Will he sue himself?

August 29, 2019

An Iwi leader is suing seven New Zealand companies for their failure to protect New Zealanders from climate change:

Climate activist and spokesperson for the Iwi Chairs Forum’s Climate Change Iwi Leaders Group, Mike Smith (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu), made the
announcement on the eve of his departure to Mexico where he will be one of the representatives for the Pacific region at an Indigenous
peoples climate forum .

Oh the irony of that. Will he also sue himself for the emissions produced by the return flights to Mexico?

Smith is alleging that the named companies have committed public nuisance, have been negligent or breached other legal duties by emitting greenhouse gases and by not doing enough to reduce those emissions in the face of scientific evidence that their emissions have caused, and will continue to cause, harm.

“Māori are particularly vulnerable to climate change, being disproportionately represented amongst the poor, who will be the hardest hit. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion, flooding and storm
surges will irrevocably damage low lying coastal communities, and warming oceans and ocean acidification will damage traditional resources, including fisheries.” . . .

The companies he’s suing are Fonterra, Genesis Energy, Dairy Holdings, New Zealand Steel, Z Energy, New Zealand Refining and BT Mining.

That some of the farmers who supply Fonterra are Maori seems to have escaped him.

If he’s worried about the impact of climate change, not only should he not be flying, he should be encouraging more dairy production here where it’s done so efficiently it’s better for the world’s second most efficient producers, the Irish, to drink our milk rather than their own, even when shipping it there is taken into account.

It’s the poor who would be hardest hit by the economic impact of reducing dairy production and the resulting export income and hit again by worsening climate change as less efficient producers increase production to fill the gap in the market that would be created if New Zealand production fell.

“The urgency of climate change means we need far greater action and we need it now, and not just from government but also across the private sector” he says.

“It’s not good enough just to set far off targets, especially ones that let our biggest polluters like the agricultural sector off the hook so they can have a bit more time to turn a profit. The fact is
we are out of time and are now looking at damage control.”

What does he mean by biggest polluter? If it’s dairy versus his flight, dairy is cleaner and if nutrient density is included in the calculation, as it ought to be if it’s to compare like with like, New Zealand milk production is a world leader.

The agricultural sector producers food that not only sustains New Zealanders but earns a significant chunk of the country’s export income.

Without that the poor he purports to worry about would be even poorer.

 


Rural round-up

August 19, 2019

Fonterra woes for two biggest shareholders – Rebecca Howard:

Fonterra Cooperative Group’s two biggest shareholders – Dairy Holdings and state-owned Landcorp Farming – say the latest downgrade will weigh on their own earnings and add to farmer malaise against a backdrop of already weak confidence.

The dairy exporter this week said it expects to report a full-year loss of as much as $675 million and won’t pay a dividend as it slashes the value of global assets. It will be the second annual loss in a row.

This is a concern and will have quite an impact on farmer balance sheets and cash flow. Our hope is that Fonterra completes the strategy refresh quickly,» said Colin Glass, chief executive of Dairy Holdings. . .

Gene editing could combat ‘weed trees’ and climate change – Esther Taunton:

A forest industry leader has joined the growing chorus of voices calling for serious public debate on genetic technologies.

Forest Owners Association president Peter Weir said the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s recently released report on gene editing should be taken seriously by anyone concerned about the state of the environment.

The report highlighted the problem of wilding conifers, where, despite a multimillion-dollar control programme, the weed trees continued to spread, Weir said. . . 

Farmers call for law change on gene-edited crops – Tom Allen-Stevens:

What sort of regulatory environment for new breeding technologies is required and what will be the implication for farmers, and ultimately consumers, who lie at the heart of this debate? CPM reports exclusively on a survey of farmers.

GM can be a divisive topic, and the farming community is no less split on how and whether it should be introduced as the public in general. Views on gene-editing, however are harder to gauge.

A survey was undertaken in March 2019 by the Gene-Editing for Environment and Crop Improvement Initiative, that represents scientists, breeders and others in the UK agricultural industry with an interest in new breeding technologies (NBTs). The views expressed aren’t representative of farming opinion as the respondents have been selected as those who are relatively well informed on a technology that is, as yet, largely unknown and not commercially available. . . 

We can’t continue to pave paradise and put up a parking lot:

We’ve grown lazy and complacent. Fattened on the plenty provided by rich lands, we are now increasingly turning  our backs on them.

So separated have we become from the production of the food that passes over our plates; so inexorable has the shift been in human resources and amenities from the heartland to the high street, that the Government has seen a need to step in and protect the fertile soils that have long fed it all.

That complacency is built on something of a lie.

Most of us live in cities and other centres of urban sprawl. But the images that we employ to sell our country to others, and the dream to ourselves, are those of bucolic rural spread, mile upon mile upon mile of rolling river, meadow and gentle hill, all leading to majestic mountain ranges. . . 

Seaweeds help curb cow burping :

Queensland researchers say a pink seaweed that stops cows from burping could help slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Asparagopsis grows prolifically off the Queensland coast and a CSIRO study five years ago found it was the only seaweed they knew of that stopped cows burping methane into the atmosphere.

New Zealand research into seaweed supplements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has identified another species with such effects on the nation’s coast.

Researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast are now investigating how it might be farmed on a commercial scale and added to cattle feed to slash emissions. . . 

We need genetic engineering to stave off climate change-induced global hunger – Devang Mehta:

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Special Report on Climate Change and Land, a document authored by 107 experts from 52 countries. It warned that “Land is a critical resource.”

The main conclusion of the report is that humans already use nearly half of the planet’s land for food production and, as global population levels rise, agricultural land is going to be in very short supply. This is because one of the effects of climate-change will be a decline in agricultural productivity across the tropics, meaning that we will need to cut down forests and convert unused land into farmland. This deforestation will lead to even more carbon emissions, culminating in a vicious cycle of increasing warming. 

The report is a frightening 1,400 page-long prediction of rising food costs and starvation of the world’s poor. In fact, behind all the numbers and probability estimates is one truth that carries throughout — that climate change is going to be especially hard on the poor and on people living in the tropics. The IPCC concludes that as carbon dioxide levels rise and the planet warms, farms in temperate latitudes (i.e. the wealthier countries of Europe and North America) will in fact see an increase in yields.  . . 

5 things to do in the countryside – Life of a Country Mum:

Hey lovely country people,

I thought I would give you an in site to some of the top activities I love to do and also activities I can’t wait to do with my baby!

I am a strong believer that all this technology for children is what’s making the world a horrible place (in certain places). What ever happened to us all going to the outside playing, using our imagination. They were the best memories for me when I was younger.

Fields, haybales and making dens! I have so many stories I could tell you with my siblings. . . 

 


Rural round-up

August 10, 2015

Fonterra must evolve – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s structure must keep evolving, as farmers’ own businesses change through time, former founding director Greg Gent believes.

However, nothing in its structure was preventing farmers from getting the maximum available returns from world dairy markets in the downturn.

As big as it is, Fonterra could not control the milk price.

Fonterra remains silent on dividend impact – Eye to the Long Run:

The staggering hit to milk payouts – around 27% – is also a staggering reduction in the input costs to every product for which milk is an input.

The “model” is supposed to generate returns to suppliers of milk solids and returns to investors (and the two are one in the same for the majority) on sales of processed product. The reduction in input cost must by now be cumulatively very significant. . .

Fonterra overshoot on 2015 advance payment worsens 2016 farmer cash flows – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – Milk prices have dropped so dramatically that Fonterra Cooperative Group effectively overpaid farmers under an advance payments scheme last year, sapping funds available to pay out farmers at the end of the season and leaving them short of cash even before last week’s deep cut to the 2016 forecast payout.

“Last year, Fonterra came out with a higher advance rate schedule during the year, effectively almost overpaying for milk as they went,” Dairy Holdings chief executive Colin Glass told BusinessDesk. “That meant there was nothing left at the end of the year to come through. That’s effectively been the major impact on farm cash flows today.

“Those deferred payments for the previous year haven’t been there and that’s coinciding with what is now the lower advance rate schedule.” . .

 

Hard work and sacrifice reap stellar success – Kate Taylor:

A determination to buy their own farms has seen a set of siblings grow their businesses from 7000 stock units to about 37,000 in 14 years.

One of the partners, Bart and Nukuhia (Nuku) Hadfield, went on to win the 2015 Ahuwhenua Trophy – the BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award (sheep and beef).

In 2001 they had pooled resources with Nuku’s siblings – Eugene, Ronald and Marama – and their partners to lease Mangaroa Station in the Ruakituri Valley and neighbouring Ruakaka Station in Tiniroto. . .

El Niño explained as simply as possible – Weather Watch:

It’s been talked about for almost two years in the global scientific community and now it’s finally showing up on weather stations here in New Zealand – El Nino, the weather/climate event that often causes great concern in the rural sector.

But should be we concerned ?  Short answer – yes, somewhat – long answer, yes, but let’s not get carried away, NZ can buck the international trends and we are still not 100% sure how this will all pan out over summer. 

So saying things like “This El Nino will be worse than the drought creating one of the 1990s” is a bit like saying a newly developing tropical low is going to hurt NZ more than Bola did.  But until it fully forms and until we really get a good feeling as to how it’s going to impact New Zealand, then we need to take a deep breath and not talk about extreme worst case scenarios as if they are locked in with certainty…because we simply don’t know this early.  . .

Blair draws a line on farm trespass – Robyn Ainsworth:

TRESPASSERS will definitely be prosecuted under strict new penalties to be introduced to state parliament under the proposed Biosecurity Bill, industry stakeholders heard this week.

The penalties are one plank of the government’s NSW Farm Incursions Policy being rolled out, which NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair (pictured) hopes will be extended nationwide to protect farmers and crack down on the illegal practices of animal welfare activists and others who trespass on farms. . .

 MyFarm share trading shifts to Syndex – Syndex launches offering investors the opportunity to trade farm and orchard shares:

Syndex, the online investment trading platform, has launched today offering investors the opportunity to buy and sell shares in farms and orchards.

Farm investment company, MyFarm, is the inaugural partner for Syndex’s Agri Syndicate Market.

Syndex will allow people to buy and sell shares in MyFarm’s dairy and kiwifruit investment opportunities. It opened today with shares available for purchase in a new Bay of Plenty kiwifruit syndicate and an established Canterbury dairy farm. . .

Will a red hot beef market cool anytime soon? –  Texas Farm Bureau:

The cattle market the last two years is like August weather in Texas. Red hot!

More than 1,680 beef cattle producers gathered at Texas A&M to hear the latest about the cattle market and future trends at the 61st Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course, held this week in College Station.

“I think there is a lot to look forward to down the road,” said Dr. Jason Cleere, conference coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife beef cattle specialist. . .


Rural round-up

December 7, 2012

Feeding East Asia:

The importance of the East Asia region as the most significant market for many New Zealand and Australian food and fibre products is set to grow in coming years, highlighted more recently by the global economic downturn, according to Rabobank.

In a recent report titled, ‘Feeding East Asia’, Rabobank senior analyst Marc Soccio says the global and economic downturn has sharpened the focus onto the East Asian region as it continues to expand its slice of the global economic pie, offering opportunities no longer available in traditional markets as incomes grow and diets change in fundamental ways. . .

Fonterra seeks consent to build ‘Darfield-sized’ milk powder plant at Pahiatua site:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest exporter of dairy products, is seeking consents to build a new milk powder plant at Pahiatua, more than doubling output from the site and mopping up surplus milk in the lower North Island.

The third drier at Pahiatua would process 2.5 million litres of milk a day, making it a similar size to its new 2.2 million litre-a-day plant at Darfield in Canterbury. The two existing driers at Pahiatua process 1.4 million litres a day, forcing Fonterra to send a further 1.6 million litres by rail to its Whareroa plant. . .

New welfare code to phase out battery cages:

Battery cages for layer hens are to be phased out under a new Code of Welfare released today by Primary Industries Minister David Carter.

From tomorrow (7 December), no new battery cages can be installed by egg producers and a staged phase-out of existing cages will begin.  By 2022, all battery cages will be prohibited.

“Scientific evidence and strong public opinion have made it clear that change is necessary.  We need alternatives to battery cages,” says Mr Carter. . .

Hemp Foods Coming Soon:

 Ashburton based company Oil Seed Extractions Ltd (OSE) has reached another milestone in its rapid rise as the Southern hemisphere’s leading producer and supplier of specialty seed oils and related oilseed products. This milestone relates to a new addition to the companies well established product range – hulled hemp seed.

Following on from other pioneering milestones in its short company history, OSE has become the first NZ company to produce hulled hemp seed in this country. Managing director Andrew Davidson was delighted with the quality of the product produced and was excited at the outcome in the company’s 10th year of business. “It’s great to be involved with the production of such a high quality and nutritious product and it’s even more rewarding for the business knowing the seed has been grown locally in Mid Canterbury, with complete traceability from the planting of the seed, through to the processing and packing of the final finished product”. . .

Nufarm earnings to rise at least 15% on Sth America, currency gains:

Agricultural chemicals manufacturer Nufarm says first-half earnings will rise at least 15% on improved trading in South America and Europe, and foreign exchange gains.

A strong performance in South America and an improved outcome in Europe “will more than offset what is likely to be a weaker first half result in Australia,” managing director Doug Rathbone told shareholders at their annual meeting in Melbourne.

“We remain very confident of generating an improved underlying ebit outcome for the current full year,” he says. . .

Pesky varmints – Wayne Linklater:

Did you know New Zealand has a pest problem?”

New Zealand is waking up from a nightmare to discover it is real. At least 2788 New Zealand species are threatened with extinction. Our iconic native species and their habitats are in trouble because they are being eaten by introduced pests. Cats, rats, possums, stoats and several others are a leading reason why New Zealand has one of the world’s worst records of native species extinction.

We should displace our nightmare with a dream. It is fun to dream and share our dreams. Our Department of Conservation (DoC) is dreaming…

Meeting People Best Bit of Dairy Awards:

 The 2012 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year, Mick O’Connor, says the hardest part about the dairy industry awards is actually entering.

“Once you have done that, there’s no looking back.”

Mr O’Connor, who is contract milking 940 cows at Dunsandel for Dairy Holdings, says the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is great.

“We entered for a number of reasons, but mainly to see where our business was at and where improvement was needed. . .

Super premium honey mead wine launched:

The first “super premium” honey mead wine has been launched on the New Zealand market. It is tagged “premium reserve”, and aged with toasted French oak, and wone best in class at the recent national Fruit Wine Competition. Appropriately named “Excaliber”, the back label describes it as “the Holy Grail of honey mead wine.” It is the latest addition to the Bemrose range of mead wine and liqueurs, produced by Wildfern NZ, which also produces premium cocktail liqueurs.

Excaliber is made from a blend of native honeys, including Manuka honey: the rest are secret. “The quality comes from the exacting standard of balance with which we have selected honeys to give depth and richness with spice, lightness, and vanilla undertones: it is made the way you might make a blended red wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and a touch of Pinot Meuniere”, explains owner and winemaker, Mark Atkin. . .

Another big lift in the Hawke’s Bay beetroot crop:

Early next week Wattie’s in the Hawke’s Bay will begin harvesting its beetroot crop which, at 22,000 tonne, will be 50 percent up on last year.

Wattie’s Crop Supply Agronomist Tim Agnew says that after some cooler temperatures in early and mid- November, warmer weather has had a dramatic effect on the crop, and it is “really kicking away” now.

“We will be harvesting baby beets from around December 10, and the harvest overall will continue through until May next year, although these plants are not yet in the ground. . .

NZB Karaka Premier Sale Catalogue Now Available

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 Karaka Premier Sale catalogue is now available online.

The 2013 Premier Sale catalogue features a hot line-up of 441 yearlings that will be offered over the two-day Sale on Monday 28 & Tuesday 29 January.

With 106 yearlings from stakes-winning mares and 123 siblings to stakes winners, the 2013 Premier Sale features siblings to a number of star performers including:

• 34 siblings to Group 1 winners including the four time Group 1 & 2012 Cox Plate winner Ocean Park (Lot 330) as well as Glamour Puss (Lot 130), Lights of Heaven (Lot 182), El Segundo (Lot 285), Rollout the Carpet (Lot 284), Norzita (Lot 421), Ambitious Dragon (Lot 164) and more. . .


Facts missing from figures

February 11, 2012

The Sunday Star Times put the sale of the Crafar Farms into perspective with a story on how much land has been sold to people from which countries in the last five years.

Figures released by the Overseas Investment Office show that of the 872,313 hectares of gross land sold to foreign interests over the past five years only 223 hectares were sold to Chinese.

People from the landlocked principality of Liechtenstein had purchased 10 times more land than the Chinese – 2,144ha in the same period.

The top buyers were the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Israel. The United States had 194 purchases for a total of 193,208ha.

The figures do not show if there are any New Zealand ownership shares involved.

Nor do the figures show how many of the purchasers were sales from foreigners to foreigners and Inquiring Mind points out the difference between net sales and gross sales.

Nor do they include how much land owned by foreigners was sold back to New Zealanders.

Last week the sale of land to foreigners got a lot of attention but the purchase of foreign-owned shares in Dairy Holdings by New Zealanders has not got nearly as much attention.

Yet this sale brought a 25% share in 58 farms covering nearly 15,000 effective hectares, back into local ownerhsip.

Another omission from the discussion on sales of land to farmers is facts on what they do with it.

A farm in our neighbourhood is owned by  Frenchman. We have friends from Wales and the United States who own land here and whose farming and environemtnal practices and community involvement would put many New Zealand farmers to shame.

It isn’t where the owners come from, it’s what they do with the land that really matters.


Dairy Holdings’ shareholders takeover SCF shares

February 3, 2012

Shareholders of Dairy Holdings Ltd, which owns 58 dairy farms in the South Island, have bought shares in the company which were owned by the collapsed South Canterbury Finance (SCF) and others.

Chairman Bill Baylis said earlier that transactions were due to settle on Thursday and that Overseas Investment Office approval would not be needed. Companies Office records on Friday show that SCF has been removed as a shareholder. It previously had a 33.6 percent stake.

Three UK entities, Pals Plus LLC, NZ Cow Company LLC , and Little Cow Company LLC, have also been removed as shareholders and holdings for existing shareholders Colin Armer and Alan Pye have been amended.

SCF receivers had been trying to sell the Dairy Holdings stake jointly with four other shareholders, creating a 62.5 percent controlling stake but there has been speculation that the existing shareholders had preemptive rights and that the company, rather than the receiver controlled the sale process. . .

Most of Dairy Holdings, farms are in North Otago and Canterbury and unlike the Crafar farms are regarded as being well run.

This news contradicts the rumour circulating earlier this week that the Government Superannuation Fund would buy the shares.


Dairy Holdings’ farms staying in NZ ownership

January 30, 2012

If the sale of the 16 Crafar farms to foreigners exercised the xenophobic, they’d be even more upset by the  prospect of Dairy Holdings’ 58 dairy units on 14,243 effective hectares, milking 43,992 cows to produce approximately 15.18 million kilograms of milk solids.

However, if TVNZ is right the farms will be staying in New Zealand hands.

“I can’t tell you who the buyer will be but I can tell you the Overseas Investment Office won’t be involved,” said Dairy Holdings Chairman Bill Bayliss.

The New Zealand Super Fund is known to have expressed interest in Dairy Holdings and some say that would be a good outcome. . .

Clearly such an investment has been on the radar for the Super Fund. Chief executive Adrian Orr said in 2010 the fund had up to $500 million to invest in rural land over the next five years.

One of the arguments against the sale of the Crafar farms to the Chinese company Pengxin was that it would make farm ownership more difficult for young New Zealanders.

Will there will be a similar level of opposition to Dairy Holdings sale to the super fund for the same reasons?

Whether or not there is, I’m with Federated Farmers chief executive Conor English who says ownership isn’t the issue:

Federated Farmers says while there may be debate around foreign ownership of Kiwi farms – the most important outcome is good farm management.

“They’re managed well in terms of the environmental impact, in terms of economic impact, in terms of how they fit into the community,” said English.

The first two points matter to the whole country and the last one is very important for the neighbourhood.


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