Rural round-up


Red meat farmers could see profits fall more than 30% -:

While the outlook for global sheepmeat and beef trade is improving, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) says it expects farmer profitability to fall sharply due to reduced livestock prices and continued high inflation.

The B+LNZ Mid-Season Update 2022-23 says that farm profit before tax is estimated at $146,300, a 31% decrease from the 2021-22 season and below the average for the past five years.

“Inflationary pressure is causing on-farm costs to increase sharply, eroding the benefit of what are still historically pretty good farm-gate returns,” says B+LNZ chief economist Andrew Burtt.

The forecast uptick in global sheepmeat and beef trade is supported by generally solid fundamentals in key markets, with demand projected to recover, while global supply levels remain tight. . . .

McClay Nats’ new ag spokesman :

National Party trade spokesman Todd McClay will become the party’s agriculture spokesperson, National leader Christopher Luxon announced today.

The news comes in the wake of the announcement by Todd Muller that he would not seek re-election this year.

Muller, a former leader of the National Party, took over the agriculture portfolio in an acting capacity last year after Barbara Kuriger had to resign the position amid a conflict of interest between her family and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Luxon says McClay’s appointment to agriculture spokesperson will bring together the agriculture and trade portfolios under one spokesperson. . . 

Deer farmers looking out for deer farmers :

Deer farmers across the country are going to great lengths to help their fellow farmers affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. As communities deal with the aftermath, stories about relief efforts continue to highlight the underlying strength of the industry here in Aotearoa.

One such affected farmer, Evan Potter, manages a 720ha property located in coastal Hawke’s Bay and is the 2021 National Ambassador for Sustainable Farming and Growing.

“It took more than a week to get running water and gain access to the property over a hill track. We had to plug holes in the boundary deer fences, having lost a mob of stags that are still on the run – I’m hoping they’ll find their way home eventually,” says Potter.

A drone had been offered to help track the herd. This was just one of the many gestures of support shown by fellow farmers. . . 

Synlait Milk dramatically lowers profit forecast

Dairy company Synlait Milk has warned its full-year profit will take a hit from reduced demand, higher costs and supply chain disruptions.

It has cut its forecast after-tax profit to $15-$25 million, compared to last year’s $38.5m.

In December, Synlait reaffirmed its expectation of ending the year with a “similar level of profitability experienced before FY21”, which had been a net profit of $75.2m.

Chief executive Grant Watson said it was taking longer than expected to restore the company’s finances after the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the problems of its major customer, A2 Milk. . . 

Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners driven to succeed :

The winners of the 2023 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Industry Awards are excited to see where the dairy industry will be in the next few years, with technology and science developments driving progress.

Jonathon and Stacey Hoets were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year category at Wigram Airforce Museum in Christchurch on Saturday evening.

Other major winners were Jack Symes, who was named the 2023 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Brayden Johnston, the 2023 Canterbury/North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The Hoets have entered the Awards three times previously and say they have grown their network and upskilled on areas that were challenging through the experience.

Growing up on his parents’ dairy farm in Papakaio, Jonathon entered the dairy industry as a farm assistant when he left school. . . 

Seeka Perfectly Imperfect and Island Gelato collaborate to reduce food waste :

New Zealand produce company Seeka has taken another step forward in its bid to minimise food waste, partnering with Perfectly Imperfect to rejuvenate cherry export rejects.

Seeka’s New Zealand based wholesale market and distribution services, SeekaFresh, were able to work with Perfectly Imperfect’s Founder, Wendy Zhou and her team, to save over half a tonne of cherries deemed both export and local market rejects.

Aaron Leslie, New Zealand Markets Manager for SeekaFresh said, “Waste is something we are always trying to minimise at Seeka. By collaborating with Wendy, we were able to access her connections at DryNZ, and Island Gelato, which has resulted in our cherries being destoned and turned into a new flavour of gelato. We couldn’t be happier to see the product redistributed to market in this way.”

Perfectly Imperfect is a social enterprise whose purpose is to save ‘ugly’ food from going to waste. Founder, Wendy Zhou, reached out to SeekaFresh in January looking for opportunities to repurpose any produce unfit for export or the local market. Wendy Zhou explained, “A staggering 45% of fresh produce is not distributed to market, simply because it doesn’t look a certain way. It’s our aim to reduce this and repurpose the food. We were very happy to work with Seeka and look forward to a continued relationship.” . . 


Rural round-up


Farmers hitting the wall on East Coast – Jo MOir :

Jim Galloway doubts it will ever be known how many animals died during Cyclone Gabrielle. As the adrenaline runs out, the Hawkes Bay Federated Farmers president told political editor Jo Moir farmers are starting to hit the wall.

Exactly how many animals died when Cyclone Gabrielle hit the East Coast will never be known but rough estimates on the rumour mill have it at about 40,000.

Jim Galloway farms in Raukawa, southwest of Hastings, and counts himself as one of the lucky ones having escaped any damage on his property.

Instead, he’s concentrating on making sure farmers in the region have all the support they need to clean up and start again. . . 

You can’t eat trees says Whanganui’s deputy mayor – Helen Craig:

Government has lost sight of the importance of farming to New Zealand’s wider economy and the fact we actually need food to survive. Farmers are now a threatened species, except foresters and mānuka conversions for honey. Funnily enough, Government legislation is now the biggest risk to farming, even compared to natural disasters.

Provincial local government has also lost sight of their heavy reliance on the farming economy as they focus on towns and services for people. There will be few people and towns if our farmers disappear – we are too reliant on the services and products they buy, the products they supply for further manufacturing and the profits they spend. We fool ourselves if we think art galleries, museums, tourists, events and niche manufacturers keep our provincial towns alive.

Laws and taxes are being passed by Wellington-based politicians who do not understand this and don’t think beyond the growing urban populations. The Carbon Credits scheme managed by the Government is making forestry far more profitable than any other farming industry. A new tax on animal emissions adds to growing costs on-farm. Government approvals for the sale of land to overseas forestry firms have accelerated, not reduced, and it’s harder and harder to get water rights approvals for not only stock, but also cropping, creating growing uncertainty and risk for farmers.

Overdone fencing and riparian planting requirements for anything that might possibly be considered a waterway, tighter regulations on private drinking water schemes, tighter health and safety laws, tighter regulations on chicken and egg farms, and now the possibility of a five-fold increase in firearms licence fees will make pest control and recreational shooting too expensive for most except the most frequent shooters. . . 


Feds back practical bypass solution at Hikuwai :

Federated Farmers is backing a project by a Tolaga Bay contracting company and local residents to reopen vital access to rural communities and farms north of Hikuwai.

“A partial solution proposed by authorities falls well short, in our view,” Federated Farmers national board member and transport spokesperson Mark Hooper says.

“A bypass, across private land, that local residents and Kuru Contracting have underway is a practical response that offers longer-term resilience to impacted families and businesses. In our view Waka Kotahi, Gisborne District Council and others should get on board with it and offer whatever help they can.”

Rural properties, communities and consequently the primary sector in the Tolaga and Tokomaru Bay areas of Tairāwhiti were slammed by Cyclone Gabrielle. For farmers, cut off access is not just about being blocked from making trips that every other family needs to make. It also means disruption to feeding and looking after animals on land damaged by slips and flooding (including being able to move them elsewhere for grazing, or to destock), and removes the ability to get remaining viable product to market – critical to support employment and the local economy going forward. . . 

Kiwis flock to third annual Open Farm Day:

An estimated 2,500 urban Kiwis visited 24 farms this Sunday, part of New Zealand’s third national open farm day initiative, Open Farms.

Farms of all types participated in the nationwide project, from market gardens in Auckland, to dairy farms in the Waikato, regenerative sheep and beef farms near Wellington and organic veges in Christchurch.

“This was a tough year for farmer hosts, so we really appreciate them giving urban Kiwis the chance to touch, feel and taste their way back into food and farming” says Open Farms founder Daniel Eb.

Successive weather events in the project’s target areas around New Zealand’s major cities impacted host numbers, but visitor interest remained high. “About two-thirds of our events were fully booked this year – again proving that, when given the chance, urban Kiwis are keen to get back out on-farm” says Eb. . . 

The amount of farmland converted into forestry revealed – Zane Small :

Newshub can reveal 25 times more land was converted into forestry last year than a decade ago. 

It’s angered farmers who hope the Government’s ministerial inquiry into forestry slash will lead to limits on land conversion. They say the Government needs to answer for incentivising forestry to earn carbon credits.

“We’re not absolutely against off-setting, we’re certainly not against commercial forestry, but our argument is that there needs to be some limits put on it,” Beef + Lamb CEO Sam McIvor told Newshub. 

Figures obtained by Newshub under the Official Information Act show a rise in recent years of new forestry area, from 695 hectares in 2013 to more than 18,000 hectares last year.  . . 

New Zealand Rural Land Co FY22 year results demonstrate resilience :

New Zealand Rural Land Co (NZX: NZL) has recorded a net profit after tax of $5.3M for the financial year ended 31 December 2022 along with a further increase in the value of its property portfolio.

The results cover the period 1 July 2022 – 31 December 2022, following a recent change in NZL’s balance date to 31 December (from 30 June).

NZL currently owns 11,710 hectares (28,963 acres) of high quality productive rural land in New Zealand which is fully tenanted on long-term leases with regular CPI adjustment provisions. It generates shareholder value through a combination of asset value appreciation and cash flows from its long-term leases.

Co-founder and New Zealand Rural Land Management director Richard Milsom said that in the current environment the increase in value of NZL’s rural land holdings demonstrated the resilience and quality of NZL’s portfolio. . . 

Groundswell Radio episode 2


Peter Williams chats to ex-farmer Derek Kirke about the Emissions Trading Scheme, Clutha Vets’ Hamish Moore about the impact on his business from farms selling to forestry, and high country farmer Geoffrey Young who is the Southern South Island candidate for Beef+Lamb NZ elections.

Kiwis backing farmers


Beef + Lamb NZ and 50 Shades of Green have launched a campaign to get Kiwis Backing Farmers:

Today, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) in conjunction with 50 Shades of Green, is launching the Kiwis Backing Farmers campaign.

The Kiwis Backing Farmers campaign will raise awareness of the overwhelming wave of environmental policies and proposals from the Government that are undermining the future of our sector.

The scale and pace of change means we’ve ended up with a lot of poorly crafted and conflicting rules that are particularly bad for sheep and beef farmers and rural communities.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins recently acknowledged that the Labour Government has gone too far, too fast and said he will make changes. We want agriculture included in that list. 

We’re calling on the Government to:

    • press pause on any new regulations like Biodiversity and Resource Management Act reform
    • urgently carry out an assessment of the cumulative impact of all these policies – it must take an integrated approach
    • urgently address the sale of sheep and beef farms into carbon farming (by putting limits in the ETS on the amount of offsetting fossil fuel emitters can do) and commit to doing this before any price on agricultural emissions is introduced
    • take a cautious approach to any price on agricultural emissions and ensure that farmers get proper recognition for the sequestration happening on their farms from trees
    • review the methane targets in line with a warming approach 
    • fix remaining essential freshwater issues, like the low slope map for stock exclusion.

We know there is widespread public support for farmers, particularly in regional New Zealand, and we want to harness this. 

The campaign was initially scheduled to build on the release of our sector’s pre-election manifesto but was delayed by Cyclone Gabrielle. 

The Kiwis Backing Farmers campaign is underpinned by a microsite at  that encourages New Zealanders to easily show their support.

The microsite features:

  • an outline of environmental policies that farmers need to be fixed, covering afforestation, climate change, biodiversity and freshwater
  • an email template that can be sent to Government Ministers asking for changes to policy settings, as well as to opposition party leaders asking them to ensure these issues are covered in their policy platforms in the lead-up to the election 
  • information about the sector’s environmental record.

Farmers can help by:

  • visiting the Kiwis Backing Farmers website at and sending an email to Ministers, and encouraging their friends, family and networks to do the same
  • sharing the campaign’s social media posts and encouraging friends, family and rural businesses to do the same – check out on Facebook and Instagram

Farmers, their families and rural communities are at the heart of the Kiwis Backing Farmers campaign and B+LNZ wants to secure changes to the unworkable and unfair policies.

Rural round-up


BLNZ: is PM taking agriculture seriously? :

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor wants to know how seriously Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is taking agriculture.

McIvor said in an interview that he would be interested to hear Hipkins’ view on agriculture and whether he is going to “continue to restrict agriculture growing and contributing through poorly formed regulations and legislation”.

The agriculture sector has faced a raft of regulatory changes over the past few years, largely around environmental compliance and emissions trading.  

Beef + Lamb NZ (BLNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) recently published a manifesto on five key areas: climate and environment policy, workforce and industrial relations, trade, biosecurity, and innovation, research and development. . . 

Farmer confidence at all-time low :

Farmer confidence has hit a record low under Labour, indicating a seismic disconnect between the rural sector and the Government, National’s Agriculture spokesperson Todd Muller says.

“The latest Federated Farmers survey showed 65.2 per cent of farmers consider the current economic conditions to be bad. That’s 17.4 points worse than the survey in July last year.

“The survey results are not surprising when Labour has hammered farmers with regulations and red tape and flip-flopped on agriculture emissions,” Mr Muller says.

“There is a new Labour leader, but it is the same old Labour whose policies are ill-informed, rushed and show little regard for farmer practicalities. . . 

Relief for dairy farmers as prices rebound at latest GDT auction with buyers chasing product across the board  – Point of Order:

Fonterra’s  farmers  will  be  relieved that prices in the Global Dairy Trade auction this week have rebounded – up 3.2%  across the board.

It is the first rise since December 6  The index had fallen 2.8% on January 3 and 0.1% on January 17, to kick off 2023 on a sour note for dairy farmers.

“Significant price gains across each contract period highlight that buyers were chasing product across the board,” said NZX dairy insights manager Stuart Davison.

The lift will add to the view that whole milk powder prices were expected to increase on the way into the second half of 2023, he said. . . 

Feds thanks Tim Mackle for huge contribution to dairy industry :

Federated Farmers acknowledges the huge contribution Tim Mackle has made to the dairy sector, and thus to the New Zealand economy.

Tim, DairyNZ’s chief executive since 2007 and chief executive of its predecessor Dexcel since 2005, has announced he will step down from the role in June.

“Tim led DairyNZ through a period of immense industry growth that saw the sector become New Zealand’s biggest export earner and a vital industry,” Federated Farmers President Andrew Hoggard says.

“DairyNZ, under Tim’s leadership, has supported farmers to improve environmental performance and adjust to increasing regulatory compliance.” . . 

NZ Dairy Industry Awards welcome new AEG members :

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has begun 2023 with a new name for the Executive and by welcoming new members to the group.

The Executive is now known as the Advisory and Engagement Group (AEG) which better reflects the role its members have within the Awards programme.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon says the team is thrilled to welcome Milton farmer Louise Sahin and Manawatū farmer Maegan Legg to the Group and looks forward to working closely with them.

“We are excited to have new members on board who will bring different skill sets and experiences that will complement our existing members,” he says. . . 

Pāmu commits to ambitious sustainability targets with a second sustainability-linked loan :

Pāmu is committed to reducing its climate impact through emissions reduction and strengthening climate resilience through adaption.

Doubling down on its commitment, the state-owned enterprise has now signed a second sustainability-linked loan, this time with ANZ. The new loan is aligned with existing targets and reinforces the need to drive forward parts of its sustainability work programme. This includes the verification and achievement of a 1.5 degree aligned science-based emissions reduction target, Toitū carbon reduce farm certification, On-Farm Sustainability Performance Programmes, and well-being support for farm managers and staff.

“These goals are ambitious and in alignment with what our main customers, as well as shareholders, are asking of us. They reinforce the need for our sustainability work programme. Although meeting them will be a stretch, they all shift the dial closer to achieving our ambition of reducing our impact and improving our environmental performance in areas such as freshwater and biodiversity. We hope our learnings will also serve to help the wider sector,” said Annabel Davies, Chief Sustainability and Risk Officer for Pāmu. . . 

Rural round-up


Tough economy not the time for more red tape, Feds survey finds :

Farmer confidence in general economic conditions has hit a record low, according to a Federated Farmers January survey.

Of just over 1,100 responses from farm businesses around the country, a net 65.2 percent considered current economic conditions to be bad. That’s 17.4 points worse than the survey in July last year and the lowest level of confidence expressed in the 27 biannual Farm Confidence surveys Feds has conducted since 2009.

A net 81.8 percent of farmer respondents expected economic conditions to deteriorate over the next 12 months, 0.9 points down on the survey six months ago.

“It’s not just inflation and rising farm input costs,” Federated Farmers President and economic spokesman Andrew Hoggard says. . . 

Virtual fencing technology proving its worth on North Canterbury farm – Tim Cronshaw :

A North Canterbury couple has signed up their large dairy herd for hi-tech collars and fence-less farming, writes Tim Cronshaw.

Culverden farmer Emlyn Francis likes to call the GPS-controlled collars on his dairy cows the way of the future.

As he strolls towards a collar-wearing mob lounging around a water tank, he points to distant fence lines.

They’ve been made nearly redundant by the virtual technology, which is being taken up by a small, but growing group of farmers throughout the country. . . 

More woolly thinking or a good idea? – Leo Argent :

New Zealand strong wool could bring a bounce back into soft upholstery – and woolgrowers’ bank accounts – through a new project seeking an alternative to synthetic fillers.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustained Food and Fibre (SFF) Futures fund is committing $790,000 over three years to a project led by Wisewool aimed at increasing the market potential of woollen knops – the small, light fluffy balls used as a filler ingredient.

“This project has the potential to improve returns to our strong wool producers and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to existing synthetic products,” says Steve Penno, MPI’s director of investment programmes.

“Woollen knops can be used in baby bedding and insulated clothing as well as mattresses, so it’s a versatile product with plenty of scope.” . . 

Mid-Canterbury farms M. Bovis eradication not dependent on knowing transmission route  – Jonathan Leask :

The Ashburton mayor says it isn’t a major concern officials are unsure how Mycoplasma bovis began circulating Wakanui farms in Mid-Canterbury last year because they continue to close in on eradication.

An independent expert review into M bovis infection in Wakanui has failed to produce a definitive explanation for transmission of the disease but programme director Simon Andrew said it showed appropriate steps were being taken to remove infection in the area.

The review was commissioned by the programme’s partners, MPI, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, in mid-2022 after it became apparent that infection was circulating in a small geographical area despite the use of disease control measures, which have proven successful in other areas around New Zealand.

Mayor Neil Brown said the report didn’t provide a definitive answer on transmission but what it showed was appropriate actions were being taken to keep the eradication programme on track. . . 

Promising apples season to come for Central Otago :

The apple harvest is just around the corner and the Central Otago crop looks to be in good shape.

The stone fruit season is in full swing at the moment as apricots are well through the season as are nectarines and peaches.

After that the apples will begin to be picked and nationwide it is shaping up to be a promising season.

Horticulture New Zealand released a statement this week which said the apple industry expected fruit of good quality and size as it headed into the 2023 apple export harvest season. . . 

NSW farmers offering to help repair rural roads for free are hitting red tape – Amelia Bernasconi, Laura Williams and David Claughton:

Fixing thousands of kilometres of roads after record-breaking floods in New South Wales may take councils years to complete, and some farmers with heavy machinery want to lend a hand.

But those offering their services are being knocked back by local councils and the state government because they are unable to get liability cover.

The roads around Braidwood farmer Peter Jansson’s property are so bad he mothballed the farm and bought a house nearby. 

The property was damaged by the Black Summer fires, and the flood damage to the roads was the last straw. . . . 


Rural round-up


Out of pocket and patience with illegal hunting – Guy Williams:

Otago and Southland already have the highest rate of unlawful hunting in the country, and now landowners, police and legitimate hunters say poaching appears to be on the rise in the region.

Public Interest Journalism Fund reporter Guy Williams looks at what could be behind the trend and what is being done to combat it. 

Pursuing a poacher on a farm near Lindis Pass last year left hunting guide Chris McCarthy with a broken ankle and thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Mr McCarthy was guiding a client on Forest Range Station on April 5 when he spotted Otis Feehan-Price through binoculars. . . 

Mates out to create buzz over alcohol brewed from honey – Annette Scott :

Two Kiwis on a mission set out to show the world that all of NZ’s native honeys – and not just mānuka – can make premium products.

New Zealand’s diverse native flora treats beekeepers across the country to a range of native Aotearoa honeys: kāmahi, pōhutukawa, rewarewa, rātā… the list goes on. 

But a singular focus on mānuka, say Wilbur Morrison and Edward Eaton, means beekeepers with rich natural native plant diversity walk away from their unprofitable hives.

And because native honeys that aren’t mānuka are being forgotten, NZ apiculture is becoming less sustainable.  . . 

Feds call for government inquiry on Tairāwhiti. damage :

Einstein’s words that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is relevant to storm damage in Tairāwhiti.

And it’s why Federated Farmers is calling on the government to promptly establish an inquiry into the factors that contributed to flooding and smashed infrastructure from ex-tropical Cyclone Hale, with the aim of not making the same mistakes again.

Feds national board member and former Gisborne-Wairoa president Toby Williams says no-one can do anything about heavy rain – “more than 300mm of it on our farm, that’s a quarter of our annual rainfall in January so far and the month isn’t over”.

But in a letter to Emergency Management, Forestry and Associate Environment Ministers, Federated Farmers said residual woody material/slash left in situ after exotic forestry harvesting was a significant contributing factor to increased damage and would need to be part of the brief provided to the inquiry team. . . 

Forestry see merit in a review of Tairāwhiti resilience :

The forestry industry is in support of an independent review of the challenges faced by the East Coast following ex-tropical Cyclone Hale, believing it will be beneficial for the region in the future.

The weather event affected a significant part of the country earlier this month. However, like Cyclone Bola in 1988, it was once again the East Coast community who felt the brunt of the weather with roads and bridges damaged, and power taken out.

Speaking for the Eastland Wood Council, Chief Executive Philip Hope noted the combination of factors that makes Tairāwhiti so vulnerable.

“We are managing an area almost twice the size of Auckland with three percent of their population, whilst sitting on some of the worst eroding country in the world. It’s a big challenge for many including the Council, but we are committed to the Tairāwhiti community.” . . 

Developer eyes turning gravel into gold – Jill Herron :

As a local council moves to corral burgeoning growth within its town boundary, a private developer is again looking to take it into the hinterland

An application for a 543-lot subdivision 10km north of Cromwell will be publicly notified within the next few weeks by the Central Otago District Council.

The developer is roading and infrastructure company Fulton Hogan, which is looking to develop a quarry site, one of 30 the company owns in the South Island.

With shops, travellers’ accommodation, business and industrial zones and a pencilled-in school site, the proposal would form a satellite town if it did not already have urban neighbours on its southern boundary. . . 

M. Bovis confirmed properties continue to decrease :

The Mycoplasma bovis Programme, led in partnership with MPI, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, continues to make good progress towards the eradication of the disease from New Zealand.

All properties in the high-risk area in Wakanui, which is under a Controlled Area Notice (CAN), have now been cleared of cattle. Testing will be underway shortly on the properties in the surrounding area. The CAN is on track to be lifted in mid-March.

The number of active confirmed properties has decreased this week with two properties now cleared of M. bovis and preparing return to farming without restrictions. There is one new farm infected with M. bovis which has well-established links to another already infected property.

“This brings the current number of Confirmed Properties to five (compared to 40 at the height of the outbreak), and we expect all of these farms to be cleared within the first half of 2023,” said M. bovis programme director Simon Andrew. . . 

Rural round-up


‘Hint of some common sense pleasing’ – Sally Rae:

The reluctance to cap carbon emissions offsetting looks likely to be the most significant legacy this Government will leave New Zealand — “and it will not be a legacy anyone will be proud of,” Alliance Group chairman Murray Taggart says.

Addressing the company’s annual meeting in Timaru yesterday, Mr Taggart said no other country appeared to allow unlimited offsetting by planting trees on productive agricultural land: California limited it to 8% and Europe to 10%.

“Essentially our Government is saying it’s OK for carbon emitters to avoid addressing their carbon footprint by unlimited offsetting. Rural communities are bearing the brunt of this flawed policy as more and more farms convert to carbon farming.”

The Government had “limited visibility” of the scale of the trend and the only factor slowing it down at the moment was the ability to source pine seedlings. . . 

Grassroots farmers put views to PM – Sally Rae:

“A healthy exchange of information” is how Groundswell New Zealand co-founder Laurie Paterson describes yesterday’s meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Wellington.

Mr Paterson and co-founder Bryce McKenzie, accompanied by several other representatives of the farmer advocacy group, secured a 30-minute audience with Ms Ardern which lasted for more than an hour.

Also present were Climate Change Minister James Shaw, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, who left part-way through for another engagement, and fellow ministers Meka Whaitiri and Kieran McAnulty, along with staff.

Speaking as he prepared to travel home to his Greenvale, West Otago, farm, Mr Paterson said the intention was to tell Ms Ardern and her ministers about what it was like for grassroots farmers and he believed they achieved that. . . 

Tesco’s warning to New Zealand farmers – Gerhard Uys :

British supermarket chain Tesco wants all fresh produce, meat and dairy it sells to be environmentally accredited and audited by third parties, including that which comes from New Zealand farmers.

Sustainable agriculture manager at Tesco Alice Ritchie said the supermarket chain was the biggest buyer of New Zealand products in Britain.

She said the business wanted to get to net zero across its whole supply chain by 2050. “For us it’s important what happens in New Zealand and how it feeds into our wider reduction plans.

”Around 2025 to 2030 we want to make sure that 100% of what we source in terms of fresh produce, meat and dairy is environmentally accredited. What that means we are not sure yet.” . . 

Tickets on sale for Shepherdess Muster :

Tickets are on sale now for the first Shepherdess Muster, a three-day festival for rural and regional wāhine that runs from February 17 to 19 2023 in Motu, Te Tairāwhiti.  

Comedian Michele A’Court has been announced as part of the entertainment line-up as well as L’Amour, a burlesque studio based in Wellington. Local artist and weaver Fiona Collis will lead a workshop on working with harakeke. 

General attendee tickets are $449 per person and include meals throughout the three days, entertainment and workshops. There will be a cash bar onsite, and accommodation is BYO tent, camper van or horse float. There is also a set-up tented accommodation option for $200 per person, twin share.

If you’re a Te Tairāwhiti, Wairoa or Ōpōtiki local, you have access to a special ticket price of $349 per person. Corporate tickets are $649 per person.  . . 

The Great Kiwi Christmas Survey: Results are in for 2022 – The Country :

The results of the Great Kiwi Christmas Survey are in for 2022 and lamb has been voted the most popular protein on our plates this Christmas.

For Christmas dinner, New Zealand lamb was the winner with 38.3 per cent of the vote.

Ham came a close second at 35 per cent and third in line was beef with 13.1 per cent.

It’s the fifth Great Kiwi Christmas Survey, which is run by Retail Meat New Zealand, in conjunction with Beef + Lamb New Zealand and NZPork. . . 

Queensland researchers farm 10,000 sushi rolls worth of seaweed  – Elizabeth Cramsie :

Could floating seaweed “sausage” farms be Queensland’s next big industry?

A two-year trial led by the University of the Sunshine Coast and Urban Utilities has farmed 125 kilograms of seaweed — 10,000 sushi rolls worth — off the state’s coast. 

“No-one else has farmed seaweed off the coast of Queensland,” USC biology professor Nick Paul said. 

“We had to start right at the beginning, working out what species are there, very small-scale collections of seaweed.” . . 

Rural round-up


Farmer spirits crushed by red tape – Craig Page :

An “onslaught of government regulation” has seen farmer morale plummet and some opting to sell properties rather than operate under escalating legislation, a Beef + Lamb NZ report says.

The BLNZ Lamb Crop 2022 report says some farmers believe the government has created  significant uncertainty, leading to concerns about the viability of the sector and rural communities.

“Sheep and beef farmers feel besieged and underappreciated for their contribution to food production, significant tranches of native vegetation, ongoing efforts to improve the environment and contribution to the New Zealand economy and society,” the report says.

In the Northland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty region a “remarkable number of sheep and beef” farms came onto the market in spring, particularly in the King Country. . . 

Farmer confidence at 20-year low – survey :

Government policy and rising farm costs have seen farmer confidence plummet to a 20-year low, according to a Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey.

Farmers from all sectors are now significantly more pessimistic about the prospects for the broader agri economy, and a cocktail of concerns is weighing heavily on them, said Rabobank New Zealand chief executive Todd Charteris.

“As with recent surveys, rising farm input costs and government policy were the two major reasons cited by farmers with a pessimistic outlook for the year ahead,” he said.

Rising interest costs and falling commodity prices are also adding to the anxiety.  . . 

Plans for supplementary feed ‘out the window’ thanks to unseasonal heavy rainfall :

A Northland farmer says wet weather has been wreaking havoc on his efforts to grow supplementary feed.

Jason Smith, who farms sheep and beef in Ruawai, south of Dargaville, said he has had 400mm of rain on his farm over the last six weeks – he would normally get about 20mm in that time period.

“So far for us in Northland, we’ve had an incredibly challenging spring and start to summer,” he said.

“All of the normal seasonal patterns of rainfall have just been blown completely out the window by massive amounts of rain.” . . 

Police roll out changes for rural staff – Emma Hatton:

One percent of the police’s total workforce cover 50 percent of New Zealand’s geography. Emma Hatton reports on the challenges of rural policing and what’s being done about it 

Of the 41 recommendations handed down by the Independent Police Conduct Authority last year when it reviewed rural policing, all have been completed or are underway. 

A new Rural Policing Model was signed off by the executive earlier this year. 

And in the new year a Rural Inspector based at national headquarters will begin, a new role and major step in getting rural policing’s voice around the top table. . . 

Feds back Telethon to feed everyone for Christmas:

Federated Farmers is backing The Big Feed, an event calling on farmers and growers to donate one million meals worth of the nutritious food they produce to food banks during a telethon event livestreamed tomorrow.

The Big Feed will be livestreamed via social media on Thursday December 15 at 6am, and runs until 7.30 pm.

During the telethon farmers and growers can pledge to donate livestock, milk and other produce.

‘We support the idea no-one should have to go without nutrient-rich food in a farming country like New Zealand,’ Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard says. . . 

Chapman Tripp assists Fonterra with Nestle partnership to develop net zero carbon dairy farm :

Chapman Tripp is pleased to have advised Fonterra on its new partnership arrangements with Nestlé, designed to help reduce New Zealand’s on-farm emissions and help both companies accelerate progress towards their greenhouse gas emission goals. The initiative includes a five year project to develop a commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm, to be run with co-partner Dairy Trust Taranaki.

The Chapman Tripp team was led by partners Alana Lampitt and Kelly McFadzien, and senior solicitor Dan Chan.

Alana says, “This initiative is a first for New Zealand. Agricultural emissions are a large part of New Zealand’s emissions profile; tackling them will require fresh thinking, including innovative on-farm solutions. It’s great to work with clients who are blazing a trail and looking for solutions that can be adopted across the industry.” . . 

Rural round-up


HWEN wants govt review of methane targets – Neal Wallace:

The primary sector has asked the government to review its methane targets and the method by which it sets those targets before it starts pricing agricultural greenhouse gases.

In its submission in response to government proposals on pricing emissions, the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) partnership is asking for the Climate Change Commission to take another look at the 2050 emission reduction targets to reset methane levels using the GWP* calculation.

HWEN chair Sarah Paterson said this reflects feedback from farmers and growers during consultation on the government’s proposals.

HWEN chief executive Kelly Forster said it “really is a call to ensure the [commission’s] review takes into account the latest science”. . . 

Setting a standard: How our beef and lamb footprint measures up against the world avatar – Liam Rātana :

New research has found that the carbon footprint of Aotearoa-produced beef and lamb is among the lowest in the world. We took a deeper look at what the report says, and why it matters.

So what is this research?

Commissioned by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association, and conducted by AgResearch, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study looked at on-farm emissions – which allowed for direct comparisons with other countries – but also went further, looking at the full “cradle to grave” footprint (ie including on-farm, processing and post-processing emissions). The report’s findings showed that despite the additional emissions involved with exporting product, our total footprint was still lower than the majority of countries – even those who had domestically produced meat.

While the report acknowledges that differences in methodologies make it difficult to accurately compare countries’ footprints across the entire process, particularly notable is the difference in the liveweight footprint of our stock. This metric, used to measure emissions before an animal is processed, shows that New Zealand’s average carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) per kilogram of sheep meat is less than half the international average, and about 30% lower than the international average for beef. . .

Immigration red tape frustrates short-staffed farmers  – Robin Martin :

A Northland farmer fears immigration red tape will see an experienced German dairy hand walk away from a job vacancy that she desperately needs to fill.

Katrina Pearson said applying for a work visa under the Accredited Employer Scheme had been a bureaucratic nightmare.

She runs a 250-hectare dairy farm west of Whangārei, milking nearly 500 cows.

Pearson needs two full-time staff, but she is struggling to recruit. . . 

Father and son named national ambassadors :

Ashburton father and son, Phillip and Paul Everest have been named as the new National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing and the recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

The announcement was made earlier this week at the National Sustainability Showcase at Te Pae in Christchurch.

The event was attended by all the regional supreme winners from the 2022 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). The BFEA is an annual celebration and promotion of sustainable farming and growing practices hosted by the New Zealand Environment Farm Trust (NZEFT) where regional supreme winners come together to share ideas and information.

The Everest family run Flemington Farm in Ashburton where they’ve expanded the255ha property into a sustainable dairy and beef farm. They were named the 2022 Regional Supreme winners in the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment awards in July this year. . .

Fonterra confirms timeline for Capital Structure implementation :

Fonterra can today confirm that its new Flexible Shareholding capital structure is set to be implemented in late March 2023, subject to the Board being satisfied that the relevant preparations are completed before then.

The structure, which is laid out in a step-by-step tool for shareholders as well as this Guide to Flexible Shareholding, is intended to make it easier for new farmers to join the Co-operative and for existing farmers to remain, by allowing greater flexibility in the level of investment required.

Chairman Peter McBride says Flexible Shareholding will support Fonterra’s strategy by helping to maintain a sustainable milk supply, protecting farmer ownership and control, and supporting a stable balance sheet.

“Our Co-operative is already making good progress towards our 2030 strategic goals, and we believe moving to our Flexible Shareholding structure will help ensure that we stay on track,” says Mr McBride. . .


Innovative uses of forestry and wood products unveiled at Fieldays :

New and innovative uses of forestry and wood products will be on display at 35 stands in the Fieldays Forestry Hub near Hamilton between 30 November and 3 December, including a revolutionary treatment for radiata pine, a super carbon-storer – biochar – and cutting-edge research exploring using woody biomass for aviation fuel.

Planted trees are the raw material for more than 5,000 products we use every day. They also form the foundation of New Zealand’s next-generation bioeconomy, with the demand for new biomaterials only set to grow as fossil fuel-based products are replaced with renewable alternatives.

The revolutionary treatment for radiata pine allows it to be used in place of imported hardwood timber for decking, interior bench tops and as a fortified exterior cladding.

Called Sicaro, this timber treatment technology is being distributed by Motueka-based architectural company Genia. It uses a fortification process that replaces water within the cell structure with a water-borne solution that cures to a resin. . . 

Rural round-up


No workers to harvest, so farmer sacrifices 300,000 heads of lettuce – Gerhard Uys:

A farmer has been forced to plough more than 300,000 heads of fresh lettuce into the ground because he cannot find enough workers to manually harvest them.

Farm labour woes come on the back of the Government announcement that the official unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.3% in the three months to the end of September.

Alan Fong, a Waikato vegetable grower, said ploughing produce back into the ground was sad, especially because of high vegetable prices. In October, vegetable prices were up 17% on the year before.

In October, the average price of 1kg of lettuce was $6.43, Stats NZ said, up from $5.39 a year earlier and $3.64 the year before that. . . 

Lamb processing delays expected due to labour shortage – Sally Murphy :

Farmers are being told to expect delays for this years peak lamb kill, with the season expected to be longer due to labour shortages.

Processors have been struggling with staff shortages for the past two years due to the border closure and staff being off sick with Covid-19.

AgriHQs latest market update said staff shortages had been a major problem for some processing plants and in some cases lambs were sent back to the farm as there were not enough staff to process them all.

Alliance Group, which operates five meatworks in the South Island and two in the lower North Island, had not had to send lambs back, but farmers were experiencing wait times of 10 to 14 days. . . 

Lifecycle study challenges methane measurement – Richard Rennie:

A carbon lifecycle study on New Zealand red meat has been welcomed as a good start, with provisos, by climate change (āhuarangi panoni) researcher Professor David Frame.

Released by Beef + Lamb NZ, the lifecycle assessment (LCA) study has determined NZ’s red meat is among the most efficiently produced in the world. 

Per kilogram, sheepmeat produces 15kg of carbon dioxide, while beef produces 22kg per kilo of meat.

The report determined the outcome is largely driven by farm-level efficiencies, representing 95% of the products’ carbon footprint. . . 

Dairy land being lost at 1 percent a year, Fonterra – Nikki Mandow :

Fonterra says declining annual milk production will likely continue in the foreseeable future, as dairy farmers sell their properties or switch to alternative land use. But forests aren’t to blame.

Dairy farmers are converting their land away from cows and milk at about 1 percent a year, Fonterra chair Peter McBride says. And that’s something the company is going to have to live with. 

Speaking at the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund annual general meeting, McBride said land use change could even go faster, as a variety of factors – from ageing demographics and farmer lifestyle choices to stricter regulation around greenhouse gas emissions and water quality – put further pressure on farmers.

The trend is despite record farm gate dairy prices, which rose from $6.35 per kilo of milk solids in the 2018/19 season to $7.14 in 2019/20, $7.54 in 2020/21 and $9.30 last season. . . 

EastPack announces $30 million notes issue to meet growth in kiwifruit demand :

EastPack, the largest post-harvest operator in the New Zealand kiwifruit industry and one of the country’s largest cooperatives, today announced that it intends to raise $30 million via an issue of five-year subordinated Notes to New Zealand investors. EastPack will have the ability to take oversubscriptions of up to $10 million.

The amount raised will help expand packing capacity at EastPack including processing and packing efficiency.

The minimum interest rate for the Notes will be 8.5% per annum, paid quarterly in arrears. The interest rate is set annually and will be set at the higher of the minimum rate or the five-year government bond plus 4.5%. The initial interest rate is 8.9% per annum.

In its discretion, EastPack may redeem the Notes any time after 3 years. There is no intention to list the Notes on the NZX debt market but the notes will be tradeable via Syndex. . .

Livestock is a form of climate justice in the global south – Simplice Nouala:

As the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) proceeds in Egypt, few seem to be acknowledging that the elephant in the room is actually a cow. The livestock sector has faced global scrutiny for its contribution to climate change, but is reducing livestock production actually a fair, or even an honest, climate outcome?

The answer is less than straightforward when considering the billions of people living in the Global South. As counterintuitive as it might seem at a first glance to people living in the “Global North”, there is a strong case to invest more in sustainable livestock systems across the developing world as a matter of climate justice. Let me explain.

Having been widely recognised as the “African COP”, this year’s negotiations are emphasising the need to support the most vulnerable in adapting to climate change by requiring the wealthiest historic emitters of greenhouse gases to pay for the loss and damage that has already occurred. Livestock actually offers a compelling case for both of these priorities.

If COP27 is to truly deliver for Africa, this should start with recognising the vast differences between livestock in the Global North and South. Viewing livestock and its climate impact in developing countries through the same lens as livestock in the Global North is, at best, inaccurate, and at worst, actively harmful. . . 


Rural round-up


New taxes put rural communities at risk – Kathryn Wright:

Rural people in New Zealand are under attack.

In the last few weeks, many “experts” have been revealed within the topic of new requirements for New Zealand farms, which will inevitably devastate and diminish rural communities.

New taxes and stock reductions will ensure that around 20% of sheep and beef farms will collapse, and with them, a part of their community.

I’m going to discuss this loss of community and why it matters, rather than arguing the points themselves — which also deserve to be investigated more robustly as they seem to be only telling half of the story. . .

No magic bullet for methane: Prof :

Honorary professor Keith Woodford has doubts about the “hype” around adding seaweed in feed supplements to cut methane emissions from livestock.

Seaweed-based feed ingredients are among future solutions being highlighted to help farmers reduce methane emissions in cattle and their share of climate change.

Prof Woodford said it was hoped that bromoform in the seaweed would reduce methane production, but promoters of technical ruminant solutions were overlooking nutritional issues that made this unlikely.

‘‘Yes they will kill off the methanogens alright, but they will also flow into the milk. …. Some people don’t like that story because it spoils their story and their investment opportunity, but now that it’s there, gosh it’s pretty serious.“ . . .

Industry bodies resolve to advocate strongly for farmers:

This week, leaders from DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and Federated Farmers met to discuss emissions pricing.

Leaving it until the last minute, the meeting comes the week before consultation closes on the Government’s proposed emissions pricing plan and follows some criticism that the three groups – via He Waka Eke Noa’s proposal to government – have not advocated strongly enough on farmers’ behalf.

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says a united voice on emissions pricing is the best way to ensure positive policy outcomes for farmers.

“All three organisations have reaffirmed nine core principles that we will all be raising in our submissions and through the He Waka Eke Noa partnership,” he says. . .

Inspiring the future of rural health :

The Rural Health Careers Promotion Programme is inspiring the next generation of health professionals, whether they are just beginning tertiary study and have not considered medicine, or if they are medical students who had not considered practicing rurally.

The Rural Health Careers Promotion Programme’s final Rural School Visits for 2022 will take place over multiple regions this November, visiting both schools and medical practices to foster connections with rural communities.

28 tertiary students will embark on tours throughout Northland, Waikato, and Taranaki regions, where they will engage with secondary students from a range of rural schools through interactive presentations, demonstrations, and workshops. From November 14-18, two groups will travel to rural schools throughout upper and lower Northland, while two further groups will meet with rural students in Waikato and Taranaki November 21-25.

In between school presentations, the volunteers will also visit rural medical practices where they will see and experience first-hand the lifestyle and value of rural medicine, as well as engaging with rural Health Professionals. Five practices are booked for visits with more to come. . . .

Farmers proud to be guardians of ancient drawings – Country Life:

In South Canterbury, there are hundreds of Māori drawings on limestone rock – some of which could be up to 1,000 years old.

Peter Evans believes it was his grandfather who discovered the ancient drawings on cliffs that overlook his Pareora Gorge sheep and beef farm.

His grandfather developed an interest in rock art beyond what was on the family farm and passed his curiosity on to his children.

“He and his children in the 1920s went searching the area for rock drawings … as they knew they were special and unique,”  Peter says. . . 

Fed-up farmers: why US government will put us out of business – Mary Kay Linge :

Within the next few months, the United States is projected to import more agricultural products than it exports for the first time in history — a worrisome development for America’s family farmers, who say government meddling threatens their livelihoods and the nation’s food security.

“The United States has never had any trouble feeding itself and much of the world, too,” said upstate New York farmer Tim Stanton. “I guess the politicians just figure we’ll keep going no matter what they do to us.

“But, you know, there is a limit.”

Farmers all over New York and New Jersey say they are being pushed to those limits by President Biden’s attack on energy, Gov. Hochul’s labor betrayal, foreign competition and other woes. Here, five of them describe their challenges. . .


Rural round-up


Repeating mistakes of the past – Kerry Kerry Worsnop :

 In 1984, the last time farming was declared a sunset industry, the newly elected Labour government began the deregulation of what had been a highly regulated pastoral economy.

Between 1982 and 1988, the value of grazing farms fell by 32%. With falling land prices some farmers lost all their equity and, unable to meet the rising interest rates, were forced to sell up. Sheep numbers fell by over 43% from the heights of 1982, to around 40 million in 2002. By 1993 the effective rate of assistance to agriculture had fallen to 3% compared to 52% prior to deregulation. The government viewed pastoral farming as an industry in decline.

Today sheep number fewer than 28 million and – yet again – the sector faces a Labour government hell-bent on reinstating the very regulation and heavy-handed intervention that preceded the economic meltdown of the 1980s.

In He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) – the soon to be adopted mechanism for pricing agricultural emissions – we have the ghost of recessions past come to haunt our already flailing economy. Those of more advanced years will recall the strong arm of government reaching in to guide investment decisions of the past. A little help here, a payout there, some more financial assistance for this – and a handful of subsidies for that. All in all, as mentioned above, the pastoral economy came to rely on as much as 53% of its revenue from taxpayers for adherence with the prevailing view of what ‘good’ looked like. . . 

Agricultural GHG bullets are firing randomly – Keith Woodford :

At times I despair at the GHG debate in New Zealand. There are multiple teams firing firecrackers masquerading as missiles into the debate, thereby creating noise but little substance.

Here my focus is on the agricultural gases, methane and nitrous oxide, for which the Government has recently released a discussion paper outlining its preferred pathway for taxing agricultural emissions. The discussion paper also asks questions and seeks responses as to the specifics of the plan.

This latest Government paper has created outrage within the rural industries. The Government must surely score a zero for the way in which its messaging has been managed. Quite simply, the Government stuffed up mightily in relation to the messaging that it put around the proposals, and has been shocked by the consequent reaction.

The key message received by the sheep and beef industry is that they will carry the main burden with 20 percent loss of production, perhaps by 2030, and with profitability damaged greatly for those who survive. . . 

Carbon farmers feel the heat – Jill Herron :

Farmers looking to plant pines to compensate for methane-emission charges are encountering community pushback 

Increasing interest in planting pine trees for carbon farming has become a flashpoint in ecologically sensitive parts of Central Otago.

The owners of Lammermoor Station, a sheep, beef and grain-growing property near Middlemarch, say they’ve been taken aback by the vitriol directed at them since they applied for consent to plant 66ha of pines.

Wilding pines are a serious problem in Central Otago, where rocky landscapes are highly valued by residents and are a tourism drawcard. . . 

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust welcomes Sarah Harris as general manager :

The New Zealand Farm Environment Trust has announced the appointment of Sarah Harris to the role of General Manager. Harris has commenced the role this week and is based in the Manawatu. Sarah will bring to the Trust a strong background in agribusiness and a passion for environmental sustainability.

Having grown up on a farm in the Wairarapa and raised her children on a sheep and beef property near Bulls, Sarah has a lifelong association with the agricultural sector which underpins professional roles encouraging the best in high performance both in New Zealand and abroad. Harris had a long association with High Performance Sport NZ, before she was High Performance Director for NZ Equestrian. Harris leaves her long-standing role as Operations Manager for Primary Partners.

New Zealand Farm Environment Trust Chair Joanne van Polanen is delighted to finally, officially welcome Sarah to the Trust, noting the timing is right on cue. ‘We see the value in Sarah and her skills, passion and experience, and feel even more fortunate to have her accept the role of General Manager, with an aligned breadth of project and performance leadership, farm investment, asset management and primary sector industry experience to bring to bear’. . .

Young Hort winner announced :

Regan Judd has been named the Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Speaking after winning the coveted Young Horticulturist (Kaiahuone rangatahi o te tau) title at the finals in Karaka last night, Regan said he was “blown away” about winning, given he was up against “such a strong group of people”.

Regan represents the Young Grower of the Year, Horticulture NZ Fruit & Vegetable Sectors and works as an orchard sector manager with T&G Global in the Hawkes Bay.

The 26-year-old was up against six other finalists representing different sectors within the horticulture industry. . . 

Don’t pull the wool over my eyes – it’s criminal not to value nature’s coziest fiber – Rachel Martin:

When polyester production releases around 700 million tonnes of emissions a year, it seems almost criminal that a natural, biodegradable resource like wool is so quickly shunned.

In a week where policy-makers and the hoi polloi are pondering how many shirts they need to pack for COP27, it feels almost feels like a parallel reality to see masses of shoppers queuing for hours to check out the racks of cheap polyester garbs at the reopening of Primark’s flagship store in Belfast.

Granted, it comes four years on from the Great Primark Fire, which devastated parts of the city. But a lot has changed in that four years – both in society and our awareness of where the planet is heading in terms of global warming: We bring our own bags to the shops, drive electric cars, use water canteens instead of plastic bottles, and attempt to recycle anything and everything in sight – or at least claim to.

You might be wondering what this week’s column has to do with farming – and tellingly, I think that’s actually where the industry in Ireland misses a trick. Not often enough are the connections drawn between the island’s primary produce and how it can help the end user. . .

Rural round-up


Middle NZ: we might not be able to see the food for the trees –  Linda Hall:

It’s a bit scary, really — thinking about what our beautiful country is going to look like in 50 years.

I won’t be around to see it, but my grandchildren will, and their children.

I wonder where they will grow their food.

Will they be able to drive between Hawke’s Bay and Dannevirke and look out on lush green grass with sheep and cows grazing? Or at paddocks full of pumpkins and sweetcorn? . .

SDC loses major legal battle against Te Anau Downs Station – Michael Fallow :

The Southland District Council has lost a four-year $1m legal battle with Peter Chartres, of Te Anau Downs Station, and now faces the prospect of costs recovery.

The council went to the Environment Court in April seeking an enforcement order to prevent any further indigenous vegetation clearance on the station, and to require significant remedial work.

Chartres welcomed the ruling clearing him of unlawful clearances dating back to 2001 and said the council’s approach had been overzealous.

“These enforcement proceedings are an example of the time and money that gets wasted when poorly drafted, unworkable rules are misinterpreted, implemented and enforced by local councils,’’ he said. . . 

Rural health network calls for action on ‘massive issue of rural inequity’

Hauora Taiwhenua has put together a roadmap for how the rural health service can be pulled off life support.

The rural health network’s document Christchurch Consensus was formed after the National Rural Health Conference attended by about 400 rural health professionals in September.

It includes key priorities such as streamlining immigration rules to get more health workers into the country and boosting investment in training.

Chair Fiona Bolden said the document was fuelled by the sheer frustration of health workers in the rural sector. . . 

Research on carbon footprint of beef and sheep meat published:

Our newly published research into the full life-cycle carbon footprint of New Zealand’s beef & sheep meat has found that it sits at the lower end of published estimates among producers globally, despite distance from markets. Read the published research here.

This research is jointly funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association; and the Beef + Lamb NZ statement today on the research – which also features the use of GWP* as an alternative metric for methane – is here.

AgResearch scientist Andre Mazzetto says:

“Accurately measuring and reporting the carbon footprint of products has never been more critical, especially for New Zealand products such as beef and sheep meat that are exported over considerable distances. Thus, it is important to understand the extent of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the various stages of the life cycle of these products. 

This Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study calculated the cradle-to-grave (i.e. full life-cycle) carbon footprint of beef and sheep meat produced in New Zealand and exported to different markets. The carbon footprint for the cradle-to-farm gate (raising of the animals) represented 90–95 per cent of the cradle-to-grave for both beef and sheep. The meat processing stage contributed 2–4 per cent of the carbon footprint, while post-processing was 2–6 per cent. This standard LCA study showed that NZ beef and sheep meat products have a full life-cycle carbon footprint at the lower end of other published estimates globally, despite the emissions generated from transport and freight to overseas markets. . . .

Not only the frost – Peter Burke :

One long time kiwifruit business person is describing this and probably next year as the worst they can remember.

It’s an unusual situation because the Zespri averages of fruit damaged by the frost don’t paint an accurate picture of what individual growers are facing.

For example, while the RubyRed crops appears the worst affected, it’s likely that the same grower may also have crops of Green or SunGold which could mitigate some of the financial hardship.

It would be unusual, we are told, that a grower would have just one variety. . .

Tech critical to reduce NZ emissions :

The idea that New Zealand can reach its emissions targets without relying heavily on technology and innovation has always struck the tech ecosystem as strange, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

Last week, the lack of any mention of technology in the government’s emission reduction plan was acknowledged as an oversight, according to climate change minister James Minister Shaw.

“This comes as Spark released a detailed analysis of how digital technologies could help New Zealand meet its emissions reduction targets,” Muller says.

“The study found 7.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, or 42 percent of the country’s 17 million tonne reductions needed by 2030, could be found by using enabling digital technologies. . . 

Ag bodies united


Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers are speaking with one voice on the government’s plan to tax farm emissions.

Their email to farmers says:

This week the leaders of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, and Federated Farmers met in Christchurch to discuss emissions pricing and to establish common positions between our three organisations so we can move forward together and advocate strongly on behalf of farmers.  

A united voice on emissions pricing is the best way to ensure positive policy outcomes for farmers.

The government’s proposal is so bad it’s achieved something – uniting the agricultural industry against it.

It was a productive discussion and all three organisations have agreed on the following core principles that we will all be raising directly with the Government on your behalf:

    1. The current methane targets are wrong and need to be reviewed. Any target should be science-based, not political, and look to prevent additional warming. 
    2. The methane price should be set at the minimum level needed and be fixed for a five-year period to give farmers certainty.
    3.  Any levy revenue must be ringfenced and only be used for the administration of the system, investment in R&D, or go back to farmers as incentives. Administration costs must be minimised. 
    4. The future price should be set by the Minister on the advice of an independent oversight board appointed by all He Waka Eke Noa partners. 
    5. The system must incentivise farmers to uptake technology and adopt good farming practices that will reduce global emissions. 
    6. All sequestration that can be measured and is additive should be counted. We stand by what was proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa partnership on sequestration. 
    7. Farmers should be able to form collectives to measure, manage, and report their emissions in an efficient way. 
    8. Farmers who don’t have access to mitigations or sequestration should be able to apply for temporary levy relief if the viability of their business is threatened.
    9. We will not accept emissions leakage. The way to prevent that happening is by getting the targets, price, sequestration, incentives, and other settings right.

Our organisations are all united in our determination to get the best possible outcome we can and will continue to work closely together as we advocate for farmers. 

Individual organisations will continue to raise sector specific issues.

This is good progress but will the government listen?

And if it doesn’t will the government do what Richard Harmen says it could?:

. . . However, the Government holds the whip hand; it can simply impose a so-called processor levy on farmers, which would see all milk and meat levied by the dairy company or meat works that processed it.

That would lump everyone in together with no reward for those doing the best work and no extra costs for those doing nothing.

It would add costs that will cripple some farms and lead to thousands of job losses in businesses that service and supply them;  it would also lead to the loss of billions of dollars in export income and for what?

Even if there was no carbon leakage there would be no significant reduction in carbon emissions and if there was carbon leakage emissions would increase.

If climate change is as important an issue as the government says it is, it must listen to the agriculture industry and come up with a policy that will endure.

Its current plans won’t, if it accepts what these organisations are asking for and works with them, it might.


Rural round-up


Young farmers the angriest of all, says Todd Muller – Jo Moir :

It’s been two-and-a-half years since Todd Muller last held the agriculture role for National. He tells political editor Jo Moir the hopelessness and anger in the rural sector right now is palpable in a way he’s never seen before

National’s recently reappointed agriculture spokesperson is determined to find a way to strategically manage water as an asset in a way he says successive governments have failed to do.

“If you had coal in the 19th Century you were rich, if you had oil and gas in the 20th Century you were rich and if you have water then you’re rich in the 21st Century.

“It gives you options and frankly successive governments haven’t been able to appropriately resolve the tension that has existed in the community around how to manage water,” Muller says. . . 

Wairoa uprising over farm emission plans – Peter Burke :

The battle lines are being drawn between the small, isolated northern Hawke’s Bay farming town of Wairoa, pop. 8000, against the big guns of Jacinda Ardern and what they see as her anti-farming government and its plans to unfairly tax agricultural emissions. Peter Burke reports…

So furious were the locals that the mayor, and farmer, Craig Little hastily arranged a meeting of the local community so they could voice their concerns to Labour ministers Stuart Nash and Meka Whaitiri and representatives of MPI and Beef+Lamb NZ.

Helping him do this was Nukuhia Hadfield, a prominent, influential and award-winning local Māori farmer who also heads the committee which organises the prestigious Ahuwhenua trophy for excellence in Māori Farming.

This David and Goliath battle is one that could see other districts in heartland NZ now join the army of protest at what some commentators are saying is one of the worst decisions to be foisted on rural NZ for many decades. . . 

Political leaders missing from the frontlines – Neal Wallace :

The lasting memory is of anger laced with fear.

I began my journalism career in 1983, just in time to cover the heartache of farmers as they weathered the economic reforms unleashed by the David Lange-led Labour government.

Such was the pace and scale of change as subsidies and support payments were axed overnight, many farmers were financially hurting, they were angry, frightened and felt betrayed.

In my subsequent 38 years as a journalist I never again saw that level of sustained anger and frustration – until now. . . 

Ministry bungling costs forest owners millions :

Some foresters could be millions of dollars out of pocket due to a poorly communicated change in application deadlines, National’s Forestry spokesperson Ian McKelvie says.

“Last month, the Ministry of Primary Industries sent an email to foresters announcing that they were moving the effective deadline to register forests for the Emissions Trading Scheme from the last day of the year to 25 October 2022, simply due to long processing times in their office.

“This left forest owners just three working days to submit their applications. After that date has passed, their applications will not be processed until 2023. This change will prevent some forest owners from claiming five years’ worth of backdated credits to 2018.

“Some forest owners stand to lose millions of dollars as a result of this poorly communicated change. An owner of a large native forest in the South Island claims he will lose $6–$8 million. This is more than just incompetence, it is theft. . . 

ANZ’s support of agribusiness recognised with major award :

New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is an economic powerhouse for the country, contributing billions of dollars to GDP. And right now, the industry is undergoing rapid change as it pivots to more sustainable practices and reduces its carbon footprint.

Within this context, business partnerships with banking providers are increasingly important. Banks are supporting the sector with financial products that reflect the industry’s changing needs. Canstar recognises the value of this support with its coveted Agribusiness Bank of the Year Award.

This year, the Canstar assessment panel considered five providers to come up with the winner, which we’re proud to announce is ANZ!

Jose George, Canstar New Zealand General Manager, said given agribusiness’ value to the country, it was important to recognise banks that underpin its growth. “Our farmers are hugely valuable to our country, as are our ambitions for the sector to innovate and show global leadership for a sustainable future. . . 

Grazing is a crucial part of nature – Peter McCann:

In the first part of a three-week series, Peter McCann looks at the basic principles of regenerative agriculture. . . 


Rural round-up


A considered refutation of the farm emissions tax and the ETS – Alastair Boyce :

Like many New Zealanders I was bewildered by the Jacinda Ardern government media announcement to tax farmers as the primary tool toward meeting Emission Trading Scheme targets. It seemed anathema to me, and I sought alternative perspectives and a reality and fact check.

By chance perspective presented themselves in the form of farming and forestry friends with conservation, hunting and fishing experience. These guys go all the way back to Rob Muldoon and ‘Think Big’. This group have lived and breathed New Zealand’s mountains, bush, streams, rivers, sea, forests and fields.

In the following discourse I have taken the liberty of paraphrasing, interspersing commentary with documentary narrative recorded in notes from our conversations and discussions.

The Discourse

This is referred to as “the water story”. In relation to the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) the government is providing scant consideration of this valuable resource. Carbon forestry uses considerably more water than farming and in perpetuity (i.e., forever). Hydro electricity generation and efficient farming irrigation are permanent losers. . . 

Feds say farmers just fed up :

Federated Farmers is clear that farmers should carry out winter grazing in a responsible manner and in no way encourages farmers to break the law. But when pathways are limited and full of roadblocks, people simply become frustrated says Federated Farmers Winter Grazing spokesperson Colin Hurst.

For the last two years, the Government has promised that farmers wanting to undertake winter grazing would have three Pathways available to them, Permitted Activity Pathway, a Certified Farm Plan Pathway, and a Resource Consent Pathway. In March 2021 Ministers O’Connor and Parker, and April 2021 Minister O’Connor promised that the farm plan pathway would be available in 2022 ready for the 2023 winter.

“Despite these promises, the alternative farm plan pathway is not available and is not expected to be ready for some time”.

This ultimately leaves thousands of farmers requiring a resource consent to comply with rules. Ministers have delayed the Winter Grazing regulations twice in recognition of the alternative farm plan pathway was not ready. Federated Farmers called for the regulations to be delayed until the farm plan pathway was available to farmers to avoid the enormous consent burden on councils and farmers. . . 

Farm expenditure and inflation set to impact profit margins :

Despite a positive forecast for global sheepmeat and beef demand, an increase in farm expenditure and inflation could significantly reduce farmers’ profit margins.

That’s according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) New Season Outlook 2022-23 report.

B+LNZ chief economist Andrew Burtt says that with high market prices for sheepmeat and beef globally, and a low NZ dollar, farmgate prices are relatively strong for sheep and beef farmers.

He says beef cattle pricing in particular will drive revenue for the season. . . 

New Zealand’s top butchers announced :

The results are now in from the National Butchery Awards which took place today at the Due Drop Events Centre, in Auckland.

Brad Gillespie from New World Rototuna in Hamilton has won the prestigious Pact Packaging Young Butcher of the Year title and Rhys Tamanui from Waipawa Butchery in Hawkes Bay was crowned ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year. The Black Gloves – a team made up of butchers from Australia – claimed victory at the Pure South Master Butcher Teams’ Challenge.

Brad says he is beside himself with his win. “The talent was outstanding today and to take out the win is just amazing. I am always keen to do my business proud so to finally tick off winning the Pact Packaging Young Butcher of the Year is incredible.”

Finalists were chosen from four regional competitions held during September in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, involving over 40 competitors. The final six included wild card entries in each category and with knives sharpened and bandsaws humming, competitors put on a spectacular battle of the butchers while friends and family looked on. . . 

Alun Kilby crowned 2022 Young Winemaker of the the Year :

Congratulations to Alun Kilby from Marisco in Marlborough for becoming the 2022 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year.

Alun, 28, is Production Winemaker at Marisco. He has worked in the New Zealand wine industry for 13 years from Auckland to Central Otago before settling in Marlborough and is thrilled to take out this prestigious title. He is passionate and driven and says he is committed to continuously improving the way we make wine and distribute it to the world.

Congratulations also to Georgia Mehlhopt from Greystone for coming second. Georgia is the first person from North Canterbury to compete in the National Final and did herself and her region proud.

Four talented young winemakers from around the country competed on Thursday 3 November at Kim Crawford winery in Blenheim. The other contestants were Douw Grobler from Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay and Eliana Leal from Amisfield in Central Otago. . . 


Intelligent farm robot :

The world population will hit 10 billion around the year 2050. We must use our farmland efficiently in order to feed everyone, and one solution is to employ autonomous robots. 

One of these robots is an “intelligent sharpshooter” that can distinguish crops from weeds — and then it shoots them with the appropriate treatment. Because of such high precision, the robot uses 95% less chemicals than traditional sprayers.

The robot also scans the entire farm and is able to geolocate each plant accurately within centimeters.

Rural round-up


More frustration as southern farmers meet on HWEN – Neal Wallace :

Farmers remain far from convinced of the merits of the government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) agricultural emissions charging document.

A second meeting of southern farmers within a week was dominated by anger, exasperation, accusations that levy bodies are not fighting hard enough and claims political ideology is trumping common sense – all underpinned by contempt for the government policy.

About 50 people attended the Beef + Lamb NZ Southern South Island Farmer Council meeting in South Otago on Monday following a BLNZ meeting in Gore on Friday at which about 100 farmers expressed similar sentiments.

Discussion on Monday rapidly switched to the impact of the government’s proposal to cost agricultural emissions. . .

The pile-on effect gets worse – Peter Burke :

Farmers in many parts of the North Island are now facing a looming feed crisis.

The rain has been relentless during winter and spring and the ground is saturated in a way not seen before. This applies not only to dairy farmers but also horticulturalists and anyone who works the land for a living. Not only has there been heavy rain, stifling pasture growth, the lack of sunshine hours has meant that whatever grass that has managed to grow is ‘gutless’ and lacking in nutrition for animals.

Anyone travelling around the North Island in recent months would know: there is simply not enough grass available to animals compared to the norm for this time of the year. Travelling between Horowhenua to Napier over the weekend, I saw just two farms that had or were in the process of making grass silage and the cuts from those two were sparse to say the least.

Farm consultants are worried because dairy farmers are having to use their reserves of supplement to keep cows in condition for mating and the word is that many cows will not be mated on the first cycle due to their condition. . .

World dairy prices tumble further as farmers face the prospect of being charged for livestock emissions – Point of Order :

As debate rages in New Zealand’s farming industries over the Ardern  government’s  plan  for  charges  on  agricultural emissions, prices at Fonterra’s  Global  Dairy  Trade fortnightly auction  have fallen to their lowest level in nearly two years.

The average price at the sale fell 3.9%  to US$3537 (NZD$6054) a tonne, after falling 4.6% in the previous auction.

Prices have generally been falling since hitting a record high in March, and are now at their lowest level since January last year.

Whole milk powder fell 3.4%  to US$3279 a  tonne and  skim milk  powder 8.5% to US$2972  a  tonne, while  butter  was  marginally  up at US$4868  a  tonne  (though  a  long way  down  from  its peak  in  March  above  US$7000 a  tonne)  and cheddar 0.9% to US$4802 a tonne. . . 

NZ Battery Project has air of déjà vu – Jill Herron:

The prospect of Roxburgh having a second go-around as the host town of a major hydro project is starting to feel more real for residents as the government’s Lake Onslow scheme inches ahead

Massive disruption will be on the cards for residents of Central Otago’s Teviot Valley and a “treasure” lost if the government proceeds with the Lake Onslow pumped-hydro scheme, a community leader says.

Compensation should reflect that, says 78-year-old Pat Garden, and it should be structured to create benefits from the scheme that outlive the “boom and bust” of the build.

“The community needs to be recognised as a stakeholder and expects a shared benefit to compensate for the negative impacts,” he says. . . 

Full disclosure: I work to reduce the footprint of animal agriculture – Frank Mitloehner:

My response to The New York Times and Greenpeace articles on CLEAR Center Funding

There’s a shocking revelation out there, and I am at the heart of it. Are you prepared for this?

Animal scientists work with animal agriculture. That’s it. That’s the exposé, the conspiracy that so many activists and journalist want to share with you.

Oh, if you want more, try this on for size: Agriculturists work together to be more sustainable.

If you work in agriculture, these statements probably aren’t surprising. In fact, it would likely be concerning if that were not the case. Sustainability issues are too big to be tackled in in silos – metaphorically speaking, of course. One way the sector has come together to further sustainability is through the CLEAR Center. . .

A more sustainable approach to farming looks better together :

With a future focused on sustainable farming and growing, increasing demand for food products and an increasing regulatory environment, two companies have come together to aid the agricultural and horticultural industries.

Tokoroa based Blue Pacific Minerals Limited (BPM), has joined with AgriFert (NZ) Limited (AgriFert), in what Executive Chairman, Jamie Mikkelson, says “is part of our ongoing strategy to be ready for the future with innovative and science-led solutions. This partnering will benefit the future of farming and growing here in New Zealand. Like our agricultural community, we too are adapting to new trends and finding innovative ways, all while standing true in what we believe in, being clever by nature.”

“The future is exciting for farmers and growers with advances in science and technology. New Zealand farmers and growers are global leaders in efficiency and innovation. We have a part to play driving the sustainable farming and growing solutions” says Mikkelson. . . 

Rural round-up


HWEN: Hostility as DairyNZ canvasses farmers– Gerald Piddock:

The government’s emissions pricing proposal drew a hostile reaction from Waikato farmers when it was outlined by DairyNZ leaders at a meeting in Morrinsville.

About 70 farmers packed the town’s Rotary Community Centre to learn more about the proposal and for the organisation to get feedback from farmers ahead of the mid-November submissions deadline.

The at-times tense meeting saw farmers vent their frustration at the government’s plan, with one questioning if the government has any notion how upset farmers are.

“We have the Fonterra chairman [Peter McBride] saying they are uneasy about it. For God’s sake, uneasy, we’re more than uneasy,” he said. . . 

Detailed analysis of Government’s agricultural emissions pricing proposal reveals significant flaws and impacts as sheep and beef farmers are urged to have their say :

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has delivered a damning verdict on the Government’s emissions pricing proposal following a detailed analysis.

“Sheep and beef farmers are committed to playing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however we want to ensure that what we’re asked to do is fair,” says Andrew Morrison, chairman of B+LNZ.

“The Government’s proposal will have a disproportionate impact on sheep and beef farmers, impact the livelihoods of Kiwis in rural communities, increase food prices, cost jobs and ultimately reduce New Zealand’s export income. 

“B+LNZ expressed serious concerns about the Government’s proposal when it was released a fortnight ago, however after a comprehensive evaluation of the scheme and talking with our farmers, we’re now more convinced than ever that this scheme will have a disproportionate impact on the sheep and beef sector and may drive some farmers out of business. . . 

Public backs carbon farming limits as report shows soaring sales :

The majority of New Zealanders don’t agree with the Government’s approach of planting our way out of the problem of climate change and want limits on fossil fuel emitters planting exotic trees on productive farmland.

The research commissioned by Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has found 54 percent of New Zealanders support a limit on the amount of fossil fuel emissions that can be offset with new pine forests. Meanwhile, almost two thirds of Kiwis oppose foreign companies buying New Zealand farms to offset their emissions.

The findings by Curia coincide with the release of a new independent report by Orme & Associates, commissioned by B+LNZ, which shows more than 52,000ha of land was purchased by forestry interests in 2021, a 36 percent increase on the previous two years, and up from 7,000ha in 2017.

This is far more than the 25,000ha a year of exotics that the Climate Change Commission has suggested are needed to achieve New Zealand’s climate change objectives. . . 

There is a better way to reduce emissions – Todd Muller :

National was shocked and disappointed to learn last week that the Government has moved away from key elements of the consensus plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

A National government, like Labour, will be committed to reducing carbon emissions and acknowledges that the primary sector has an important role to play in doing that. Pricing emissions gives farmers an incentive to lower them, and National supports agriculture having its own process for recording and pricing emissions.

For three years, representatives of the primary sector and other stakeholders have worked through the He Waka Eke Noa (All in this Together) Partnership, to build a consensus approach to devise a new system.

In May, the partnership sent its recommendations to the Government but when the Government last week reported back its proposals, to apply from 2025, some key points that the partnership had suggested, were missing. In addition, the Government revealed that it anticipated that under its system, up to 20 per cent of the capacity of sheep and beef farming could be lost by 2030 – while seeing emissions increase offshore as production and jobs move overseas. This is as unacceptable to National as it is to farmers. Neither individual farmers, farming communities or the New Zealand economy want or can afford to sustain a blow like that. National believes that cost is unacceptable, especially when, with more care, there will be a better way to reduce emissions without so much damage. . .

Farming without a fence – Sally Round:

Reaching for their phones and clicking on a cow-monitoring app is the first early-morning task for Waikato dairy farm managers Petra Burgess and Lauren Randall.

Instead of a crack-of-dawn quad bike trip following the cows to the milking shed Petra and Lauren are setting up virtual fence lines and checking cow conditions remotely over a cuppa.

It’s a system which has revolutionised the processes on Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma’s 230-hectare dairy farm at Pokuru.

Two years ago the farm signed up for Halter – a system which fits individual cows with solar-powered collars. . .

Miniature apple company takes top honours at New Zealand International Business Awards:

A Hawkes Bay business dedicated to “powering up your day, one bite at a time” is the Supreme Winner of the New Zealand International Business Awards 2022, announced (27 October) at the Awards’ first in-person event since 2019.

The Supreme Award winner, Rockit Global, is an apple company whose unique product – miniature apples – is now sold in more than 30 countries and grown in 10. Operating for more than 20 years, Rockit Global employs unique growing methods and technologies that are breaking new ground for their business and industry. 

As well as the Supreme Award chosen by a panel of judges, Rockit Global also won the category award for Best Large Business. 

Judges described Rockit Global as a worthy Supreme Award winner, due to an inspiring team with great global expertise that has successfully built their brand around a product that does not typically have a brand.  . . 


Rural round-up


Ag sector not impressed – David Anderson :

NZ’s farming sector has been left disappointed and stunned over the Government’s proposal to price agricultural emissions.

Federated Farmers argues the plans would “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand, putting trees where farms used to be”. It accuses the Government of throwing out the years of work the sector put into finding a solution and said it was “deeply unimpressed” with the Government’s take on what He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) put forward.

Modelling done by Ministry for Primary Industries shows that without representation – and assuming farmers paid the levies at the farm gate – using the price proposed by HWEN of 11c a kilo of methane, by 2030 production of milksolids would be down by up to 5.9%, lamb down 21.4%, beef down 36.7% and wool down 21.1%.

The same modelling showed that 2.7% of dairy land would go out of dairy production while 17.7% of sheep and cattle country would cease running livestock, presumably to be converted to forestry. . .

Emissions plan will sound death knell for farmer s – Mayor – Peter Burke :

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says the Government proposal to charge the ag sector for emissions will be the death knell for East Coast farmers.

He says farmers like himself were already being treated like second class citizens and this proposal reinforces that.

“It takes away all hope,” he told Rural News.

Little says farmers are now talking about selling up and going to Australia where he says agriculture is booming. . . 

BLNZ calls out HWEN changes – Annette Scott:

More than two years of cross-sector collaboration with uncomfortable conversations and robust debate on pricing emissions has not been recognised and “I am gutted”, Beef + Lamb New Zealand director Nicky Hyslop says.

“I am gutted as a sheep and beef farmer and as a BLNZ director with the government decision to make significant changes to He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), which now have an unacceptable impact on a sheep and beef farmer,” Hyslop told farmers at the central South Island farmer council annual meeting.

“We get the current farmer anger and frustration but let’s channel that into strong messages that will resonate with the public, build pressure on the government and get constructive changes to make this whole thing workable.

“The bottom line is we are not going to agree to anything that threatens the viability of our industry and of our family farms. . . 

Call for more support for rural communities’ fight against climate change :

Government support for rural communities is vital to realising the potential in mitigating climate change says Rural Women New Zealand.

“Our members care for our land, our people and rural communities and we acknowledge the need to adapt, however, we would like to see more work on empowering rural communities through the provision of resources to effect positive change,” says National President Gill Naylor.

“There is no doubt that the solutions proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Change Partnership and the Government’s discussion document on pricing agricultural emissions, will have an impact on rural communities.

“Rural communities include the towns and regional centres which service them – the adverse impact of, and the opportunities afforded by, emissions pricing stretch further than the farm gate. . . 

Trust takes Ahuwhenua Trophy for top farm :

The Wi Pere Trust, a large sheep and beef farming operation at Te Karaka near Gisborne, was awarded the 2022 Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm. 

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor made the announcement at the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards dinner in Hawke’s Bay. He said Māori account for 25% of the production of sheep beef and wool in New Zealand, and have brought a highly professional approach to their farming operations. 

He encouraged everyone to go along to Ahuwhenua Trophy field days to better understand the complexity of the farms and passion of the farmers.

Trudy Meredith of Wi Pere Trust said winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy was absolutely amazing – especially given this was the first time they had entered the competition.  . . 

NZ Rural Land diversifies into forestry – Hugh Stringleman :

New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) is moving into forestry land ownership at a cost of $63 million for five properties in the Manawatū/Whanganui region.

The listed landlord has entered an agreement with private company NZ Forest Leasing to acquire the forest estate of approximately 2400ha and lease it all back to NZFL for a period of 20 years.

The settlement date for the acquisition is April 15, 2023 and the first year’s lease payment will be $4.98m.

Thereafter annual lease payments are subject to CPI-linked adjustments. . . 

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