Rural round-up

August 26, 2019

Time to stop shaming farmers – Rowena Duncan:

The recent Will to Live Tour gets The Country Early Edition host Rowena Duncum thinking about rural mental health.

Just last month I had a bad day. We all get them. I felt like there’s so much negativity out there aimed at farmers.

A few hours later though, I got a swift reality check in the form of a passionate and switched-on 21-year-old imploring more than 200 people in Balclutha to remember “how good we are at what we do” and to “be bloody proud to be a farmer”.

By the time you read this, the Will to Live charity’s ‘Speak Up Tour’ will have just completed its 13th event, with four still to come later this month. . .

Restored wetland in the Waikato shows how farmers can hugely improve water quality.:

Gray Baldwin has spent five years undoing work his grandfather did on the family’s South Waikato farm – and he’s thrilled with the result.

He and wife Marilyn own 713ha south of Lichfield, near Putaruru. They have a 200ha dairy farm running 900 cows and 160ha planted in maize. The rest of the property is in forestry or retired land.

“We’ve been there since 1955,” Gray says. “I’m the third generation, my son runs the farm and we’ve got three grandsons running around the place now.” . . 

The rest of the story about animal agriculture and climate:

Frank Mitloehner is on a mission.

In the wake of a United Nations report pinning much of human-caused global warming on animal agriculture and promoting veganism as the logical alternative, Mitloehner, a professor of animal science and air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, wants to set the record straight.

In doing that, he is encouraging farmers and ranchers to tell the public, as radioman Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

While the U.N. report pointed out that cattle and other animals do indeed produce the greenhouse gas methane — no secret there — he says the U.N. and “special friends” such as anti-animal agriculture activists and vegan promoters leave out important facts. . .

Estuary ‘riddled’ with whitebait:

Key to improving water quality is increasing NZ’s wetlands – after 90 per cent were drained.

It’s not everyone who can relax after a hard day’s work, throw out a line and hook a snapper for dinner from their own backyard.

Tapora dairy farmer Earle Wright can. Yet his good fortune is not due to luck or some inside knowledge about a secret fishing spot.

Rather it is a payback for years of effective environmental stewardship of his 120ha farm, a property backing on to an estuary in the Kaipara Harbour north of Auckland. . .

Cost should not shut borrower out of mediation sharemilkers say:

The Sharemilkers Section of Federated Farmers strongly supports the Farm Debt Mediation Bill (No 2) but would like to see changes to ensure a borrower isn’t shut out of the process because they can’t afford it.

The legislation could make it compulsory for lenders to make funds available to farmers to fund their share of mediation costs, Sharemilkers Chairperson Richard McIntyre told the Primary Production Select Committee this morning.

Alternatively, it could require the lender to fund the mediation, “which we as a sector would no doubt fund indirectly through increased fees”. . . 

Zanda McDonald Award winners have bright futures – Jessica Johnston:

TWO young guns are making great strides in the northern beef industry, proving the future of agriculture is in safe hands.

The passion and commitment to their chosen careers has seen Queenslander Shannon Landmark and the NT’s Luke Evans offered a unique mentoring opportunity under the Zanda McDonald Award, which recognises outstanding young professionals in the ag sector.

Ms Landmark, 28, was born in Mount Isa to a mining family, and garnered an interest in agriculture throughout her time in regional Queensland. . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 17, 2018

Climate change debate is heating up – Andrew Hoggard:

Science and practicality should underpin the climate change discussion but sometimes that’s de-railed by politics writes Federated Farmers dairy chairperson, Andrew Hoggard.

Debate about how New Zealand will honour the commitments we gave under the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming and climate change is – if you’ll excuse the pun – heating up.

In the last few months a series of weighty reports on options and forecasts have been published, notably from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE), the Productivity Commission (a whopper, at 620 pages), and earlier this month from BERG (the Biological Emissions Reference Group). . . 

Tararua dairy farmers out to curb nitrate leaching and negative whispers – Sam Kilmister:

Tararua dairy farmers are turning over a new leaf to reduce their environmental footprint. 

Plantain, a common weed, is being injected into pastures to help reduce nitrogen leaching into the district’s waterways. 

The fibrous plant holds less nitrogen, meaning less passes through a cow’s system after they eat it. It also causes them to pass urine more frequently, resulting in less concentrated urine patches in a paddock.  . . 

 

More stories from on-farm :

For the last edition of Farmers Weekly we went back to some of the farmers featured in On Farm Story this year and asked them to look back on the year that’s been, and ahead to what’s in store for New Zealand agriculture.

Morrison Farming

Will Morrison is looking forward to having time to enjoy the farm scenery and healthy livestock.

What has 2018 been like for your farming business?

Seasonality for Morrison Farming feels like an increasing challenge. The consistent, well spread 1000-1200mm annual rainfall and summer-safe tag for western Rangitikei no longer feel so consistent or safe. However, prices were fantastic and financially 2018 has been one of Morrison Farming’s strongest. . . 

Richard Thompson steps down from Landcare Trust

The long-time chairman of NZ Landcare Trust and Whanganui man, Richard Thompson, has retired after 22 years on the board.

And in his place the trust has chosen its first woman chair in Fiona Gower, who is also Rural Women New Zealand national president.

Landcare Trust is an independent NGO that attempts to bring together various stakeholders to work on sustainable water and land quality. . . 

From dust bowl to productive farmland: Farmers visit Nebraska – Pat Deavoll:

A party of 25 farmers and irrigation experts has returned from Nebraska, United States, with some fresh ideas about how to improve environmental management in New Zealand.

“Nebraska was one of the states which were devastated by the dust bowl storms during the depression and farming families had to leave the land,” outgoing IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis said, who was part of the group.

“By 1932, 750,000 acres (300,000 hectares) of farmland had been abandoned in Nebraska due to soil erosion and dust storms. . . 

 

There’s Hope for wool in art show :

Dunedin artist Hope Duncan says a wolf-shaped rug made from crossbred wool is the perfect analogy for the state of the carpet fibre industry.

The Dunedin School of Art graduate loves wool but despairs about the state of the crossbred wool sector so for her end-of-year exhibition she chose a two-piece item with a wool carpet in the shape of a wolf as an eye-catching element in a none too subtle dig at how synthetic carpet manufacturers have laid claim to wool’s natural attributes.

Duncan hopes it will provoke conversation about the attributes of wool and issues with synthetic fibres. . . 

 


Rural round-up

November 2, 2017

Top farmers tackle the crunchy stuff and spell cash with a capital C – Pita Alexander:

Many years ago I can remember a farm survey with one of the questions being: “Do farm men feel they are above average drivers?”.

Unsurprisingly, 92 per cent replied definitely yes and from that point on I have always been careful about interpreting survey results. With that said, my suggested 30-odd point list as to what the top group do, think and say would be:

· They are almost invariably a couple with decision making being more or less equal, even on the crunchy issues.

· They listen well and dwell on a problem, but don’t necessarily act on it.

· Top farmers spell cash with a capital C, because for part of every year it can rule their cashflow and their life.

· They are well aware that historically low interest rates have camouflaged their financial results for the past 10 years. They don’t want to see any change, but they expect it sooner or later. . .

 

Farmers Fast Five – Nick Hamilton – Claire Inkson:

Farmers Fast Five : Where we ask a Farmer a quick five questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Omihi Farmer Nick Hamilton.

1. How long have you been farming?

I grew up on this farm and my family ancestors have farmed in this area since the very early days. My wife and I purchased our first block in 1999 but we were still working in town. We leased it out to Dad. We went into partnership with my parents in 2002 when we had our first child. Since then we have leased more land and more recently purchased another block. 

2. What sort of farming were you involved in?
I worked in rural finance after finishing at Lincoln and got to see all sorts of farming operations which was a great help in becoming the sheep and beef farmer I am today. I also spent nearly 5 years working for the New Zealand Merino Company and during that time I got to meet some very progressive farmers and analyse some future focused farming businesses that are making a positive contribution to agriculture and the environment. . . 

PGG Wrightson says earnings growth to stall in 2018, begins strategic review – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson said earnings growth will stall this year after a wet winter and spring and said it will embark on a strategic review following the appointment of new chief executive Ian Glasson.

Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the coming year are expected to be in line with the $64.5 million reported for the year ended June 30, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement. Net profit would fall about 30 percent, mainly reflecting one-time gains from property sales in 2017 that won’t be repeated in the current financial year, it said. . . 

Flying venison sandwiches (Arby’s did it again!):

Venison sandwiches flew out of the doors of US fast-food chain Arby’s last weekend as punters queued to get a taste of the new menu item.

Last year’s ‘limited edition’ promotion of the New Zealand venison sandwich in five hunting states went really well. So well, in fact, that the world’s second largest sandwich restaurant chain decided to see if it could repeat the effect. It ran an extended ‘limited time’ promotion for the sandwich, at the start of the US hunting season on 21 October, across all of its 3228 US retail stores.

Mountain River Venison marketing director John Sadler created the successful item with Arby’s last year, working with Mountain River Processors and in-market partner Terra Pacific Marketing director Angus Cleland and wife Anna Marie Longo.

Sadler has been involved in organising sufficient supplies over the past few months to supply an average of 70 New Zealand farm-raised, grass-fed venison steaks per restaurant. That added up to 226,000 steaks or just over 45 tonnes of product. . . 

Farmtech Startups Serving Smallholder Farms – Emma Cosgrove:

According to the United Nations, agriculture and other “rural activities” are the main source of income for three-quarters of the world’s “extreme poor”. 

Every year for UN World Food Day (October 16) the UN Food and Agriculture Organization picks a theme within food and agriculture to bring awareness to on the day. For 2017 the organization is focusing on the challenges that forced migration brings to agriculture. 

“A large share of migrants come from rural areas where more than 75% of the world’s poor and food insecure depend on agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods,” says the UN, underlining the inherent linkage between migrants and smallholder farms all over the world.  

According to the UN, migration forced either by conflict and political instability, or economic necessity can exacerbate existing problems in countries and cities that receive many migrants and stress local food systems and economies. 

“Creating conditions that allow rural people, especially youth, to stay at home when they feel it is safe to do so, and to have more resilient livelihoods, is a crucial component of any plan to tackle the migration challenge,” says the organization.  . . 


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