Patrick George Morrison CMG – 25.4.31 – 26.5.14

June 1, 2014

One of Country Calendar’s early programmes was screening when we got to the Darfield Recreation Centre for Pat Morrison’s funeral on Friday.

He was a young man when it was filmed, about 50 years ago, but the programme showed Pat had already achieved a lot in and for farming and the community.

He continued to do even more.

Tributes could only touch on all he had done and done so well.

However, you could have walked in to the service not knowing him, and come out with a deep appreciation of him as a farmer, farming leader, community stalwart, family man and friend.

Tim Cronshaw writes:

Retired Darfield farmer Pat Morrison will be remembered for his relentless energy as the founding chairman driving out the Central Plains Water (CPW) irrigation scheme.

The farmer, irrigation champion and big business director died this week in his early 80s.

In a ceremony last month marking the first turn of the sod by Prime Minister John Key, Morrison confided that, along with others, he had spent as many as 800 days working on the scheme.

Longtime friend Fred Bull said if the truth was known, he’d probably devoted more of his time.

“It would be 800 full days because there was a lot of weeks he was in Christchurch for a day or two and I don’t think it would be there without his tenacity.”

During a long farming history Morrison was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship and AC Cameron Medal and recognised for his services to farming in the honours list in the 1990s.

His commitment to public duty began as secretary of the local cricket club in 1951 and more than 60 years later he was still an active director on the CPW board, resigning as chairman after nine years in 2012.

He served with Federated Farmers, the Young Farmers Club and Malvern A & P Association and was a director of the BNZ bank. He took on the hard jobs as chairman of the New Zealand Wool Board and New Zealand Wool Services International and was a chief opponent of a proposal to put a landfill in the Malvern Hills.

Morrison had the mix of business and farming skills and connections through the industry to make him the perfect choice to lead Central Plains Water, said board member and Buddle Findlay partner Willy Palmer.

“He was respected by everyone and gave everything to any cause he pursued and did it with style and with a great sense of humour. … I don’t believe anyone else had the necessary skills to take Central Plains from a start-up company to where it got to when he resigned as chairman.” . . .

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairwoman Jeanette Maxwell said Morrison was respected by farmers for his work with Canterbury irrigation and before that with the wool industry.

“Back when I was a little girl he did a lot of work in the wool industry. He was a strong rural man and passionate about his industry. Along the way he provided strong leadership and would really drive to get things achieved.” . . .

He was a good man who gave far more than he got. His sudden death has left a big hole in his family, farming, the community and New Zealand.


Rural round-up

November 9, 2013

Central Plains Water gets the green light from shareholders:

Thirteen years after it was first mooted, Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) Board have given approval for the giant scheme to become a reality after 90% of Stage I shareholders and over 72% of Stage II and III committed to the 60,000ha scheme.

For the scheme to progress it needed commitment for 18,000h of Stage I and 26,000 ha of Stage II and III. Both thresholds have been met fully by existing shareholders.

Chief executive Derek Crombie said that achieving this level of commitment from shareholders is testimony to the phenomenal dedication and hard work put in by so many over the years.

“I’m sure that there were many times when the hurdles seemed too great, so now all that is required is for the board to confirm our construction programme and to allocate shares,which should happen in the next week. To get this high level of uptake for the scheme from the existing shareholders is a fantastic result. This commitment ensures that the ownership remains local. We set a pretty high bar but are now delighted to say that we have managed to clear it,” he said. . .

First water released in irrigation scheme – Tony Benny:

The first water from the Rangitata South irrigation scheme is now available to some farmers as commissioning of the project, that will eventually irrigate 16,000 hectares between the Rangitata and Orari rivers and out to the coast, begins.
One of the project’s seven storage ponds on the south side of the Rangitata, near Arundel, is now 90 per cent full and water has been released into irrigation races to allow leak testing, part of a commissioning process that will take up to four months.

The seven ponds will hold a total of 16 million cubic metres of water, drawn from the Rangitata River when it’s in flood – a flow of more than 110 cumecs, enough to provide 30 days of irrigation storage. Farmer shareholders are also required to have an additional week of storage in their own ponds. . . .

Food safety forum to come to NZ for first time:

A number of food scares, including the botulism scare caused by Fonterra, has inspired the organisers of the Global Food Safety Forum to hold it in New Zealand for the first time.

“NZ has been caught out on a number of occasions and the dialogue and interaction will be focused on preventing further issues,” food integrity consultant Dr Helen Darling said.

The conference, to be attended by the 160 delegates from China, US and Australia, will look at emerging threats and ways to address them before they become a problem she said. . .

Challenges ahead in Ballance awards:

BALLANCE AWARDS organiser, the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, is gearing up for another big year as it strives to help farmers face the challenges of the future.

NZFE chairman Alistair Polson said at the annual meeting that 2013 was a successful year for the trust’s flagship enterprise, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). Regional and national BFEA competitions, ceremonies and field days are popular and well supported.

Another highlight for the trust was the addition of the Taranaki region for 2014, bringing the number of regions involved in the BFEA competition to 10. “We hope to include the remaining regions in future.” . . .

Nelson peony venture blossoming – Tracy Neal:

Growing “big blousy flowers” for America is far from Georgia Richards’ early ambition to grow culinary herbs, but the peony venture is proving highly suited to the quiet block of Dovedale land she farms with partner Dot Kettle.

The business is blossoming in a new direction beyond export grade flowers, to one that utilises the benefits of peonies in soaps, skin creams and even tea blends.

The pair have just launched Dove River Peonies soaps and creams, which like many new creations, was driven by need. In their case it was the lack of any good skin products for their sons’ eczema that drove them to create a product specially for sensitive skins. With the help of Nelson firm Global Soap, the soap range was born combining powdered peony root in an olive oil base for sensitive skin, or citrus blends for an “indulgent” soap. . .

It’s blooming time for quality fruit – Farming Unlocked:

Regular readers of my blog will know that I do not particularly enjoy our cold winters. However as spring envelops us, the weather warms up and the sun’s rays soak into my skin and prise something open from within. My heart feels somehow warmer and I feel invigorated and alive.

This is mirrored in my surroundings. At this time of year, no matter which window I look out, I can see a mass of white apple blossom, contrasted against the lush, green of tender new growth. I find myself in an almost constant state of distraction, drawn to gaze out at the breathtaking beauty with a sense of wonderment and respect.

I find that I cannot adequately put into words the magnificent performance that the orchard puts forward at this time of year, so I will try to show it in pictures instead. . .


Rural round-up

July 27, 2013

Owen Poole to step down from Alliance Group after 18 years, Taggart named chairman:

Owen Poole is to step down from Alliance Group, after an association with the Invercargill-based meat company stretching back 18 years, and will be replaced as chairman by fellow board member Murray Taggart.

Taggart was a farmer-elected director of Alliance between 2002 and 2007 and was re-elected to the board in 2010. He farms a 457 hectare sheep and cropping unit under irrigation in Oxford, North Canterbury.

Poole will step down as chairman on Sept. 30, having held the position since being appointed to the board as an independent director in 2008. He was the company’s chief executive between 1995 and 2005. . .

Strong backing for CPW share structure:

Central Plains Water Ltd yesterday received strong backing from farmers attending a Special General Meeting to agree the share structure and construction approvals necessary for first stage construction to proceed.

More than 200 shareholders attended the July 25 meeting, along with Selwyn District Mayor Kelvin Coe and MPI representative, Kevin Steel.

The meeting voted unanimously to proceed with construction of the irrigation scheme, with only one shareholder voting against the proposed share structure. . .

Forestry sector stands to gain major economic boost:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has welcomed the announcement of a government and industry research study that could rejuvenate New Zealand’s forestry industry.

The 14-month project will study the feasibility of making biofuel from the waste product of forestry harvesting and processing. Material including sawdust, bark and harvest residue currently has little or no value, but could be a valuable new revenue stream if it can be commercially converted into biofuels.

“This study is potentially the first step in a very exciting new revenue stream for the forestry industry,” says Mrs Goodhew. . .

Forest owners pumped by bioenergy project:

Forest owners are hopeful that a project designed to convert forest waste into liquid biofuels will provide growers and mills with extra income streams.

In what is known as the ‘Stump to Pump’ project, the government has approved $6.75 million in funding to be matched by partners Norske Skog and Z Energy.

The $13.5 million project will be based at Norske Skog’s Tasman mill in Kawerau. The initial 14-month study will examine the feasibility and economics of making biofuel from sawdust, bark and harvest residue which currently has little or no value. If successful, a test plant will then be built in Kawerau. . . .

Bioenergy Association is encouraged by the Government’s support for biofuels:

The announcement by the Government of Primary Growth Partnership funding of $6.75 million) to investigate producing biofuels from forestry residues is encouraging and supports the forestry and wood processing sector strategy that identified that some emerging biofuel technologies can provide attractive additional revenue streams for existing businesses. . . .

Young farmer wins upland farm for 12 months – Isabel Davies:

A 23-year-old farmer has been given the chance to run a 248ha upland farm in Snowdownia after winning a unique scholarship.

Caryl Hughes from Dyffryn Ceiriog, near Llangollen, beat off stiff competition to win the opportunity to farm Llyndy Isaf, on the shores of Llyn Dinas near Beddgelert for 12 months from September.

The farm drew international attention in 2011 when £1m appeal to rescue it was spearheaded by Welsh Hollywood actor Matthew Rhys and supported by Catherine Zeta-Jones. . .


Rural round-up

July 5, 2013

US farming group misdirects money to export support:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meat companies look for industry solutions:

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

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

Shareholder commitment will assist with planning for CPW scheme:

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

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

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

Sam Knowles joins Board of Synlait Milk:

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

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

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

Helping Bring Clever Idea to Life for Young Inventor:

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

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


Rural round-up

June 30, 2013

Fine For Dirty Gumboot Passenger:

The air passenger said the gumboots were clean; the goat manure and the snail said otherwise…

Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) border staff issued the French passenger with a $400 fine earlier this month for failing to declare biosecurity risk goods when he arrived at Auckland airport on a flight from Papua New Guinea.

The passenger initially said he had scrubbed the boots with bleach. On inspection they were found to be contaminated with manure from a goat farm. An MPI quarantine inspector found the snail inside the boots when cleaning them. . .

Lincoln University student develops time and money saving device for farmers:

Second year Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture) student Brendan Herries has developed a dual vaccination gun that will have many benefits for farmers; a device which has earned him the 2013 Fieldays Innovation Grassroots merit award.

From spending time in the yards injecting stock with two vaccines or minerals, Brendan witnessed first-hand the inefficiency of having to run the stock through the stock race twice or needing two employees vaccinating at a time. . .

Record turnout for CPW workshops:

Central Plains Water Ltd had a record turnout to its series of workshops with nearly 500 in total attending the four workshops, including nearly 300 to the final briefing at Darfield.

Derek Crombie, CEO of CPWL, said he was greatly encouraged by the large turnout, and blown away by the numbers who came to the final workshop in Darfield.

“At the start of the evening we only put out about 100 chairs and we had to keep adding

New Agreement Cements Nelson-based Aquaculture Partnership:

Aquaculture in the Top of the South has received a further boost following the signing of a formal agreement between Cawthron Institute and Wakatū Incorporation this week.

“This new partnership represents a long-term investment in the aquaculture sector and symbolises an ongoing commitment by Cawthron Institute and Wakatū to economic development in the Nelson Tasman region,” Cawthron Institute Chairman Ian Kearney says.

“By working together at a strategic level we’re able to better pool our resources and knowledge so we can continue to support the sustainable growth of aquaculture in the Top of the South.” . .

until the Darfield Community Hall was full,” he said. . .

Mobile Technology a Key to Primary Industry Growth:

New Zealand’s primary industries have built a strong international reputation for innovation, product development and forward thinking. While these characteristics are still strong, emerging new tools t to improve productivity and efficiencies within each industry are mobile communications technologies. Mobile is the new buzz word within the primary sector – and for good reason. Mobile technologies are offering a true leap forward in how businesses operate and remain competitive within the fast-paced global marketplace.

Over the past week, as the Government looks to auction off radio spectrum for 4G mobile services, Federated Farmers have strongly recommended that these new high speed networks should also be rolled out to rural areas. . .

Yealands Wine Group secures 21 medals at the Spiegelau International Wine Awards

Yealands Wine Group has built upon recent success with another impressive result at the Spiegelau International Wine Competition. 21 medals were awarded to the group across the Yealands Estate, Peter Yealands, Crossroads and The Crossings ranges.

The medal haul includes two gold and eight silver medals. Peter Yealands, Founder of Yealands Wine Group, says the awards are a testament to the hard work from across the Yealands Wine Group.  . .


CPW negotiates Lake Coleridge storage

June 5, 2013

Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) has signed an historic agreement with TrustPower to store water in Lake Coleridge for use by its shareholders when the Rakaia River flow is low.

Doug Catherwood, chair of CPWL, in announcing the agreement said he was unaware of any other storage facility offering to release contracted water on demand in New Zealand.

“We have to book the volume a year in advance but TrustPower will release it with about a day’s notice,” he said.

The agreement follows months of discussion and has been made possible by the Government’s decision to alter the Conservation Order covering the river and lake.

“This is another big step forward for us. Lake Coleridge is an existing reservoir, and at this early stage the Coleridge Storage will support Stage 1 at least of the CPW Scheme, which involves water supply to 20,000 hectares of farming land,” Catherwood said.

TrustPower would provide 95% reliability for the scheme for Stage 1, he said. Before the agreement was signed, CPW was able to offer only 70% reliability with the run of river supply.

“This is good news for us. Ninety-five per cent reliability is virtually water every day for farmers. This is a real alternative to our own water storage reservoir.”

There is potential for more stored water to be available for future stages of the CPWL Scheme.

“Research will need to be conducted before we can be assured on the reliability of the next tranche of water. We now know the reliability will be considerable and well worth pursuing. This will constitute the next phase of our discussions.”

Catherwood said having reliable alpine water was key for the viability of CPWL.

The positive impact meant that current ground water users who are pumping from up to 200m wouldswitch to surface water, releasing the pressure on the over allocated ground water usage, enabling the aquifers to be replenished and increase the environmental flows in the lowland streams.

“As our construction proceeds over the next couple of years, we will provide equal reliability for the coming stages of the CPW, without compromising environmental concerns for the river and the lake.”

The first stage of the irrigation scheme will run from near the Rakaia River bridge to near the Hororata River. It will be worth approximately $144 million.

A high percentage of reliability is the key to success for irrigation.

Without it water takes are reduced or cut altogether when farms need them most.

We were in North Canterbury in March visiting farms which had had their water take cut. That was having a significant impact on grass growth and milk production.

The North Otago Irrigation scheme has 99.9% reliability thanks to minimum flow requirements on the Waitaki River and the seven dams above the supply ponding area which can store water until it’s needed.

 


%d bloggers like this: