Meet Dairy Women’s Network’s new chair

November 6, 2019

Cathy Brown has stepped down from her role as chair of the Dairy Women’s Network and North Island farmer Karen Forlong has succeeded her.

. . .Dairy Women’s Network CEO Jules Benton said she was looking forward to working more closely with Forlong as “she’s just so passionate about dairy, and in particular women’s role in dairy.”

Benton also paid tribute to the Brown, who has been chair for three years, saying her commitment and support has been invaluable, thanking her for all her efforts and guidance.

“She is not at the front of the bus anymore, but is still on another seat on the bus,” Benton told attendees at last week’s AGM while DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle said she should be proud of all the network has achieved while she has been its chair.

Farming near Atiamuri, Forlong has been a member since the network was formed in 2000, having experienced various roles that includes conference committee involvement in 2005 and 2012 then becoming Conference Chair in 2014, participation in the Agri-Women’s Development Trust Escalator Program, a leadership and governance programme for women involved in primary industries and rural communities and is Chair of Vetora BoP, a incorporated society vet club with a 75 year history in the Rotorua region.

“I really appreciate what a great privilege it is to find myself in this position now,” she said. “I’m a really inclusive person, and something I’ve learnt from our previous chair Cathy and hold very dear is the fact that the gold is always in the room.”

I see myself as the conductor of a great orchestra, and I’m not actually playing an instrument, I’m just there to bring all of the fabulous components together.”

She says women in dairy can find their sense of belonging and tribe at Dairy Women’s Network. “It was a phone call from Pattie O’Boyle in 2000 asking me to be part of the first meeting of the regional group for Rotorua that gave me a place to land, a tribe, somewhere that was safe and was a place of trust.”

“Dairy Women’s Network realises life is not a series of silo’s but is the complexity of many things coming into balance; family, people, the team, the community, animals, environment and financial wellbeing that are all are reliant on each other.”

“Connection is the cornerstone of a strong culture and our rural communities and Dairy Women’s Network is a connector as it delivers through face-to-face connections and through technology and online engagement.”

“The Dairy Women’s Network as place to land is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.  That place needs to feel inclusive, that it will stand with you on your journey, support you, bring to the table the truth and separate the noise from the facts and impart clear and concise  .”

She stressed that Dairy Women’s Network needs to grow leaders, to be the enabler and the cheerleader behind the voices of the future, taking on the role as story tellers.

“The industry needs an engaged, full noise voice,” she said.  “One that is consolidated, unified, loud and proud.  We as a Network need to be part of the collaborative approach for our future and as women we are intrinsically wired to function in this state, so we have a responsibility to use this skill and drive it, unrelentingly.”

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Rural round-up

October 2, 2019

Are the water proposals a done-deal? – Mark Daniel:

Big questions have been raised by farmers at an environmental roadshow on the Government’s freshwater proposals.

What’s the difference between a dairy heifer and a beef heifer? It depends. Not a lot if you’re changing from a dairy to a beef operation, as it’s not a problem.

But a change from beef to dairy heifer rearing is demanding and will likely require resource consent as it’s likely to be considered intensification. . . 

Tatua pays $8.50/kgMS for last season’s milk:

Waikato milk processor Tatua has announced a final payout of $8.50/kgMS for last season, beating all other processors including Fonterra.

The co-op, supplied by 107 shareholder farms, achieved record group income of $364 million and earnings of $140 million in 2018-19. Milksolids processed from Tatua suppliers was 14.5 million kgMS, which is our divisor for earnings.

This was lower than the prior season, due to extended dry summer conditions across our milk supply area. . .

Work to control ryegrass flowering :

A quintessential Kiwi landscape usually includes green pastures dotted with livestock munching on healthy, vibrant grass.

Those green fields are generally full of ryegrass and in late spring the ryegrass flowers. When it does, it is no longer as nutritious for the livestock feeding on it.

A research project from the University of Otago’s department of biochemistry is aiming to develop a ryegrass that does not flower on-farm.

That project, headed by Associate Prof Richard Macknight and Dr Lynette Brownfield, was this month awarded $999,999 by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) Endeavour Fund “Smart Ideas”
programme. . .

Agcarm affirms safety of glysophate:

Glyphosate is used in New Zealand by farmers, councils and home gardeners. It has recorded more than 40 years of safe use and has been the subject of over 800 studies, all of which have confirmed its safety.

The herbicide offers effective and safe weed control, is low-volatility and degrades quickly in soil. It continues to be rigorously tested by regulators in New Zealand and throughout the world, with over 160 countries approving its safe use.

At the heart of the hype that questions the safety of the herbicide, is a misleading classification by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) made in 2015. IARC classifies substances using terms such as ‘possibly’ or ‘probably’ carcinogenic to define the potential hazard of a substance. This has led to several everyday products, including coffee, bacon and talcum powder, being categorised as ‘possibly carcinogenic’.  But the IARC report is not a risk assessment – it is the type and extent of human exposure that determines the actual risk. . .

Financial workshops aiming to empower dairy farmers planned by Dairy Women’s Network:

Helping dairy farmers gain a better understanding of their farming business and strengthening the relationship with their accountant is the focus of 10 workshops throughout New Zealand being run by the Dairy Women’s Network with support from NZ CA and CRS Software.

“As a not for profit organisation we have a focus of supporting woman in dairying in New Zealand to be the best they can be both on and off farm,” Dairy Women’s Network CEO Jules Benton said. . .

Producing food and capturing carbon – Arty Mangan:

An interview with Ariel Greenwood, a “feral agrarian” and grazer who manages a herd of cattle while restoring ecosystems.

Describe where you work.

I live and work on a 3,000-acre research preserve in the inter-coastal Mayacamas mountain range region of Sonoma County. Pepperwood has around 1,000 acres of open grassland, another several hundred of mixed oak woodland mosaic, deciduous and evergreen, and some serpentine outcropping, and then some dense dark woodlands. We actually have, I think, the eastern most stand of redwoods in the County. There’s a lot of bay trees and scrubby chaparral too in its own natural state. It’s a really breathtaking and in many ways really challenging landscape.

Pepperwood is a private operating research and ecological preserve. Really, every aspect from the vegetation to the soil to the broader watershed, and then even more largely the climate that we’re situated in is monitored and researched here with staff and other visiting researchers, so it’s very much a progressive conservation-oriented place. This is considered quite a robust eco-tone, the meeting of several different environments. . .


Our People: Their Stories

September 6, 2019

Dairy Women’s Network has launched a story telling project:

Looking to create deep emotional connections is the drive behind the Dairy Women’s Network launch of a new visual story telling project, OUR PEOPLE. THEIR STORIES.

“We are rolling out a series of short motivating visual stories, professionally produced, over our social channels and platforms,” Dairy Women’s Network CEO Jules Benton said.  “We are treating them like a mini television series and some of the content will also be used to pitch to mainstream media as well.”

Benton said the OUR PEOPLE. THEIR STORIES project was part of a new strategic focus for the Dairy Women’s Network using visual storytelling to create deeper engagement with its members and ultimately the dairy industry.

“From a young age we learn to love being told a great story,” she said. “Stories create deep emotional connections and they start conversations. We are committed to visually telling stories that will transport and touch people, inspire, educate and engage and provoke an emotional response.”

The first story featuring nine year old Lucy O’Reilly, who prefers the latest dairy farming catalogues to children’s books, will be released to coincide with the Dairy Women’s Network new website launch on 3rd September 2019. Lucy has her own herd and loves nothing more than helping out on the farm near Tirau in the Waikato.

“We all just fell in love with Lucy,” Benton said. “Her story is real, authentic and is from the heart.  We sent some early footage to SEVEN SHARP that resulted in Hilary Barry coming down to the O’Reilly’s farm to spend a morning with Lucy for her Hilary Helps segment that ended up being the story of the week for the show.”

Benton said each story will have a different unique angle that will make it special. “We want to showcase all the differing elements of the agri-industry in New Zealand, and how women are making a substantial difference to the success of dairy businesses that contribute to a better New Zealand; there are some amazing stories we can’t wait to show.”

“The Dairy Women’s Network is driven and inspired by people who are actively involved in the agri industry at all levels. By celebrating news, achievements and shared experiences, our members and wider rural communities are empowered to strive for more.”

What a wonderful initiative and a wonderful story to start the project.

Emotions beat facts but this has emotion and facts.


Previewing World Milk Day

May 31, 2019


Rural round-up

May 2, 2019

Wearing wool is better for skin than synthetics -Heather Chalmers:

Wearing natural fibres like wool is not only better for the environment, but also your skin health, research shows.

AgResearch bio-product and fibre technology science team leader Stewart Collie said wool was the world’s most sophisticated fibre in terms of its structure and composition. “These give the wool fibre its amazing functionality.”

For the skin health project, AgResearch created special garments that had the upper back portion split in two, with one half made from wool and the other polyester. . . 

Primary Teacher and passionate environmentalist named Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year:

Primary Teacher and passionate environmentalist Trish Rankin from Taranaki is the 2019 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

The prestigious dairy award was announced the Allflex Dairy Women’s Network’s conference gala awards dinner in Christchurch this evening.

The other finalists were Kylie Leonard who farms north of Taupo, Julie Pirie from Ngatea in the Waikato and Southlander Emma Hammond. . . 

Dung beetle role in protecting waterways – Jono Edwards:

Dung beetles could provide the helping hand the region needs for disposing of farm faeces and protecting waterways, Otago Regional councillor Andrew Noone says.

Cr Noone said he was first introduced to the use of the bugs for managing animal waste on farms by a member of the public.

He is now pushing for the council to investigate their usefulness and potentially bring in subsidies for their wider introduction in Otago.

The beetles create small balls out of the manure and bury them in the ground which helps it to break down. . . 

High country steers the stars – Alan Williams:

Weaner steers sold very strongly at the annual Coalgate high-country calf sale in Canterbury on Wednesday.

A lot of calves sold for moe than $3.70/kg and up to just over $4 as buyers sought high-quality offerings from farm stations that have built excellent reputations.

“It’s our best steer sale so far,” Hazlett Rural general manager Ed Marfell said.

It was also one of the last sales of the weaner season in Canterbury and buyers decided they were better to pay up rather than risk missing out.

“We’ve got these renowned stations, great reputations and repeat buyers keep coming back,” Marfell said. . . 

Studs join in for bull walk:

Bull buyers are being promised value, variety and volume at next week’s King Country Big Bull Walk.

“That’s our tagline. We’re a big area and we’re telling buyers from outside King Country that if they come to our sales they will find something that suits them,” co-ordinator Tracey Neal said.

The walk is a series of open days on stud farms on May 6, 7 and 9 ahead of the on-farm sales in the last week of May. Neal reports good interest.

About 500 rising two-year bulls will be shown at18 studs taking part and about 330 of them will be offered at the on-farm sales held by 13 of the studs. The other studs will sell their bulls in the paddock or through sale yards.  . . 

Shift to managing individual sheep – Yvonne O’Hara:

There is a global shift to managing sheep at an individual level rather than a flock level, Lincoln University’s Professor in Animal Breeding and Genetics Jon Hickford says.

Prof Hickford said EID tags and scanner technology allowed the recording of an individual animal’s performance and production values throughout its life.

The technology would be a useful tool to improve overall production for commercial flocks, he said.

”Rather than having a flock of nameless individuals, every sheep has their own identity.” . . 

Water prices are ‘selling farmers down the river’ – Tony Wright:

Another day’s heartless sun is sinking to the horizon, not a cloud in the sky, and Mick Clark’s nuggety body is throwing a long shadow over his parched land north of Deniliquin.

The feedlot that not so long ago held 1000 fat lambs is empty. There is no crop planted on the property that has been in his family’s hands for three generations.

“I’ve parked all the farm equipment up in the sheds and I’ve gone and got myself a job driving a tractor for a bloke,” he says.

Mick Clark has made a vow.

“So far as I’m concerned, the supermarket shelves in the city can go empty,” he says. “I’m not going to spend $600 a megalitre of water to keep farming just to go broke.” . . 

Science shows Kiwi cows have the edge on their US cousins – Glen Herud:

Did you know that New Zealand cows are smarter than American cows?

That’s a potentially defamatory statement but if I ever get sued by a litigious group of American dairy farmers or their cows, I think I’d have the proof to defend myself in court.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 75 per cent of US calves are raised in individual pens or hutches.

The calves are separated from their mothers and put into a little pen with a shelter at one end and milk teat or bucket at the other end. They spend their first eight weeks in this pen by themselves until weaning. . . 


Loshni Manikam Fonterra Dairy Woman of Year

March 23, 2018

Southland dairy leadership coach Loshni Manikam is the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

The human behaviour and leadership expert took out the 2018 title from an impressive line-up which included Tararua district mayor Tracey Collis and Hawke’s Bay dairy consultant Rachel Baker. The awards ceremony was held last night in Rotorua as part of a gala dinner at the Dairy Women’s Network’s annual conference, which also marked the Network’s 20th year.

Manikam, originally from South Africa, milks 600 cows with her husband and three children in Winton, Southland. In 2007 they were named Southland Sharemilker of the Year, before progressing to their current equity partnership.

A former lawyer, Manikam transitioned from dairy farming to leadership coaching after receiving her coach certification in 2012. She is the founding director of Iceberg Coaching and a strategic consultant for Farmstrong, working to support the wellbeing of farming communities.

She is a trustee of the Southern Dairy Development Trust, a coach and facilitator of the Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Escalator Programme, and a Federated Farmers Southland executive member.

Dairy Women’s Network CEO Zelda de Villiers says Manikam has a unique ability to engage with communities and stakeholders at a range of levels.

“What stood out to us was Loshni’s dedication to growing leadership among farming communities, and her determination to change the headspace in which farmers operate – that they are more than what they do, they are not just their farms and their bottom lines,” says de Villiers.

“Loshni strives to be part of change in the industry, and she combines her grassroots experience and enthusiasm with her ability to engage at the highest levels. She is well-deserving of the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year title.”

Manikam says receiving the title is proof positive that the success of “an ordinary dairy farming woman” can translate far and wide. “It shows you can raise a family and still progress through the industry, reach the top, and have a say at industry level,” she says.

She says it’s an honour to be recognised for her work. “I am most passionate about people and their untapped potential. It really excites me how growing people’s awareness of their own strengths has such a positive and far-reaching impact on everyone around them.

“I see a real need in our industry to better understand the importance and benefits – both financial and non-financial – of prioritising and developing people.

“I’m passionate about effecting change by working alongside industry leaders and farming communities. I think it’s important to first build relationships and understand each group’s drivers before collaborating for change, and I hope the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year title will allow a few more doors to open to allow that to keep happening.”

As Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Manikam receives a scholarship prize of up to $20,000 to undertake a professional/business development programme, sponsored by Fonterra.

The award was presented by Miles Hurrell, Chief Operating Officer at Fonterra. He says the award, and associated scholarship, is an investment in the future of New Zealand dairy farming.

“We are proud to support, celebrate and help develop the women in dairying who, like Fonterra, set high standards for themselves and for our industry,” says Mr Hurrell.

“Loshni is another outstanding dairy woman to add to the ranks of previous recipients of the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award. On behalf of Fonterra I wish her all the best and I have no doubt we will see more great things from her in the near future. I would also like to congratulate the other finalists Tracey and Rachel and acknowledge the contribution they have made, and continue to make, to our industry.”

 


Rural round-up

February 27, 2018

Kellogg report puts a human face on small rural business challenges – Kate Taylor:

There are challenges facing people with small rural businesses all over the world.

But in rural New Zealand, it is not always easy to solve them in isolation.

Rural people know how special rural New Zealand is, that’s why we fight so hard to stay out there running businesses alongside our farms or lifestyle blocks or within our homes.

I say we, because I own a small rural business. When I’m not writing for NZ Farmer I’m a freelance writer – communiKate – and I have been self-employed in rural Hawke’s Bay for almost 18 years. . . 

School introduces agribusiness as subject – Sally Rae:

The introduction of agribusiness as a subject at Kavanagh College signals “exciting times” in education, head of commerce Jill Armstrong says.

On Friday, pupils from the Dunedin school visited origin verification company Oritain, animal parasite diagnostics company Techion Group and Duncan and Anne-Marie Wells’ dairy farm on the Taieri.

It was a “fantastic” field trip and followed on from the introduction of agribusiness as a subject at NCEA level 2 this year, Ms Armstrong said.

At Oritain, Sam Lind gave an overview of the company and why it had become so important  for businesses to be protected from fraud. . . 

Top dairy women announced as finalists for Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award:

A dairy consultant, a district mayor, and a leadership coach are finalists in the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year awards.

Hawke’s Bay dairy consultant Rachel Baker, Tararua district mayor Tracey Collis, and Southland dairy leadership coach Loshni Manikam are in the running for the coveted dairy award, which will be announced at an awards ceremony during Dairy Women’s Network’s conference in Rotorua on Thursday 22 March. . . 

Local leaders recognised by Dairy Women’s Network:

Two women with generations of farming experience behind them are finalists in the 2018 Dairy Community Leadership Awards.

They are dairy farmers Kylie Leonard, from Reporoa in the Central Plateau, and Lorraine Stephenson, from Dannevirke in Manawatu.

The Dairy Community Leadership Awards are a Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) initiative recognising the unsung heroes of rural communities. This year’s award will be presented at an awards ceremony during the Network’s conference in Rotorua, 22-23 March.

Sponsored by ASB and Tompkins Wake, the award recognises the voluntary role dairy farming women have in leading their communities and sharing their time and skills beyond the farm gate. . . 

Fears for seed industry after red clover moth found nationwide – Eva Corlett:

A moth that attacks red clover, with “devastating” effects has now been found nationwide.

The red clover casebearer moth was first discovered in Auckland two years ago. It has now been found in pheromone traps at the bottom of the South Island, leading researchers to believe it has actually been in the country for around 10 years.

The larvae eats the red clover’s seed, spurring fears for the seed industry, the seed research manager for the Foundation of Arable Research Richard Chynoweth said. . . 

Sports award finalist acknowledges teamwork – Sally Rae:

Jude McNab isn’t one to seek the limelight.

In fact, the Owaka-based shearing sports administrator much prefers to be “behind the scenes and hidden under the table”. But she acknowledged that being named as a finalist for this year’s Norwood New Zealand Rural Sports Awards — in the contribution to the rural sports industry category — was a “real honour”, despite deflecting attention from herself.

“I don’t do this on my own. It’s a team effort with everything. I’m probably the bossy britches,” she laughed.

The awards were about celebrating traditional sports and the people who kept events running year-in and year-out in towns and settlements across the country. . . 

Rural recycling a no-brainer – Simon Andrew:

Supporting farmers and growers to clear more waste and preserve New Zealand farms for future generations is the mission of the rural recycling programme, Agrecovery.

In tackling the plastic used by our rural communities, the leading product stewardship programme recycles over 300 tonnes per year. “That is enough plastic to cover a rugby field six feet high,” says Agrecovery General Manager, Simon Andrew. . . 

It’s time to tell the world about British farming – and heal our rural-urban divide – Minette Batters:

Farming is changing. In all the talk of technology reshaping society, some might have assumed that farming would have been left untouched by this rapid pace of change. But there has been revolution and evolution in the fields of Britain. An agricultural revolution, with the introduction of new productivity-enhancing technologies, and a food evolution, with a relentless drive for high standards. . .

 

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