Rural round-up

November 14, 2017

Landpro director gets time away – Sally Rae:

Otago’s Solis Norton and Kate Scott were recently named among the latest crop of Nuffield scholars. They talk to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae about their work and the adventure that lies ahead.

Kate Scott quips that Landpro — the Central Otago-based planning and surveying company she jointly founded a decade ago — is “taking over the world, one small regional town at a time”.

From a staff of one to about 30 now, the business expanded  incrementally as its reputation grew, with more people and disciplines added, and there were long-term goals to maintain that growth.

An office was established in Cromwell 10 years ago and there were now also offices in Gore and New Plymouth. . . 

Passionate about energy – Sally Rae:

“It will be an adventure.”

So says Solis Norton, of Port Chalmers, who has been named a 2018 Nuffield scholar, along with Simon Cook (Te Puke), Andy Elliot (Nelson), Turi McFarlane (Banks Peninsula) and Kate Scott (Central Otago).

He expected it would be a  very busy time but  was looking forward to making the most of the opportunity.

Dr Norton grew up in Dunedin’s Northeast Valley and went to Massey University, where he completed a bachelor in agricultural science degree in 1996, a masters degree in applied science and then a PhD in the epidemiology of Johne’s disease in New Zealand dairy herds. . . 

North Island leaders up for Australasian agri-business award:

Three diverse and inspirational young agribusiness leaders have been selected from across Australasia as finalists for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award.
The award, regarded as a prestigious badge of honour for the industry, recognises agriculture’s most innovative young professionals from both sides of the Tasman.

Lisa Kendall, 25, hails from Auckland, and is owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd, a business she established to provide agricultural services to people in and around her home city. She was a Grand Finalist in the 2017 FMG Young Farmer of the Year, and took out the People’s Choice Award, the AgriGrowth Challenge and the Community Footprint Award. Kendall plays an active role in schools, encouraging urban students to consider the career opportunities in agriculture. She is also vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club. . . 

Joint efforts on water quality – Rebecca Nadge:

The Otago Regional Council is working with Central Otago farmers in a bid to monitor and improve water quality in the area.

At a meeting in Omakau last week, local farmers discussed the strategy with ORC environmental resource scientist Rachel Ozanne and environmental officer Melanie Heather.

The plan involves ongoing testing of water at Thompson’s Creek in a cross-section of three tributaries, as well as regular monitoring in Waipiata and Bannockburn.
Ms Ozanne said the project would continue until May, with testing carried out on a fortnightly basis. . . 

Strong interest shown for Future Farm programme:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s search for a “Future Farm” is in its final stages and farmers are being urged to get in touch if they’re interested in being part of this unique programme.

B+LNZ is seeking to lease a hill country sheep and beef property with around 6,000 stock units for the Future Farm, which will trial new technologies and farm systems. . .

TPP agreement safeguards New Zealand’s export sector:

Federated Farmers congratulates Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the coalition government for recognising the importance of free trade to New Zealand.

Following a frenetic few days of negotiations at the APEC summit in Vietnam, the New Zealand Trade delegation has succeeded in brokering agreement with 11 countries from the Asia-Pacific region- to move the deal forward.

Federated Farmers thanks all the Ministers and officials involved for their dedication and resolve. . . 

CPTPP important to maintain competitiveness:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is welcoming the progress made towards realisation of a TPP agreement (now referred to as CPTPP).

“Timely implementation of the CPTPP market access arrangements is necessary to ensure New Zealand exporters do not end up at a tariff disadvantage into one of our largest dairy markets” says DCANZ Executive Director Kimberly Crewther

The trade dynamic for dairy in the trans-pacific region has evolved in recent months with the European Union and Japan concluding negotiation of an FTA agreement which delivers market access gains to European dairy exporters similar to those agreed for New Zealand under TPP.  . . 

Cultivate With Care After Big Wet – Bala Tikkisetty

Following the wettest winter on record, farmers are currently cultivating their paddocks for pasture or crop rotation.

As they do so, it’s important to be aware of and manage the associated environmental risks.

Sediment and nutrients from farming operations, along with erosion generally, are some of the most important causes of reduced water quality and cultivation increases the potential for problems. . . 

Argentina is saying hello to the world again – Pedro

We’re saying hello to the world again.

That’s the simplest way to understand last month’s elections in Argentina, in which the party of reform-minded President Mauricio Macri made important legislative gains, picking up seats in both chambers of our Congress.

 

As a farmer in Argentina, I’m pleased by this political victory—but I’m even more encouraged by what it means for my country’s general direction.

For too long, we’ve faced inward rather than outward. Although Argentina grows a huge amount of food and depends on global trade for its prosperity, we have behaved as if none of this mattered. The previous government slapped huge export taxes on farm products and didn’t consider the consequences. We stepped away from the world market.

This wasn’t my decision, but rather the decision of former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the head of the Peronist Party. When she took office a decade ago, export taxes were already high—and she worked to raise them even more.

The American President Ronald Reagan once made a wise observation: “If you want less of something, tax it.” . .

Vietnamese farmers flourish in the Northern Territory to become Top End’s top growers – Kirsty O’Brien:

Michael Quatch arrived in Australia as a refugee of the Vietnam War. Now he is one of the most successful growers in the Northern Territory.

During picking season, work starts well before sunrise and does not end, but Mr Quatch is not complaining — he snags a few hours of rest here and there as he works hard to get the fresh produce from his farm at Lake Bennet in the Top End onto supermarket shelves.

The 45-year-old is the biggest hydroponic farmer in the Northern Territory, running 16 hectares of shaded cropping mainly producing tomatoes and cucumbers.

But Mr Quatch had to overcome obstacles difficult to fathom when you first meet this jovial, optimistic farmer. . . 

 

Advertisements

Argentina 0 – Netherlands 0

July 10, 2014

At the end of extra time Argentina and the Netherlands are locked 0 – 0.

This, the second World Cup semi final, will now be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

I know almost nothing about football but I’m on the edge of my seat.


Strengthening links to the east

June 16, 2013

We are reaping the benefits from strengthening links with countries to our west, in particular China.

Prime Minister John Key’s trip to Latin America signalled we’re also taking links with countries to our east more seriously.

There is good potential for business relationships, trade and also links through education:

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced that seven 15 and 16 year-old Spanish language students from New Zealand will travel to Santiago later this year as part of a new exchange programme.

The “Flying Kiwis” programme has been developed in response to the highly-successful Chilean government-sponsored “Penguins without Borders” programme, which was piloted in New Zealand this year, and saw forty Chilean students come to New Zealand to live and study for two terms in the first half of the year.

The New Zealand students will go to school in Santiago and stay with the families of the Chilean students who participated in the “Penguins without Borders” programme.

Ms Parata made the announcement today during her meeting with Chile’s Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Felix de Vicente in Santiago.

“The “Flying Kiwis” programme is an exciting opportunity for our students. It will enable them to see and experience life in Chile and immerse themselves in the Spanish language,’’ says Ms Parata.

“It was an honour for New Zealand to be chosen to host the pilot of the “Penguins without Borders” programme and a great pleasure for our schools and communities to host the first group of Chilean students. I know that the schools and families in Santiago will welcome and look after our students in true Chilean style.’’

The New Zealand students will be chosen from those learning the Spanish language at schools currently hosting the Chilean students in New Zealand.  Their travel will be sponsored by Education New Zealand, the government’s agency for international education.

“Education exchange is a wonderful opportunity that brings a new world of experience for all involved.  Scholarship and exchange programmes such as “Flying Kiwis” and “Penguins without Borders” create lifelong connections for both the Chilean and New Zealand students taking part. We look forward to continued involvement in such programmes.”

Earlier today Ms Parata met with Chile’s Minister of Education, Carolina Schmidt, and invited Chile to the International Summit on the Teaching Profession which New Zealand will host in March 2014.

Ms Parata is in Chile to reinforce the bilateral relationship, in which education is a key strand, between Chile and New Zealand, following on from Prime Minster John Key’s visit to Chile earlier in the year.

There’s a huge element of luck in exchanges. We got the jackpot when we hosted a teenager from Argentina for a year through AFS and his family is now ours.

The Chilean exchanges are shorter, just a few weeks, but that is time for those involved to learn a lot and establish relationships which could endure.

The programme might lead to longer exchanges and other educational opportunities.

Year-long exchanges between countries in the southern hemisphere, like Chile and Argentina,  make it easier for students because the educational calendar is similar whereas those going to or from the northern hemisphere countries like Japan or China have to come or leave part way through a school-year.

 

 


Falklands vs Malvinas

March 12, 2013

The people who live there call them the Falklands.

To the people of Argentina they’re Las malvinas and  they say the cold, wind swept islands in the South Atlantic are theirs.

The islanders have voted overwhelmingly to remain an overseas British territory.

Of 1,517 votes cast in the two-day referendum – on a turnout of more than 90% – 1,513 were in favour, while just three votes were against.

It follows pressure from Argentina over its claims to the islands, 31 years after the Falklands War with the UK.

The UK government welcomed the result and urged “all countries” to accept it and respect the islanders’ wishes.

The referendum had asked: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?” . . .

Argentina still isn’t convinced.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has maintained that the Falkland islanders’ wishes are not relevant in what is a territorial issue.

Most Argentines regard the islands, which they call Las Malvinas, as Argentine and their recovery is enshrined in the national constitution.

Journalist Celina Andreassi, of the Argentina Independent, said: “The majority of people here agree with the official position that the issue is not about self-determination and it is not about whether the islanders consider themselves British or not – because obviously everyone knows that they do and that they are British.

“The issue for most people here is whether the territory is Argentine or British, not the people themselves.”

But the issue for the people who live there is that this is their home and has been for generations.


A hundred trillion reasons . . .

October 8, 2012

. . . why increasing the money supply is not a good idea:

(picture borrowed from Facebook).
We were in Argentina last week.
People there prefer United States dollars to the peso because inflation devalues their own currency so quickly.
Green co-leader Russel Norman appears to be oblivious to the dangers of printing more money.  What do his potential coalition partners think?

Less crime, more freedom

October 3, 2012

Each time we’ve been to Argentina our friends there warn us to be careful of pickpockets and petty thieves.

In light of that I always wear a money belt and carry only a little cash and no cards in my wallet and have never had any problems.

Several members of the Air New Zealand All Black entourage weren’t so lucky when they were in Buenos Aires last week.

One man was robbed twice, losing all the money he had with him and his credit cards.

Several others were the victims of pickpockets and one woman had the back of her handbag had been slashed though nothing was lost.

It could happen anywhere in the world but the chances of it happening here are a lot less than in many other countries.

We can still walk down the street with our bags swinging from our shoulders and wallets in pockets without the constant fear we could lose them or their contents.

We can live in houses without bars on the windows and – at least in this part of the country – without elaborate security systems.

This gives us a freedom and security we shouldn’t take for granted, although we can be grateful that the crime rate is falling.

Police Minister Anne Tolley says the increased focus on frontline policing and crime prevention will continue, following another drop in recorded crimes.

Recorded offences were down by 5.2 per cent, with 21,802 fewer crimes in the fiscal year to 30 June 2012. The crime rate per head of population fell by 5.9 per cent.

It follows a seven per cent reduction in crime per head of population in the previous fiscal year, and a 5.6 per cent decrease in the 2011 calendar year.

“The figures reflect the excellent work of the Police in making our communities safer and I want to thank them for their efforts,” says Mrs Tolley.

“Police are spending more time and are more visible in their communities through Neighbourhood Policing Teams, while mobile technology is also allowing officers to stay out on the front line, instead of having to return to their desks.

“This new way of working will continue – to proactively prevent crime rather than react after an offence has been committed, and that leads to fewer victims of crime.

“So there will be no let up for criminals. The Police are well on their way to reaching our target of an overall reduction in crime of 15 per cent by 2017.

Less crime means fewer victims, greater security and more freedom for all of us.


Feliz día de independencia Argentina

July 9, 2012

Happy Independence Day, Argentina.

The 9th of July is permanently commemorated in Buenos Aires by Avenida 9 de julio, which is about a kilometre long and up to 14 lanes wide.


%d bloggers like this: