‘Groundswell’ expose rural/urban divide in media – Colin Peacock:
At the biggest national protest for years last week, farmers made it clear they are unhappy with the government and they feel unloved by the country – and the media.
In one sense, the Groundswell protests in 55 towns and cities on 16 July last were poorly timed for farmers.
It was not a great time to be away with heavy rain on the way that caused flooding in many places the next day.
But in media terms, the timing was great. . .
Why was one of the biggest protests of recent times relegated to the back pages of print media?
My expectation for print media on the first publishing day after the march (on Saturday, July 17) was that a protest of that breadth and size would have front-page coverage in the major metropolitan and regional newspapers.
I was surprised, then, when one of the biggest weekend papers relegated substantive reporting (assessed as page coverage) to page 5 behind a $20,000 fraud story on page 1, whiteware sales on pages 2 and 3 and free meals for schoolchildren on page 4.
Was a protest about land and fresh water and taxes really less important than whiteware sales? . .
On the other side of Banks Peninsula from bustling Christchurch, a sprawling, 1250-hectare forest runs almost from hill to sea.
Botanist Hugh Wilson has been restoring Hinewai Reserve from farmland to native bush since 1987 and it stands as a testament to what “letting nature get on with it” can achieve.
Hinewai sucks about 8 tonnes of carbon a hectare from the atmosphere each year and earns about $100,000 a year under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
But the reserve registered for carbon credits before the ETS existed and now similar gorse-covered blocks slated for natural regeneration are having trouble qualifying for much-needed cash. . .
Standing up for wintering practices – Blair Drysdale:
Recent photos of wintering practices in Southland has Blair Drysdale responding to the trial by media.
In general it’s the same group of people wanting dairy cows inside, who also campaign for pigs and hens to be outside.
Winter certainly has its challenges but it’s a very reliable season as it’s just damned cold every day and that suits me just fine. As farmers though, and especially those with breeding livestock, we like all the inclement weather with its southerly snowstorms to arrive now and not in spring.
The challenges are very real given we’re having a wetter than average winter which on the back of a dry autumn meant winter crops are below average, putting pressure on livestock and farmer.
Throw in some sneaky covert photography of stock on winter crops that get plastered over social and mainstream media by a few environmental activists and it is a pressure cooker situation for some farmers. The reality is that if they were genuinely concerned about animal welfare MPI would be their first port of call. . .
Shedding sheep – wool you or won’t you? – Lee Matheson:
Are shedding sheep the answer to the wool industry’s woes? Lee Matheson, managing director at agricultural consulting firm Perrin Ag, investigates.
A perfect storm has been brewing.
Low wool prices, increasing shearing costs, dilapidated wool harvesting infrastructure (historically known as woolsheds), a tightening labour pool and an apparent lack of consumer recognition of wool’s inherent values and performance as a fibre, are all contributing to increasing moves towards shedding sheep.
It is a potentially divisive and emotive topic when raised with sheep farmers. . .
Technical barriers remain a key challenge for Australian exporters seeking to expand market access across the region.
Dairy Australia have been awarded a $310,000 grant from the Australian Government to reduce technical barriers to trade across six markets in South East Asia.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the grant would enable dairy exporters to build on our trade agreements.
“What this grant will do is identify and reduce the impact of technical barriers to trade,” Minister Littleproud said. . .