Dairying has been so demonised for damaging the planet that the children of some Kiwi farmers have been beaten up at school, writes Joanna Wane. Two families who’ve been on the land for five generations talk back.
Northland dairy farmer Hal Harding describes his daughter, Anna, as “a bit of an eco warrior”. The pair work alongside each other on land south of Dargaville that his early-settler ancestors bought back in 1877. But when Anna moved back home just before Covid struck, after a few years in Europe, she was having serious doubts about whether the life she’d been born into was on the right side of history.
“In the UK, there were plant-based cafes popping up left, right and centre,” she says. “I started to think, ‘Is that what we should be doing? Is dairying bad? Is this stuff all these people are telling me true?’ There were facts for one side, and facts for the other that were just as convincing. But it felt too easy to say, ‘Just eat plants and the planet will be saved.’ When I heard about this whole regenerative farming thing, I was like ‘Thank God’. My gut feeling landed; it felt right.”
The Hardings have hand-planted thousands of native trees to reforest parts of the property and adapted their farming practices to nurture soil health by minimising the use of pesticides and commercial fertilisers. They’re also planning to move away from the traditional grazing regime. For Anna, who’s now 30, it’s about believing that a different model of farming can be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, at a time when the agricultural sector is increasingly under siege. . .
The Government’s confirmation of the availability of Recognised Seasonal Employer workers from selected countries is not enough to fix its rotten approach to labour supply, says National’s Horticulture spokesperson David Bennett.
“Prior to the Delta Covid outbreak the Government announced the availability of RSE workers from certain countries.
“While the Government’s decision to approve some RSE workers may provide some token assistance, it won’t change the fundamental flaws in a labour supply policy that’s rotten to the core.
“For example, we see 15 per cent increases in labour costs in the kiwifruit industry, and an apple industry that still has a gap in the loss of the backpacker labour supply. . .
Low venison prices leave farmers frustrated – Maja Burry:
A deer industry leader is worried farmers will start exiting the sector if venison prices don’t improve.
Covid-19’s impact on the restaurant trade worldwide has come as a major blow, with deer farmers now facing depressed prices for the second year in a row.
The latest figures from AgriHQ show in July 2021 venison average export values fell short of the five-year average of $13.75/kg by $3.67/kg, and was $1.28/kg below July last year.
Deer Farmers Association chairperson John Somerville said the organisation recently shared the concerns of many farmers in a letter to all of New Zealand’s venison marketing company chief executives. . .
Food prices rose 0.3 percent in August 2021 compared with July 2021, mainly influenced by higher prices for meat, poultry, and fish, and restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food, Stats NZ said today.
Though modest, August’s movement is the fifth consecutive monthly rise. After adjusting for seasonality, prices rose 0.2 in August 2021.
Meat, poultry, and fish prices were up 1.3 percent in August, mainly influenced by higher prices for roasting pork (up 11 percent), sausages (up 3.5 percent), lamb chops (up 5.4 percent), and porterhouse and sirloin steak (up 2.3 percent). This was partly offset by lower prices for chicken pieces (down 3.3 percent).
Restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food prices rose 0.4 percent, influenced by higher prices for some takeaway food. . .
Why would you want to own a forest? – The Detail:
The forestry industry is beset by supply chain issues, port disruptions, oversupply in China, sky-high shipping rates, the Delta disaster …. and that’s before you even look at the difficulties of cutting down the trees.
On top of that the industry gets a bad rap from the rural sector for being a ‘spray and walk away’ business that’s eating up valuable grazing land, for damage done to the landscape, and for contributing to a lack of employment.
So why would anyone invest in a forest?
Forestry is not for the faint-hearted – but for the persistent, there are good rewards. . .
Dutch farmers could be forced to sell land and reduce the amount of animals they keep to help lower ammonia pollution.
Dutch politicians are considering plans to force hundreds of farmers to sell up and cut livestock numbers, to reduce damaging ammonia pollution.
After the highest Dutch administrative court found in 2019 that the government was breaking EU law by not doing enough to reduce excess nitrogen in vulnerable natural areas, the country has been battling what it is calling a “nitrogen crisis”.
Daytime speed limits have been reduced to 100kmph (62mph) on motorways to limit nitrogen oxide emissions, gas-guzzling construction projects were halted and a new law pledges that by 2030 half of protected nature areas must have healthy nitrogen levels. . .