Rural round-up

01/05/2013

Feel good factor that comes from living with bees – Sally Rae:

Murray and Heidi Rixon get a real buzz from sharing their love of bees.

The couple have launched a business, offering a beehive rental and management service to clients with domestic gardens, lifestyle blocks or rural land.

It was a business they described as having a ”massive feel-good factor” as they provided a hands-on teaching environment and actively encouraged clients to get involved with their new residents.

Brought up in Mosgiel, Mr Rixon has returned to his roots after years away following an interesting career path; horticulture to aviculture and now apiculture.

Horticulture was his first profession and he worked at the Dunedin Botanic Garden for 10 years before moving to the United Kingdom in 1991. . .

Pesticides not to blame for bee deaths:

Europe’s decision to ban neonicotinoids is another example of politicians making decisions meant for regulators. Pesticides have been blamed for a decline in bee health despite a lack of scientific proof.

“Clear scientific evidence has taken a back-seat to a politically-based decision on regulation, which could mean the reduction of effective crop protection products in Europe,” said Graeme Peters, chief executive of Agcarm.

There is absolutely no evidence that neonicotinoids are harming New Zealand’s bee population. First introduced in 1992, neonicotinoids are thoroughly assessed before being approved for use by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Blaming pesticides is barking up the wrong tree. A multitude of factors are responsible for persistent bee mortality, including pests and parasites, microbial disease, inadequate diet, bee management practices and climate change. . .

Fonterra to cut 300 jobs, slashing costs to invest in growth strategy:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, which imposed a hiring freeze in February, may eliminate up to 300 jobs as it seeks annual cost savings of $65 million a year, adding to $60 million of cost cutting already targeted for 2013.

The review of support services affects workers at Fonterra’s corporate offices in New Zealand. It didn’t quantify the potential restructuring costs. The May Day announcement marks the biggest layoff at the dairy giant since it cut workers in 2006 with the closure of manufacturing plants.

“While we are investing in growth, we have to make sure our people are working on the right things and that we are spending our precious capital on the right priorities,” chief executive Theo Spierings said in a statement. Jobs would be eliminated by centralising services, reducing duplication and stripping out layers of management, he said. . .

No fish for you – Offsetting Behaviour:

If you’re a fisherman on Manitoba’s lakes, you can only sell your fish to the government’s monopsonist Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. I’ve heard different stories about its establishment: some stories had it that the FFMC was set up to protect small fishermen against big corporations who’d otherwise exploit them; others had it that the system was meant to encourage efficiency through centralised processing. Or maybe it was both of them.

It really isn’t working out very well for fishers based far from the processing plant. And it isn’t working out for fishers who have put in the yards to identify markets for fish that the FFMC has deemed to be of very low value. Fishers cannot sell some species of fish to the FFMC at any kind of profit, but they’re also forbidden from selling those fish to other willing buyers. And so the fish are left for the birds to eat. . . .

Farmers Beef Up Leadership Skills At Environmental Forum:

The first Beef + Lamb New Zealand Environmental Leadership Forum has been hailed as an outstanding success.

Twenty five sheep and beef farming leaders attended the B+LNZ -funded event, held in Wellington from April 16 to April 18.

The forum was facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, which has run a similar annual event for dairy farmers and also delivers the Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Participants included past-winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards and B+LNZ Farmer Council members.

Simon Saunders, deputy chair of the NZFE Trust, says the forum was designed to equip farmers with the skills needed to become effective ambassadors for the sheep and beef industry.

“These farmers have already achieved a huge amount in terms of environmental leadership. So a key aim of the forum was to refresh their skills and give them the tools to work successfully with a range of community stakeholders to address environmental issues.” . . .

DCANZ Welcomes Establishment of Joint Government/Dairy Industry Working Group On Food Testing:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) today met with the Ministry of Primary Industries and agreed to develop appropriate engagement protocols across dairy companies and MPI where a food integrity issue comes to light.

DCANZ Chairman, Malcolm Bailey, said that the meeting was a positive step forward in strengthening closer ties between dairy companies and government to meet market information needs on food testing.“New Zealand has one of the most robust food safety response systems in the world. The detection of DCDs was not a food safety issue but demonstrated strong interest from markets for information on food testing,” said Bailey.

“Today MPI and DCANZ agreed to formalise coordination and communication protocols related to all future food testing incidents, to help meet market needs both in New Zealand and overseas.” . . .

 

Photo: Happy Earth Day everyone! Thanks to www.FarmOn.com for the picture!

 


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