Benedict Collins wins Rongo

October 15, 2012

The TBfree New Zealand Rongo Award, the supreme prize at the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators  awards has been won by  Benedict Collins for programmes prepared for Country99TV.

The runner up was Shawn McAvinue  for articles which appeared in the Southland Times. He now works for the Otago Daily Times.

The Rural Women NZ Journalism Award was won by Jackie Harrigan for articles that appeared in Country-Wide magazine. Andrew Stewart of Young Country, another NZX Agri group publication was runner up.

The award recognises journalism that portrays the important contribution women make to farm businesses and in rural communities.

In presenting the award, Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans, said the winning entries were refreshing, informative and topical and reflected the true professionalism of the farming women whose stories they told.
One story, for example, involved school leaver Anita, who finally got her dream job as a shepherd on a North Island hill country station, only to experience a quad bike accident that left her in a wheelchair. But Anita’s fighting spirit has ensured that she is still pursuing a career in agriculture. . . 
Liz Evans said, “Rural Women New Zealand continues to support these awards as we see the calibre and content of the entries about rural women, their lives, businesses and communities grow more dynamic each time.”
Other awards went to:
AGMARDT Agribusiness Award –  Hugh Stringleman
AgResearch Science Writers Award – Tim Cronshaw, The Press;  runner up Peter Burke, Rural News
Beef + Lamb NZ News Award – Richard Rennie
Ballance Agri-Nutrients –  Tim Cronshaw, The Press;  runner up, Ali Tocker, Waikato Times
Guild Encouragement Award  –  John  Watson, Country99TV
Federated Farmers Rural Photograph Award   –  Jonathan Cameron, Taranaki Daily News
Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award -Tim Fulton, NZ Farmers Weekly;  runner up, Susan Murray, Country Life
PGG Wrightson Sustainable Land Management Award –  Susan Murray, Country Life.

Rural round-up

September 16, 2012

Some bills 80 times initial quotes

South Canterbury farmers are challenging Environment Canterbury over more than $300,000 worth of administration costs they have been charged for water consents. 

    Some of the bills are 80 times greater than the amount the farmers were initially quoted. 

    The group of 17 South Canterbury and North Otago consent holders will dispute the administration costs at a hearing in Lincoln on Monday. 

    The costs were billed to the farmers back in 2010 after they were granted 35-year consents to take water from the Hakataramea River. The farmers had waited more than a decade for the consent decision. . .

Legal scrap on cards over LIC hairy calves – Richard Rennie:

Farmers stuck with mutant LIC genetics have strong legal grounds for mounting a compensation challenge against the breeding company, a senior lawyer says.

Concern is growing through all dairying regions as more farmers discover young stock containing the genetics from the LIC bull Matrix.

The bull has sired calves exhibiting mutated traits including excessive hairiness, poor growth rates and ill thrift. .

Tax changes leave way open for farm succession:

Controversial changes to tax legislation around livestock valuation will no longer disadvantage new generation farmers following a successful submission process by accounting firm BDO.

Amendments to the proposed ‘Herd Scheme’ changes were released yesterday [Thursday 13 Sept], providing exemptions for farm succession that free up new generation farmers from restrictive tax barriers.

“The exemption for farm succession has come a long way from the original proposal,”’ says BDO Tax Specialist and Farm Accountant Charles Rau. . .

Best coal under best farmland – Tim Fulton:

Some Australians see Drew Hutton as a pinprick for environmental consciousness; others think he’s a pain in the backside. But the spiritual leader of the Australian Green Party has people listening when it comes to coal mining and drilling for gas.

“We’ve got some areas in Australia where we’ve got 100% support. You can’t get those figures outside of a dictatorship usually.”

Hutton is the elected champion of the “Lock the Gate Alliance”, a network of 120 community groups galvanized against perceived bullying from the mining industry.

And it doesn’t take much of a lecture from Hutton to learn landowner rights and public health is top of their agenda, as is the very future of farming on premium Aussie soil. . . .

Training for beekeepers debated – Peter Watson:

An upsurge of interest in beekeeping has sparked debate about how well trained new entrants are. 

    The number of beekeepers has grown by more than 500 to 3775 and hives by 35,000 to 429,000 over the last year, many of them hobbyists wanting to do their bit to help boost bee numbers in the face of growing threats to their health. . .

Buffalo and rhino make big money:

MAKING SURE none of the rhinoceros herd is poached during the night isn’t something New Zealand farmers have to worry about but it is typical for an increasing number of South African farmers diversifying into the lucrative game breeding industry.  

After several years of rapid growth, there are now estimated to be more than 10,000 commercial game ranches in South Africa breeding rare species for hunting, meat and conservation purposes. . . .

The June issue of Country Wide is now on-line.


Rural round-up

May 7, 2012

Slow down speed bumps ahead! – Dr Jon Hauser:

There’s an old joke that if you ask three economists a question you’ll get four different answers. Despite this, the one thing everyone agrees on is that global milk production over the last year has been going up, up, and up! The million dollar question, and the one that has been causing the dismal science’s split professional personalities, is: ‘will global demand keep pace?’.

The final numbers are in for 2011, so this week we’ve decided to throw our analysis into the ring . . .

“Kaitiakitanga”  nurturing our natural resources and people for a prosperous future – Pasture to Profit:

Kaitiakitanga” in Maori means to nurture our natural resources & people for a prosperous future.

This is one of 5 Farm Business Management values set out by Tauhara Moana Trust, one of three finalists in theBNZ Ahuwhenua Maori Excellence in Dairy Farming Award 2012. Maori Trusts have different business objectives to most other NZ dairy farmers.  . .

Why does wool polarise farmers? – Alan Ememrson:

Derek Daniell’s remit to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand annual meeting regarding a wool levy achieved, if nothing else, a positive plethora of emails to my inbox.

It was an innocent enough remit calling for an “evaluation of the result of the discontinuation of the wool levy and investigation whether a future collective investment would add value for wool growers”.

The problem is, as it seems with all things wool, people are either firmly on one side of the fence or the other.

For the record Derek is a good bloke and a highly successful farmer. His remit is well worded. How it is handled from here by B+LNZ will determine if it is successful. . .

Lincoln honours palm oil alumnus – Tim Fulton:

An executive in the global palm oil industry has been awarded Lincoln’s international medal, backed by an assurance from the university that his company is the “socially responsible standout” in the industry.

Just over 40 years after leaving Lincoln College with a diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, John Clendon was recognised last Friday for his involvement with coconut, cocoa and oil palm production in the south-west Pacific and Asia.

Clendon is managing director of Univanich, a Thai company which Lincoln credits as “the world’s leader in the production of sustainable palm oil”. . .

Tight unit wins Farmer of Year award – Sally Rae:

It was cattle that brought the 2012 OtagoSharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners James and Helen Hartshorne together.   

 Mr Hartshorne, originally from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, was showing Holstein-Friesians at the Royal Welsh Show in 1999,      while his future bride, from Wales, was exhibiting Guernseys .. .

Farm managers of  year love their job – Sally Rae:

Gareth Dawson always knew he was going to pursue an    outdoors career.   

He did not want to be “stuck indoors” and chose dairy farming, after helping a friend herd testing one day “and      just never left” the industry.   

Mr Dawson and his wife Angela, who now manage a 560 cow 186ha property at Clinton, won the 2012 Otago Farm Manager of the Year title.   . .

Rabobank builds rural business:

Rabobank New Zealand Ltd (RNZL) continued to build its rural banking business in 2011, recording net lending growth of $724 million, despite a contraction in the total rural debt market over the same period.  

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank’s rural portfolio growth during 2011 was a positive result which primarily reflected refinance activity rather than organic growth of existing customers. . .

Kiwi avocado comapny wants slice of food service market:

A New Zealand owned avocado company has targeted the billion dollar food service market, with a goal to switch consumers from imported to locally grown produce.

Fressure Foods, a mainly grower-owned organisation, is encouraging Kiwi food trade companies to source locally produced avocados wherever possible to support local farmers and meet with growing consumer demand.

Currently the imported avocado industry in New Zealand is valued at around $1 million and around 200 tonnes of the fruit are brought into the country each year.

The February issue of Country-Wide is on-line here.


Rural round-up

January 22, 2011

Optimism prevails despite tough year – Allan Barber at Barbers Meaty Issues writes:

The noises coming from the three meat companies that have declared an annual result to September 2010 are optimistic, although tempered by the knowledge there’s less livestock around this year and farmers need to achieve better profits. The companies with the most reason to be happy are Alliance and AFFCO who have both posted solid profits and reduced debt, as well as increasing their share of EU lamb quota.

Chicory and plantain downunder in New Zealand – Pasture to Profit posts:

I’m in very dry New Zealand awaiting the arrival of my French Discussion group from Brittany.(very impressed with the exciting range of milk products in the supermarkets..much bigger range than when I last visited NZ).

NZ has had very little rain (unlike the poor farming souls in Queensland Australia who are getting floods that are up to 15metres high!!) so since November the dairy farms have struggled for grass.This photo is of Neil & Barbara McLeans farm just north of Hamilton in the Waikato..the cows are getting some pasture plus Barkant turnips. . .

The global dairy industry – who’s to know? Dr Jon Hauser at Xcheque writes:

At a meeting with a client earlier this week I was issued with a “Please Explain”. As something of a market skeptic I have been banging on about EU and US milk production growth and that this was all likely to end in tears. I was looking good up to the end of December – US butter and cheese prices had dropped from October to December, the corresponding futures were ordinary and the EU market was flatlining – the correction was underway.

Then in the first week of January the Fonterra Auction went north and the US dairy futures market followed soon after . . .

Giving up not an option – Sandra Taylor writes in Country Wide:

Determination and tenacity are qualities Bryan Harris has in spades.

Which is just as well, as without them Harris Meats would never have grown beyond a butcher’s shop on the main street of the small North Canterbury town of Cheviot to be the highly regarded abattoir, processing and retailing business it is today. . .

Western Waikato wordsmith Mike Bland in Country Wide:

Waikato farmer Wallace Knight has been playing with words since he was “old enough to pick up a raddle”.

Now living on a 60ha drystock block just outside Te Kowhai, west of Hamilton, Knight has just issued his first book, called Friar Tuck is a Spoonerism.

Laced with humour, the book is a collection of poems written in the past 40 years. It has a distinct rural flavour and while most of the poems are about people not places, much of the inspiration came from the western Waikato district where Knight was  raised. . .


Rural round up

November 27, 2010

Family’s living proof of sheep farming viability – Neal Wallace in the ODT writes:

Given the sheep industry’s well documented problems, labelling yourself specialist sheep farmers might not be considered the most inspiring of titles, but it is one the Alderton family wears with pride.

They are living proof sheep farmers can make money and be profitable by balancing business, animal and environmental factors.

The key, according to Ron Alderton, was attitude and determination.

Blunt chat puts station on new path – Jackie Harrigan in Country-Wide writes:

You would think it a brave man who told a new farmer-supplier with 30,000 lambs that his lambs weren’t really up to scratch.
That farmer might be tempted to tell the meat company to take a running jump – but to Ren Apatu, managing director of Ngamatea Station, 28,000ha of wild tussock and improved high-performance pastures on the Napier-Taihape road, the comment was a seminal moment.
“We thought we were pretty clever, with that number of lambs, but the meat company said, ‘If you give us lambs like last season we really don’t want them’ – and we really hadn’t heard that before,” Ren says.
Even more of a revelation was being taken into the chiller and shown his lambs on the hooks, next to those of other farmers.
“There were our lambs, about 16kg with a big fatty pack of meat on their rumps, hanging next to lambs at about 25kg with no fat on them.”
Being told “this is what we want and this is what you guys are giving us and if you want to be a part of it you need to supply what we want” was a wake-up call to Ren.
“We were told – ‘Our markets don’t want fat, they want meat; we want high yield as well – its good for us and for you’.” . .

Cleaning up afte Norgate may be expensive – Chalkie writes in The Press:

 Craig Norgate is well gone from PGG Wrightson, but tidying up some of the messes created during his tenure seems to be taking time – and may involve a reasonable bill.

Here’s what the progress card to date looks like:

1. New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay exited – a good outcome, sold above book but below cost, with a bonus $4 million for the management contract and a $19.2m receivable debt owed to PGGW due to be settled.

2. Tim Miles, the former managing director put in place by Mr Norgate has been ejected – but at what cost?

3. Fixing up the half-cocked exit from the wool business and associated creative accounting – work in progress.

New chairman Sir John Anderson comes with one of the finest reputations in New Zealand business, and certainly there seems to be decisiveness around the board table in terms of the sudden and immediate resignation of Mr Miles, who was rightly or wrongly seen as Mr Norgate’s right-hand man.. .

 

Sustainability’s like ‘beauty’ – go on try and define it. Peter Kerr at Sciblogs writes:

Sustainability’s a term that’s a bit like ‘beauty’ – everyone knows what it is, but pinning down exactly what it is, is often in the eye of the beholder.

However, NZ agribusiness better start getting a better grip on the actuality of sustainability, or risk being marginalised by overseas customers and consumers according to KPMG.

In a recent agribusiness green paper KPMG lays out the current and emerging environment in our markets on the vexed issue of sustainability, with a second paper to focus on the practicalities of implementing such a supply chain approach.

The report contends that while the term has broad meaning, in essence it is about meeting the needs of today, without adversely impacting on the needs of tomorrow, and in balancing environmental, social and economic concerns in doing so. . .


Jon Morgan wins Rural Women ag journalism award

October 21, 2010

Jon Morgan from the Dominion Post has won Rural Women New Zealand’s 2010 award for  journalists who highlight acheivements of rural women.

He was commended for writing stories which shine a spotlight on rural issues for a largely urban readership.

The Runner-up for the award was Liz Brook, who writes for Central Districts Farmer.

“We set up the award with the Guild two years ago to encourage greater balance in rural journalism,” says Rural Women New Zealand National President, Liz Evans. 

 “It is rewarding to see more articles being written about women in rural communities achieving extraordinary things, both in farming and in the general rural environment. 

Morgan’s winning stories were: Sweet smell of lambing success and Unlocking women’s rural skills .

Brooks winning stories were: Beefing up the meat industry and Staying true to the land and to God.

These awards were announced at the Guild of Agricultural Journalist’s annual dinner. Other winners were:

BNZ Partners’ Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism: Richard Rennie,  for a portfolio of articles which appeared in NZ Farmers Weekly and NZ Dairy Exporter, focussing on issues around the possible sale of the Crafar farms to overseas interests.

Runner-up: the team from NZX Agri’s Country-Wide monthly newspaper, for a series of 12 articles entitled Prime Movers, largely the work of journalist Sandra Taylor.

 BNZ Partners ‘ Farm Business Writing Award: Sandra Taylor, for two articles in the Prime Mover’s series which appeared in Country-Wide.

 AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture: Jon Morgan.

 Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up last year to recognise excellence in agricultural journalism focussing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry: Jon Morgan. 

 AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness: Herald On Sunday journalist, Maria Slade.

Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award, for a single photo that illustrates a rural event or activity – agricultural, horticultural, industry, human interest, on farm / off farm, or any activity reflecting life or work in rural New Zealand: NZX Agri journalist and photographer, Marie Taylor.

The Guild’s own award, designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or fewer years reporting on agricultural issues, The Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award: Blair Ensor of the Marlborough Express.


Top rural websites

October 13, 2009

Scoop reports  the top 10 New Zealand rural websites for domestic traffic from Nielsen NZ Market Intelligence in September:

1. metservice.co.nz/rural 70, 683.

2. stuff.co.nz/farming         38,805.

3. rd1.com                                 13,125.

4. farmtrader.co.nz               11,504.

5. dealsonwheels.co.nz            8,927.

6. country-wide.co.nz             4,772.

7. ruraltrader.co.nz                3,276.

8. agridata.co.nz                      3,216.

9. nzfarmersweekly.co.nz      2,686.

10. ruralliving.co.nz               1,707.

It doesn’t surprise me that the Met Service is so popular. When you work outside and so much you do is affected by the weather forecasts are very important. I helped one of our staff set up a new laptop recently and he has the Met Service site as his homepage.

Stuff includes most of the provinical papers and has good rural news and features.

Countrywide and NZ Farmers Weekly are the most highly regarded of the give away papers which turn up in rural mail boxes. The popularity of the papers and dial up or slow broad band for internet conncetion might explain why their websites don’t get more hits.


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