Rural round-up

September 30, 2018

Promising results from biodiversity stocktake of North Canterbury irrigation scheme – Emma Dangerfield:

Freshwater mussels have been found during a stocktake of land and waterways within the Waimakariri Irrigation Limited (WIL) scheme. 

More than 200 sites of biodiversity interest were discovered, and CEO Brent Walton said the stocktake had provided WIL with an overview of sites which could be further developed to enhance Waimakariri’s biodiversity values.

“WIL shareholders are committed to improving the environment and this process has provided us with some key areas of potential for further development.” . .

Rogue cattle and local officials create biosecurity risk:

A ho-hum attitude to wandering stock in Northland highlights continuing ignorance around biosecurity, says Federated Farmers Northland provincial president John Blackwell.

This week in Northland local council officers found wandering cows and placed them in a nearby paddock without telling the farmer who owned the property, John says.

The farmer found his own heifers the next day socialising with the lost stock. . .

Sustainable Whanganui celebrates 10 years with talk by farmer and conservationist Dan Steele

Floods, river rescues, evacuations by helicopter and honey extraction are all part of the working life of Blue Duck Station owner and manager Dan Steele.

He’s the guest speaker as Sustainable Whanganui Trust celebrates its 10th anniversary on October 14. The talk is open to the public and starts at 2pm in the Harakeke/Education Room at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre in Maria Pl, next door to the Fire Station.

Blue Duck Station had two major events in close succession this year. In February 14 young whio (rare and endangered blue ducks) were released there . .

New resource launched to help measure farm abusiness performance:

A new resource designed to help farmers measure their farm business performance has been launched by the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

The Key Performance Indicators (KPI) booklet includes detailed descriptions of 16 core KPIs, some example calculations and resources for farmers who are considering how improvements can be made to their farm business.

The KPIs, which were developed in conjunction with a group of industry professionals and farmers, include lambing percentage, ewe flock efficiency, calving percentage, fawn weaning percentage, gross farm revenue per effective hectare and live weight gain. . .

NZ merino prices jump as Australian drought dents supply of luxury fibre – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand merino wool prices are being pushed up as drought in Australia prompt farmers across the Tasman to cull stock, reducing the amount of the fine premium wool available for sale.

Eighteen-micron Merino wool, considered a benchmark for the fibre, sold at $28.90/kg at this week’s South Island auction. That was up from $22.40/kg at the same time last year and the five-year average of $16.70/kg for this time of year, according to AgriHQ. . .

Wool surfboard is ‘a drop in the ocean’ of potential composite product uses – Terry Sim:

WOOL will replace fibreglass in revolutionary surfboards to hit the Australian market next year. The boards will be released in Australia in February next year under the Firewire Surfboards brand ‘Woolight’. . .


Rural round-up

February 19, 2016

600 apple pickers wanted now – Ryan Bridge:

Are you looking for a job? Or do you know anyone who is?

There are 600 vacancies for apple pickers in one orchard in the Hawke’s Bay right now.

It’s a three-month picking season and this is only one orchard.

Another orchard down the road needs another 120 workers in the next two weeks and it even offers to give you a ride to work. . . 

Spot-on breakthrough – Karen Bailey:

IMAGINE if you could cut your herbicide, insecticide and fungicide bill by using as much as 99 per cent less chemical. 

That’s the claim by an English research company working on the development of an intelligent sprayer that can recognise specific weeds, insects and diseases in agricultural crops.

There are already a few targeted droplet dispensing systems on the Australian market that can do this with varying success, but Cambridge Consultants claims its sprayer features new generation technology that has been transferred across from its medical product development team.  . . 

Creating a new blueprint for hill country farming – Gerald Piddock:

Dan Steele has a vision for New Zealand agriculture. 

It’s a vision where farmers produce high-valued goods that sell the country’s environmental image to the world.

But to succeed, it means a radical shift from the traditional production-per-hectare model that has been New Zealand’s mainstay for the past 100 years. . . 

Big station aims for shepherd Lexie – Amanda Saxton:

Cambridge-raised Alexia Phillips – known as Lexie – came to Otiwhiti a skilled horsewoman but with little else in the way of farming nous. Last year she graduated as both top academic and top cadet from Otiwhiti’s agricultural training school.

A buddy going shepherding while Lexie was still at Hamilton’s Hillcrest High spurred her to sign up at the 3250 hectare station near Hunterville.

“Hearing about my friend’s experiences made me think ‘oh, that could be a bit of me’,” the 18-year-old said. . . 

Ahuwhenua Trophy finalists announced:

Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have congratulated this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy competition finalists, celebrating excellence in Māori farming.

The three finalists are Tahu a Tao farm in Rakaia near Ashburton, Te Ahu Pātiki and Maukatere near Oxford in Canterbury and Tewi Trust in Okoroire near Tirau.

“I commend these finalists for their sheer hard work and fulfilling a legacy left by Sir Apirana Ngata, who helped introduce the competition which encourages proficiency and skills in Māori farming,” says Mr Flavell. . . 

Major Events Fund invests in the World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships 2017:

The Government is investing $260,000 through the Major Events Development Fund in the Golden Shears World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships to be held in Invercargill from 9 – 11 February 2017.

Participants and spectators from over 30 countries are expected to attend the iconic event, with competitors travelling from as far as the Falkland Islands and Isle of Man to compete.

Devorah Blumberg, Manager of New Zealand Major Events, says New Zealand is known worldwide for its thriving agricultural sector. . . 

Farmer leaders sought for DairyNZ board:

Aspiring directors are being sought for DairyNZ’s Board of Directors.

Farmer leaders are encouraged to apply for two associate director roles which provide an invaluable opportunity to see governance in action.

DairyNZ chair Michael Spaans says the associate directors must be dairy farmers who want to move beyond their farm and into industry leadership.

“We will be looking for candidates who can demonstrate a commitment to their personal and governance development,” says Michael. . . 

Owl Farm focus day a valuable resource:

How will changing health and safety legislation affect your farm? Are empty rates higher than normal this season on dairy farms? And what alternatives are there to chicory for summer cropping? These key dairy industry topics and more will be discussed on Wednesday 2 March at Owl Farm’s first farm focus day for 2016.

Owl Farm, the St Peter’s School and Lincoln University Demonstration Dairy Farm, will host guest speakers from Fegan & Co, LIC and PGG Wrightson Seeds. Owl Farm Manager Tom Buckley will give an update on the season so far and give examples from Owl Farm to illustrate the issues at hand. . . 

Hat tip: Utopia


Nuffield scholars announced

November 2, 2014

A diverse group of rural New Zealanders has been chosen as the latest crop of Nuffield Scholars:

Nuffield New Zealand and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced the scholarships at a function in Wellington for West Coast dairy farmer Bede O’Connor; Woodville dairy farmer Ben Allomes; Rotorua-based DairyNZ regional leader Sharon Morrell; Whanganui farmer, entrepreneur and conservationist Dan Steele and Fonterra employee Satwant Singh from Morrinsville.

The five new Scholars join more than 145 others who have been awarded Nuffield Scholarships in the past 60 years, which has been a substantial investment in New Zealand agriculture’s past, current and future leaders, says Nuffield NZ chairman Stuart Julian Raine.

“Only a handful are awarded each year so a Nuffield Scholarship is one of rural New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious awards. To be a Scholar is a life-changing experience.”

The Nuffield NZ Scholarship offers the opportunity for overseas travel, study of the latest developments in a number of leading agricultural countries and provides an introduction to leaders and decision makers not accessible to the ordinary traveller.

One of the current 2014 Scholars is Palmerston North potato grower, agricultural contractor and equity dairy farmer Paul Olsen.

“It has been a brilliant experience for me, seeing other countries and a variety of cultures, mind boggling but also eye opening. New Zealand has a huge opening for the future, in terms of things like food proteins and niche products, it’s there for the taking. It’s a massive opportunity for us to take on the challenge.”

Olsen says the Nuffield name opened many doors.

“I visited some massive operations – people wouldn’t hold back. It was 100 per cent nuts and bolts business information you wouldn’t get any other way.”

He says the contacts made and networks formed will last a lifetime.

“I made some very strong contacts and friendships, especially through the UK, Ireland and Scotland. Many of them are coming to stay here in the next 18 months or so as well, either travelling individually or finishing their own Nuffield Scholarship travels.”

Nuffield Scholars travel internationally for at least four months in their Scholarship year (not necessarily consecutively), participate in a Contemporary Scholars conference with 60 Nuffield Scholars from around the world and attend a six-week Global Focus Programme with an organised itinerary through several countries with other scholars. They also have their own individual study programme with a research report due at the end of their travels.

The 2015 research topics are likely to cover issues such as the internal growth potential of China; recognising and utilising New Zealand’s greatest asset – its people; farming communities’ responses to changes in environmental regulations or other constraints; the potential of “Brand New Zealand” and how having communities involved in conservation will show value in looking after the environment; and farmer understanding of their financial and overall business health focusing around budgeting, risk management, stress levels for farmers, suicide levels and farming pressure.

The five 2015 scholars are:

Bede O’Connor, West Coast

West Coast dairy farmer Bede O’Connor is milking 340 cows on 170 hectares near Westport and is an elected director of the Westland Dairy Co-op. O’Connor, 43, has achieved a 25 per cent increase in production over the past three seasons after purchasing his family’s farm in 2011. He would like to develop a self-sufficient farming system to combat the influences of more frequently occurring climatic events. He is a member of the West Coast TB Free Committee, West Coast Rural Support Trust and the West Coast Focus Farm Trust. He was a regional judge for the Dairy Industry Awards Trainee of the year and is an active member of West Coast Federated Farmers.

Sharon Morrell, Rotorua

Sharon Morrell is a regional leader with DairyNZ in Rotorua. Her role is a mixture of direct farmer interaction and leading a small team running discussion groups, field days and workshops. She also works alongside strategic partners, including the BOP Dairy Stakeholders Group. After gaining a Bachelor of Agricultural Science Morrell worked as a MAF farm advisor. With husband Ross she has worked on farm and raised four children. She did some supervisory and consultancy work before moving to DairyNZ in 2010. She attended the Kellogg Rural Leadership programme in 2011.

Dan Steele, Whanganui

Dan Steele is a farmer and conservationist living and working on Blue Duck Station – a 1460 hectare sheep and beef station and conservation project at Whakahoro, surrounded by Whanganui National Park. After working with his parents on the neighbouring Retaruke Station for seven years, Steele built Blue Duck Lodge in 2005, started Blue Duck Station in 2006 and founded the Wild Journeys commercial jet boats partnership in 2010.

Steele is involved with the Ruapehu Regional Tourism Organisation (Visit Ruapehu), Ducks Unlimited, NZ Wetland Care and the Whanganui National Park Conservation and Historic Preservation Trust.

Satwant Singh

Satwant Singh works for Fonterra during the week and on the family dairy farm near Morrinsville at the weekends. Singh, 30 and her husband Sunil Krishna live in Auckland – during the week she is part of the Fonterra Commodity Risk and Trading team as an Originator. One of her achievements is the Guaranteed Milk Price programme for farmers. She became an area manager for Fonterra in Morrinsville (2008-2012) after working as a Service Specialist for Fonterra (2006-2008). Singh has a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours (Majoring in Marketing and Human Resources) and a Graduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Waikato.

Ben Allomes

Dairy farmer Ben Allomes and wife Nicky own a half share in an 850-cow farm at Woodville; are 50/50 sharemilkers on a 400-cow farm at Woodville and a 215-cow property at Ruawhata; and also lease two other properties. Allomes is a farmer-elected DairyNZ director and on their local school Board of Trustees. He has been heavily involved with NZ Young Farmers, Primary ITO, Dairy Industry Awards, Fonterra Network and DairyNZ. While president of Young Farmers, 2007-2009, he helped to restructure and reposition the organisation and jointly led the development of the NZYF leadership “Pipeline” programme now adopted by industry “Generate” Steering Committee.

You can read more about Nuffield here and find a lsit of previous winners here.


Rural round-up

July 23, 2014

Farming family demonstrate conservation message – Ann Warnock:

Dan Steele is a farmer, conservationist, competitive axeman, hunter, historian, lodge host, rugby fan and romantic who never dreamed he’d turn into a bird geek.

But at the age of 21, while wandering up the banks of the Kaiwhakauka Stream at Retaruke Station, his parents’ remote property on the Whanganui River, he spied a family of blue ducks (whio) and they unwittingly shaped the rest of his life.

“I love exploring and poking about up every stream; climbing every ridge. On this particular day I saw two adults with their five ducklings. The next time I saw them there were only three ducklings. Then there were none. I phoned the DOC ranger. They were endangered. It hit me; protecting the blue duck was part of the future of our land.” . . .

Boost for horticulture and viticulture industry:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse have announced plans for a new programme aimed at getting more Kiwis into seasonal work, alongside an increase to the annual RSE cap.

Mr Woodhouse says the need to raise the cap on Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from 8000 to 9000 demonstrates the success of the RSE scheme.

“There’s no doubt that the growth in the horticulture and viticulture industry in the past few years would not have been possible without RSE, which has been widely praised locally and internationally,” says Mr Woodhouse.

“It has provided employers with a stable and reliable workforce and given them confidence to expand and invest in their business. RSE workers have also benefitted significantly from gaining invaluable work experience and being able to send money back to their communities at home.’’ . . .

NZ Pacific encouraged for new Seasonal Worker Scheme:

Domestic Pacific workers can be as successful as overseas Pacific workers in the horticulture and viticulture industries says Pacific Island Affairs Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.
 
Mr Lotu-Iiga is encouraging employers to take up the New Zealand Seasonal Worker Scheme announced today by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett. The scheme will provide pastoral care and other support to assist Kiwis into seasonal work. Mrs Bennett also announced an increase to the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme. The scheme recruits seasonal workers from overseas to assist in the horticulture and viticulture industries where there are not enough New Zealand workers.
 
“I was in Marlborough in the weekend speaking to employers, Pacific RSE workers and domestic Pacific workers and I saw first-hand the benefits of Pacific people working in the wine industry,” says Mr Lotu-Iiga. . .

Pork industry joins GIA biosecurity agreement:

The Government and the commercial pork industry have committed to a partnership to strengthen biosecurity, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) on Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by New Zealand Pork at its annual conference today.

“This enables New Zealand Pork and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to make joint decisions on biosecurity readiness and response activities. It means we can focus on the areas of greatest priority to the pork industry,” Mr Guy says.

“What it means in practice is a stronger, more effective biosecurity system. Those with a direct stake in biosecurity can now be directly involved in decision making and funding. . .

– Keith Woodford:

Last week I wrote about PGG Wrightson and the challenges it faces. For their seeds division there are clear strategic options, but for the farm services division, the long term strategy remains challenging. Part of the reason is the competition they are facing from the farm services co-operatives, with Farmlands now dominant in the sector.

Farmlands has 56,000 members and an annual turnover exceeding $2 billion. This is more than double the New Zealand farm services revenue of its major investor-owned competitor, PGG Wrightson. The aim of Farmlands is to keep prices low for its members. This ensures that its investor-oriented competitor also has to keep its margins low. . . .

The truth about grassfed beef – The Food Revolution Network:

A lot of people today, horrified by how animals are treated in factory farms and feedlots, and wanting to lower their ecological footprint, are looking for healthier alternatives. As a result, there is a decided trend toward pasture-raised animals. One former vegetarian, San Francisco Chronicle columnist Mark Morford, says he now eats meat, but only “grassfed and organic and sustainable as possible, reverentially and deeply gratefully, and in small amounts.”

Sales of grassfed and organic beef are rising rapidly. Ten years ago, there were only about 50 grassfed cattle operations left in the U.S. Now there are thousands.

How much difference does it make? Is grassfed really better? If so, in what ways, and how much? . . .

New Zealand Meat Exports October 2013 to June 2014:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following is a summary of the combined export statistics for the first nine months of the 2013-14 meat export season (1 October 2013 to 30 June 2014).

[All monetary values are in New Zealand dollars.]

Summary

Despite the high New Zealand dollar, particularly during the main export months of January to June, there was an increase in the average value for lamb, mutton and beef/veal. A smaller national lamb crop flowed through to reduced lamb export volumes. However, for only the fourth time in history, lamb exports exceeded $2 billion Free On Board (FOB) in the first nine months of a season.  . . .

New veterinary resource to manage disease in cattle associated with Theileria:

A new veterinary handbook on Theileria, developed by the Theileria Working Group and published by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), will help to ensure that veterinarians and their farmer clients are well prepared to manage the expected spring upsurge in infections with this important, new parasite of cattle.

The number of affected farms is expected to exceed those reported in the last two years with nearly 700 beef and dairy herds testing positive so far, with about a third of these occurring in the North Island this year.  . .

 Brown Re-Elected as Council Chairman for Third Term, Duncan Coull New Deputy Chair:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown has today been re-elected unopposed to the position for a third term.

Ian Brown: “I appreciate the support I continue to receive from Councillors and look forward to leading the Council for a further 12 months.”

Mr Brown is joined by first time Deputy Chair, Duncan Coull, also elected unopposed, who will take up his new role on 29 July for a 12 month term.
Mr Coull was elected to the Council in 2010 to represent Fonterra Farmers in Otorohanga and serves as the Chair of the Council’s Representation Committee. . . .


Rural round-up

February 15, 2013

Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly February 2013:

The report covers all the major agricultural sectors that are important to New Zealand and Australia as well as covering off the latest economic, retail and currency developments.

Key highlights:

• The early stages of 2013 have brought some weather extremes across New Zealand and Australia. The latest outlook paints more of a normal picture for upcoming autumn seasonal conditions.
• Dairy commodity prices continue to trend higher with fundamentals slowly coming back into better balance. Markets are closely watching the dry weather in New Zealand’s North Island, which is taking its toll on milk flows.
• Effective February 1, Japanese beef import protocols will allow US beef exporters to source cattle up to the age of 30 months (previously 20 months) for export into the Japanese market.
• Record low US corn and soybean stocks continue to drive global grain markets. Australian prices continue to hold at historically strong basis levels.

The full report is here.

Eco-Warrior To Speak At Dairy Women’s Conference:

Three-time Ballance Farm Environment Award winner Dan Steele is on a mission to make New Zealand a better place for the future. In March he’s fronting up to hundreds of dairying women at their annual conference in Nelson to explain why he believes farmers and conservationists need to work together to ensure we have productive and sustainable farms to live and work on in the future.

Dan is a typical kiwi bloke. He’s a bushman, hunter, traveller, farmer, conservationist and business man. He’s been on his OE. He’s also used kiwi ingenuity to think outside the square and create an award-winning eco-tourism business – Blue Duck Station.

Blue Duck is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground located on the banks of the Whanganui and Retaruke rivers in the Ruapehu district. The Station is surrounded by Whanganui National park. . .

All forests to be monitored for foreign bugs:

All forest plantations will be brought into a nationwide forest health surveillance scheme if next month’s referendum of forest growers is successful.

“A yes vote in the referendum will see a small compulsory levy applied to harvested logs. Broadening the reach of the surveillance scheme will be one of the big benefits,” says Paul Nicholls, a Forest Growers Levy Trust board member.

“Forests owned by members of the Forest Owners Association have been monitored for exotic pests and diseases for more than 50 years. But new bugs don’t discriminate. We need to be monitoring forests on the basis of a scientific assessment of risk, not because they are owned by a member of an industry association.” . .

Iwi owned oyster business cements partnership with Cawthron Institute:

Iwi owned seafood company Aotearoa Fisheries Ltd this week signed an agreement with Cawthron Institute in respect to their Pacific oyster hatchery and oyster nursery based at Glenduan, north of Nelson. Under the agreement Aotearoa Fisheries will take over the Pacific oyster Nursery and Spat growing operations. Three of Cawthron Institute’s staff involved in the Nursery and growing operations will be seconded to Aotearoa Fisheries. Cawthron Institute will continue to spawn and produce Pacific oyster larvae at the site.

Aotearoa Fisheries is one of New Zealand’s largest fishing and seafood businesses and is the largest Pacific oyster company in New Zealand, trading as Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms. This deal follows on from Aotearoa Fisheries acquisition of Sanford NZ Limited’s North Island Pacific oyster farms last year. . .

LIC lifts first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers ramp up investment:

Livestock Improvement Corp, which compensated some farmers for selling bull semen that caused ‘hairy calf’ mutations, increased first-half profit 7.3 percent as dairy farmers raised their herd investment, even as farmgate prices fell.

Net profit rose to $30 million, or $1.017 a share, in the six months ended Nov. 30, from $28 million, or 94.7 cents, a year earlier, the Hamilton-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 9.6 percent to $131.5 million, though LIC typically gets most of its revenue in the first half of the financial year and doesn’t recognise costs until the second half. . .

Lempriere reaches 90% of Wool Services International, hitting mop-up target:

Australian wool merchant Lempriere has reached the 90 percent target of Wool Services International, allowing it to mop-up the remaining shares.

The Melbourne-based company reached 90.9 percent of acceptances yesterday, according to a substantial security holder notice, meeting its minimum acceptance and letting it compulsorily acquire the remaining shares in the company.

Lempriere launched the takeover last year, offering 45 cents a share, valuing WSI at $31 million, a 22 percent premium to the trading price before the offer emerged. The shares last traded in January at 42 cents. . .

Survey reveals Scottish farming’s 2013 challenges – Gemma Mackenzie:

Confidence in Scottish agriculture remains high, despite falling profitability, harsh weather and poor lamb prices.

According to the Bank of Scotland’s annual agricultural report, only 11% of 474 respondents said they thought the industry was prosperous in 2012 – a drop of eight percentage points compared to the previous year.

Although only 59% expected to be profitable this year, 28% of farmers were optimistic about the future of the industry; the second highest level since the survey began 17 years ago.

KEY FINDINGS

• 85% of farmers were profitable in the last financial year – two percentage points lower than previous year
• Only 59% expected to be profitable in 2013 . . .

NFU Scotland calls for daiy contingency plan – Gemma Mackenzie:

NFU Scotland has called on the UK government to prepare a contingency plan for the dairy industry as the voluntary code of practice has not been as effective as hoped.

At a meeting with farm minister David Heath last week, president Nigel Miller said the voluntary dairy code of practice had not worked as well as it should have, and it was time to develop a plan B.

“NFUS is pushing for the UK goverment to explore a contingency plan, including legislation, in case the code fails to achieve its intentions. NFUS maintains that the best way of strengthening and developing the dairy market at home and abroad is to increase trust in the supply chain,” said Mr Miller. . .

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International Time Queen to speak at dairy women’s conference

January 18, 2013

Robyn Pearce, the much sought after ‘queen of time management’, will show hundreds of busy dairying women how to ‘get a grip’ on their priorities and be the ‘master of their time’ when she speaks at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in Nelson on March 20 – 21.

Robyn is an international expert in time management who grew up on her parent’s South Rotorua dairy farm, was married to a Waikato sheep farmer for 15 years and is now mum to a sheep and beef farmer, who is also a director of Beef + Lamb NZ. She raised six children, including her intellectually handicapped foster son and is a grandmother to 16 grandchildren.

As well as training, writing, blogging and speaking about time management in New Zealand, Australia, the US, Great Britain, Europe and the Middle East, Robyn’s rural family background means she understands the everyday challenges that dairying women face when managing their time.

“Farm production and productivity is very much geared toward land and animal outputs, but how we manage our time also affects the bottom-line – if we’re not productive that will be reflected in the farm’s productivity and, more importantly if things are really out of control, the wellbeing of our family and our own health can suffer.”

She is a regular columnist in the New Zealand media, and admits the reason she teaches time management is because she used to be “very bad at it”.

“I can honestly say I have walked in those shoes! My time management skills almost put an end to my real estate career in the 80s and 90s. I was kicked out of meetings because of being late and I burnt out numerous times from overwork and poor time habits. I really do understand how it feels to be out of control!

Thankfully a friend cared enough to give her the push she needed to adopt a few basic time management principles – igniting Robyn’s passion for the subject and transforming her greatest weakness into her major strength, and an international business.

Today she helps large national and international corporates train employees to better manage their time, including Rabobank, QBE Insurance, National Bank, NIWA, the International Cricket Council – Dubai, Academy for Chief Executives – UK and Beiersdorf NZ & Australia (makers of Nivea & Elastoplast), to name a few.
She says overload is being felt in all walks of life – and it’s as prevalent on the farm as it is in the corporate world.

“When you are overloaded you’ll look around your kitchen, your office, your paddock or shed, and you’ll feel like you don’t know where to start. It’s at these times, as things keep flying at you, that it’s really important to know what to take on and what to push back on. I love showing people how to do ‘helicopter thinking’ – to rise above everything going on, get perspective, and then work on the tasks and projects that will make the greatest difference.”

She added that the Dairy Women’s Network conference was an opportunity for people to step back and take the time to reflect on the things in their lives that really matter.

“We all don’t take the time to work on prioritising the really important things in our lives in a meaningful way – whether they are the way we use our time, the way we manage our home offices, the time we spend together as a family or any other business activities we have – we need to be sure that we are always only putting time and energy into the things that are going to make the biggest difference.”

Joining Robyn at the conference is a world-class line-up of speakers including Olympian Mahe Drysdale; Minister of Women’s Affairs, the Hon Jo Goodhew; Parininihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) Farms Limited Trustee Hinerangi Edwards; and Blue Duck Station owner and eco-warrior, Dan Steele. The conference theme is ‘Taking down the boundary fences’ and will cover subjects as diverse as animal nutrition, environmental constraints and developing future leaders.

You can see more here.


People-Perception-Pride

June 19, 2012

The theme for  SIDE (South Island Dairy Event) 2012 ,which is being held in Dunedin next month, is people-perception-pride.

Organising committee chair Brangka Munan asks: are we making the most of the people in dairying?

 Workshops will cover topics like Farmer Fatigue & Managing People Effectively. Invercargill lawyer, Mary-Jane Thomas will present a workshop on Employment Law. Lynaire Ryan will take two workshops on career progression and getting the best out of a dairying career.

Other speakers include Dr John Penno who will speak about China, trans-Atlantic rower Rob Hamil and Davey Hughes of Swazi.

“Perception is Your Reality” is the title of our Panel Discussion where four panellists will try to help us better understand this very important, yet often tricky concept, Perception. The panellists this year include Dr Tim Mackle, CEO of DairyNZ, Nicola Toki from Forest and Bird, Dan Steele a
farmer, tourism operator and conservationist, and South Otago dairy farmer Steven Korteweg. BusinessSIDE this year will feature well-known TV presenter Genevieve Westcott, who will be running a session on media. This session will have an interactive component designed to give farmers a better understanding of the media. Organic farmer and innovator Robin Greer returns to SIDE this year as part of the BusinessSIDE programme to talk about the world of manufacturing and the marketing of niche products in New Zealand.
Also returning to SIDE is the legendary Dr Bas Schouten who will present a workshop on calf rearing.
Linked to the theme of perception, is pride.
Are we proud to be dairy farmers? We are all so proud of our world cup winning All Blacks and we should be as proud of our amazing Dairy Industry.

SIDE chair David Holdaway says:

As New Zealand‘s economy struggles to recover from the global financial crisis and the devastating Christchurch earthquake, one of its shining lights has been the success of “our” dairy industry. We are a success industry and we know the important contribution we have had and continue to make to this country’s economy. With this success has come increasing commentary in the media and our local communities of the effects of our industry. While some comments have been positive about the industry, others have been a little more critical of dairying. Admittedly, at times the criticism has been justified but increasingly some criticisms have been rather inaccurate and largely based on misconceptions? . . .

Outside rural media, dairying is too often in the headlines for the wrong reasons. Some of that criticism is justified, but the majority of farmers and the dairying industry as a whole can be proud of what they do and how they do it

That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement on individual farms and in the industry. But acknowledging that and dealing with trouble-spots should not stop us celebrating what we do well.

SIDE is organised by farmers, for farmers. This year’s conference will help participants appreciate what they have to be proud of and help them get even better.


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