Rural round-up

August 26, 2017

Farmers’ voices must be heard – Nigel Malthus:

Heading into an election that will be won or lost in the towns and cities, farmers must get a hearing on environmental issues, says Meat Industry Association chair John Loughlin.

He says with environmental issues “quite significant” in this election year, any changes to environmental regimes must be balanced and fair.

“The outcomes in our rivers don’t just reflect farming; they reflect towns and cities and industries as well.”

He was speaking after the recent two-day Red Meat Sector conference in Dunedin, jointly hosted by the MIA with Beef + Lamb NZ. . .

Urban invaders hurting hort – Sudesh Kissun:

Uncertainty over continued access to fertile land and irrigation water are potentially forcing some vegetable growers out of business.

The Pukekohe Vegetable Growers Association president Brent Wilcox says land and water are the main issues facing many of its member businesses; ranging from smaller single property units to large operations with diverse land holdings.

“Over time we are seeing consolidation of many small growers into fewer larger growers; there is uncertainty and many growers are faced with a decision trying to figure whether they can justify the cost of taking land and water issues on,” he told Rural News. . .

Dairy industry tackling shortage of quality environmental advisers -Stephen Macaulay:

Quality advice is key to whether farmers sink or swim in an environmental tsunami, writes Stephen Macaulay.

 A wave of unprecedented environmental compliance is crashing over New Zealand’s primary industries and it’s not just farmers who are working hard to stay afloat.

The implementation of farm environmental plans represents one of the most significant changes in how farmers think about and undertake their work. Solutions now and into the future will involve a fundamental rethink in the way we farm and manage our natural resources.

How the industry deals with those regulations and the associated scrutiny of urban New Zealand and international consumers will impact on the production and profitability of farming operations into the future, as well as farm property values. . .

Farmers are adding value to wool – Tim Fulton:

Home spinning entrepreneurs are defying wool’s doldrums.

Tracey Topp started the Cosy Toes children’s Merino sock range on a kitchen table at Rotherham, North Canterbury, more than 10 years ago.

Recently she branched into bigger sizes for adults and a variety of tights, blankets and clothing.

Topp grew up on a sheep farm at Summerhill, in the Canterbury foothills near Oxford. She still soaks in the smell and the memory of lanolin, tossing fleeces and the banter of the boards.

A Kiwi company makes Cosy Toes’ socks but it took years of hard work to build business credibility.

Fabricators wanted consistent wool supply, including minimum wool weight for dyeing. . . 

Don’t judge a conversion by its cover – Tim Fulton:

Ngai Tahu’s forest-to-farm conversion near the North Canterbury town of Culverden is about beef and dairy support, the developer says.

The iwi’s farming group had transformed part of the old Balmoral Forest over the past two years but it wouldn’t be milking, Ngai Tahu Farming chief executive Andrew Priest said.

The iwi had already transformed Eyrewell Forest on the north bank of the Waimakariri River, (Te Whenua Hou) into dairy farms and drystock units.

In 2016, 360 hectares of land at the west of the Balmoral block was put into irrigated pasture and was now being used for beef finishing. . . 

Cancer survivor, author donating proceeds – Alexia Johnston:

Ex Glenavy farmer Allan Andrews is topping up Cancer Society funds thanks to his many book sales.

His book titled Allan Andrews 70 Years On features a range of subjects, including farming, cricket and his battle with cancer.

It was his family’s history of cancer that prompted Mr Andrews to donate a portion of the book’s proceeds to the Cancer Society.

So far that includes $1000 – $400 to the South Canterbury division, $400 to North Otago and $200 to Ashburton.

The book was launched in late September to early October last year, with the aim of donating a portion of the proceeds from every book to the Cancer Society. . .  

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Farm Girl 1. A person who solves problems you can’t. 2. One who does precision guess work based on unreliable data provided by those of questionable knowledge. See also Wizard, Magician.


High Heels in the High Country

August 5, 2014

This episode of CTV’s High Heels in the High Country features Linda Blake of Southern Alpaca and Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes.


Homeopathic Farm Support wins Enterprising Rural Women Award

May 26, 2010

Tineke Verkade of Homeopathic Farm Support  won Rural Women NZ’s Enterprising Rural Women Award.

Tineke was the North Island winner. She is pictured (middle) with Judy Bailey who presented the award and Rural Women national president Margaret Chapman.

Flooded roads prevented the South Island winner, Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes from attending  last night’s award announcement at the Oamaru Opera House..

When the two finalists were announced, there was some controversy over the North Island award going to a homeopathic company. But judges were not looking so much at what a business did as how, and how well, it was run.

Listening to Tineke speaking last night, no-one could doubt her passion and commitment.


Enterprising Rural Women Awards announced

April 23, 2010

The South Island Rural Women’s Enterprising Rural Women Award  winner is  Tracey Robinson of Cosy Toes Limited and the North Island award went to Tineke Verkade of Homeopathic Farm Support Limited.

 Cosey Toes, based in Rotherham, North Canterbury, is an online and mail order retail business, specialising in 100 % New Zealand made merino wool socks, merino clothing and other New Zealand wool products for babies and children.

Homeopathic Farm Support, in Waikato,  supplies high quality homeopathic products and information support to farmers and rural livestock holders throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Both are contenders for the supreme award which will be announced at Rural Women’s national conference in Oamaru in May. 

The Awards were judged by Margaret Chapman, Rural Women New Zealand’s national president, Theresa Gattung of Wool Partners International and Doug Langford, past chairman of Access Limited.

The judges were impressed by the innovation and adaptability of all the entrants in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Award, many of whom have had to overcome extra obstacles to run a business from a rural location.

Tineke Verkade started her business following a career in nursing, a background in science and an interest in complimentary medicine.  She studied naturopathy and medical herbalism as well as homeopathy and has been in private practice since 1991.  Her aim is to provide easily available, affordable and effective complimentary animal health remedies.

Margaret Chapman says “Tineke Verkade has built up an impressive business from early days of skepticism and little belief in alternative methods of healing from the farming community.”

Nowadays more than a quarter of Fonterra dairy farmers and many sheep and beef producers use homeopathy.

South Island winner Tracey Robinson set up her Cosy Toes business after experiencing frustration that wool socks were not available for her two pre-schoolers.  Researching the market, she discovered that inexpensive imports of synthetic socks had led to New Zealand businesses closing down and selling their machines. 

She decided to reverse that trend, setting up a business in a rural township with a population of just 300, using the internet to supply a niche, high quality product using innovative marketing, including social networking sites.

Judge Doug Langford says Tracey Robinson is resourceful, passionate and determined to succeed in the face of obstacles.  Theresa Gattung adds “Cosy Toes is courageous in its inception and spot on in its execution.  Cosy Toes is a great example of new ways to reinvent the existing.”

 Cosy Toes products are now posted all over the world, and Tracey has gone on to support those less fortunate, including organising the Cosy Toes Sock Drive for orphans in Uganda.

You can read more about Cosy Toes  here and Homeopathic Farm Support here.

The awards are a wonderful initiative by Rural Women to celebrate rural women in business and their achievements. 

The South Island Award is sponsored by Ballance Agri-Nutrients and the North Island prize by Access.


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