Rural round-up

June 22, 2015

Fonterra – who loves ya baby? – Tim Hunter:

It’s so ironic. Fonterra [NZX: FCG], whose sole reason for being is to benefit its co-operative members, is so distrusted by them that it must have a Shareholders Council to oversee its board, even though the board is already completely controlled by shareholders.

The co-op is so successful it is the world’s largest processor of milk and the world’s biggest dairy exporter, yet its shareholders complain that its head office is not in a provincial town, even though there are barely any international flights from provincial airports.

Meanwhile, the business has become so economically important to New Zealand that non-shareholders argue Fonterra is too focused on processing milk and should be more like Nestle, which sells a lot of coffee, chocolate and instant noodles (although it probably doesn’t want to talk about noodles right now). . . 

 

Tight times for sharemilkers – Hugh Stringleman:

Most sharemilkers will be unable to write a break-even budget for the new dairy season and face several months of negative cash flows before dairy prices are expected to recover.

That is the market reality facing all dairy farmers, but especially taxing for sharemilkers of all descriptions given the low milk prices, incomes in the $1 to $2/kg range, and the lack of discretionary or deferrable spending.

Industry-wide, considerably more seasonal finance will be necessary because herd-owning sharemilkers (40-50% contracts) face losses between 30c and 50c/kg on all milk produced for the remainder of 2015. . .

 Survey captures cost of compliance – Richard Rennie:

Waikato dairy farmers have invested about $400 million in environmental compliance in recent years, but are uncertain about how long that investment will remain compliant.

New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays scholar Thomas Macdonald has just issued findings from a survey he conducted on Waikato dairy farmers, determining how much they have invested in effluent management and compliant farm systems. . .

 AgResearch hub remodelled for Lincoln – Tim Cronshaw:

AgResearch’s soon to be built science hub programme will look much different from the operation first envisaged, writes Tim Cronshaw.

AgResearch is about to put out new master plans as more science and agriculture partners join its vision for innovation clusters at its main Lincoln and Palmerston North hubs in a nationwide $100 million restructuring programme.

Originally the research organisation was going to build its science centre for its Future Footprint programme on new ground connecting to the Lincoln University campus with the wider Crown Research Institute precinct.

Townie helps out – Annette Scott:

Christchurch businessman Grant Silvester launched a campaign earlier this month to help get feed to North Canterbury farms.

He has been thrilled at the amazing support the campaign has attracted and is more than confident of trucking in his goal of 500 bales of feed to the region.

Silvester, a self-described townie who sells cars and racing car parts from his Christchurch-based business, had seen how dry farms were while travelling through the area. . .

 Firm friendship: The sports star and the girl inventor – Narelle Henson:

It’s easy to see young inventer Ayla Hutchinson and her mentor, Bernice Mene are mates – even though they clearly have pretty different backgrounds.

Mene is a national figure, accomplished in the world of sport, Ayla is a teen inventor from the fields of Taranaki; introverted, inexperienced and – by her own admission – a little anxious.

Fifteen-year-old Ayla is the inventor of the Kindling Cracker, a wood-splitting device taking New Zealand by storm. She’s just signed “a massive” supply deal with major American corporate, Northern Tools + Equipment. The second 12-metre container of orders needs to be sent soon, but New Zealand demand keeps emptying it. She’s constantly being badgered with interview requests, and everywhere she goes people just keep asking how she came up with that invention. . .


14-yr-old Fieldays’ Young Inventor of the Year

June 9, 2014

Fourteen- year-old entrepreneur Ayla Hutchinson is the 2013 Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year:

“If you have a dream keep working at it until it comes true and whatever you do DONT GIVE UP!”

Ayla Hutchinson the Inventor of the Kindling Cracker, which provides a safer faster and easier way to split kindling, has stuck by her saying over the last year and she has proven that with hard work and determination your dreams can come true.

This young entrepreneur displayed her amazing invention at the Fieldays last year where she was awarded the 2013 Young inventor of the year as well as the James and Wells intellectual property award. “It was a privilege to win the ‘2013 Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year Award’ last year and I am excited to find out which new exhibitor will win this award for 2014”.

Ayla also had many others highlights including receiving the New Zealand Innovation ’Most Inspiring Individual Award’ and the Buy NZ Made ‘Rising Star Award’ and most recently being selected to be part of the Hyundai ‘Pinnacle Programme’ for talented young New Zealanders.

Ayla has had “heaps of offers” of investment but the young entrepreneur wanted to financially try to go it alone.

After a long tiresome year of building up her business while also keeping up with her school work and sports Ayla has her product in full production and is selling them on her website where they are proving to be very popular.

Ayla will be at the Fieldays again this year where she is entered into the Launch New Zealand category.
She was excited when she found out that she was one of 20 finalists to be part of the Soda Innovation Den again this year but then decided that she would rather another contestant have this chance. “After thinking long and hard about it I decided to let someone else have this great opportunity this year as I know how hard it is in the beginning and they might really need the help” she said.

If you are going to be visiting the Fieldays this year be sure to go see Ayla and her Kindling Cracker in the Innovation Centre, site 22.

Short product Description:
The Kindling Cracker allows people to make kindling without dangerously wielding an axe past their hands. Safe and easy to use due to its unique design which includes a safety ring, the kindling cracker operates by tapping wood with a mallet onto a stationary blade that splits it. It requires less force to split wood than using an axe and is suitable for people with arthritis and other disabilities too.

The Kindling Cracker website is here.


Rural round-up

July 5, 2013

US farming group misdirects money to export support:

News reports that the United States’ Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) is to increase export subsidy support to US$60 million, is a misdirection of voluntary farmer levies in the eyes of Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“We need to clear this has nothing to do with the United States Government,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Cooperatives Working Together is a voluntary producer-funded national program developed by America’s National Milk Producers Federation. While designed to assist family farms, New Zealand’s farmers know from bitter experience that programmes like this actually hurt family farms. . .

Protecting the integrity of the NZ food system – Nikki Kaye:

It is a pleasure to join you today at this conference.

I would like to acknowledge all of you for the contribution you are making to science and our economic development.

As you know our country is a proud, food exporting nation. Our strong reputation for producing safe, high-quality food is fundamental to our success. We have achieved this success through the work of generations of scientists and trust in the integrity of our food production.

Many New Zealanders are proud of our quality food and beverage production. And many Kiwi families in both rural and urban New Zealand are connected to our food businesses. That is why we must continue to invest in innovation and in our reputation as good food producers.

Our economy relies heavily on the production of food for export, more so than any other developed country. . .

Fonterra contacted by Chinese regulator over milk probe – Paul McBeth:

 Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, has been contacted by the China National Development and Reform Commission as part of an investigation into milk powder prices in the world’s most populous nation.

The Auckland-based company is cooperating fully with the Chinese regulator, which is reviewing a wide range of consumer businesses in the Chinese dairy industry, Fonterra said in a statement. . .

Meat companies look for industry solutions:

New Zealand’s four biggest meat companies are meeting on Thursday under an independent chair to see if they can come up a better way to run the meat industry.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen told Federated Farmers national conference in Ashburton that the companies will be seeing if they can come up with a proposal to run the meat industry in a more collaborative way. . .

Shareholder commitment will assist with planning for CPW scheme:

Central Plains Water Ltd shareholders have been asked to give an indicative commitment to the scheme by July 12.

Although non binding, the letter of commitment will give CPWL an overview of the number of shareholders who want to be part of the scheme and their geographic location. The indicative commitment is also a precondition set down by CPWL’s funders.

Derek Crombie, CEO of CPWL, said that while the design for Stage 1 was well advanced, information gathered now would help designers with the overall scheme design. . .

Sam Knowles joins Board of Synlait Milk:

Former Kiwibank Chief Executive Sam Knowles has been appointed a Director of Synlait Milk Limited and will become an Independent Director on the planned listing of the Company later this month.

Mr Knowles completes the requirement of the Company’s constitution for there to be three Independent Directors on the Board upon listing.

Welcoming the appointment, Synlait Milk Chairman Graeme Milne says Mr Knowles experience in establishing and growing Kiwibank into a significant New Zealand-owned and operated bank will be valuable to the Company as it implements growth initiatives expected to cost around $183 million. . .

Helping Bring Clever Idea to Life for Young Inventor:

Catching up on a week’s worth of school work because she was away at Fieldays was worth it for Ayla Hutchinson to launch her household innovation, the Kindling Cracker, to more than 100,000 people who might want to buy one, help her manufacture it or sell them in New Zealand and around the world.

14-year-old Ayla was the winner of the James and Wells Intellectual Property Award at the event in June, which gives her $3000 worth of IP strategy advice from the experts on how to own, protect her idea and commercialise it. Ayla went on to win the prestigious Young Inventor of the Year Award. . .


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