So close but so far away for TPP

November 11, 2017

Yesterday’s excitement over agreement on the TPP 11 was premature.

It was so close but now it’s far away again, but it’s not dead.

Canada says Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau’s no-show at a leaders’ meeting was due to a misunderstanding over schedules.

And CBC News says partners have reached agreement on core elements of the deal.

All deals require giving and taking. None are perfect.

But New Zealand has more to gain than lose from tariff-free access to markets which currently disadvantage our exporters.

Consumers in other countries will gain too. If Canadians only knew how much better our cheese is than the orange plastic apology for it I saw in their supermarkets, they’d be demanding their government signs the deal.


Market will find whey

August 20, 2015

Russian police have caught a band of cheese smugglers:

Russian police say they have broken up an international cheese smuggling ring that earned up to £20 million supplying banned western dairy products, in the latest twist in the country’s war-on-drugs style campaign against embargoed foreign food.

Russia banned a range of food products including cheese from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway, and Australia in 2014, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed on Russia following the annexation of Crimea.

In a joint raid involving at least four law enforcement agencies, officers found 470 tons of banned western rennet, a substance containing enzymes used for cheese production, along with forged labels from major cheese producers, the country’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The “international criminal group,” which had been supplying illicit cheeses to shops in Moscow and St Petersburg, had earned two billion roubles (about £20 million) since launching their operation earlier this year, police said. . . 

Where there’s will for cheese which the government won’t allow, the market will find the whey, or the rennet or whatever else it needs.

 


Why not more cheese than cracker?

May 24, 2015

An Air New Zealand passenger is cheesed off at getting more cheese than he considers the two crackers accompanying it can handle:

Air New Zealand is facing a grilling over concerns it has miscalculated the ratio of cheese-to-cracker for one of its inflight snack options.

The unsavoury revelation was brought to the attention of the airline by disgruntled customer Jeremy Chaston, who posted his complaint to Facebook on Thursday night.

“Your cheese to cracker ratio is completely out of whack,” he wrote, accompanied by a photo showing two crackers dwarfed by their respective cheese slices.

“I mean I like cheese, I REALLY like cheese but often the best part of the cheese is having it accompanied by a firm and crisp cracker.

“I feel that there is sufficient cheese to justify at least four crackers!!” . . .

I beg to differ. the best part of the cheese and crackers is the cheese so why not have more cheese than cracker?

I’ve been on several Koru hour flights recently when the cheese is served and I’ve noticed that there’s a generous serving of cheese – two chunks – which could be considered to swamp the two crackers allotted with it.

But as cheese is what pleases and the crackers are only there to carry it, I don’t consider there’s any miscalculation in the cheese to cracker ratio.

A cheesemaker told me that cheese is best served with oat crackers or bread, not water biscuits or other types of crackers.

Gourmands  might not agree but I’m also partial to cheese as a topping for apple, pear and fruit cake.

But whatever accompanies it, I’m never concerned if there’s more cheese than whatever it’s topping.

In fact more than not worrying me it reminds me of Pooh Bear who when asked if he wanted a honey or condensed milk sandwich replied both, then so as not to appear greedy said don’t worry about the bread.

In the spirit of Pooh I think Air New Zealand has got it right – pleny of cheese and just enough cracker so as not to leave passengers feeling greedy.


Rural round-up

May 6, 2014

Growing US dairy industry shouldn’t be ignored:

Dairy farmers are being urged not to ignore the growing United States dairy industry as it starts to muscle in on this country’s traditional export markets.

The US is now New Zealand’s second biggest dairy competitor.

David McCall from DairyNZ says large-scale farms with feedlots of up to 30,000 cows makes for a much cheaper operation.

He says that, until recently, most American dairy products were consumed domestically, but that’s now changing.

“They’ve made some changes to set up their dairies and some of their processing factories directly to produce export product, is one thing that they’re doing. And they’re producing the sort of products now that Chinese and other markets are demanding. . .

Forest owners seek safety solutions:

Forest owners and contractors say they aren’t sitting on their hands while an independent review panel carries out its investigation into the high death and injury toll from forestry accidents.

They have responded to strong Council of Trade Union criticism of safety standards by urging the umbrella group to take any evidence backing its concerns to the review panel.

Forest Owners Association president Paul Nicholls says the panel will need input from everyone in the forestry sector to come up with practical solutions to improve work safety.

He says steps to reduce the accident rate had started years before the review was launched in March and those are continuing while the review panel and the Coroners Court carry out their investigations. . .

 NZ to join foot & mouth exercise in Nepal:

A New Zealand team of vets and industry representatives will go to Nepal later this year to get first hand experience of dealing with foot and mouth disease.

It’s part of a new agreement between New Zealand and Australia to work together more closely on measures to combat this livestock disease.

Primary industries minister, Nathan Guy said a team of about 10 New Zealanders will be join an Australian foot and mouth training programme in Nepal, which is one of the countries battling the disease.

“It makes sense for us to be working closely with Australia because they know as a pastoral based economy that it would cause a huge amount of damage to the Australian economy if they ever got FMD and the same here in New Zealand. . .

Horticulture now 8% of New Zealand’s exports:

.Horticultural products now account for 8% of New Zealand’s total merchandise exports, according to the latest edition of the industry publication Fresh Facts.

In the year to 30 June 2013, the horticulture industry generated more than $3.6 billion in export revenue, with the major products being wine ($1.2 billion) and kiwifruit ($934 million). The biggest gains were seen in onion exports, which increased by 47% over 2012 values to a total $90 million, and apple exports, which increased by 40% to $475 million.

Total produce from the horticultural industry was valued at $6.7 billion, including $770 million of domestic spend on New Zealand grown fruit and $1.09 billion on vegetables.

“The success of New Zealand’s horticultural exports has been founded on a keen understanding of market needs and a passion for delivering high quality product that commands a healthy premium,” says Plant & Food Research CEO Peter Landon-Lane. . .

China temporarily bans British cheese imports:

China has temporarily banned imports of British cheese after the country’s food inspectors complained about hygiene standards at an unnamed UK dairy.

The Chinese officials were reportedly dissatisfied with its maintenance and storage, raw milk transport temperatures and air sanitisation.

However, the dairy they visited does not export its produce to China.

UK farming minister George Eustice has called for restrictions to be lifted “as soon as possible”.

“British cheese is the best in the world and produced to the highest safety and quality standards, so it is disappointing that China have put a temporary block on cheese imports,” he said. . .

Farm Environment Trust Assembles Top Panel for National Winner Judging:

The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust has welcomed two new judges to the panel responsible for choosing the National Winner of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Comprising six people with a broad range of skills and experience, the National Winner judging panel will select the next holder of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy from the ten regional Supreme winners of the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). The winner will be announced at a National Sustainability Showcase in Christchurch on June 26.

The 2014 National Winner judging panel is chaired by Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, and includes Jamie Strang, BFEA National Judging Coordinator, Warwick Catto, Head of Research and Environment, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, and Paul Lamont, Regional Manager, Rabobank. Newcomers Charmaine O’Shea and Bruce Wills have joined the panel this year. . .

Snow Sports NZ and Cardrona Alpine Resort Sign Partnership Agreement:

Snow Sports New Zealand and Cardrona Alpine Resort Limited have signed a Partnership Agreement which will see Cardrona become the official resort partner of Snow Sports NZ, the naming rights sponsor of the New Zealand Park and Pipe Team and the naming rights sponsor of the NZ Freeski & Snowboard Junior National Championships.

Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Sports NZ have a positive long-standing partnership and the national freeski and snowboard team do all of their halfpipe and slopestyle training at the resort throughout the southern hemisphere winter. Cardrona also hosts key events such as the NZ Freeski Open, NZ Winter Games and an international spring training camp after the resort closes to the public.

The purpose of the formal agreement is to recognise the growing importance of the partnership and cement the relationship. A four year term has been agreed, subject to satisfactory annual review, during which time Cardrona will be recognised as the official resort partner of the NZ Park and Pipe Team and the team will be called the Cardrona NZ Park and Pipe Team. . .

Sanford agrees to buy assets of Greenshell NZ, Greenshell Investments from receivers:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, the listed fishing company, agreed to buy the assets of Greenshell NZ Limited and Greenshell Investments from the receivers of the mussel farming and processing group.

No price was disclosed in a statement from Sanford. Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the assets “were a strategic fit for Sanford’s aquaculture business as they allow for improved supplies from a wider geography.”

Receivers Brendon Gibson and Grant Graham of KordaMentha were appointed last November by Rabobank after depressed prices for the shellfish over a number of years culminated in a “significant” operating loss in 2012. . .

 


Rural round-up

December 31, 2013

Rain threatens Canterbury’s veges:

Ongoing wet weather in Canterbury is preventing bees from pollinating this year’s vegetable crops.

About 100 mm of rain has fallen on Mid Canterbury farms since Christmas, causing problems for those who rely on warm, sunny days at this time of year for bee pollination.

Farmers growing flowering crops like potatoes, carrots, peas and radishes say they are starting to What get desperate for sunshine. . . .

Sniffing out new outlets for lavender oil – Alan Wood:

The owners of a large lavender farm say business is blooming with the latest summer crop and work to open up fresh export markets into China and the United States by February.

Philip Simms and Owen Dexter started the NZLavender business 10 years ago, with the first harvest in 2006.

More recently they have found competition in the bulk oil sector fierce, so there is a renewed focus on branded oils for the retail market, which already includes health shops and chemists in New Zealand.

A small bottle usually sells for between $10 and $12. . .

Dairy plant work up to schedule – David Bruce:

The pace is expected to quicken from the new year on construction of a $214 million dairy plant at Glenavy when installation of processing machinery and plant starts.

Just before Christmas, pieces of the drying plant, which will go into the 47m-high drying tower with its chimney, and boilers started to arrive on site.

While construction ramps down from about 200 staff to a smaller number over Christmas, that was expected to build up to about 300 in the new year, when contractors come on site to fit plant, Babbage construction site manager Murray Gifford said. . .

Introducing – Kora! – Jillaroo Jess:

After months of much anticipation, I’ve finally met my new pup! Her name is Kora, and she is a beautiful Border Collie. She came from a Border Collie stud called Mukkerdowns, which is located near Orange in New South Wales. Kora has so much personality. The more time I spend with her, the more I love her. She is around 5months old, I think, I’m yet to find out her birth date. Over the weekend, I took her for a walk down to the creek, which winds itself through the property. On the way down, we came across a small mob of cattle. Kora looked at them and within seconds was trying to run around behind them, before I called her back. We will start her on sheep or calves, so that she doesn’t get hurt for her first time herding. It is amazing how much the instinct is in these dogs, despite the majority of her brothers and sisters being city dogs. . . .

What your favourite cheese says about you –  Rebecca Orchant:

As you have probably noticed, we take cheese very seriously around here. We have threatened to change our name to HuffPost Cheese, have multiple cheese clubs that meet every week and believe that it may be the route to true happiness. That’s why, when you tell us what your favorite cheese is, we really take it to heart.

You can tell a lot about a person from their favorite cheese. Are they trustworthy? Should you marry them? Would they be good employee? If you need some help deciphering your favorite cheese-lover, we’ve made a list of what your favorite cheese says about you. Oh, and if you’re one of those people who hates cheese, or thinks the best cheese is no cheese, just go read something else. The Huffington Post has a lot to offer you, but this article just isn’t it. . . .


Rural round-up

December 14, 2012

Food and beverage stars for NZ to hitch its wagon to – report – sticK:

There’s not that many reports you can sit down and study and go – uumm, interesting.

But Auckland-based Coriolis has done it (again), and their ‘Investors guide to emerging growth opportunities in NZ food and beverage exports’ is, and I don’t say this lightly, quite fascinating.

The company has deliberately taken its methodology and report-back from a (potential) investor’s point of view.

The simple objective was to find the next ‘wine’ – such as that fledgling industry existed 25 years ago.
Over 500 food & beverage items, based on export trade codes, were screened down to 25 candidates for stage II in-depth investigation. . . .

Strong Finish To Spring Selling Season:

Summary

Farm sales increase 9.8 per cent compared to October
Median $/ha price rose 11.9 percent compared to November 2011
After noticeable period of absence first farm buyers active in Waikato and Taranaki
Lifestyle property sales lift 24% compared to November 2011

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 25 more farm sales (+9.8%) for the three months ended November 2012 than for the three months ended October 2012. Overall, there were 281 farm sales in the three months to end of November 2012, compared with 315 farm sales in the three months to November 2011, a decrease of 34 sales (-10.8%). 1,417 farms were sold in the year to November 2012, 23.4% more than were sold in the year to November 2011. . .

Cheese first made at least 7,500 years ago – Maria Cheng:

Little Miss Muffet could have been separating her curds and whey 7,500 years ago, according to a new study that finds the earliest solid evidence of cheese-making.

Scientists performed a chemical analysis on fragments from 34 pottery sieves discovered in Poland to determine their purpose. Until now, experts weren’t sure whether such sieves were used to make cheese, beer or honey.

Though there is no definitive test for cheese, Richard Evershed at the University of Bristol and colleagues found large amounts of fatty milk residue on the pottery shards compared to cooking or storage pots from the same sites. That suggests the sieves were specifically used to separate fat-rich curds from liquid whey in soured milk in a crude cheese-making process. . .

Debt is good under some circumstances – Allan Barber:

After my column last week about meat industry debt levels, Keith Cooper, CEO of Silver Fern Farms, took me to task for incorrectly reporting the situation with Silver Fern Farms’ debt facility.

I stated that these expired in September 2012 and therefore the company was operating on a temporary extension. The correct position was that the debt facility was originally negotiated for two years from September 2010 and consequently due to expire in September 2012. This remained the position at balance date in September 2011. However in the 2012 annual report, the facility was stated as expiring on 31 December 2012. . . .

Farmgate raw milk sales to continue:

Farm gate sales of raw milk will continue and the amount that can be purchased is likely to increase, Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson said today.

Farmers will also be exempt from the current requirement to have a costly Risk Management Programme for farm gate sales of raw milk and will instead need to adhere to certain animal health and hygiene requirements.

“The current Food Act allows people to buy only up to five litres of raw milk at the farm gate to drink themselves or give to their family,” Ms Wilkinson says.

Consultation carried out by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on possible changes to rules for raw drinking milk sales attracted nearly 1700 submissions. . .

ANZCO embarks on group-wide energy management programme:

One of New Zealand’s largest exporters is set to save more than $2 million a year and enhance its global reputation as a sustainable producer through a company-wide energy management programme.

EECA Business today announced it would support the initiative over two years to help ANZCO generate long-term energy savings in its New Zealand plants.

With annual sales of NZ $1.25 billion, ANZCO Foods Ltd processes and markets New Zealand beef and lamb products around the world. The firm employs over 3,000 staff world-wide and has 11 meat processing plants in New Zealand. . .

Feedback sought about regulation of dairy herd improvement

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is looking for feedback on the rules surrounding the New Zealand dairy herd improvement industry.

The New Zealand dairy industry has been a world leader in herd improvement, and its ability to trace the performance of the national herd – through the dairy core database – has been central to that success.

Studies have shown that genetic gains through dairy herd improvement have accounted for about two thirds of the sector’s productivity over the last decade. . . .


Do customers really want to buy local?

October 17, 2012

Coles supermarkets have upset customers by dropping the Mainland cheese brand from its supermarkets in favour of Australian products.

Two months after withdrawing Mainland from its cheese lineup in August, Coles has been forced to explain the move following customer complaints, which continue on the company’s website. Coles said the decision was part of commitment to Australian-made products. It aims to stock 90 percent locally made groceries.

“In a recent review, we set to ensure the vast majority of our cheese range is Australian-made and as a cheese manufactured in New Zealand, Mainland was one of the brands we replaced with an Australian-made option,” Melbourne-based Coles said on its website. “Coles Brand cheese is also now 100 percent Australian following a new contract with Bega.” . . .

The supermarket wants to stock 90% locally made groceries but at least some of its customers are less concerned about where their cheese comes from, they want Mainland.

Feedback on the Coles website suggests Australian customers sympathise with the sentiment, but not the decision.

An indicative comment, from a customer named Valerie, said: “I prefer buying local produce where possible, but Mainland is a superior product. We’ve always shopped at Coles in the past but will now have to go to Woolies to get a decent cheese.”

Buy local is a marketing ploy but where something is produced is only one factor customers consider. The quality of a product can be more important than its country of origin. Price will also be a consideration.

Fonterra isn’t concerned about Coles’ action.

Bega was licensed to Fonterra in 2001 and other supermarket chains are still stocking Mainland products.


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