Rural round-up

October 16, 2017

Federated Farmers: Tell our good stories, don’t feed the trolls – Katie Milne:

One fallout from politicians on the election campaign trail kicking agriculture around as a political football is that lots of city folk have been left with the belief that the rural environment is in a sorry state.

There are certainly challenges ahead for improving water quality and dealing with emissions to meet our Paris Agreement commitments – but that’s true for urban communities as much as rural.

What was largely missing from the campaign rhetoric was mention of the large number of catchment improvement projects under way that are already showing significant progress, not to mention the efforts of thousands of individual farming families to fence waterways, plant riparian strips and covenant many hectares of native bush and forest on their own properties for permanent protection. . .

Taking time and talking works:

Lisa Kendall runs her own hire-a-farmer business serving lifestyle blocks in and around Karaka in South Auckland. 

She has other irons in the fire as well – she’s raising East Friesian sheep and hoping their milk will find a niche market in Auckland’s flourishing cafe scene and supermarkets.

After studying at Lincoln University she moved back north and lives in a renovated barn on her parents’ lifestyle block with her partner who works in the city.

“Often there’s a stereotype where the man does all the farming and the woman does the housework. It’s the other way round for me,” she said. . . 

Awards and schemes breeding the next generation of dairy farmers – Brad Markham:

 A fortnight ago I was standing in front of a room full of farmers in Rotorua wearing nothing more than a calf meal bag and a $6 wig. If I had to choose one word to describe the outfit it would be draughty. 

I was in the geyser city for the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards’ annual conference. The event attracts former winners, who now volunteer their time to help run the awards programme in 11 regions across the country. 

They all take time away from their jobs or businesses because they’re passionate about helping others learn, grow and progress through the industry.

I co-presented a couple of sessions. As I peered out at the crowd through the uneven fringe of my cheap wig, I was reminded how the dairy industry delivers to those who seek opportunity, work hard and work smart.  . . 

Rabobank Leadership Awards 2017:

Australian beef industry leader David Crombie has taken out the 2017 Rabobank Leadership Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to agribusiness.

Throughout his long career in agriculture, David has constantly striven to raise the bar and expand the reputation of the industry. Alongside running his own family cattle and cropping enterprise in Queensland, David has been leading and shaping the agricultural industry for many years as he has held a range of directorships including past president of the National Farmers’ Federation and previous chair of Meat & Livestock Australia. . .

Meat exports still face uncertainty:

The meat industry faces considerable uncertainty in export trade access and domestic politics, Meat Industry Association chairman John Loughlin and chief executive Tim Ritchie say.

In the foreword to MIA’s 2017 annual report they said the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership had focused the hopes of exporters on the replacement TPP 11.

“Of particular importance to us is the creation of a level playing field in certain markets, such as Japan, where competing countries already have significant tariff advantage through bilateral trade agreements,” they said.

Brexit had also created trade uncertainty for $1.5 billion of annual trade in New Zealand lamb to the European Union 28. . . 

Road out of poverty a personal story – Motlatsi Musi:

As a child, I would collect dry cattle dung on the outskirts of town. My family burned it to cook food and keep warm. For protein, we often ate locusts. They’re crunchy and you get used to the taste.

Those were desperate times, before I had a chance to settle down and become a farmer. Then agriculture pulled me out of poverty and gave me a better life.

Today, I own 21 hectares of land near Johannesburg, South Africa. Only about a third of it is arable but I rent more, growing maize (corn), beans, and potatoes and also raising pigs and cows. . .

 


Aussie farmers get ETS advantage

July 25, 2008

Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme will not include agriculture at its 2010 start date though it might be phased in after 2015.

The Australian Government says it does not consider it practical to include agriculture from the start, but hopes to have all major polluting industries covered by 2015.

New Zealand was the first country to feature the primary sector in an ETS, which will be introduced from 2013, with 90% free allocations to be phased out from 2018.

Australian National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) president David Crombie welcomed the news the sector would not be included from the start of the scheme and says farmers will be willing to play their part in meeting the climate change challenge.

‘No country in the world has yet found a way to equitably include its agricultural production in an ETS,’ Crombie says. ‘That is, with the exception of New Zealand, where farmers are now looking at margins reducing by up to 160% as a result.’

And can anyone explain why we’re doing that whent he cost is so high for little or no environmental benefit?

Crombie says the Government’s Green Paper takes into account the three key issues for farmers. These are the impracticalities of measuring, monitoring and verifying agricultural emissions; the need to fully grasp agriculture’s life cycle to account for carbon stored in soil, crops and pastures; and the need to challenge the international Kyoto rules to reflect Australia’s particular circumstances.

One of New Zealand agriculture’s major arguments against being the first country to include the sector has been the fear of losing a competitive advantage.

It has also called for delays until further research can deliver better measurement and mitigation techniques.

Both accurate measurement and effective mitigation are essential if the scheme is to have any validity and benefit.

The Australian Government recognises a joint effort with the industry is required before agriculture is included, and a final decision will be made in 2013.

The National Party refuses to support the New Zealand Government’s ETS on the grounds the policy has been rushed, arguing we should instead follow Australia’s moves.

An issue this important ought to have broad cross-party support. Labour’s approach doesn’t which means a sensible approach depends on them not being able to push the Emissions Trading Bill through parliament before the election.


Ausssie farmers want ag out of ETS

July 16, 2008

Australian farmers  want their Government to keep agriculture out of its Emissions Trading Scheme.

AUSTRALIA’S proposed emissions trading scheme (ETS) could affect international food and fibre prices at a time of food crisis, the nation’s farm sector has warned.

National Farmers’ Federation vice-president Charles Burke said rarely did governments pursue policies like the ETS that could have such broad-reaching ramifications.

”If we don’t get this right, this could become a new and additional factor putting pressure on global markets, affecting both supply and prices in Australia,” he said on the eve of the release of the Federal Government’s green paper on emissions trading.

Mr Burke said Australian farmers’ input costs – fuel, electricity, fertiliser and chemicals – may increase regardless of agriculture’s role in an ETS.

All of this sounds very similar to what farmers are saying on this side of the Tasman.

Westpac’s senior agribusiness economist, Justin Smirk, said global markets responded immediately to any event, be it floods in Iowa, food export tariffs in Argentina or aggressive US and European biofuels policies.

”Actions, events and seasonal conditions in Australia and their impact on our farm sector are no different, reverberating through global markets,” he said.

”Markets are closely watching the complex problem of climate change, its potential impact on global farm output, and the policies proposed to mitigate global warming emissions.”

Competitors will also be working out if they could use the ETS to impose non-tariff barriers to imports.

NFF president David Crombie warned against including agriculture in the ETS, citing the difficulty in measuring, monitoring or verifying the sector’s emissions. No country had included agriculture in an ETS, he said, with the exception of New Zealand, ”where farmers are now looking at margins reducing by up to 160% as a result”.

And how silly is that when it won’t do anything to reduce the global carbon footprint?


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