invested little in buildings. At the home location in Ashburton, 90 kilometers south of Christchurch, there are three pilots, one of which is out of use. One is for the housing of sober calves, and one contains some tractors and machines. The 4 tractors from 45 to 120 hp are 20 to 45 years old. They are, according to Mark, not worth more than € 165,000, including the tools.

The 80-stall rotary milking parlor, an outdoor fancier from 2004, has also been depreciated. In the first years, 1,200 cows went through twice a day. After an increase in business in 2007, 1,650 per day, 10 months per year. Since 2015, there are only ‘1,450’. That year they bought 130 hectares of the neighbor and they started a new location with 600 dairy cows on a 54-stall rotary milking parlor. “The decision to start at the second location was prompted by the scarcity of capable people”, says Mark. “It is certainly financially more attractive to milk for longer in the 80 stands. But with 1,650 cows, the employees were milking for nine hours a day. Then you will not keep your people. You can only bind them to you if they have varied work. ” . . .

(This was translated from Dutch, as internet translations do, it doesn’t get every word right).

Texas ranches manage cattle to improve pasture and watershed health – Sandra Postal:

The following is an edited excerpt from Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity by Sandra Postel, published by Island Press.

Few animals get as bad a rap these days as cattle do. They are blamed for soil erosion, water depletion, overgrazed rangelands, greenhouse gas emissions, and, when eaten, human heart disease. Often missing from such indictments of the mooing, tail-wagging, and, yes, methane-emitting bovine, however, is our role. How we choose to manage cattle determines their environmental impact, not the animals themselves.

“Ninety percent of people think cattle are bad,” said Robert Potts, president of the Texas-based Dixon Water Foundation. “But grasslands need well-managed grazing to stay healthy. We need to educate people about that.” . . 


Rural round-up

August 24, 2016

Thousands needed to fill primary industry jobs – Alexa Cook:

The primary sector is turning to cities to promote jobs in the industry in an effort to create a more qualified workforce.

Research commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Dairy NZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand has found the industry will need another 2300 people by 2025, on top of the 23,400 needed to replace natural attrition.

There is a growing divide between rural and urban New Zealand, with 36 percent of all secondary students based in Auckland, and just 30 percent spread through rural areas.

New Zealand Young Farmers president Terry Copeland said by 2025 a third of jobs in the dairy industry would not be tied to the land. . . 

Busy ‘making difference’ – Sally Rae:

Fiona Hancox just wants to “make a difference”.

The West Otago sheep and beef farmer recently joined the board of Co-operative Business New Zealand.The organisation represents more than 50 co-operative and mutual businesses operating across a  range of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing, insurance, banking and financial services, utilities, pharmaceuticals, education, health, wholesale and retail.

In February last year, Mrs Hancox became the first female farmer representative director on the board of Silver Fern Farms. . . 

Time to hand over the reins – Sally Rae:

For many years, Chris Bayne has been something of an institution at PGG Wrightson’s Mosgiel store.

So, come September 2,  it will be the end of an era as Mrs Bayne (65) works her last day as store manager.

However, she remained philosophical about leaving a role that has been a big part of her life, saying simply it was “time to go”.

“I just think sometimes you work too long and you retire and, all of a sudden, your health goes to the pack. It’s nice to hand the reins over to someone else …  you can’t work forever,” she said. . . 

Retiring rural postie parks his truck – Lynda Van Kempen:

After travelling more than a million kilometres, Kevin “Rock” McCrorie has finally parked  for good.

His 17-year career as a Maniototo rural postman ended on Friday and he shared some of the finer details with  the Otago Daily Times.

Number of vehicles used: Five Toyota Hiluxes

Kilometres driven: 250 a day, five days a week.

Total: 1,105,000km.

Rural boxholders: 125.

Mail, newspapers and parcels delivered: Hundreds of thousands.

Goldfish received: One

Axolotyls delivered: One. . . 

More business understanding gives Southland sheep farmer positive outlook – Brittany Pickett:

Jo Horrell is feeling positive about the future of the sheep industry.

The Southland farmer believes the tide is turning for sheep farming and she is determined to be part of it. Part of her enthusiasm can be attributed to her recently completing  an Agri-Women’s Development Trust Understanding Your Farm Business course

While she found the Red Meat Profit Partnership-funded course invaluable in gaining a greater understanding of the farm business she runs alongside her husband Bryce, it was having the opportunity to meet like-minded, positive people that for Horrell was a real bonus. . . 

Startup to tackle Predator Free New Zealand challenge:

New Zealand based App and Website Pestur will launch in 2017. Pestur is a social network allowing users to compete with each other in challenges as they work to eradicate different pest species through trapping and hunting.

Co- founder Greta Donoghue says the inspiration came in seeing the millions of people around the world willing to try and catch something that doesn’t exist (Pokemon), “the idea being that if even a fraction of these participants put some real world effort into the issue of invasive pest species we could see tangible improvements ranging from the protection of endangered species to the economics of better crop yields” . . 


Rural round-up

February 29, 2016

How one rural woman escaped an abusive marriage – Jemma Brackebush:

A woman who continued to farm after ending her abusive marriage has spoken out in the hope it may help others in similar situations.

 Police say just three in 10 women will report domestic abuse, while seven will remain silent.

Claire* farms in the central North Island and said domestic violence in rural communities was a taboo subject that people turned their backs on.

Claire was happily married, living the dream on the farm she had always wanted to own.

Within 18 months of the relationship beginning their first baby came along and her husband’s three children from a previous marriage joined them at the farm. . . 

Course gives firm sense of direction – Sally Rae:

Sometimes it’s about taking those first steps.

When North Otago dairy farmer, vet and mother-of-two Nicola Neal completed the two-day First Steps programme in 2014, it gave her a firm sense of direction.

The programme, developed by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust, is specifically designed to help rural women understand and realise their potential. . . 

A social media champion emerges for young rural mothers – Pat Deavoll:

Young mothers living in the rural backblocks have a new champion.

Twenty-six-year-old mother-of-two and wife of a deer farmer, Chanelle O’Sullivan, saw a need for a support mechanism for young mums, often from an urban background, who found themselves ensconced in the countryside because of their husband or partners’ jobs. 

“These girls are often isolated and unsupported,” O’Sullivan says. “I wanted to create a means for them to interact, hence I took over the  Farming Mums NZ Facebook page three years ago. I thought it was a worthwhile resource for women who could otherwise feel isolated in the country.”  . . 

A journey from good to great:

The clincher for Manawatu dairy farmer  to change his farm business for the better was seeing a previously enthusiastic young employee struggling under pressure.  

“I walked into the staffroom one day and saw one of our great employees who had started six months previously sitting at the table. This young man, who came to us fit and eager, had changed for the worse. And this was just from trying to be a normal man – working long hours and still maintaining a normal and enjoyable life outside of dairy farming. I realised something had to change.”  

As an owner of a 1000-cow farm in Bulls, Manawatu, Stuart Taylor has a team of six to seven staff.  Integral to his business is creating a community of good, productive people, with individual roles reflecting what they want out of a career and an opportunity to get to where they want to be. . .

Seeka Kiwifruit lifts annual profit 35% on increased volumes – By Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the largest kiwifruit grower in Australia and New Zealand, increased annual profit 35 percent as volumes recover from the impact of the Psa-V vine disease and it received insurance money from a fire at its largest packhouse facility.

Profit rose to $4.3 million, or 27 cents per share, in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, from $3.2 million, or 22 cents, the year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. That’s ahead of its forecast of between $2.96 million and $3.53 million, which reflected uncertainty around insurance claims related to the fire. It received $5.46 million in insurance proceeds from the fire, although not all claims were finalised or accepted by the insurers at year end. Revenue rose 23 percent to $142.1 million. . . 

Hawke’s Bay’s Apple Exporters Partner up to Open the Region’s Largest Single Rooms Coolstore:

Two of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest apple exporters have teamed up to store apples, today opening the regions largest single rooms coolstore.

Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple have officially opened their new 8600m2 coolstore near Flaxmere, which has the capacity to store 30,000 bins.

Bostock New Zealand Owner, John Bostock says it’s very exciting to be opening a state of the art facility, which has the technology and innovation to provide customers with full traceability from the Hawke’s Bay orchards to consumers across the world. . . 

New coolstore offers fruit traceability:

Two of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest apple exporters have opened the region’s largest single rooms coolstore.

Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple have officially opened their new 8600 square metre coolstore near Flaxmere, which has the capacity to store 30,000 bins.

Bostock New Zealand owner John Bostock said the state of the art facility had the technology and innovation to provide customers with full traceability from the Hawke’s Bay orchards to consumers across the world. . . 


Rural round-up

February 9, 2015

Rural sports take centre stage – Paul Taylor:

Shearer David Fagan cemented his status as a true great of the sport with a thrilling victory yesterday.

Fagan (53) beat the 10 best shearers in the country to take the inaugural NZ Speed Shear Championship title, at the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games in Queenstown.

The 16 time NZ Golden Shears and five time world champion faced rival Dion King (40) in the final.

Fagan sheared two sheep in 42.26sec, ahead of King’s 44.48sec. . .

Safer farms launched today:

A six year safety programme aimed at reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries on farms is being launched today.

The programme, Safer Farms, is being launched by Work Safe New Zealand at Lincoln University today. . .

Best young farmer in the South – Paul Taylor:

Winton sharemilker Steve Henderson is the best young farmer in Otago and Southland.

Mr Henderson (28) won the regional final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest after an exhausting day competing in the Queenstown sunshine on Saturday.

He will now represent the region at the nationals in Taupo on July 6.

”She was a pretty big day against good competition, so it feels good to go through,” Mr Henderson said. . .

Ewes wouldn’t say ‘running’ – Guy Williams:

It was billed as the Running of the Wools, but ”running” doesn’t quite sum up this sheep yarn.

Slideshow here

It had less of the stampeding and goring of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls, and more of the barking, eye-balling and milling around of television’s A Dog’s Show. . .

The problem of food: Scientist puts spotlight on crisis:

“Food safety and security is one of the most significant challenges humanity has ever faced. We are entering a global crisis, and the complexity of the problem demands urgent measures.”

That’s according to Lincoln University Senior Lecturer in Food Microbiology, Dr Malik Hussain, whose comments come as part of an editorial in a special edition of the journal Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences.

At the heart of the challenge lie the pressing issues of a large, rapidly growing population, deteriorating agricultural soils, falling water tables, and the need to rapidly modify production methods based on climate change.

According to Dr Hussain, while food safety and security issues are nothing new, it’s the scale and interconnectedness of the problem that makes the situation more serious now. . .

Winton entrant wins top awards – Sally Rae:

Winton deer farmer Dave Lawrence, from the Tikana stud, won the champion of champions title at the Elk and Wapiti Society of New Zealand’s annual velvet and antler competition in Wanaka.

Mr Lawrence, who enjoyed considerable success in the competition, which attracted 63 entries, won the five year section, before claiming the top award. . .

Women’s programme receives support:

A programme to help upskill women on sheep and beef farms has just received significant new backing.

The programme, Understanding Your Farming Business, is run by the Agri-Women’s Development Trust with funding from the Government and industry collaboration, the Red Meat Profit Partnership.

The trust’s executive director Lindy Nelson said it helped women to gain a better understanding of what drives a farming business and how to measure on-farm performance. . .

Charity bike ride for rural mental health issues – Dave Goosselink:

The taboo subjects of depression and suicide in the farming community are behind a South Island charity bike ride.

Twenty-seven riders are cycling from Picton to Bluff to raise awareness of mental health issues, and for Southland farmer John Dowdle, it’s a very personal issue.

As well as getting up early to bring in the cows, Mr Dowdle has been busy training for a charity ride. He’ll spend the next nine days cycling down the West Coast along with 26 other riders, raising awareness for an issue that’s not often discussed. . .

New Zealand wine goes head-to-head with Australia and England to celebrate the Cricket World Cup:

The cricket pitch is not the only place New Zealand will be competing with the two sporting behemoths, Australia and England, during the upcoming Cricket World Cup. New Zealand wine is battling it out with Australian and English wine in a series of cricket-themed blind tastings this month to celebrate the start of the competition.

To kick-off the celebrations, New Zealand sparkling wine will compete with English sparkling wine in the “Battle of the Bubbles” on 19 February in Wellington. 12 wines from each country will be tasted blind by two teams, each headed by one Wine Captain. Jane Skilton MW will captain New Zealand with moral support from cricketing legend Stephen Fleming. Wine super-star Oz Clarke will lead the English team. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 26, 2014

Foreign investment in NZ helps fuel our growth – Andrew McGiven:

Returning from Federated Farmers National Council last week, we discussed the importance of how our provinces can work with the national organisation, as the grass roots part of the organisation. The Federation is focused and built from the member up.

So you, our members, here’s what the big ticket items were on the Federation’s agenda – employment, health and safety, science and innovation and the future or the primary industries.  Something to discuss and think about was the remit put forward by the Taranaki province on overseas investment. They want a comprehensive review of the current overseas investment policy, which is one of those issues that tends to divide views.

Regardless it needs to be discussed and understood where everyone’s coming from. . .

Farming on the roof of the world – Andrea Fox:

Mark Fagan farms in the Forgotten World.

The tourism label for the other-worldly landscape in the North Island’s Waitomo district is top of mind as I creep furtively around hairpin bends on a skinny road that would see one of us reversing for the rest of the morning if two vehicles met and happened to survive the encounter.

Fagan had forgotten to mention that accessing his world an hour inland west of Te Kuiti meant spitting gravel for miles, negotiating rock falls, an ironcast faith in his directions when hope of ever arriving – anywhere, today – was fast fading, or that city cars are out of their depth here. . .

Farmers revive seasonal lamb tradition – Gerald Hutching:

Bluff oysters and whitebait are two traditional delicacies that tempt the tastebuds at different times of the year.

Early season lamb heralding spring used to be celebrated by Kiwis in the same way, but the tradition has fallen by the wayside with the decline of independent butchers and the rise of exports to lucrative overseas markets.

Coastal Spring Lamb is a recent initiative aimed at turning the clock back to reacquaint local consumers with the joys of eating the first lamb of the season. . .

AWDT produces 50th graduate:  

 FOURTEEN WOMEN completed the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s (AWDT) Escalator programme last week, bringing its total number of graduates to 53 since it began in 2010

 The 10-month programme came about after AWDT’s research into the role of New Zealand women in agriculture found low participation rates at leadership and governance levels. In an effort to answer this problem, the programme aims to develop women’s skills and confidence to govern and lead agricultural organisations and communities. . .

This year’s programme attracted women from Bay of Plenty to Southland who are involved in the dairy, honey, sheep and beef, animal health, agri-business and banking sectors.

Korean demand spiking early – Joanna Grigg:

Before the launch of the velvet cutting season talk among velvet traders was that prices may be up.
Velvet buyer Graeme Hawker of Hawker Deer buys velvet from growers across the South Island.
He said speculation on stronger prices for farmers has become a reality with initial buyers quoting $125-$130/kg for the traditional Korean mix. This is 15% up on the previous season’s initial price of $110/kg which, in turn, was 5% up on the year before.  . .  

Chance to represent NZ at Global Youth Ag-Summit:

New Zealand ideas wanted for feeding the world.

Chance to represent NZ at Global Youth Ag-Summit

Canberra to host

Feeding the world main topic

Calling New Zealand youth with a passion for agriculture – we want your ideas on how to feed a hungry planet…and we want them now!

That’s the message from Bayer New Zealand, which is seeking four youth delegates to represent New Zealand at the Global Youth Ag-Summit, to be held in Canberra, Australia, August 2015.

Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 25 as of 24 August 2015. . .


Agri-woman Next Business Woman of Year

October 11, 2013

Lindy Nelson who set up the Agri-Women’s Development Trust has been named Next’s Business Woman of the Year.

Photo: Congratulations to Lindy Nelson who has just been named as Next magazines Business Woman of the Year!

The AWDT was set up to harness the vast source of untapped potential in New Zealand rural women to address challenges facing rural business, communities & people.

Our programmes actively support women to find solutions for sustainable, thriving communities and NZ as a whole – through business opportunities, community engagement & education.

We take a long-term stake in each woman’s future, standing alongside them to build networks and grow skills. We aim to share our tailor-made resources & partnerships for the greater good.

 


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