Rural round-up

October 17, 2015

Progressive Meats founder Craig Hickson wins entrepreneur of the year – John Anthony:

A Hastings businessman who started a meat processing company more than three decades ago has taken out New Zealand’s top entrepreneur award.

Progressive Meats founder Craig Hickson was selected from a field of six New Zealand entrepreneurs to be named EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2015 at a dinner in Auckland on Thursday.

Hickson and his wife Penny started Progressive Meats in Hastings in 1981 with six staff working in a lamb processing facility.

The company now employs more than 300 staff and has processing facilities for lamb, beef, venison and rams. . .

Share register challenge for SFF – Dene Mackenzie:

Silver Fern Farms faces a new problem of how to manage its share register after the Dunedin meat company yesterday received overwhelming support for its joint venture with China’s Shanghai Maling.

The co-operative received 82% votes in favour of the proposal. Shanghai Maling, a listed company in China, will vote on the deal on October 30.

But with the Chinese Government-controlled Bright Food Group owning 38% of Shanghai Maling, and supporting the deal, the vote is expected to easily pass. . . 

TPPA will advance globalisation of agriculture, trade minister says – Gerald Piddock:

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations will trigger more liberalisation of world wide agricultural trade, says Trade Minister Tim Groser.

Once started, the trade process would be difficult to stop, Groser told journalists at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists Congress in Hamilton.

“We are in my opinion…in the early stage of the globalisation of world agriculture,” he said.

However, he acknowledged that removing agricultural subsidies would be a difficult task for developed  countries. . . 

NZ Merino, on quest to add value to commodities, increases annual profit 21% – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand Merino Co, a wool marketer which aims to develop higher-value markets for sheep products, posted a 21 percent lift in full-year profit and said it’s on track to double the value of the business in the three years through 2016.

The Christchurch-based company said profit increased to $2.3 million in the year ended June 30, from $1.9 million in 2014, and $405,000 in 2013. Revenue fell 6.1 percent to $109.4 million from the year earlier, while cost of sales fell 7.7 percent to $98.4 million and expenses slid 4.2 percent to $12.8 million. It will pay shareholders, including 536 wool growers, a dividend of $1.2 million, up from $942,000 a year earlier. . . 

Americans are biggest investors in NZ dairy land:

United States investors were the largest investors in our dairy land during 2013-2014, analysis by KPMG has revealed.

In the report on Overseas Investment in New Zealand’s Dairy Land, KPMG has analysed Foreign Direct Investment (FID) decisions by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for the 2013-2014 period.

It shows that the US was the largest investor in dairy land during that two-year period – accounting for 54.4% of the freehold hectares sold, and 26.5% of the consideration paid. . .

Manuka honey lobby devises test to prove authenticity – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – The UMF Honey Association says it has found the solution to fake manuka honey products, developing a portable device which tests for the nectar of Leptospermum Scoparium, the native manuka bush.

The manuka honey industry group, working with Analytica Laboratories and Comvita, presented the primary production select committee with a portable fluorescent test which can easily indicate whether a product is genuine manuka honey, and research defining the premium honey. Analytica executive director Terry Braggins said the development of a chemical fingerprint, based on the presence of the native bush’s nectar, could distinguish monofloral honey made by bees foraging on manuka flowers from other blended or imitation honey. . . 

 


Rural round-up

February 9, 2014

Agribusiness project is a classified success :

When young couple Shane Carroll and Nicola Shadbolt wanted to find equity partners to help them realise their dream of managing a big farming operation they put an advertisement in the newspaper.

“If you’ve got the money, we’ve got the expertise – let’s get together,” they said.

It worked. And 27 years later they are equity partners and managers of a diverse agribusiness in Manawatu’s picturesque Pohangina Valley.

Westview Farm is a combination of agribusinesses shaped by equity partners, farmer-managers and employees on the ground.

Carroll and Shadbolt, his wife and business partner who is well known as a Massey University professor of farm management and a Fonterra director, are the managers and part-owners of an organisation that runs dairy, deer, beef and sheep units. . .

Concerns about over-reliance on China:

A WARNING on heavy reliance on the one market of China has been sounded by Beef + Lamb NZ chief economist Andrew Burtt.

China’s continued growth as a market for New Zealand meat is one of the main trends showing in Beef + Lamb’s export figures for the 2013-14 first quarter, Burtt told Rural News. 

Mutton exports to China doubled in the first three months compared to the same quarter last year. But the continuing growth of China as a market comes with the qualification “about extrapolating that will go forever,” Burtt says. 

The other message is “that New Zealand’s traditional markets are still important to us.

Politically stable, economically stable, and they are wealthy and remain important”. . .

Farmers must look beyond farm on sustainability:

THE DAIRY industry’s contribution to sustainability shouldn’t be confined within the farmgate, says Hauraki Plains farmer Conall Buchanan.

Apart from keeping their farms environmentally sound, involvement in local schools and community projects allows interaction and helps improve public perception of dairy farming and farmers.

Buchanan notes in Hauraki Plains a natural link between the farming sector and the community, high levels of interaction allowing community concerns to be passed to farmers. . .

Women make an impression in dog trialling:

A couple of female dog triallists gave their male counterparts something to think about at the Oxford Collie Club’s Dog Trials.

In a historically male-dominated sport, the top two places in the zig zag hunt, judged by Perry May, went to Nicky Thompson and runner-up Steph Tweed.

The trials have been held by the club for the past 94 years.

This year’s event was held in near-perfect conditions, barring some late southerly rain on day two, when most courses were nearing completion.

Club president Lionel Whitwell said the decline in sheep farming had affected many dog trial clubs, and the triallists were fortunate that good-quality sheep had been sourced from local farmers Alan and Wayne Feary. . .

4 weird things dairy farmers are obsessed with – Modern Milk Maid:

Fat

Nothing to do with their own weight or others. Dairy farmers in Canada are paid based on the “components” of milk-butterfat, protein, and other solids such as lactose. Butterfat is the moneymaker, and every farmer I know loves to compare their results. Fun fact-whole milk is only 3.25% fat! My herd is currently averaging 4.3%. Low butterfat can indicate illness. Diet, genetics, and cow comfort all contribute to how much fat a cow will produce.

Semen 

Bull semen, that is. Choosing a bull that fits with your herd goals-improving looks, milk yield, or health traits is a never ending task. . .

Top German chefs light fire under lamb promotion:

WHEN FARMERS raced Michelin four-star chefs to create the best barbecue lamb dish, the results were mouthwatering. 

The New Zealand Lamb BBQ Masterchef contest  was held at Rob Buddo’s farm, Poukawa, Hawke’s Bay on January 29.

Judges were Black Barn Bistro chef Terry Lowe, Progressive Meats managing director Craig Hickson, Beef + Lamb NZ chief executive Scott Champion and gourmet BBQ chef Raymond van Rijk.

The winning team was Angus Irvine and Sam Morrah, of Central Hawke’s Bay, guided by chef Markus Philippi prompting diners’ satisfaction. . .

 


Kingi SmilerAgribusiness person of year

November 2, 2013

Prominent Maori businessman Kingi Smiler, responsible for some breakthrough developments in Maori agri-business, has been named Agribusiness Person of the Year by Federated Farmers.

He joins an elite list that includes Dr John Penno (Synlait), Sir Graeme Harrison (ANZCO), Andrew Ferrier (Fonterra) and Craig Hickson (Progressive Meats).

Kingi’s greatest accomplishment to date, beyond completing 20 Ironman events and achieving an international age-group ranking, was to pull together the support base and drive the establishment of Miraka Limited, the largest collaborative new venture undertaken in the Maori agrarian sector, indeed the entire Maori economy over the past five years.

Miraka’s state-of-the-art milk powder production facility, which draws on geothermal energy, is based at Mokai northwest of Taupo. It cost $90 million to build and opened in 2011, achieving profitability in year one.

Kingi is chair of the Board of Miraka, and is also chair of Wairarapa Moana Incorporation, who with Tuaropaki Trust are the cornerstone shareholders of Miraka. WMI manages 12 dairy units and operates 10,000 cows which produce 4 million kgs of milk solids a year and is the biggest single supplier to Miraka (the Maori word for milk).

Miraka has been the culmination of more than 10 years effort on Kingi’s behalf to lift the performance of the Maori agri-business sector. He has taken a key leadership role in this, fronting a series of initiatives like the Tairawhiti Land Development Trust which combined with the Ahuwhenua Trophy Maori Excellence in Farming Competition have seen the sector make some significant economic gains. The Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition is now considered the premier calendar event in the sector.

A former partner in Ernst & Young specialising in business and corporate restructuring, Kingi is a professional director. He is also on the board of Mangatu Blocks, one of the largest Maori meat producers and owner of Integrated Foods which processes and exports internationally.

A supporter and member of the Federation of Maori Authorities since 1987 Kingi was also instrumental in achieving the change in ending the leases in perpetuity over major Maori land blocks which was a historical milestone.

Federation CEO TeHoripo Karaitiana, who sits with Kingi on the WMI board, said the award was due recognition for a man whose vision, energy and leadership has had a transformational effect in Maori agribusiness and beyond.

“Kingi is not a man who seeks this type of recognition but it is simply impossible to ignore the extraordinary impact the initiatives that he has lent his energy to have had on the Maori agri-business sector,” he said. “For those that have worked with him, and I count myself lucky to have been one of them, you cannot help but appreciate his commercial astuteness and highly effective leadership style. He brings the same determination and discipline to his business activities that he does to his sporting pursuits.”

Kingi, whose whakapapa connections are to Ngati Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Atiawa, Whakatohea and Tuhoe completed his first Taupo Ironman in 1997 and is now in the elite club of those that have completed 10 or more in Taupo. He also competes internationally and has achieved a very respectable ranking at masters’ level.

“The challenge of doing something that pushes your mind and body to its limit is what keeps me motivated,” Kingi said. “The Ironman offers no mercy and preparing to any eventuality – physically, mentally and weather-wise – is key to completing the race.”

He applies the same approach when considering business propositions and before embarking on new ventures, which have marked his greatest accomplishments to date.

Federated farmers Chief Executive officer Conor English presented the trophy to Mr Smiler at the FOMA annual conference being held in Hastings. Mr English said, “Maori are huge contributors to agriculture, exports and our rural communities. This award recognises the drive, entrepreneurship and success that is being demonstrated right across Maori agriculture every day. Kingi Smiler is a true leader and a well deserving recipient of this prestigious award,” Mr English concluded.

Kingi Smiler named Agribusiness person of the year

#gigatownomaru applauds success.


Rural round-up

November 24, 2012

Water quality’s complex issues – Gerald Piddock:

Improving the environment while simultaneously growing production are the main challenges for those making decisions around water quality, a leading science advisor says.

These two goals are pulling policies in opposite directions, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s principal science advisor Grant Blackwell says.

There is no silver bullet to solve this dilemma, he says, but he suggests that a values-based approach is essential. . .

Some effluent fines ‘unjustified’ – Gerald Piddock:

Some of the fines imposed on farmers have been unnecessary and unjustified, according to a Clutha dairy farmer.

Stephen Korteweg told the New Zealand Association of Resource Management conference in Dunedin that “the big stick approach” in dealing with water quality breaches was fine. “But when you start beating the patient with the big stick you’ve lost the plot,” he said.

Highlighting the economic benefits of better environmental practice was the best way to change farmer behaviour. . .

Pure Oil wants more rape grown – Gerald Piddock:

Central Canterbury consortium Pure Oil New Zealand is the new owner of the agricultural division of Biodiesel New Zealand.

The consortium is owned by Midlands Seed, Washdyke-based potato and onion exporter Southern Packers, agronomist Roger Lasham and BiodieselNZ agribusiness manager Nick Murney.

The sale included Biodiesel New Zealand’s oil seed rape crop production, the oil extraction facility at Rolleston and the marketing of the resultant products – rape seed oil and rape seed meal. . .

Industry needs wool’s help – Alan Williams:

Hawke’s Bay businessman Craig Hickson knows all about the meat industry and that it can’t save sheep farming on its own.

It’s different this time, significantly different, Wools of New Zealand director Hickson says of the call for sheep farmers to invest in wool industry marketing.

A few days into the roadshow promotion of the share issue, the directors are picking up the vibe from farmers that they fear this one is like the controversial WPC co-op plan of 2010. . .

Broader reach sought by dairy industry:

The dairy industry is looking to broaden its academic reach through a new postgraduate programme at the University of Auckland.

The joint graduate school in dairy research is a collaboration between the university and industry-bodies Dairy New Zealand, AgResearch and the Livestock Improvement Corporation. . .

Dairy farms produce record milk levels in year to September; growth expected to slow from here – David Chaston:

As the new dairy season builds, annual milk production has broken through the 20 million tonnes level for the first time ever.

The latest data for the dairy milk production shows the new 2012-13 season starting off with record volumes.

DCANZ is reporting that September 2012 milk production was 2,436,000 tonnes, a rise of 5% over the 2,319,000 tonnes produced in September 2011. (The rise in September 2011 was +12.5%.) . . .

Essential guide for earthworks in tiger country:

Forest owners and farmers now have access to detailed information about carrying out earthworks on steep hills that are often prone to erosion — the tiger country where New Zealand’s plantation forests are increasingly grown.

To harvest those hills, you need highly skilled roading engineers and operators who can construct low-cost, fit-for-purpose, roads, culverts and landings that meet high environmental standards. They in turn need a source of reliable information about what works and what doesn’t work in difficult terrain and across a wide range of soil types.

 Launching the New Zealand Forest Road Engineering Manual and associated Operators Guide, associate minister for primary industries Nathan Guy complimented the Forest Owners Association for taking the lead. Principal editor Brett Gilmore was praised for putting a huge amount of work into the project. . .


Rural round-up

September 1, 2012

NZ beef carbon footprint study highlights productivity gains

The New Zealand beef industry has completed a study1 examining the full carbon footprint of New Zealand beef, and it highlights significant productivity gains.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand General Manager Market Access, Ben O’Brien says the study was driven by the industry’s sustainability focus and the dual challenges posed by an increasing global population and pressure on the planet’s limited resources.

“We see this study as making a valuable contribution to the global livestock production story and we will be contributing the results of this study to the FAO work programme on environmental performance of livestock food chains.” . . .

A tale of two countries on pest control – Bruce Wills:

Sometimes we Kiwis don’t appreciate how good we’ve got it.

That truth was rammed home to me in a discussion I had with a visiting British academic, Dr Gareth Enticott.

Dr Enticott is looking into lessons that could be taken back to Britain to deal with their Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) problem.

He was also on the West Coast earlier in the week to meet with one of our board members, Katie Milne. . .

Merino mitts a hot seller – Rebecca Ryan:

Tucked away just off Oamaru’s main street is Kate Watts’ boutique studio – the home of her popular range of fine merino fingerless gloves.

 From Auckland to Invercargill, Miss Watts has about 100 stockists of her hand-printed range, but she is thrilled with the way they have taken off in Oamaru.

“The small towns are definitely the biggest part of my business. There’s a surprising number of small towns across the country and that seems to be where we make most of the money,” she said. . .

Ram testing has lifted quality of lamb flock – Jacquie Webby:

In the 10 years since it was introduced, Central Progeny testing has become a recognised tool for New Zealand sheep farmers.

Launched in June 2002, the Central Progeny Test (CPT) helps farmers identify rams that are superior for traits which add value to sheep farming operations.

The tests compare rams by running their progeny in identical environments, allowing a comparison not by environmental conditions but by genetics. . .

Sowing seeds of new hobby – Jacquie webby:

Rural schoolchildren are being encouraged to experience the magic of growing vegetables and fruit trees – helped along by hopefully securing one of two grants from Rural Women New Zealand.

The organisation has joined forces with Meridian, which is funding two $2000 cash grants for schools to buy equipment, seedlings or plants.

National president Liz Evans said knowing how to grow fruit and vegetables was a basic skill that would stand children in good stead during their lives. . . .

Progressive global beef and lamb developments:

While a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report for New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) points towards growing New Zealand agribusiness globally, Craig Hickson, of Hawke’s Bay based Progressive Meats, proves there is opportunity left in our traditional markets.

“While we must maximise the potential of New Zealand’s land resource, there is an inescapable logic about taking our intellectual property and skills globally,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“If we take a leaf from the automotive industry, Toyota now makes most of its vehicles outside Japan. . .

Dairy NZ is calling for applciations for its On-Farm Innovation Fund:

The On-Farm Innovation Fund helps turn great ideas into better on farm  practice. It is aimed specifically at farmers, people who work with farmers and  smaller organisations that would not normally have ready access to innovation  and research funding.

Projects that are funded will demonstrate their success by showing on farm  improvements that can be readily and easily taken up by New Zealand dairy  farmers. . .


Rural round-up

July 3, 2012

Agribusiness Man of the Year shares secrets of his business success – Caleb Allison:

Craig Hickson had no idea he would win agribusiness person of the year at the Federated Farmers awards in Auckland this week.

The Hawke’s Bay sheep farmer wasn’t there to receive the award as he is in Australia attending a lamb industry conference, but he told NBR ONLINE winning is a pleasant surprise nonetheless.

Modestly, he says he doesn’t know why he won, but says innovation has long been a focus of his company, Progressive Meats, which he started with his wife in 1981.  . .

Outlook is green for primary industries – Burce Wills:

Today, I am going to take a look at where we might be in the year 2020 and touch on some challenges ahead. 

A lot can change in eight years but much can also stay the same. 

In 2004, eight years ago, the Iraq war was one year old and Afghanistan was in turmoil.  Despite this petrol was under $1.10 a litre.  Meanwhile exporters faced a Kiwi dollar that was US$0.67 in January but ended 2004 at $US.71.  Some things never change.

For the year ending June 2004, our agricultural, horticultural and forestry exports came to around $18.5 billion.  In the year to March 2012, exports for the primary industries came to almost $32 billion. . .

That is a remarkable increase of almost 73 percent. 

Environmentally good practice wins – Sally Rae:

Blair and Jane Smith might have won the 2012 national Ballance Farm Environment Awards – but they reckon their    farming journey is just beginning.   

The North Otago couple were awarded the Gordon Stephenson Trophy during a function at Parliament Buildings that celebrated people farming in a manner that was environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. . .

Dairying needs to connect – Sally Rae:

Public perceptions of dairy farmers are probably better than farmers might think, but there is still room for improvement, DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says.   

A panel discussion, entitled Perception is Your Reality, was  held as part of the South Island Dairy Event in Dunedin.   

Public perceptions were important and DairyNZ surveyed the      New Zealand public twice a year and also held focus groups in the main urban centres. There was still “a fair amount of support out there for us”, Dr Mackle said.   

But farmers must “get things right” on the farm. . .

Horsing around serious pastime – Sally Rae:

Ask Tara McConnell how she fits everything into her day    and the answer is simple – with a head-light.   

Miss McConnell (24), of Flag Swamp, works as a shed-hand for      a shearing gang four days a week, but the rest of her time is      consumed with horses. . .

Key Opens New Zealand’s Advanced New Infant Dairy Formula Facility to Supply Global Demand:

After over 12 months preparation, New Zealand’s most advanced pharmaceutical grade infant dairy formula production facility opens to supply soaring demand overseas. .

The new facility was officially open by Prime Minister John Key on Friday 29th July 2012 and addresses a rapid increase in global demand and a shortage of high quality wet dairy infant formula products. By the end of 2012 it expects to annually produce over 20 million cans of infant formula for the export market.

Building a facility that provides pharmaceutical standard dairy formulas on a scale large enough to meet international demand was not easy.  It required over a year’s planning and a large investment in infrastructure, experience and technology. GMP pharmaceuticals already New Zealand largest pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing facility specializing in health supplements, was in a good position to meet the significant logistical requirements. . .

Harvest disaster hits wine price – Greg Ninness:

The days of quality Marlborough sauvignon blanc being available for less than $10 a bottle are ending as this year’s disastrous grape harvest starts to push wine prices higher. 

This year’s sauvignon blanc harvest was down 19 per cent on last year’s, and total production of all varieties in Marlborough, the country’s main wine region, was down 23 per cent. 

There are signs that this year’s much smaller vintage is already starting to lift wine export prices from recent lows. . .

Court slams Te Awamutu farm for illegal effluent discharge– Aaron Leaman:

A Te Awamutu farming company has with been hit with almost $32,000 in fines for dirty dairying after a helicopter monitoring flyover raised red flags with their operation. 

    Wyebrook Farms Ltd, owner of a farm in Candy Rd, west of Te Awamutu, has been fined $31,875 and ordered to pay $491 costs following a hearing in the Hamilton District Court. The company pleaded guilty to two Resource Management Act charges. . .

Fourth time lucky for Central Otago viticulture competition winner:

Central Otago viticulturist David Salmon took the honours at the regional Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year competition on Friday (29 June).  This was Mr Salmon’s fourth attempt at the title, finishing runner-up last year, and was “over the moon” to win the competition.

“It has been an ambition of mine for a long time,” says Mr Salmon (30).  “This was my last attempt as I’ll be too old for the competition next year.  I’ve fought hard for this and it’s been my dream to represent Central Otago at the nationals,” he says.

Mr Salmon, who works at Kawarau Estate, Cromwell, took out the award against seven other local wine industry hopefuls, competing in a range of activities including wine taste-testing, pruning, hanging gates, fixing irrigation, testing their machinery handling abilities and finally delivering a speech on a given topic.

Michelle Dacombe from Felton Road Wines came second, improving on her third placing last year, and third place went to Jake Tipler from Peregrine Wines.  This was Mr Tipler’s first entry into the competition. . .

Pesticide programme pays off:

A research project to reduce the use of chemical pesticides on apple orchards has had a huge pay-off for the pipfruit industry.

Analysis by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has shown that the Apple Futures programme has been worth up to $113 million in export earnings in the past four years, for a research cost of just over $3 million. . .

The March edition of Countrywide is online here.

Aussie farm blogs many styles, many perspectives – Talking Fairleigh links to 50 farm blogs.


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