What would change change?

May 19, 2020

Last night’s Newshub Reid Research poll has produced the inevitable proclamations of the political death of Simon Bridges.

But what would changing National’s leader change?

It wouldn’t change the circumstances that have led to the high support for Labour and its leader and the corresponding fall in support for National and its leader.

David Farrar pointed out yesterday that polls during a crisis almost always result in high support for whoever is in charge as patriotism trumps politics.

In Australia Scott Morrison has gone from a -20% net approval rating in the February Newspoll to a +26% rating in the April Newspoll.

In the UK Boris Johnson has gone from a +6% rating in March Opinium to a +29% in April.

Even in the US, Donald Trump is seeing his approval rating increase, despite a pretty terrible actual response to the crisis. Gallup had him at -9% in January and at +4% in March. . . 

The poll also showed that  91.6 percent of respondents backed the decision to go into lockdown.

What the raw number doesn’t show is whether or not that many backed the details.

I backed the lockdown but not the way decisions on which businesses could operate were based on the debatable criteria of essential instead of safety.

Sticking to the former has wrought much greater economic devastation than was necessary and day by day the impact of that on businesses, jobs and lives will be get worse.

And day by day the difference in the ability of National team and the Labour one to repair the damage will become evident.

In spite of the overexcited claims of commentators, changing leaders wouldn’t make much difference to the polls.

What will make a difference is a plan that clearly shows a better way forward for New Zealand, a better future for New Zealanders and a competent and united team to deliver it.

Labour has the unity but it doesn’t have the plan or the competence.

National has a plan and the competence. If caucus keeps its collective head and stays united it will have a much better chance of regaining popularity than if it panics and starts showing disunity because changing leaders won’t change the circumstances that fed the poll results and voters don’t vote for disunity.


Thickness of political blood

February 7, 2020

The adage that blood is thicker than water applies to politics.

There is no better illustration of the thickness of political blood then the failure of USA senate to impeach President Donald Trump.

The Republican majority prevailed with only one voting on principle rather than partisan politics.

David Farrar calls him the only honest Republican senator:

If Clinton or Obama had done ever 5% of the misdeeds of Trump, every Republican Senator would have voted for them to be removed from office. With one exception they put party before country.

 will go down as the last honest Republican Senator. He had nothing to gain from voting to convict and will face massive abuse for doing so. So why did he? Here’s some pertinent extracts from his statement:

The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the President committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

Yes, he did.

The President asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival.

The President withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so.

The President delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders.

The President’s purpose was personal and political.

Accordingly, the President is guilty of an appalling abuse of the public trust.

What he did was not “perfect”— No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine. . . 

As they say these truths are self-evident.

In the last several weeks, I have received numerous calls and texts. Many demand that, in their words, “I stand with the team.” 

Thick blood puts the team before the truth.

 I can assure you that that thought has been very much on my mind. I support a great deal of what the President has done. I have voted with him 80% of the time. But my promise before God to apply impartial justice required that I put my personal feelings and biases aside. Were I to ignore the evidence that has been presented, and disregard what I believe my oath and the Constitution demands of me for the sake of a partisan end, it would, I fear, expose my character to history’s rebuke and the censure of my own conscience.

If only others were so brave.

I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences I am aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters, I will be vehemently denounced. I am sure to hear abuse from the President and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before God demanded it of me?

It takes a lot of strength to stick to your principles when everyone else in your team can’t see past the thickness of their political blood.

We met people in Trump country on an irrigation tour 18 months ago.

One told us that his faith, his marriage, his family and his party were the four most important things in his life.

The only answer to the question of how he could reconcile his faith and his support for his President was the thickness of political blood.

And apropos of that thickness, unless the Democrats get their act together that President will hold office for another four years.


Rural round-up

October 6, 2019

Know what’s true about farms? – Sam McIvor:

There’s a consistent theme running through my conversations with farmers – they’re experiencing some of the best returns in living memory but there is a sense of pessimism in the face of what feels like an endless tirade of accusations about environmental vandalism.

I can understand how sheep, beef and dairy farmers feel.

For three years as chief executive at New Zealand Pork dealing with animal welfare issues I had daily accusations that questioned my breeding, my heritage, my integrity and my morals. 

I was threatened and to this day my home phone number isn’t listed.

So what is my response and my advice to farmers right now? 

It is to remember what is true. . . 

Look to today’s young talented people for tomorrow’s solutions – Mark Townshend:

Farmer and former Fonterra board member Mark Townshend explains ten things that may help transition farmers through to the next generation of successful dairying and food production. 1. Find the right people aged 30-45 to lead the dairy industry for the next 20 years.

  1. In my early farming years, the key names were Graham, Spring, McKenzie, Young, Storey, Calvert, Frampton, Fraser and Gibson — all capably leading NZ dairy. The founding of Fonterra brought a complete changing of the guard. The old man of the team was John Roadley (age mid 50s) and the team of van der Heyden, Bayliss, Rattray, Gent and van der Poel were all early-mid 40s. Do not look to yesterday’s people to solve tomorrow’s issues.

2. Work hard to attract the best human talent we can to the industry. We can have the best milk, produced more efficiently than anywhere in the world and produced in a more environmentally and animal friendly manner. But all of our challenges will be solved not by cows, weather or milk, but by smart people. Dairying in NZ needs to attract top quality people to the industry to meet the inevitable challenges. Encourage good people into farming and direct poor people out of farming. . . 

Forestry and silt in candidates’ sights at Havelock election meeting – Chloe Ranford:

Marlborough’s mayoral and Sounds ward candidates put their greenest foot forward at a pre-election debate as environmental issues dominated.

The candidate meeting at the Havelock Town Hall on Wednesday, hosted by the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce and the Marlborough Express, drew an audience of about 50.

Current ward councillor David Oddie said the forestry industry needed to take a “serious look at itself” after an audience member questioned why the Marlborough District Council hadn’t taken action against the practice of planting trees on roadside strips in the Sounds.

“It just gets back to the endless encouragement from central government to plant forestry. That has got to change … but it’s been a slow road,” he said. . . 

NZ’s big pest bust: how do we kill the last survivors? – Jamie Morton:

Scientists have begun investigating how to wipe out the last surviving pests in New Zealand’s bold bid to rid itself of rats, stoats and possums by 2050.

A new $7.5 million programme, led by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research scientists, aims to overcome what’s long been a headache for predator-busting efforts – how to eliminate that final 5 per cent which manage to hang on.

The Government’s ambitious Predator Free 2050 initiative required scientific breakthroughs that could lift the kill rate to 100 per cent – a much more expensive prospect than just knocking out most of a population. . . 

US craft brewers chase unique Kiwi hop flavours – Rebecca Black:

New Zealand hops are in demand in the United States as craft beer brewers compete to achieve a point of difference.

The Tasman District produces distinct flavours that can not be replicated, according to Jason Judkins, chief executive of Nelson’s Hop Revolution, and US brewers are keen to use New Zealand hops to stand out among competitors.

Judkins visited 50 breweries on a recent trip the the US. . . 

 

Ag secretary: No guarantee small dairy farms will survive – Todd Richmond:

President Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary said Tuesday during a stop in Wisconsin that he doesn’t know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters following an appearance at the World Dairy Expo in Madison that it’s getting harder for farmers to get by on milking smaller herds.

“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out,” Mr. Perdue said. “I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.” . . 


Rural round-up

July 5, 2019

User-pays emphasis in productivity report is spot on, Federated Farmers says:

The Productivity Commission’s report on local government funding is another step in a very long journey to genuine equity for farmer ratepayers, Federated Farmers says.

“To cover costs of council services, we value the emphasis in this draft report on the principle that who benefits should pay a fair amount, and that the legislative framework be changed to back this principle,” Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Andrew Maclean says.

“We agree this ‘benefit principle’ should be the primary basis for deciding cost allocations.

“Paying huge amounts of money for council services distant from farms is a key problem. Farmers need this resolved and we see potential in this report to achieve fairness,” Maclean said. . .

It’s not weak to speak – Luke Chivers:

Farmers are by nature independent, optimistic, proud, resilient and strong. But the perfect storm of terrible weather, prolonged market weakness, global trade wars and more is driving some farmers to breaking point. Luke Chivers spoke to a dairying couple whose change in perspective has transformed their farm, their family and their community. 

It was a warm, sunny afternoon in Takaka in Golden Bay. 

As daylight beamed through a window only to hit the back of a curtain Wayne Langford found himself bedridden in a cool, dark room. He had been flat on his back every afternoon for more than a week to escape his constant mental anguish. 

But this day was different.

“I had like an out-of-body experience.

“It was as though I was hovering above myself looking down and saying ‘what the hell are you doing in bed?” . . .

NZ questions US farm subsidies – Nigel Stirling:

New Zealand is among a handful of World Trade Organisation members pushing the United States to come clean over billions of dollars paid to its farmers as compensation for the trade war with China.

In May US President Donald Trump announced a further US$16b in payments to follow US$12b in aid dispensed in July last year.

American farmers have borne the brunt of retaliatory tariffs on US exports to China. . .

Rural contractors worried about spreading Mycoplasma bovis – Tim Newman:

Rural contractors have expressed their fears about unwittingly spreading Mycoplasma bovis between farms. 

The issue came up during a panel discussion on M bovis and biosecurity at the Rural Contractors New Zealand national conference in Nelson on Thursday. 

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) admitted farmer privacy issues made the situation challenging for contractors but the chance of them spreading the disease further was low.   . .

Fonterra tries again in India, launches ‘Dreamery’ yoghurt and milks — Anuja Nadkarni:

Fonterra has launched a range of four products in India under the brand Dreamery through a joint venture with retail giant Future Group.

Fonterra first entered the Indian market in 2001 but the venture fell through.

The Dreamery range of products is the first brand under the joint venture Fonterra Future Dairy, which included two flavoured milk drinks, yoghurt and skim milk in tetra-packs. . .

Darfield partnership named top wheat growers

A Darfield father and son have claimed this year’s top wheat growers’ award.

Syd and Earl Worsfold were named 2019 supreme award winners in the United Wheat Growers wheat competition awards recently. The pair also won the feed wheat section.

Earl Worsfold farms in partnership with his parents Syd and Trish Worsfold on 400ha, including 260ha which Earl leased from a neighbour. . .

Why veganism is not the answer to reducing our environmental impact – Emma Gilsenan:

Reducing our environmental impact is more complex than simply removing animal products from the diet.

This week, on Wednesday, June 12, the National Dairy Council (NDC) – in association with Teagasc, Ornua and Lakeland Dairies – hosted its annual farm walk and seminar on the McKenna family farm in Emyvale, Co. Monaghan.

Speaking on the day, Dr. Marianne Walsh – a senior nutritionist with NDC – made some interesting points about veganism and the affect a complete plant-based diet would have on the environment and the population as a whole.

She said: “At the moment we have about 7.7 billion people and this is set to rise to about 9.7 billion by the year 2050. Which can exasperate some of the current problems that we are facing. . . 


June 14 in history

June 14, 2019

1158 – Munich was founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.

1216 – First Barons’ War: Prince Louis of France captured the city of Winchester and soon conquered over half of the Kingdom of England.

1276 – While taking exile in Fuzhou in southern China, away from the advancing Mongol invaders, the remnants of the Song Dynasty court held the coronation ceremony for the young prince Zhao Shi, making himEmperor Duanzong of Song.

1287 Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1381 Richard II met leaders of Peasants’ Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London was stormed by rebels who entered without resistance.

1645 English Civil War: Battle of Naseby – 12,000 Royalist forces were beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.

1775 American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.

1777 The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

1789 Mutiny on the BountyBounty mutiny survivors including CaptainWilliam Bligh and 18 others reached Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.

1789 – Whiskey distilled from maize was first produced by American clergyman the Rev Elijah Craig. It was named Bourbon because Rev Craig lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 The French Army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquered Italy.

1807 Emperor Napoleon I’s French Grande Armee defeated the Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1811 Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author, was born (d. 1896).

1821 Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne and realm to Ismail Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1822 Charles Babbage proposed a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.

1839 Henley Royal Regatta: the village of Henley staged its first Regatta.

1846 Bear Flag Revolt began – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, started a rebellion against Mexico and proclaimed the California Republic.

1863 American Civil War: Battle of Second Winchester – a Union garrison was defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia.

1863 Second Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudson during the American Civil War.

1864 Alois Alzheimer, German physician, was born (d. 1915).

1872 Trade unions were legalised in Canada.

1900 Hawaii became a United States territory.

1900 The Reichstag approved a second law that allowed the expansion of the German navy.

1907 Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator, was born (d. 1978).

1907 Norway gave women the  right to vote.

1909 Burl Ives, American musician, was born (d. 1995).

1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight

1928 Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary, was born (d. 1967).

1929 Cy Coleman, American composer, was born (d. 2004).

1937 – U. S. House of Representatives passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

1936 Renaldo “Obie” Benson, singer (The Four Tops), was born (d. 2005).

1938 Action Comics issue one was released, introducing Superman.

1940 World War II: Paris fell under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.

1940 The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania resulting in Lithuanian loss of independence

1940 A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1941 June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, began.

1942 Anne Frank began to keep a diary.

1946 Donald Trump, American businessman and entrepreneur, was born.

1949 – Alan White, British drummer (Yes), was born.

1950 Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, was born.

1951 UNIVAC I was dedicated by U.S. Census Bureau.

1952 The keel was laid for the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus.

1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance.

1959 A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba landed in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposingRafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. All but four were killed and/or executed by Trujillo’s army

1961 Boy George, British singer (Culture Club), was born,

1962 – The European Space Research Organisation was established in Paris.

1966 The Vatican announced the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books), which was originally instituted in 1557.

1967 Mariner 5 was launched toward Venus.

1976 The trial began at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.

1982 The Falklands War ended: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrendered to British forces.

1984 Robert Muldoon called a snap election.

Muldoon calls snap election

1985 TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after take-off from Athens.

1990 Miners from Jiu Valley were called to Bucharest by President Ion Iliescu to quell demonstrations in University Square by anti-government protesters.

2001 China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan form the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

2002 – Near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN missed the Earth by 75,000 miles (121,000 km), about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

2014 – A Ukraine military Ilyushin Il-76 airlifter was shot down, killing all 49 people on board.

2015 – A wildfire near Willow, Alaska in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough burned over 6,500 acres.

2017 –  A fire in a high-rise apartment building in North Kensington left at least 80 people dead and another 74 injured.

2017 -Republican member of Congress and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot while practicing for charity baseball.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Rural round-up

August 13, 2018

Synlait Milk’s $2b man John Penno only wanted to be a farmer – Heather Chalmers:

John Penno says he only wanted to be a farmer; instead he set up a major export dairy company.   

On August 10, the Synlait Milk managing director officially stepped down after turning a bare paddock near Dunsandel in Central Canterbury into a multi-product company now worth $2 billion.

With a second $260 million nutritional powder manufacturing site at Pokeno, in north Waikato, set to start processing next year for the 2019-20 season, the company had much more growth to come, he said.   . . 

Lake Opuha holds out for last minute winter snow – Pat Deavoll:

It’s not just the ski fields looking for a late-season top-up of snow.

Opuha Water chief executive Andrew Mockford is hoping “mother nature will finish the winter with a flourish” and provide the much-needed snow to melt and fill irrigation reservoir Lake Opuha in South Canterbury.

There was less snow than usual this year and it was higher up the mountain, he said. . . 

 

Red meat sector confident despite some head winds – Allan Barber:

Since I attended the 2016 conference, having missed last year’s, several things have changed considerably: two years ago Donald Trump wasn’t President, Silver Fern Farms hadn’t concluded its capital raising with a Chinese investor, alternative proteins and non-meat burgers weren’t on the industry’s radar and there was little recognition of the need for a Red Meat Story.

This year the conference programme acknowledged these changes by focusing on disruption to global trade, the China influence, heightened consumer expectations, the effects of the digital revolution and the importance of building consumer trust by telling our story about product provenance, traceability and environmental credibility. The conference was very well attended by farmers, processors and service providers, all of whom were optimistic about meeting the challenges ahead of an industry which has faced many different threats to its survival in the past 140 years. . . 

Unyielding weather for European fruit and vegetable growers, how is the heat impacting crops?

Wrinkled tomato skins, curly cucumbers and small plums – these are some of the effects of drought on fruit and vegetables in Northern Europe. Exactly how great is the impact of heat and water shortages on crops, yields and growers in the region?

Hot and dry weather affects field crop farming the most, says Cindy van Rijswick, RaboResearch Fruit and Vegetable Analyst. “Yields are lower, but fruits and vegetables are also smaller in size and sometimes have quality issues. Because of the high temperatures or lack of water, growers have smaller plums, wrinkled tomatoes, and more misshapen cucumbers. In the coming months, the harvest of apples, pears and potatoes may potentially be smaller in size and yield too.” . . 

Agribusiness professional wins Future Leader role:

As a full-time rural valuer and part-time farmer George Macmillan has insights into many aspects of the agricultural industry.

Based in the Hawkes Bay, he lives close to his family’s 380ha sheep and beef farm south west of Hastings and has recently taken over the lease of a 50ha block. As a foot in the door towards land ownership, he will use the block to grow out the dairy cross beef calves he rears every year to heavier weights and will possibly finish a small number.

George, along with Northland farmer Mack Talbot Lynn, has been appointed a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Future Leader and will represent New Zealand at the International Beef Alliance conference in Canada in September. . .

For farmers, traumas tariffs are far worse than any bad trade deal – Bart Ruth:

As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to open new markets to trade, rein in regulatory overreach, cut government spending, and rebuild infrastructure and communication networks to enable rural America to compete in the global economy.

While there have been some positive changes under President Trump – when it comes to American agriculture, we are headed toward economic disaster.

As a sixth-generation farmer and a lifelong Republican, I am alarmed over the impacts that the administration’s actions are having on the agriculture economy and rural America. President Trump has shown a blatant disregard for international institutions, sound science, proven economic theory, and the history of protectionist policy. . .


Rural round-up

August 3, 2018

Trump farm policy is pure socialism – Liam Dann:

How embarrassing for US farmers. How embarrassing for Republican believers in small government.

Donald Trump’s administration this week unveiled US$12 billion worth of farm subsidies.

In doing so it took a bold leap back to the days of socialist inefficiency that New Zealand has pushed back against for more than 30 years. . .

Feds: unfair to short-change South Canterbury on representation:

As Environment Canterbury’s largest constituency by far, covering an area with significant water quality and quantity issues, South Canterbury should not be short-changed on its number of councillors, Federated Farmers says.

South Canterbury deserves to be represented around the ECan table by two councillors not just one, the three Canterbury provinces of Federated Farmers have said in submissions on the ECan representation proposal.

“At more than 18,000 square kilometres, the South Canterbury is one third again the size of the two other rural constituencies,” Federated Farmers South Canterbury President Jason Grant says. . .

High calibre candidates for High Country Advisory Group

The Chief Executive of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) today announced the members of the new South Island High Country Advisory Group.

Andrew Crisp says he was delighted with the number of applications and was pleased at the value so many people saw in working together with government through the group.

“In just four weeks we had 33 applications, demonstrating how passionately people feel about this iconic area,” says Mr Crisp. . .

Warning over potentially infectious bacteria carried by cattle – Katie Doyle:

Taranaki District Health Board is urging rural communities to be on the alert for bacteria carried in by cattle that can be passed on to humans.

Verotoxin-producing E coli is a bacteria carried in the intestines of cattle, which when passed onto children can cause severe gastroenteritis.

DHB medical officer of health Jonathan Jarman said children on farms were at a high risk of catching the disease, with nearly half of cases ending up in hospital. . . 

Sustainability attributes set to play increasing role in Chinese food choices – NZ hort industry informed:

New Zealand’s horticultural sector will need to keep a close eye on the role sustainability attributes play in the purchasing decisions of Chinese consumers if it is to maximise returns from the rapidly-growing Chinese fruit and vegetable market, according to Rabobank’s senior horticultural analyst Hayden Higgins.

Speaking at the Horticulture New Zealand Conference in Christchurch last week, Mr Higgins said, while food safety, quality and nutrition credentials were currently the most significant factors influencing Chinese consumers’ food purchasing decisions, awareness of other product characteristics, including sustainability attributes, such as water usage and emissions, was growing. . .

 

OIO approves land sale near Arthur’s Pass to Czech businessman

The Overseas Investment Office has approved the sale of more than 40,000 hectares of South Island high country land to a Czech businessman, Lukas Travnicek, who has permanent New Zealand residence.

The land in question is Mount White Station, a 120-year-old sheep and beef station near Arthur’s Pass.

It includes 39,337 hectares of Crown pastoral lease and 678 hectares of freehold land in Bealey. . .

Craggy Range Vineyards gets green light to expand from OIO – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Craggy Range Vineyards has been given a green light to buy 132 hectares of land in the Wairarapa for $3.6 million.

The purchase will let the Australian-owned company expand its existing Martinborough vineyard, which is about a kilometre away, the Overseas Investment Office said. . .

Onerahi forest garden celebrates three years of feeding the community :

It started out as a messy bit of land behind Whangārei Airport.

Now the Wai Ariki Food Forest Onerahi-rahi, on the corner of Whimp Ave and Church St, Onerahi, has celebrated its third birthday after countless volunteer hours has it producing fruit and veges for the community.

Wendy Giffin, from the forest garden, said Saturday’s birthday celebrations were an indication of how far the garden has come in the three years since it started as a community vision. . .

Lewis Road cuts plastic production for milk bottles:

Premium dairy brand Lewis Road Creamery has announced it will move to recycled (rPET) bottles for its milk range from the end of August as part of its commitment to the New Zealand Packaging Declaration, committing to 100 percent of its packaging being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 or earlier.

Lewis Road is the first milk producer in the country to change to rPET bottles which are made from entirely recycled plastic. This means no new plastic is created to produce the bottles, which can then be continuously recycled. . .

 

To feed the world sustainably, repair the soil – David R. Montgomery:

New technologies and genetically modified crops are usually invoked as the key to feeding the world’s growing population. But a widely overlooked opportunity lies in reversing the soil degradation that has already taken something like a third of global farmland out of production. Simple changes in conventional farming practices offer opportunities to advance humanity’s most neglected natural infrastructure project—returning health to the soil that grows our food.

It is critical we do so. In 2015, a U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report concluded that ongoing soil degradation reduces global harvests by a third of a percent each year under conventional farming practices. In some parts of the U.S. I’ve visited, the rich black topsoil that settlers once plowed is gone, eroded away leaving farmers tilling anemic subsoil. . .


Free trade falters

August 3, 2018

Free trade is faltering:

The man who led the New Zealand team in key global trade negotiations says the world is seeing the worst rise in trade protectionism in 23 years.

Vangelis Vitalis, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, spoke to RNZ at a conference of the meat industry in Napier.

He said years of eased trade rules were in danger of being reversed, and this must be dealt with.

“We have seen 400 new protectionist measures to May have been put in place.

“We know that non-tariff barriers cost the wider agricultural sector of New Zealand up to $6 billion a year in restricted access. These have a profound impact.

“We are seeing the sharpest rise in protectionism since 1995, especially in the last six months.” . . 

This isn’t just a threat to exporters, it’s a threat to the whole economy.

Trade restrictions don’t just hurt businesses exporting to a country which imposes tariffs. They hurt businesses in the importing country trying to export to other countries which impose tariffs in response.

There’s no better illustration of that than this Trump Toon at Inquiring Mind.

By making it harder for businesses to sell their goods to the USA, Trump’s tariffs are making it harder for USA producers to export their goods.

Trump responded by giving subsidies which is a cost to taxpayers who are the consumers who are having to pay more for imported goods.

The inability to export will result in a glut in the domestic market which will depress prices. That might help consumers in the short-term but anything they gain in lower prices will come at their cost as taxpayers who pay for the subsidies.

I’m old enough to remember what it was like in New Zealand before we embraced free trade.

Tariffs were in effect a consumer subsidy for local industries which left consumers with less choice, often lower quality, and always higher prices on a whole range of goods from necessities to luxuries.

The whole system of tariffs, import and export licences, and subsidies was ripe for exploitation, manipulation and corruption.

It gave power to politicians, created work for bureaucrats and helped the favored few at the cost of the many.

The transition to an open economy wasn’t easy, but it has been worth it.

We are no longer producing low quality food in quantities too great to sell. Production is market led, aimed at what consumers want not political and bureaucratic whim.

There is little risk that New Zealand will close its borders again but we could be caught in the crossfire as trade wars between other countries escalates.


Caught in trade war crossfire

July 12, 2018

Producers who think they will benefit if overseas competitors are shut out of their domestic market or face high tariffs aren’t looking at the whole picture as Mexican dairy farmer Georgina Gutierrez explains:

Obrador, for example, talks about the importance of self-sufficiency, suggesting that our country can produce everything it consumes. 

This idea holds a certain kind of appeal, at least on the surface. Consider my own case as a good example.  I’m a dairy farmer. If our government were to stop importing milk, in the name of self-sufficiency, it would reduce the competition that I face from foreign producers and, presumably, allow me to flourish.  

Yet in reality, we’d all suffer. Mexican dairy farmers don’t produce enough milk to meet the demands of consumers. Even if we did, we still wouldn’t be truly self-sufficient. Milk production doesn’t take just a dairy farmer with a bunch of cows—it also requires farmers who grow the food that dairy cows eat as well as technology and machinery that make us better producers. Mexico imports these goods as well.  

In fact, my farm wouldn’t exist in its present state but for our ability to exchange goods and services across borders. We import corn, soy, canola, vitamins, medicine, and machinery, for example. This is how sustainable economies work, keeping prices in check for everyone. And it’s much better than the protectionism, price controls, and subsidies that central planners wrongly believe will fix the problems of their own market distortions.  . . 

In trade wars, producers and consumers get caught in the crossfire and pay the price with higher prices and less choice.

The only ones who win are the politicians and bureaucrats and even that’s usually only in the short-term.

Once economic growth slows as an inevitable consequence of higher prices, voters usually tire of the politicians responsible for it.

For more on this, see Daniel Ikensom who writes that Trump’s trade wars are incoherent, angry and misguided. (Hat tip: Kiwiblog


Rural round-up

July 4, 2018

Dairy prices tumble 5% at latest auction – Gerard Hutching:

Prices plunged at the latest global dairy auction by 5 per cent per cent to reach an average of US$3232, the most dramatic decrease seen in the index this year.

The price for New Zealand’s key export whole milk powder (WMP) was US$2905, a fall of 7.3 per cent. Futures markets had suggested WMP might fall by 1 per cent. 

AgriHQ said Fonterra’s latest Global Dairy Update appeared to have given the market the jitters, especially for WMP. . . 

Trade dispute causes dairy prices to tumble – Fran O’Leary:

Dairy markets appear to be reacting negatively to President Donald Trump’s decision to place tariffs on Mexican steel and aluminum, and on a number of Chinese products.

“In retaliation, Mexico announced that they will place a tariff on U.S. cheese, and China announced tariffs on some dairy products, corn, soybeans and other products. Mexico is the largest export market for U.S. cheese,” says Bob Cropp, University of Wisconsin Extension dairy economist.

“In 2017, Mexico accounted for 28.3% of U.S. cheese exports. While these tariffs didn’t take effect until July, and the degree of impact on U.S. dairy exports is unknown at this time, dairy product prices have already fallen.” . . 

2019 Zanda McDonald Award now open:

Talented young agri-leaders from Australia and New Zealand are being urged to apply for the 2019 Zanda McDonald Award. Applications for this prestigious award open today, with an impressive prize package worth over $50,000 up for grabs.

Now in its fifth year, the award provides the winner with an all-expenses paid trans-Tasman mentoring trip, $1,000 cash, a place on Rabobank’s Farm Managers Course, and access to the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group – a network of over 150 influential agri-business men and women from across Australasia.

Richard Rains, Chairman of the Zanda McDonald Award, says the award provides a fantastic opportunity for young agricultural leaders to further their career and their personal development. . . 

Backing our Southern men:

There’s something magical about having a hometown advantage.

But that advantage comes with a twist for two southern men who are competing in the FMG Young Farmer of the Year grand final in Invercargill this week.

Technically, there are two southerners competing in the final, but they represent different regions in the contest. 

Logan Wallace, 28, leases his parents farm at Waipahi in south Otago and is the Otago-Southland regional finalist, while Cameron Black, 25, who is based in Christchurch as a rural consultant for New Zealand Agri Brokers is the Aorangi regional finalist. . . 

A2 Synlait agree to extend infant formula supply deal – Sophie Boot

(BusinessDesk) – Dairy marketer A2 Milk and milk processor Synlait Milk have agreed to extend their infant formula supply deal and increase the volume of formula Synlait will supply as the two continue to focus on sales in the lucrative Chinese market.

A2 and Synlait first signed a supply agreement in 2012 to support the milk marketing firm’s plans to launch infant formula sales into China, and inked a new deal in August 2016 providing for increased scale if market demand warranted it.

The companies’ arrangements were for a minimum of five years from 2016, with a rolling three-year term from August this year, but have been extended by two years so will last until at least July 2023. Synlait will increase the volume of infant formula products it is A2’s exclusive supplier for and increase its committed production capacity. . .

Latest report from Land and Water Forum:

The Government has said it will act immediately on some recommendations of the Land and Water Forum. This includes prioritising action in the most “at-risk” catchments.

Advice was sought by Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor on a number of issues on waterways and the primary sector.

“The Government will act on some of the Forum’s recommendations immediately, while the remaining recommendations will be considered in more detail as part of our work programme,” David Parker said. . .

First female arable chair joins Feds national board:

Federated Farmers has a new board member as a result of elections held during last week’s national conference in Wellington.

Karen Williams, who was elected arable chairperson at that industry group’s annual meeting in Timaru in June, was elected to the national board by delegates from Federated Farmers’ 24 provinces. She replaces Guy Wigley, who stepped down after three years as arable leader. . . 

A new chapter in the history of Vidal – one of New Zealand’s oldest wineries:

On June 30 the doors of the Vidal Estate winery and restaurant in Hastings closed for the last time. It was a historic moment for the winery established by pioneer Anthony Vidal in 1905, but the future of Vidal Estate looks bright with the relocation to a new state-of-the-art winery located in the Gimblett Gravels, Hawkes Bay.

To make great wine, the closer to the vineyards the better, said Hugh Crichton, winemaker at Vidal Estate. “It was an exciting time to move our winemaking base out to the Gimblett Gravels for vintage 2018. While it has been immensely satisfying to ferment and age our wines in the historic cellars in Hastings there’s no denying there were challenges. Being closer to our vineyards and working within a winery designed for quality will without a doubt further push us into the premium market”. . . .

Leading New Zealand winery-based hospitality business placed on the market for sale:

One of New Zealand’s biggest winery-based tourism and hospitality operations – encompassing vineyards, a function centre, restaurant, and high-end accommodation – has been placed on the market for sale.

Mahana Estates just west of Nelson generates income from four revenue streams which operate both independently and conjunction with each other.

The Mahana Estates property portfolio encompasses:
• A 21-hectare vineyard planted in pinot noir, pinot gris, Riesling and chardonnay
• A nine hectare sauvignon blanc vineyard in the nearby region of Hope
• A 2,589 square metre four-level winery capable of crushing 500 tonnes of grapes annually and sustained by its own on-site cellaring facility and bottling plant which operates on a gravity feed system to minimize the need for pumps . . 

Aussie grain giant puts mega farm up for sale – Chris Mccullough:

The owner of the 495,000 acre farm is asking $72 to $82 million
for what is one of Australia’s largest arable operations

One of Australia’s biggest arable farms extending to 495,000 acres is up for sale at a price tag of $72 to $82 million.

Western Australian grain giant John Nicoletti decided to retire from grain farming at 64 years old. . .


Rural-round-up

June 26, 2018

New Zealand primary sector nervous over prospect of trade wars – Jamie Gray:

New Zealand’s primary sector is viewing the rising tide of global trade protectionism with trepidation, but escalating trade tensions between the United States and China have yet to spill over into this country’s main exports.

Primary sector and trade representatives welcomed last week’s launch of trade talks with the EU as positive step.

At the time, European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström voiced concerns about trade issues that have plagued markets in recent weeks after the US Donald Trump administration imposed steel and aluminium tariffs and the US and China stepped up their war of words. . . 

Guy Trafford traces the implications for agricultural trade flows from the game of poker the US is playing with China. All sides are vulnerable, even those not directly involved – Guy Trafford:

President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping are involved in a high stakes game of poker. Trump played the first hand with a $5 0billion tariff card. Xi Jinping immediately matched it with a similar call and put tariffs on US products, namely sorghum and soya beans.

Trump then matched and raised the stakes by increasing the tariffs to another $200 billion with the threat that if China matched this then another raise to $450 billion would be played.

This threat would put tariffs on over 90% of China’s exports to the US. . . 

Clampdown on foreign farm buyers scares off investors with ‘tens of millions’ in funds, agents say – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The government’s directive to the Overseas Investment Office to raise the bar in overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land has scared away tens of millions of dollars in investments in rural property and will hurt farm values, real estate firms say.

The ministerial directive in a letter from Finance Minister Grant Robertson last November to Land Information NZ chief Andrew Crisp said the government is concerned to ensure any benefits from overseas investment in rural land “are genuinely substantial and identifiable” and economic benefits must be considered alongside environmental, social and cultural goals. Owning sensitive New Zealand assets was “a privilege, not a right.” The directive came into effect on Dec. 15 last year. . . 

Foreign farm buyer applications withdrawn in the past 12 months have tripled, OIO figures show – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The rate at which potential foreign buyers of New Zealand farms subsequently withdrew their applications to the Overseas Investment Office tripled in the past 12 months, OIO figures show.

The data captures the period since the government’s directive to the OIO to tighten rules for overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land (which means any farmland over 5 hectares). The ministerial directive in a letter from Finance Minister Grant Robertson last November to Land Information NZ chief Andrew Crisp said the government aims to ensure any benefits from overseas investment in rural land “are genuinely substantial and identifiable” and economic benefits must be considered alongside environmental, social and cultural goals. Owning sensitive New Zealand assets was “a privilege, not a right.” The directive came into effect on Dec. 15 last year. . . 

Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018 announced:

Congratulations to Jonathan Hunt from Delegats, Crownthorpe Vineyard, who became the Bayer Hawke’s Bay Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018 on Thursday 21st June.

This is the third year Hunt has competed and he is thrilled to have won the title and to be going on to represent Hawke’s Bay in the National Final.

Congratulations also goes to Nick Putt from Villa Maria who came second and Grace Petrie from Trinity Hill who came third. . . 

Creative tea and coffee trends good news for NZ dairy:

It’s tea, but not as you know it. Right now people are adding more than just milk and sugar to their cuppa’s and Fonterra is set to meet the demand for adventurous tea and coffee drinks around the world.

Beverages made with yoghurt, topped with cream cheese and mixed with cream are growing in popularity, leading Fonterra to establish a new channel within its Global Foodservice business, Beverage House.

Almost 600 million cups of tea and coffee are consumed out-of-home daily in the Asia Pacific region, a 22% increase on five years ago. . . 

Report Provides Zero Carbon Solution:

Smoke free, plastic free but, more significantly, tillage free.

A report to the Productivity Commission is recommending “bold action” to eliminate tillage or ploughing within the next five to 10 years and replace it with low disturbance no-tillage.

Every time soil is tilled through conventional methods, it releases huge quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere which contribute to global warming.

While the government has introduced a Zero Carbon Bill, it has overlooked the impact of cultivation which causes up to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and the report challenges the Minister, James Shaw, through the Productivity Commission, to do something about it. . . 

In dairy, a cutthroat U.S. business versus a Canadian cartel – Jerry Zremski:

A little comparison shopping goes a long way toward explaining why President Trump decided to wage a trade war with Canada.

A gallon of milk cost $2.89 at the Tops Friendly Supermarket on Niagara Street last week, while the same product at the Avonmart on Garrison Road in Fort Erie cost $3.35 in American dollars. And Fort Erie shoppers are getting a bargain: According to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced comparison price guide, the average cost for a gallon of milk throughout Canada is $6.32 in American dollars, nearly twice the U.S. price.

And it’s all because the United States and Canada operate their dairy industries in ways that are as different as a bald eagle and a maple leaf. . . 

World Desertification Day: Stories of Resilience from Somalia :

In observation of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, delve into four stories of resilience from desert lands in Somalia. Meet two farmers and two female entrepreneurs, who—supported by the Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP)—share their experiences of grit, hope, and resilience despite years of drought and famine risks.  Together with partners, particularly the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the project aimed to scale-up drought response and recovery in Somalia.

1. An impressive harvest, a happy farmer

The story of Saed Mohamud may not typically be expected from Somalia in 2017, two years into a severe drought that put the country in a nationwide state of natural disaster and famine—yet Mohamud is not alone. In 2017, thousands of families beat the odds and produced good yields, thanks to concerted efforts from government and partners, and solid donor investment in building farmers’ resilience against drought. . .


June 14 in history

June 14, 2018

1158 – Munich was founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.

1216 – First Barons’ War: Prince Louis of France captured the city of Winchester and soon conquered over half of the Kingdom of England.

1276 – While taking exile in Fuzhou in southern China, away from the advancing Mongol invaders, the remnants of the Song Dynasty court held the coronation ceremony for the young prince Zhao Shi, making himEmperor Duanzong of Song.

1287 Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1381 Richard II met leaders of Peasants’ Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London was stormed by rebels who entered without resistance.

1645 English Civil War: Battle of Naseby – 12,000 Royalist forces were beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.

1775 American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.

1777 The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty: Bounty mutiny survivors including CaptainWilliam Bligh and 18 others reached Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.

1789 – Whiskey distilled from maize was first produced by American clergyman the Rev Elijah Craig. It was named Bourbon because Rev Craig lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 The French Army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquered Italy.

1807 Emperor Napoleon I’s French Grande Armee defeated the Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1811 Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author, was born (d. 1896).

1821 Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne and realm to Ismail Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1822 Charles Babbage proposed a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.

1839 Henley Royal Regatta: the village of Henley staged its first Regatta.

1846 Bear Flag Revolt began – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, started a rebellion against Mexico and proclaimed the California Republic.

1863 American Civil War: Battle of Second Winchester – a Union garrison was defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia.

1863 Second Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudsonduring the American Civil War.

1864 Alois Alzheimer, German physician, was born (d. 1915).

1872 Trade unions were legalised in Canada.

1900 Hawaii became a United States territory.

1900 The Reichstag approved a second law that allowed the expansion of the German navy.

1907 Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator, was born (d. 1978).

1907 Norway gave women the  right to vote.

1909 Burl Ives, American musician, was born (d. 1995).

1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight

1928 Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary, was born (d. 1967).

1929 Cy Coleman, American composer, was born (d. 2004).

1937 – U. S. House of Representatives passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

1936 Renaldo “Obie” Benson, singer (The Four Tops), was born (d. 2005).

1938 Action Comics issue one was released, introducing Superman.

1940 World War II: Paris fell under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.

1940 The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania resulting in Lithuanian loss of independence

1940 A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1941 June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, began.

1942 Anne Frank began to keep a diary.

1946 Donald Trump, American businessman and entrepreneur, was born.

1949 – Alan White, British drummer (Yes), was born.

1950 Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, was born.

1951 UNIVAC I was dedicated by U.S. Census Bureau.

1952 The keel was laid for the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus.

1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance.

1959 A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba landed in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposingRafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. All but four were killed and/or executed by Trujillo’s army

1961 Boy George, British singer (Culture Club), was born,

1962 – The European Space Research Organisation was established in Paris.

1966 The Vatican announced the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books), which was originally instituted in 1557.

1967 Mariner 5 was launched toward Venus.

1976 The trial began at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.

1982 The Falklands War ended: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrendered to British forces.

1984 Robert Muldoon called a snap election.

Muldoon calls snap election

1985 TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after take-off from Athens.

1990 Miners from Jiu Valley were called to Bucharest by President Ion Iliescu to quell demonstrations in University Square by anti-government protesters.

2001 China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan form the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

2002 – Near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN missed the Earth by 75,000 miles (121,000 km), about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

2014 – A Ukraine military Ilyushin Il-76 airlifter was shot down, killing all 49 people on board.

2015 – A wildfire near Willow, Alaska in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough burned over 6,500 acres.

2017 – : A fire in a high-rise apartment building in North Kensington left at least 80 people dead and another 74 injured.

2017 -Republican member of Congress and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot while practicing for charity baseball.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Consumers pay cost of tariffs

March 13, 2018

USA President’s decision to impose tariffs on some imported goods could start trade wars.

That appears to be something of which Foreign Minister Winston Peters approves:

What’s Donald Trump’s biggest complaint? It’s that countries shouting out ‘free trade for America’ don’t practise free trade themselves. In fact it’s New Zealand First’s and my complaint that the countries we deal with apply tariffs against us whilst we’re giving them total and unfettered access to our country. It’s simply not fair.

It might not be fair but imposing tariffs on goods from other countries in retaliation is simply stupid.

It might protect inefficient local industries but local consumers will pay for that in higher prices and less choice.

 


Rural round-up

January 30, 2018

Maui Milk develop world first in sheep milking genetics – Gerald Piddock:

A new crossbred sheep being developed for the ovine milking industry by Maui Milk is thought to be a world first for sheep genetics.

Called Southern Cross, it is a mix of east friesian, awassi and lacaune – all prominent Northern Hemisphere sheep milking breeds – and is built off a coopworth base.

Maui Milk general manager Peter Gatley​ said the breed would provide hybrid vigour and, over time, would hopefully become the sheep equivalent of the kiwicross cow, which was now the most popular choice of cow used in the dairy industry. . . 

From casual to full-time – hard work pays off for Southland farmer – Brittany Pickett:

Brooke Bryson always knew she wanted to be a farmer.

When an opportunity to work as a casual employee at AgResearch’s Woodlands Research Farm came up she joined the team and eight years later she’s running the show.

Bryson, 29, is the farm manager for the 240-hectare farm just outside the Woodlands township, which among other research is the home to the Woodlands Central Progeny Test and the genetically-linked Woodlands Coopworth Progeny Test facilities. “My family farms. All my family farms.” . . 

Study probes clothing and carpet choices and effects on our oceans:

As global concern grows about pollution of our oceans and effects on marine life and seafood, AgResearch is studying how different materials break down in the water to help keep consumers informed.

Studies indicate that microfibres (up to 5mm in size) are entering the oceans in large quantities – particularly from clothing and other materials in washing machines, where the tiny fibres can come loose and travel with the water into the drain, and ultimately to ocean outfalls. More evidence is also required for microfibres from interior textiles like carpets, bedding and other products that are cleaned less often. . . 

Fashion foods:

For the past 30 years orchardists Bill and Erica Lynch of Fashion Foods have been searching for the ‘missing link’ in their apple breeding program. Finally they have found the variety they’re looking for, and it has a sister!

While the past two decades have been spent passionately looking for an apple with the commercial appeal of Royal Gala but with the flavour profile of its ancestor Heritage Gala, Bill admits that they really only became orchardists by accident.

“Both Erica and I started our careers in the corporate world around Wellington and Taranaki but after having our three children we set our minds to pursuing sheep farming in the Nelson/Tasman region,” Bill said. “We found it difficult to secure an appropriate ‘pathway’ property so in 1979 we ended up purchasing an apple orchard with the intention to develop it and run breeding ewes. . . 

NAFTA is our lifeline – Terry Wanzek:

“NAFTA is a bad joke,” wrote President Trump last week on Twitter.

For me and countless other farmers, however, the possible death of NAFTA is no laughing matter.

Instead, NAFTA is our lifeline.

Here in rural North Dakota—in what we might call “Trump Country”—our livelihoods depend on our ability to sell what we grow to customers in Canada and Mexico.

So as the president’s trade diplomats continue their NAFTA negotiations in Montreal this week—in what the Wall Street Journal says “could be a make-or-break round of talks”—I hope they have a proper understanding of how much we count on this trade agreement. . . 

 

Bill Gates is funding genetic research into how to create the perfect cow – Alexandra Ma:

  • Bill Gates wants to create the perfect cow.
  • This cow would produce as much milk as a European cow but withstand heat as well as an African one.
  • He has invested $US40 million into a British nonprofit that researches animal vaccinations and genetics.

Bill Gates has funded genetic research into how to create the perfect cow – one that will produce more milk and be able to withstand temperatures beyond that of the average cow.

The Microsoft founder has invested $US40 million (£28 million) in the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, or GALVmed, a nonprofit organisation based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that conducts research into livestock vaccinations and genetics, the BBC reported.

Gates wants to help create the perfect cow that will produce as much milk as a European cow but be able to withstand heat as well as an African cow, according to the Times newspaper. . . 


Action and reaction alarming

July 7, 2017

One of my student friends had a theory that there was no threat of nuclear war among the super powers because the people in charge understood the consequences.

The real threat, he said, was from less powerful countries where non-democratic regimes put idiots in charge.

The example he used then was Idi Amin.

He didn’t foresee a time when democracy mighty put someone whose emotions appear to outweigh, or overrule,  his intelligence in charge of a superpower.

North Korea’s missile tests are alarming but so too is President’s Trump’s reaction.


June 14 in history

June 14, 2017

1158 – Munich was founded by Henry the Lion on the banks of the river Isar.

1216 – First Barons’ War: Prince Louis of France captured the city of Winchester and soon conquered over half of the Kingdom of England.

1276 – While taking exile in Fuzhou in southern China, away from the advancing Mongol invaders, the remnants of the Song Dynasty court held the coronation ceremony for the young prince Zhao Shi, making himEmperor Duanzong of Song.

1287 Kublai Khan defeated the force of Nayan and other traditionalist Borjigin princes in East Mongolia and Manchuria.

1381 Richard II met leaders of Peasants’ Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London was stormed by rebels who entered without resistance.

1645 English Civil War: Battle of Naseby – 12,000 Royalist forces were beaten by 15,000 Parliamentarian soldiers.

1775 American Revolutionary War: the Continental Army was established by the Continental Congress, marking the birth of the United States Army.

1777 The Stars and Stripes was adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

1789 Mutiny on the Bounty: Bounty mutiny survivors including CaptainWilliam Bligh and 18 others reached Timor after a nearly 7,400 km (4,000-mile) journey in an open boat.

1789 – Whiskey distilled from maize was first produced by American clergyman the Rev Elijah Craig. It was named Bourbon because Rev Craig lived in Bourbon County, Kentucky.

1800 The French Army of First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo in Northern Italy and re-conquered Italy.

1807 Emperor Napoleon I’s French Grande Armee defeated the Russian Army at the Battle of Friedland ending the War of the Fourth Coalition.

1811 Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author, was born (d. 1896).

1821 Badi VII, king of Sennar, surrendered his throne and realm to Ismail Pasha, general of the Ottoman Empire, ending the existence of that Sudanese kingdom.

1822 Charles Babbage proposed a difference engine in a paper to the Royal Astronomical Society entitled “Note on the application of machinery to the computation of astronomical and mathematical tables”.

1839 Henley Royal Regatta: the village of Henley staged its first Regatta.

1846 Bear Flag Revolt began – Anglo settlers in Sonoma, California, started a rebellion against Mexico and proclaimed the California Republic.

1863 American Civil War: Battle of Second Winchester – a Union garrison was defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia.

1863 Second Assault on the Confederate works at the Siege of Port Hudsonduring the American Civil War.

1864 Alois Alzheimer, German physician, was born (d. 1915).

1872 Trade unions were legalised in Canada.

1900 Hawaii became a United States territory.

1900 The Reichstag approved a second law that allowed the expansion of the German navy.

1907 Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator, was born (d. 1978).

1907 Norway adopted female suffrage.

1909 Burl Ives, American musician, was born (d. 1995).

1919 John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown left St. John’s, Newfoundland on the first nonstop transatlantic flight

1928 Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Marxist Revolutionary, was born (d. 1967).

1929 Cy Coleman, American composer, was born (d. 2004).

1937 – U. S. House of Representatives passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.

1936 Renaldo “Obie” Benson, singer (The Four Tops), was born (d. 2005).

1938 Action Comics issue one was released, introducing Superman.

1940 World War II: Paris fell under German occupation, and Allied forces retreat.

1940 The Soviet Union presented an ultimatum to Lithuania resulting in Lithuanian loss of independence

1940 A group of 728 Polish political prisoners from Tarnów become the first inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

1941 June deportation, the first major wave of Soviet mass deportations and murder of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, began.

1942 Anne Frank began to keep a diary.

1946 Donald Trump, American businessman and entrepreneur, was born.

1949 – Alan White, British drummer (Yes), was born.

1950 Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, was born.

1951 UNIVAC I was dedicated by U.S. Census Bureau.

1952 The keel was laid for the nuclear submarine USS Nautilus.

1954 U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law that places the words “under God” into the United States’ Pledge of Allegiance.

1959 A group of Dominican exiles with leftist tendencies that departed from Cuba landed in the Dominican Republic with the intent of deposingRafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina. All but four were killed and/or executed by Trujillo’s army

1961 Boy George, British singer (Culture Club), was born,

1962 – The European Space Research Organisation was established in Paris.

1962 The New Mexico Supreme Court in the case of Montoya v. Bolack, 70 N.M. 196, prohibits state and local governments from denying Indians the right to vote because they live on a reservation.

1966 The Vatican announced the abolition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books), which was originally instituted in 1557.

1967 Mariner 5 was launched toward Venus.

1976 The trial began at Oxford Crown Court of Donald Neilson, the killer known as the Black Panther.

1982 The Falklands War ended: Argentine forces in the capital Stanley unconditionally surrendered to British forces.

1984 Robert Muldoon called a snap election.

Muldoon calls snap election

1985 TWA Flight 847 was hijacked by Hezbollah shortly after take-off from Athens.

1990 Miners from Jiu Valley were called to Bucharest by President Ion Iliescu to quell demonstrations in University Square by anti-government protesters.

2001 China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan form the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

2002 – Near-Earth asteroid 2002 MN missed the Earth by 75,000 miles (121,000 km), about one-third of the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

2014 – A Ukraine military Ilyushin Il-76 airlifter was shot down, killing all 49 people on board.

2015 – A wildfire near Willow, Alaska in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough burned over 6,500 acres.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Rural round-up

February 9, 2017

Synlait increases forecast milk price to $6.25 kgMS:

Synlait Milk has increased their forecast milk price from $6.00 kgMS to $6.25 kgMS for the 2016 / 2017 season.

“International dairy commodity prices have improved further since our last announcement in November and although prices have eased slightly in early 2017, we believe $6.25 kgMS is now a realistic estimate for the current season,” said Graeme Milne, Chairman.

Mr Milne said global dairy production, with the exception of the United States, has continued to decrease and followed the trend of previous months. . . 

Stu Muir brings life to dying wetlands – Kate Guthrie:

Stu Muir is a Waikato dairy farmer and, in contrast to some of the headline-grabbing stories you may have read about dairy farmers, Stu and his family are putting a huge effort into restoring natural waterways on their block. Such is the magnitude of their effort and the success of their project,that they even featured on the 50th Anniversary episode of ‘Country Calendar’.

Stu’s family have been farming in New Zealand since the 1850s. On a block of land his great great grandparents
bought back in the 1890s, there is a swamp and until recently that swamp was clogged with willows and pampas – so badly blocked that you couldn’t move through the stream. Water couldn’t move either and with no current flowing through the wetland was full of pondweed and dead or dying throughout. . . 

‘You can’t afford to have a short-term view’ – Maja Burry:

A ban on collecting shellfish and seaweed species in Kaikōura has left some pāua divers jobless – but they are still supporting a government proposal to extend the closure further.

The Kaikōura earthquake lifted parts of the seabed by up to four metres, exposing thousands of pāua and other sealife to dehydration and prompting the fisheries closure.

The current ban is due to expire on 20 February, but the Ministry for Primary Industries has been seeking feedback on its plan to extend it another nine months. . . 

Trump vs. global supply chains: US agriculture edition – James Pethokoukis:

Donald Trump wants to rework NAFTA to somehow bring back manufacturing jobs. (Reality check here.) But I guess it isn’t just factories that have complex, enmeshed supply chains. US agriculture has a big stake in possible re-negotiations, too. From the FT:

Corn is the biggest of the US’s $17.7bn in agricultural exports to Mexico, a value that has risen fivefold since the countries signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mexico’s exports to the US have grown even faster to $21bn, led by fruits and vegetables such as lemons and avocados. … The US president has pledged to revise Nafta, wall off the border and possibly slap Mexican imports with tariffs. Trade in agriculture could end up a casualty. … Mexico is the third biggest destination for exported US farm products. They range from corn and wheat to dairy foods and high-fructose corn syrup. . . 

Manuka honey’s reputation hit by Queen’s grocer’s move – industry:

The reputation of manuka honey has taken a hit after the Queen’s official grocer pulled it from its shelves, says the local industry.

Fortnum-and-Mason removed the New Zealand-made product, after testing showed it had lower-than-expected levels of a key ingredient.

John Rawcliffe, from the Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association, said he did not know who supplied the honey to the upmarket grocer. . . 

  First round of Regional Awards finalists announced:

The 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is in full swing, with judging underway and the first regional finalists announced.

The awards, which oversee the Share Farmer of the Year, Dairy Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions, received 424 entries.

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy, and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO. . .

Tough contest for dairy industry scholars:

DairyNZ has awarded 55 scholarships to Lincoln, Massey and Waikato university students as part of a wider drive to support motivated young talent into the dairy industry.

The annual scholarships were awarded to students undertaking degrees in agriculture or related fields, with a particular interest in the dairy industry.

Susan Stokes, DairyNZ industry education facilitator, says the quality of applications this year was exceptionally high and bodes well for future talent coming into the dairy industry. . .

Final Results for Karaka 2017:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 91st National Yearling Sales Series concluded on Sunday after six action-packed days of selling.

The increased international presence at Karaka 2017 was a highlight of the Sale Series, with purchasers from nine countries including Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland, Great Britain, and Japan securing purchases through the three Sale sessions.

Spend by the Australian buying bench increased by over $5.6 million (+18%) on last year’s edition with receipts totalling $36.9 million for 290 horses purchased (up from 251 in 2016). . . 

Blooming marvellous… New Zealand’s biggest commercial nursery placed on the market for sale:

The land, buildings and business making up New Zealand’s biggest commercial wholesale plant and shrub nursery have been placed on the market for sale.

Growing Spectrum is a 9.635 hectare ‘all-in-one’ seedling, nursery and potting operation at Kihikihi near Te Awamutu in Southern Waikato. The business grows more than half-a-million plants for sale annually – supplying virtually all of New Zealand’s garden centres and selected home improvement mega store outlets.

The family owned and operated business was established 40 years by husband and wife horticultural entrepreneurs Peter and Carol Fraser. It now employs 36 full-time staff, with the company’s sales growing consistently over the past three completed financial years – reaching $4.76 million in the 2015/2016 period. . . 


366 days of gratitude

November 11, 2016

Donald Trump was rightly derided for saying he wouldn’t accept the presidential election result if he lost.

Some of the people who derided him are now protesting because he won.

They are doing so more or less peacefully, at least without anyone being injured or killed as could happen in countries where people don’t have the right to protest.

The protest might be hypocritical and reinforce the views of at least some of those who voted for change, but that’s not a crime.

Tonight I’m grateful for the right to protest, peacefully, whether or not those protesting are right.


Tribalism trumps principles

November 9, 2016

Had I been true to my principles I wouldn’t have voted for the National Party in 1984.

The big government, protectionist, high tax and spend policies Robert Muldoon and his government were pursuing did not align with my views on what was best for New Zealand.

I could have voted for Bob Jones’ New Zealand party, but I didn’t.

Why not?

I was a member of National, though not an active one, but still tribalism, my loyalty to the party, trumped my principles.

This must be what is happening in the USA.

So much of what Donald Trump stands for must be anathema to Republicans who want small government, a lightly regulated economy and free trade.

At least some Democrats must be more than a little concerned about Hillary Clinton.

But, even though polls show both candidates have more people who don’t want them than do, tribal loyalty will trump voters’ principles. They will vote/have voted for their party’s candidate and one of other of these unpopular people will become president.

Commentators who know far more about the USA, its politics and people than I do, are forecasting trouble whoever wins.

But political tragics forget that most people aren’t as wrapped up in the minutiae of politics and politicians as they are.

They overlook the fact that, imperfect as democracy in general and the way it’s operating in the USA at the moment in particular, is,  the vast majority of people where it’s been working, for better or worse, for hundreds of years, will accept the result.

And they don’t realise that, barring a major calamity, people carry on doing what they do as much in spite of governments and their actions as because of them.


If women ruled the world

July 14, 2016

Angela Merkel has been chancellor of Germany since 2005.

Hillary Clinton is likely, though not certain, to be the next president of the USA, if only because many people see her as the lesser of two evils when compared with the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Half the candidates vying to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations are women, including former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Theresa May has been sworn in as UK Prime Minister. (The BBC profiles her here.) and 14 other countries already have women as heads of government or elected heads of state .

The countries, women leaders and year they took office are:

* BANGLADESH: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2009)

* CHILE: President Michelle Bachelet (2014)

* CROATIA: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (2015)

* GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel (2005)

* LIBERIA: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006)

* LITHUANIA: President Dalia Grybauskaite (2009)

* MALTA: President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (2014)

* MARSHALL ISLANDS: President Hilda Heine (2016)

* MAURITIUS: President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (2015)

* NAMIBIA: Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (2015)

* NEPAL: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari (2015)

* NORWAY: Prime Minister Erna Solberg (2013)

* POLAND: Prime Minister Beata Szydlo (2015)

* SOUTH KOREA: President Park Geun-hye (2013)

* TAIWAN: President Tsai Ing-wen (2016)    

Does being female make a difference to what they do and how they do it?

My answer to that is probably, everyone brings a different perspective to a role and gender would have some influence on the difference.

If women ruled the world some things would change but a female perspective in itself wouldn’t mean better or worse.

The world has and has had good and bad leaders and it will continue to have them regardless of whether they’re men or women.

But I think the world would be a better place if people were regarded as people, accepted and respected for what we have in common and differences like gender and race were immaterial.

 


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