Rural round-up

September 1, 2015

‘Water is the next gold’ where expectations and dreams become reality – Kate Taylor:

After starting his working life in a family motor business, Jerry Greer took up farming with a young family and a determination to make a success of his new vocation.

“I had always had a yearning for the land, loved working with animals and loved being outside,” he says.

Jerry and wife Diana love the life they have created in the Argyll East farming district, between Tikokino and Waipawa, and being close to their four children and four grandchildren.

All have an interest in farming, Diana says. . . 

Working on cost of irrigation scheme – Lynda van Kempen

Good things take time, say the promoters of the Manuherikia irrigation scheme.

Feedback will be sought from landowners on revised figures by Christmas, after the estimated costs of the scheme upgrade almost trebled from initial estimates, forcing a rethink of the design and costs.

”It’s taking a bit longer than we’d have liked, but we’ll keep working at it until we’ve got a scheme that’s economic,” Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group chairman Allan Kane said yesterday. . . 

Former Southland District mayor Frana Cardno’s final gift – Blake Foden:

Frana Cardno’s life was all about giving, and the former Southland District mayor has left her beloved province one final gift.

Three generations of Cardno’s family joined her close friends, members of the community and complete strangers to plant 329 trees on the shores of Lake Te Anau on Saturday afternoon.

A former kindergarten teacher who led the region for more than 20 years, Cardno organised her funeral during her battle with cancer. She asked that mourners dressed in colourful clothing and brought a donation of native trees and shrubs. . . 

Silver Fern Farms won’t rule out foreign investment:

The country’s largest meat co-operative, Silver Fern Farms, is not ruling out foreign investment as part of its capital raising process.

Silver Fern Farms is seeking about $100 million in new funding to help reduce debt and has appointed the stockbroking firm Goldman Sachs to help with that process.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he had been made aware Chinese investors want at least a $100 million stake in the company. . .

DairyNZ board candidates put forward

Ten candidates have put their names forward for the three positions up for grabs on the DairyNZ board.

Four farmer candidates have also put their name forward for the three seats on DairyNZ’s directors’ remuneration committee.

Results from the double election would be announced at the DairyNZ Annual General Meeting in Morrinsville on October 13. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 24, 2015

Increased focus on rural depression:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have today announced increased training for rural health professionals and community leaders to tackle depression in rural communities.

The commitment is the second part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced at Fieldays.

“Raising awareness of mental health issues in rural communities is important, but you also need the professional support with the right skills to help those who are at risk,” says Dr Coleman. . . 

TPP deal to free up world dairy trade would reduce volatility:

DairyNZ chairman John Luxton writes that major TPP players are holding their dairy consumers to ransom

The news that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal has not been agreed because of differences over autos, dairy and intellectual property is no surprise to anyone.

Some of the major players have sought to maintain trade protection rather than to reduce it.

It seems incredible that the US dairy industry has so far convinced the US negotiators that they need to be protected from any increase in New Zealand dairy imports into the US. . . 

Back to basics – Annette Scott:

Dwindling demand from dairy has forced cropping farmers to readjust their businesses in a return to traditional practices and markets.

Dairy industry destocking would result in reduced demand for off-farm feed supplies and that would mean greater demand for store lambs, Federated Farmers arable industry chairman Guy Wigley said.

With tongue in cheek he suggested now could be a good time to buy sheep. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand pleased with health and safety changes:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand says sheep and beef farmers will be pleased to hear that most farms are not going to be classed as high risk work places and won’t have to have a health and safety representative, following changes to the proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill.

Responding to suggestions that farmers are getting getting off lightly, Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman James Parsons said sheep and beef farms average fewer than two full time employees per farm.

“Can you imagine the farm manager and the shepherd standing on a hill and electing the health and safety representative? Not classifying farms as high risk doesn’t exempt farm businesses from any liability under the Health and Safety Reform Bill. But the amendment does recognise some basic practicalities of implementing the legislation on farms.” . . 

A2 Milk eyes infant formula for sales growth after ASX listing costs result in loss – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co sees more upside for infant formula, which underpinned full-year sales growth for the specialty milk marketing company, although costs for a secondary listing on the ASX resulted in an annual loss. The shares dropped 9.1 percent.

The Auckland-based company reported a net loss of $2.09 million in the year ended June 30, compared to a profit of $10,000 a year earlier. That included a $1.68 million charge relating to its ASX listing. Revenue jumped 40 percent to $155 million and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and one-time costs rose 35 percent to $4.18 million, reflecting a record performance in Australia.

The shares sank 7 cents to 70 cents, the lowest level in a month. . .

Rural Infrastructure needs to be a priority:

The government appears to be on the same page as Federated Farmers, with their announcement of their 30 Year Infrastructure Plan today.

Anders Crofoot, Federated Farmers Infrastructure Spokesperson says “Rural infrastructure will need to be a priority in looking at addressing the inefficiencies in infrastructure investment and planning.”

Federated Farmers supports the intent to better understand where the critical demands are and to make better decisions from that knowledge, but remain wary of what that strategy means for rural communities. . .

Water New Zealand welcomes Government’s 30 year infrastructure plan:

Water New Zealand welcomes the Government’s initiatives for better developing and maintaining New Zealand’s 3 waters infrastructure announced today as part of the 30 Year Infrastructure Plan 2015.

Water New Zealand is a strategic partner of the Treasury’s National Infrastructure Unit which produced the report*.

“New Zealand’s urban centres are rapidly growing and it is very encouraging to see that Central Government is facing the infrastructure challenges head on with an increased focus on developing a better understanding of water related infrastructure assets,” said John Pfahlert, CEO of Water New Zealand. . .

Science turns to sheep for answers on human health –  Sarah Stewart:

If you’ve ever tried to lose a few kilos you probably know all about fat and carbs.

But did you know you can learn a lesson or two from sheep?

A group of Kiwi scientists are finding they have much more to tell us about our health than we might think.

The saying ‘ you are what you eat’ has been around for years.

But there may in fact be a chance your health is actually determined by what your parents or even grandparents ate.

There is also a chance what you eat could affect what illnesses your kids get. . . 

Collaboration Key for Canterbury Dry Land Farmers:

In the last couple of months over 250 farmers and their advisors have attended a range of workshops, field events and presentations across four sub-catchments in the Hurunui Waiau Zone – which fits within the area of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.

The workshops included initial work around developing, designing and forming a ‘Collective’ for dry land farmers, linked to the Beef+Lamb NZ Farm Environment Plan and broader environmental programmes. Under the Hurunui Waiau River Regional plan, ‘for farmers to continue to farm without a consent from 1 January 2017,’ they will be required to be a member of a Collective or Irrigation Scheme. In addition, the Collective will need to develop an approved Environmental Management Strategy. . . 


Rural round-up

August 8, 2015

Removal of subsidies and tariffs to boost NZ farm incomes – econfix: (Hat tip: Utopia)

With most of the attention has been focused on the TPP the 161 countries of the World Trade Organisation had set a deadline of the end of July to agree on a “work programme” to substantially complete the Doha round of global trade talks later this year.

Launched in 2001, the Doha round was to pick up where the Uruguay round of global trade liberalisation left off six years earlier. The deadlock in negotiations is ultimately down to a belief that the EU and the US and the large developing countries of China, Brazil and India have each given up more than its fair share in liberalising agricultural trade and the other side should do more. . .

Canterbury dairy farms facing big bills as milk payout crashes:

South Canterbury farmer Ben Jaunay is “farming for free” and facing losing hundreds of thousands of dollars if milk prices keep falling.

Banks are tipping dairy giant Fonterra’s payout for its latest financial year to go below $4 a kilogram. The value of whole milk powder dropped sharply at Fonterra’s global commodity auction this week, increasing fears for its payout forecast on Friday.

Jaunay manages more than 3000 cows on two properties near Timaru.  . .  

Collaboration Paying Off For New Zealand’s Avocado Industry:

Plans to quadruple sales of New Zealand avocados by 2023 is off to a roaring start with the industry almost hitting the half way mark last season with a record 7.1m trays worth $135m harvested during 2014-15 season.

Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, Jen Scoular, says the goal is to achieve $280m worth of sales by 2023 through a five year Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

“Confidence is riding high, and the industry is on track to achieve the PGP objectives and significantly boost avocado sales and productivity in less than ten years,” says Scoular. . .

 Russian ‘food crematoria’ provoke outrage amid crisis:

Russian government plans for mass destruction of banned Western food imports have provoked outrage in a country where poverty rates are soaring and memories remainof famine during Soviet times.

Even some Kremlin allies are expressing shock at the idea of “food crematoria” while one Orthodox priest has denounced the campaign, which officially began on Thursday, as insane and sinful. However, the authorities are determined to press on with destroying illegal imports they consider “a security threat”. . .

Pipfruit industry continues to ripen:

The boom behind the apple industry’s growth in recent years is being put down to new export markets and varieties.

Apple exports were worth more than $530 million in 2014, and the industry has a goal to reach $1 billion by 2022.

Ministry for Primary Industries chief assurance strategy officer Bill Jolly told the pipfruit industry conference in Wellington the industry’s growth was finally looking rosy.

“For ten years, we sort of stuck around that $320-360m mark, and then suddenly we got a real jump in 2012, and you guys have been going great guns ever since. The growth in this industry has been absolutely spectacular.” . .

Big increase in rural broadband for Wellington region:

Communications Minister Amy Adams says nearly 10,500 homes, workplaces and schools in rural parts of Wellington now have access to faster, more reliable broadband.

The latest results for the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) as at 30 June 2015 were released today.

“By 2016, 90 per cent of New Zealand homes and businesses outside the Ultra-Fast Broadband phase one footprint will have access to better broadband,” Ms Adams says. . .

 

New certification scheme for dairy farm systems consultants:

A certification scheme designed to give farmers confidence in the quality and standard of the advice they receive from their dairy farm systems consultants was launched today at the New Zealand Institute for Primary Industries Management (NZIPIM) national conference in Ashburton.

Development of the scheme has involved a collaborative partnership between DairyNZ, leading dairy farm systems consultants, and NZIPIM, who will continue to be involved in developing and testing the scheme’s assessment tools and associated training to ensure the material is kept current and relevant to the profession. . .

 

 


Rural round-up: payout edition

August 8, 2015

Fonterra forecasts $3.85:

Fonterra suppliers will get a total possible payout of $4.85/kg of milksolids this season – but there’s a catch.

The farmgate milk price is $3.85/kg MS with a predicted dividend of 40-50 cents then an extra 50 cents for each fully shared kilogram giving a total of $4.85/kg MS.

But the extra 50 cents is a loan, interest-free for up to two years, which farmers will have to apply for. Farmers would have to pay the money back when the Farmgate Milk Price or Advance Rate went above $6/kg MS.

Shareholders’ Council Welcomes Fonterra Shareholder Support Package Announced as Milk Price Plummets:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Duncan Coull said the Co-operatives unique position has enabled it to provide assistance to its farmers in these tough times. The announced support package in the form of an interest free loan of 50 cents per kgMS for production between June and December will help farmers get through the tough times ahead.

While Fonterra Farmers were expecting a drop in the forecast Milk Price (down $ 1.40 per kg/MS to $ 3.85) it does not make today’s announcement any easier to bear. The dividend forecast of 40 – 50 cents per share lifts the total available for payout to $4.25 – $ 4.35 per kgMs. The retention policy means that the forecast Cash Payout for the season would be in the range of $ 4.15 – $ 4.20 for a fully shared up farmer. . .

Interest-free loans soften payout hit – Fran O’Sullivan:

Fonterra’s top brass cooked up a $430 million parachute so that the dairy co-operative could offer farmers a cushion for yesterday’s brutal cut to the forecast milk payment.

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings and chief financial officer Lukas Paravicini began work on the deal five to six days ago along with a couple of the co-operative’s farmer directors.

The upshot was that the Fonterra board was able to yesterday tick off a plan to leverage savings from the company’s transformation project and pump them out to farmers in the form of interest free loans. . .

Plan – do more and work longer – Neal Wallace:

Gerald Holmes concedes he will be a grumpy employer this milking season.

The Taieri dairy farmer has been through downturns before and said the biggest change he will make on his 600-cow farm is to become more self-sufficient.

“It is easy to say no to everything regardless of how reasonable the expense is.”

Gone this season are the days of calling in a plumber, mechanic or electrician to repair equipment.  . .

Times just get tougher for dairy industry – Sally Rae:

”If it continues into next year, … it’s going to be ugly for a lot of people. There will be casualties eventually.”

That was the sobering response of Berwick dairy farmer Mark McLennan on a day dubbed ”Black Friday” for the dairy industry, with Fonterra slashing its 2015-16 forecast price to $3.85 per kg of milk solids, the lowest figure since 2002.

DairyNZ’s latest analysis showed an average farmer needed $5.40 per kg to break even. . .

Fonterra revises down milk price to $3.85 – Tao Lin  and Gerald Piddock:

Fonterra’s decision to slash the price it pays its farmers for milk solids will wipe $2.5 billion off the economy, an analyst says.

Fonterra has cut its milk price forecast to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, down from $5.25.

Fonterra has also announced it will provide an estimated $430 million in financial support for farmers to help them cope with the low payout. . .

It is tough down on the farm – Regan Schoultz:

Craig Maxwell, his wife Kathy, and their daughter Penelope have been living on their dairy farm in Paparimu just south of Auckland for 25 years.

It is a big part of who they are as people and a lot of time, blood and sweat has been poured into it.

News of Fonterra’s announcement, informing New Zealanders that the farmgate milk price is set at $3.85, is not welcome.

“It is obviously disappointing but not surprising,” he said. “Nobody is going to be shocked by that figure, but no one is going to be happy.” . .

Milk price drop will have big impact on rural communities:

Rural businesses, not just dairy farmers, will feel a big impact from Fonterra’s announcement today that its 2015-16 Forecast Farmgate Milk Price is reducing from $5.25 to $3.85, says industry body DairyNZ.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the drop means a further reduction of $150,000 for the average dairy farm income for this season. “The harsh reality of this announcement is that Fonterra farmers won’t actually receive $4.25-$4.35 because of the way the payment system works. It’s likely to be more like $3.65,” he says. (see graph below for more details)

“The effect on the level of payments over a season will keep farmers’ cash income constrained for at least the next 18 months and it will take some farmers many years to recover from these low milk prices. . .

Massive fluctations in milk price show NZ’s dairy model ‘flawed’, Landcorp boss Carden says – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – A $4.55 swing in the forecast milk price paid to farmers over two seasons shows there’s something wrong with New Zealand’s dairy model, which is centred around farmer-owned Fonterra Cooperative Group, and it needs to change, says Landcorp Farming chief executive Steve Carden.

Fonterra today slashed $1.40 from its forecast payout to farmers to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, below the 2015 season’s $4.40/kgMS and less than half the record $8.40/kgMS paid in 2014. A slump in global milk prices through the course of the year had markets primed for a reduced payout, and state-owned Landcorp, the country’s biggest farmer, was pleased to lock in as much as it could at Fonterra’s $5.25/kgMS guaranteed milk price for the current season.

Landcorp’s Carden said the Wellington-based state-owned enterprise had been anticipating a weak revision for a while, so today’s result wasn’t a surprise. . .

Government should fast-track rural infrastructure to assist dairy regions:

Federated Farmers wants the Government to fast-track its infrastructure projects in dairy regions to assist local economies through the downturn in dairy prices.

Fonterra has announced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for 2015/16 of $3.85 per kilo of milk solids. In late July last year Fonterra’s forecast price was at $6 per kilo for the 2014/15 season.

Federated Farmers Dairy Spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says small scale rural service industries, such as engineering or contracting, in some instances might be hit harder than the dairy farmers they traditionally rely on for work. . .

‘Black Friday’ will mean huge debt for farmers – Emma Jolliff:

Today has been dubbed ‘Black Friday’ not just for dairy farmers, but the whole New Zealand economy.

Fonterra has slashed its forecast payout to farmers to $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, which is well below the break-even rate of $5.70.

Economists say it could strip $1.5 billion or more out of the New Zealand economy.

Sally Bosch has been sharemilking for eight years.  She knew a drop in the payout was coming, but not one this big. . .

Farmers cashing up assets – Dene Mackenzie:

Otago dairy farmers are selling what they can to generate cash flow as they face up to an immediate prospect of lower milk payout prices for the next 18 months to two years.

Holiday homes, second cars and unneeded plant and equipment have been the first on the block but accountants contacted yesterday by the Otago Daily Times say more, harder decisions will need to be made by some farmers.

Fonterra will this afternoon announce what many expect to be a sharply downgraded milk payout forecast for the current season. . .

 

 

 


Keep calm and dairy on

August 7, 2015

Fonterra will announce a drop in its forecast payout today.

Whatever it is,  it will be below break-even for all but the very leanest of operations.

However, it is important to keep it in perspective. Most farmers will be facing a cash flow problem not an equity one.

There have been eight big drops in payouts in the last 40 years and only three of them have led to significant falls in land values. Those were during the ag-sag of the 80s, the Asian crisis in the late 90s and the GFC when the rest of the country and most of the world were in trouble too.

Providing farmers keep talking to and working with their bankers they will be willing to help them through the next season or two until the milk price improves.

Only then will they will focus on any structural problems because in spite of the rhetoric from the Chicken-Littles, banks aren’t going to be forcing people off their farms if there are alternatives. That would not only be bad for the banks and the troubled clients it would have a depressing affect on land values which would then start biting the equity in other farms.

There’s no doubt this season will be a test of farmer resilience:

The possible milk payout forecast by DairyNZ CEO Tim Mackle, based on Open Country, of $4 per kilogram of milk solids has the potential to hit the average dairy farm by $250K according to KPMG analysis. . .

This projected price level will sorely test farm system resilience and confidence according to KPMG Farm Enterprise specialist Roger Wilson.
“The Individual impacts will vary depending on farm system and debt.” says Wilson, “The outlook is tough but this is the time to apply some science and really examine the options.”

A lot of farms are actually adaptable and resilient and the smart farmers can be very responsive even in the short term. With stronger beef prices farmers may look at incorporating an element of dry stock farming, particularly if dairy herd sizes are reduced.

Where there’s crisis there’s also opportunity.

The KPMG Farm Enterprise team are already seeing proactive farmers using a combination of reducing the use of supplements and fertiliser, and lowering stock numbers and the reliance on off-farm grazing.

The big call is stock numbers where a one off cull of 10-20% of cows post calving might be a good option. Critically this has a one off cash flow benefit, and tightens the operating budget without impacting capacity in 24 months.

Roger Wilson says, “Expect this to contribute to a reduction in milk supply for 2015/16 which is forecast to provide Fonterra with a bit more flexibility at its end.”

The reduction in supply should contribute to improved operating performance for dairy companies in 2014/15. Fonterra is already running at full capacity which limits its product optimisation options. With increased capacity and reduced supply Fonterra will have the flexibility to move a much higher proportion of product into high value streams and drive a much better EBIT number.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that returns across the balance of the industry are still in a good place, 60% plus of the primary sector is booming, this shouldn’t be overlooked.

Red meat, pipfruit, kiwifruit and wine are all selling well and in spite of the hit the economy will take from the dairying downturn, it is still growing.

That said, this season will be difficult.

Sharemilkers are at risk if they have a lot of debt. Farmers who want to retain good people in the industry need to work with their sharemilkers and the banks to help them through the downturn.

The low payout will hurt people who service and supply dairy farms, including other farmers who provide supplementary feed or grazing. Some of these will be able to make the most of good beef prices.

The wider economy will also feel the pinch as farmers reduce their costs and cut back on expenditure where they can.

A banker told me one of his dairy clients regularly uses 80 other businesses, most of them smaller ones, and all of those will be hit as their bigger customers stop spending.

Dairying accounts for a bit more than 20% of our exports and around 5% of the economy.

The downturn has already spread off-farm but unlike the downturns in the 80s, 90s and noughties, the root of this one is one is largely confined to dairying.

Dairy farmers, sharemilkers and those who get most of their income from them will have a lean season.

But the sky isn’t falling and what goes down will go up again, sooner or later.

 

 


Rural round-up

August 6, 2015

Red meat on the brink of greatness:

New ANZ research has underlined the huge performance potential of the red meat industry, but also identified significant barriers that need to be overcome if it is to once again be a driving force in the New Zealand economy.

The annual ANZ Privately Owned Business Barometer survey found the top performing farmers were achieving returns on investment that outshone almost any other producers in New Zealand. However, a larger number of farms were achieving more modest returns and comparatively flat growth. . .

 Fatter, less flatulent cows good for planet and for farmers –   Olivia Wannan:

New feeds that make cows less flatulent are a discovery that could truly save the world.

The methane produced in the stomachs of ruminant animals including cows, sheep and deer is a powerful greenhouse gas. In New Zealand, agriculture comprises nearly half of our rising gas emissions.

A global search is on to find ways to reduce the amount of methane produced by farm stock, and a Kiwi researcher is part of the team behind what may be the first solution.

Research co-authored by Matthew Deighton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal last week, found a new stock feed additive, NOP, cuts the methane produced by cows by almost a third. . .

Increased reports concerning farm animal welfare:

More people are reporting concerns about the welfare of farm animals, official data shows, particularly on lifestyle blocks.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) received 2947 complaints about farm animal welfare between 2010 and 2014 – with a high of 698 complaints last year.

Commercial farms accounted for 1852 of the complaints, while lifestyle blocks accounted for 785 complaints – who were overrepresented in the figures, according to MPI. . .

Production drop forecast as farmers look to manage costs:

Analysis undertaken by the DairyNZ Economics Group is pointing to at least a two to three percent drop in New Zealand’s milk production this season as farmers tighten the focus on improving the efficiency of their farming systems.

DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman says the official Ministry for Primary Industries cull cow figures show that farmers reduced cow numbers earlier than normal last season. “This looks likely to continue this season in response to low milk prices,” he says. . .

Alpaca farm is the stuff of dreams – Emily Norman:

The Alpaca Place is a humble, scenic farm along Rangitumau Road that has not only captured the hearts of its owners, but has also captured hearts around the world, making it the number two attraction on TripAdvisor in Masterton and Wairarapa.

Owners Cheryl Hughson and Liz Barnes are two sisters that left their nine-to-five jobs in office work to fulfil their dreams of owning an alpaca farm.

The sisters, who live by the advice of their late father, have gone from establishing an alpaca farm with two alpacas in 2001, to running what is now a guided tourist attraction of everything alpaca. . .

 Canterbury-born veterinarian Cheryl McMeekan leaves legacy of rescued animals  – Brittany Mann:

Cheryl McMeekan had a gift with animals. She cared for every one she found and her beneficence is living on, despite her death.

McMeekan, a highly-regarded veterinarian, died in a suspected suicide on June 8 in her adopted home of Lantau Island in Hong Kong. She was 43 years old.

The “cattle whisperer”, originally from Canterbury, moved to the island 11 years ago. She was the only vet in the rural village of Mui Wo, where she managed an SPCA clinic.

The South China Morning Post reported flowers had been left for McMeekan outside the clinic, in tribute. . .

Air passengers to face new biosecurity controls:

New biosecurity measures will be introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries to make it tougher for air passengers to bring goods into New Zealand that could carry pests or diseases.

The measures are the result of new biosecurity funding from the government’s 2015 budget.

Expected to be in place by December for the busy summer season, the measures include the introduction of 20 more biosecurity detector dog teams, more x-raying of baggage and more targeting of passengers likely to be carrying risk goods.

One of the plans is to use detector dogs to screen passengers much earlier than before in the arrival process for international passengers, says Steve Gilbert, MPI Border Clearance Services Director. . .

 Tougher biosecurity measures at airports welcomed:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a new package of biosecurity measures to be implemented at international airports, including more detector dogs and new x-ray machines, as a result of $27 million in new funding in Budget 2015.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has announced today that by December there will be:

  • 20 new biosecurity detector dog teams
  • Five new x-ray machines
  • Trialling a mobile x-ray machine that can shifted to different sites
  • Introducing new communications to target passengers more likely to carry Queensland fruit fly host materials. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 5, 2015

More hands-on support for rural communities@:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy say around 100 more people will be trained to help farming families across the country access the support they need.

The commitment is the first part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.

“We recognise that some farmers are under considerable stress. The physical isolation as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman. . .

 Overseas Investment Office penalises investors:

Investigation and enforcement action by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has resulted in two south Canterbury farming syndicates being penalised $173,400 for breaches of the Overseas Investment Act.

Both syndicates involve UK investors Andrew and Paul Turney, while one also involves US company Schooner Agribusiness LLC. The farming syndicates are two of six established by the late Alan Hubbard that were investigated by the OIO. The other four syndicates have disbanded and sold their properties.

OIO Manager Annelies McClure said the six syndicates, or their investors, had breached the Overseas Investment Act 2005 and Overseas Investment Act 1973 multiple times since 2001. . . .

 

NZ wool exports jump to the highest in more than a decade in June, helped by low kiwi, Chinese demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool exports jumped to their highest level in more than a decade in June, aided by a lower currency and strong demand from China, the nation’s largest market.

Wool exports rose 19 percent to $75 million in June from the same month a year earlier and reaching the highest level for a June month since 1994, according to Statistics New Zealand data. Exports to China, which account for two thirds of the total, jumped 34 percent to $50 million.

“The main driver of the increase in value is the weakened New Zealand dollar,” said Georgia Twomey, a commodity analyst at Rabobank. The New Zealand dollar averaged 71 US cents through May and June of this year, down from about 86 cents in the same period last year, she said. It recently traded at 65.60 US cents. . . .

NZ unions oppose RSE expansion:

 Unions in New Zealand say they oppose any expansion of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The RSE allows Pacific workers into New Zealand on short term visas to work in the horticulture sector.

The criticism from New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions comes as talks on the PACER Plus regional trade deal resume in Samoa, with more seasonal work a critical element in getting the island nations onboard.

The CTU’s Bill Rosenberg says the RSE scheme is threatening to make Pacific workers a dominant source of employees in the industry. . .

Foresters to discuss a better future:

Over 100 forest sector stakeholders are gathering in Wellington next week to discuss developing a national forest policy. They want the policy to be accepted and used by the forestry sector — and for it to guide the Government’s thinking on forestry.

“We believe New Zealand needs a comprehensive long term forest policy, to recognise the long term nature of forests and the many benefits forests provide to society. Many services provided by forestry are not provided by other land uses, and forestry is too often undervalued. This is the reason many other countries have national forest policies,” says Garth Cumberland, chair of the project. . . .

Makeover for OVERSEER®:

The owners of OVERSEER® are establishing a new not-for-profit company to manage, develop and license OVERSEER.

OVERSEER is jointly owned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand (FANZ) and AgResearch Limited.

The Chief Executives of the owner organisations have committed to a business plan which will significantly enhance OVERSEER over the planned transition phase of three years and ensure a sustainable funding base. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Launches Referendum Proposal to Farmers:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has launched the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum proposal, outlining activities for the next levy cycle between 2016-2022. Sheepmeat and beef producers, including dairy farmers through their cull cows, will have the chance to continue funding activities and programmes for the next six years when voting opens on 8 August.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman, James Parsons said the Commodity Levies Act requires farmers to vote to continue new levy orders every six years and a ‘yes’ vote will enable Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s activities to carry on. A ‘no’ vote would mean that Beef + Lamb New Zealand would be wound down and all the programmes would end. . .

Six DairyNZ spots up for election:

Nominations open this week for farmer-elected directors on the board of DairyNZ, with one spot vacated by long-serving chairman John Luxton, who is standing down from the industry body.

This year, three farmer positions are open for election to the Board of Directors and another three positions are up for election on DairyNZ’s Directors Remuneration Committee.

Nominations open on August 5 and close on August 28, with voting held from September. . .

 

 

 

 


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