Rural round-up

October 23, 2013

Fonterra director blocked from Alliance candidacy:

The farmer group campaigning for meat industry reform has a bone to pick with the board of the Alliance meat co-operative.

It is upset that the board has rejected the nomination of one of the four candidates put forward for two directors seats in upcoming elections.

The board accepted three of them – those of sitting directors, Alliance chairman Murray Taggart and Southland farmer Jason Miller, and one challenger, Donald Morrison.

However, it rejected the nomination of dairy and beef farmer John Monaghan because his shareholding in the co-operative is too small for him to be eligible. . .

New Indonesian posting to boost MPI presence in Asia:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the creation of a new position for an agricultural counsellor in the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta.

“This is in recognition of the growing importance of the bilateral relationship with Indonesia. It is a further step by the Ministry for Primary Industries to increase its presence in Asian markets and provide in-market support for exporters.

“As announced earlier this year, MPI is also putting more staff into China by the end of the year and is doubling its market access team in Wellington from 8 to 16.

“This position in Jakarta has been established in response to the growing interest in trade between New Zealand and Indonesia. Agricultural trade currently makes up over two thirds of New Zealand’s exports to Indonesia. . .

Wrightson names Agria’s Lai as chairman, forecasts lift in operating earnings:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by Agria Corp, named the Chinese company’s founder Alan Lai as its new chairman, replacing John Anderson, and forecast a lift in full-year operating earnings.

The Christchurch-based company first flagged the departure of veteran businessman Anderson last month, after he was appointed to steer the company after its 2010 shakeup that followed the arrival of Agria as an investor with fresh equity at a time profits were weak and debt was high. . . .

Timber confirmed as the best:

The New Zealand Timber Industry Federation (NZTIF) has welcomed confirmation that timber is the best construction material for coping with New Zealand’s seismic conditions.

Experiments carried out in June by BRANZ, (Building Research Association of New Zealand) on behalf of the Ministry of Education, have shown that timber framed buildings can cope with stresses three times that of the Christchurch earthquakes, and still remain standing.

The Ministry of Education commissioned the tests in order to establish how much force its school buildings could withstand in an earthquake. . .

Tru-Test FY sales rise 12 percent, profit triples on UK sale – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Tru-Test Corp, which doubled in size after buying a dairy industry equipment business, posted a 12 percent increase in full-year sales and said profit almost tripled on a gain from the sale of a UK subsidiary.

Profit rose to $6.6 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from $2.3 million a year earlier, according to the Auckland-based company’s annual report. Earnings included $5.6 million from the sale of its UK livestock weighing and tagging business Ritchey and Fearing. Sales rose 12 percent to $97.6 million. . .

Summerglow Apiaries Welcomes Confirmation From Intellectual Property Office That UMF Brand Rating System Is Reliable Measure For Manuka Honey Special Qualities:

Hamilton-based SummerGlow Apiaries has welcomed news of the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand’s (IPONZ) confirmation in a recent decision on the registrability of certain trademarks that the UMF brand rating system is a reliable measure of Manuka Honey’s special qualities.

That decision also meant that terms such as “active” and “total activity” may be inherently deceptive, is a win for those under the UMF brand umbrella.

Margaret Bennnett, co-owner of SummerGlow Apiaries who are licence holders in the UMF Honey Association, said the implications of the decision are far reaching and point consumers towards the UMF brand rating system for reliable measures of the special qualities that Manuka Honey possesses. . .

New Zealand cidery best in class at the Australian Cider Awards:

Local Rodney cider producer Zeffer Brewing Co was announced as Best in Class in the Dry Cider Category with their Zeffer Dry Apple Cider at the Australian Cider Awards held last Friday evening 18 October in Surry Hills.

The awards attracted more than 160 entries from cider and perry makers from around the globe and these were judged by US cider expert Gary Awdey and Australian connoisseurs Max Allen and Neal Cameron. . .


Rural round-up

August 31, 2013

Fonterra Leadership to Visit China Next Week:

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson and CEO Theo Spierings will lead a Board of Directors visit to China next week to meet with Fonterra management and key stakeholders.

Mr Wilson said the Co-operative’s Board had already planned to visit China in early September for Directors to meet with Fonterra staff and stakeholders, and view progress on Fonterra’s farming hub in Yutian.

“Now that it has been confirmed that there was no Clostridium botulinum in our whey protein concentrate, we need to address any remaining concerns our stakeholders in China might have. . .

Fonterra’s false alarm shows danger of ‘crying wolf’:

Victoria and Otago Marketing academics provide expert comment on the Fonterra crisis:

Although it is good news that Fonterra received the ‘all clear’ from the Ministry for Primary Industries yesterday, a lot more needs to be done to restore New Zealand’s reputation, say academics from Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Otago.

Dr Hongzhi Gao, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at Victoria Business School and Senior Research Fellow of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre, says the New Zealand government and business communities still have a big job ahead to ensure the official findings filter through to the global market.

“Negativity was so widely spread overseas that a proper public relations campaign needs to be planned and implemented in key dairy export markets, including China. If it is done well, the crisis may be turned into an opportunity for New Zealand’s brand,” says Dr Gao. . .

PGG Wrightson sells Heartland stake for $11.3 million to reduce debt – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by China’s Agria Corp, sold its stake in Heartland New Zealand for $11.3 million to reduce debt.

Christchurch-based Wrightson sold 13.18 million shares in Heartland, the parent of the country’s newest bank, through a brokerage yesterday at 84 cents a share, a 3.4 percent discount to the 87 cent share price Heartland was trading at immediately prior to the sale. Wrightson acquired the stake as part of the sale of its finance arm to Heartland.

“It wasn’t a strategic holding for us, it’s not our core business,” said company secretary Julian Daly. The stock price “was at a level that we were satisfied with.” . . .

Yashili Granted Consent for Infant Forumla Plant in Pokeno:

Independent commissioner Michael Savage has granted land use consent to Chinese company Yashili NZ Dairy Co Ltd to construct and run a $220 million infant formula plant in Pokeno.

This follows a three day hearing which took place on Wednesday 31 July – Friday 2 August at the Waikato District Council Chambers in Ngaruawahia.

The Council’s Regulatory Committee appointed Michael Savage as the independent Commissioner to hear the application, which received 27 submissions with five submitters heard at the hearing. . .

Synlait Milk will process more milk than forecast in FY14:

Synlait Milk will process more milk than forecast following a decision to take a significant allocation of milk under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act in the financial year to 31 July 2014.

The decision was made after further planning and a small investment in plant and equipment resulted in an opportunity to increase production capacity of its ingredient products without impacting the forecast infant formula and nutritional products business.

The extra milk will result in an increase to the forecast milk supply and production volumes of its ingredient products as stated in the prospective financial information (“PFI”) of its prospectus issued in June 2013. While early in the season the additional total production provides the Company with increased confidence in achieving its forecast financial result for FY2014. . .

Westland Milk Products joins the ‘good news club’:

Federated Farmers West Coast says New Zealand’s second largest dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, has now joined the ‘good news club.’ The cooperative has revised its 2013/14 forecast payout to a range of $7.60-8.00 per kilogram of milk solids (kg/MS), with a new advance rate of $5 kg/MS.

“It has been one hell of an August. I even saw someone at Federated Farmers head office tag it as dairying’s ‘mensis horribilis’,” says Richard Reynolds, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chairperson.

“Frankly, West Coast farmers like me are counting down to 20 September when we get the advance. After the rare West Coast drought this year, we’ve got more than an overdraft to start clearing. . .


Rural round-up

October 26, 2012

‘Financial Delinquency” Foretells Failure For Farms

As farms continue to go into receivership and be sold off, the country’s only rural insolvency specialist believes more rural businesses will face going to the wall in the next 12 months.

Dennis Wood, who heads Act Three Rural Insolvency and Investigations, predicts rural receiverships numbers will keep pace with rising rural bank debt, currently around $49 billion.

He says that a disproportionate number of rural businesses account for a higher percentage of that debt, as the currency remains high and NZ continues to be exposed to global market forces.

Many rural businesses particularly in dairy, sheep & beef, viticulture and horticulture are experiencing acute financial stress. . .

Livestock Improvement in talks with Agria over $10m loan – Paul McBeth:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which has been compensating some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, is in talks with Chinese-linked agriculture firm Agria Corp over a $10 million loan that is due for repayment next week.

The New Zealand farmer-owned company that sells bull semen and provides a dairy genetics database is in talks with Agria and the Chinese-linked firm’s senior lender about the loan and will update the market once those discussions are complete, it said in a statement yesterday. . .

Zespri Chairman Announces Plan To Step Down

Zespri Chairman John Loughlin has announced he will stand down as Chairman of the Board and as a director early next year, at a time still to be confirmed.

Mr Loughlin joined the Zespri Board as one of three independent directors on the eight-member board (the other five directors are grower-directors) in 2002. He became chairman of Zespri in August 2008.

“When I was re-elected in 2010, I signalled then that my intention was for this to be my last term serving on the Zespri Board. . .

Study shows flaws in mono-floral honey claims:

A study has indicated that many New Zealand honey that is claimed to be be mono-floral is not.

The study, conducted by Lincoln University, tested 64 New Zealand honeys labelled or coming from one type of plant.

It showed 29 samples did not contain the minimum pollen percentage required from one plant to allow it to be marketed as mono-floral. . .

A2 Corporation appoints China distributor:

A2 Corporation Limited (“A2C” or “the Company”) has today advanced the launch of a2™ brand milk powders and infant formula in China in 2013 with the appointment of an in-market Chinese distribution partner.

Developing an infant formula business in highly prospective markets is part of A2C’s strategic agenda. The global infant formula market is valued at greater than USD 17bn at the retail level, with China accounting for around USD 6bn and growing rapidly at approximately 12% per annum . . .

Arden Andersen: Biological agriculture world leader returns to NZ early 2013:

Arden Andersen, one of the world’s leading proponents of biological agriculture practices will be conducting two-day courses in Ashburton and Taupo in February 2013.

The emphasis of the courses for farmers, horticulturists and supporting advisors, is to clearly demonstrate how to grow nutrient-dense crops in larger quantities with fewer petrochemical inputs and a healthy bottom line.

Andersen, in his course ‘Grow your profits with food the world wants’, will provide attendees with the latest updates and practical applications of the natural sciences that underpin biological growing practices. . .

Dairy Woman of the Year nominations open for 2013 award:

Nominations will soon open for the 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year award which includes the chance to attend the year-long Women in Leadership course run by Global Women.

The scholarship, worth $25,000, is part of the award sponsored by Fonterra. This year’s nominations open on 1 November 2012 and close on 16 December 2012. The winner will be announced in March 2013. . .


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