Rural round-up

June 9, 2019

A recipe for disaster:

That old saying about not being able to see the wood for the trees could well describe the government’s infatuation with forestry at the expense of farming.

Objections are growing stronger in rural New Zealand to the impact the ‘one billion trees’ programme will have on the regions’ farming landscapes, infrastructure and communities. Concern is such that a new lobby group has formed, wanting to preserve the economy, health and welfare of the NZ provinces.

Named 50 Shades of Green, it aims to convince politicians and decisionmakers that the current push to plant a billion trees will destroy the provinces and ultimately may endanger the national economy. . . 

DIRA review nibbles at the status quo and avoids the big questions – Keith Woodford:

The current review of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA) does not address the big decisions that face the New Zealand dairy industry. That may well be a wise decision by Government.

Big decisions will indeed be necessary over the coming years. Clearly, they are difficult decisions. However, trying to make those decisions through the DIRA mechanism would be a brave decision and, in all likelihood, with unintended consequences. So, the Government has stepped back.

Instead, Government is using DIRA to nibble around the edges.  Whether those nibbles are the correct nibbles remains a moot point. . . 

Rural real estate feeling the pinch in South Canterbury – Samesh Mohanlall:

Parts of the rural real estate market are struggling in Canterbury and South Canterbury with key industry figures saying they are concerned about the effect of compliance regulations, anti-farming rhetoric and Environment Canterbury’s (ECan) climate emergency declaration.

South Canterbury’s Federated Farmers president Jason Grant and rural estate agents say much of the gloomy projection in the latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (Reinz) rural report stemmed from environmental constraints and negative sentiments “coming out around farming”.  . .

Carbon farms help soil, water – Annette Scott:

Carbon farming is about managing soil, vegetation, water and animals while turning opportunities on the farm into improved business performance and profitability.

All while ensuring long-term benefits to farm businesses, the local economy and the environment.

That was the buy-in for more than 60 farmers and industry stakeholders who attended a Canterbury Agribusiness carbon farming seminar.

Most attendees when asked why they attended said the same – to understand something that’s all a bit new and learn what opportunities are available to them. . . 

Nelson mums find solution for skin condition in the paddock – Anuja Nadkarni:

It all started with some flowers planted in a paddock.

Dot Kettle and her partner Georgia Richards traded in their fast-paced corporate lives in Wellington for a more relaxed life to raise their three boys in Dove Valley, 45 minutes from Nelson more than 10 years ago.

Kettle, a lawyer, and IT analyst Richards knew next to nothing about farming, but with 42 hectares of land, the couple decided to plant a field of peonies for export as they are the ideal blooms for Nelson’s climate. . . 

Dodgy fert size to get shake-up – Richard Rennie:

Lumpy, uneven and irregular fertiliser, long the bane of farmers and spreaders, will face tighter scrutiny once the Fertiliser Quality Council establishes standards for the product’s physical qualities.

While standards have been set for the mineral and nutrient content of fertiliser, council chairman Anders Crofoot admits it has taken longer than expected to set them for particle shape and size.

“Setting the chemical standard for fertilisers was fine and has worked well for a long time. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 10, 2018

Water essential to feed New Zealand – Mike Chapman:

Reality: plants need water to grow, and that water supply needs to be consistent and reliable.

In the past two years, there have been extreme climatic events, alternating between intense periods of rain and drought. Last winter, heavy rain made vegetable growing difficult in the North Island. Supply was short and prices went up. Supply had to be supplemented from parts of New Zealand that rely on irrigation to sustain fruit and vegetable growing.

In December, the country went into drought. After having had too much water for months, then there was none. In Waimea, growers were forced to make decisions about which trees would not fruit and would have water supply reduced to root stock survival levels only. This is a highly productive area for horticulture and water supply during dry periods is vital. In fact, to maintain production and produce high quality vegetables and fruit a consistent supply of water is needed throughout the main growing areas in New Zealand.

Water storage and irrigation are key for sustainable growth of horticulture to feed New Zealanders. Water storage helps keep river flows at the right level during heavy rain, to use during drought. . . 

B+LNZ finalising brand mark and strategy for Red Meat Story:

Michael Wan, B+LNZ’s Global Manager Red Meat Story, provided farmers with an update on the progress of the Red Meat Story at our recent Annual Meeting in Gisborne.

As you may be aware, B+LNZ is currently finalising the proposed brand mark, story and Go-to-Market Strategy for the Red Meat Story.

Subject to discussions with the sector, these are expected to be shared with farmers later this year, before being rolled out to global markets, in partnership with processors.

“What is clear from the work we have done so far is that the New Zealand’s red meat story is more than a brand, story and activation plan,” says Michael. . . 

No more NZ lamb for French Canadian restaurateur – Eric Frykberg:

A French Canadian woman has stopped buying New Zealand lamb for her restaurant.

Marie Boudreau used to happily purchase frozen, prepared New Zealand meat to serve customers at her restaurant.

She said the New Zealand product was fine, but she later found a far better way to stock her kitchen.

She began to raise her own lambs for her restaurant. And she would give them love, attention and special treatment while they were growing. She would even cuddle them while they were being slaughtered.

“I stay with them right to the end, and I pass them to the butcher myself,” Madame Boudreau said. . .

Finalists compete for prestigious dairying awards:

The 33 finalists in the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards didn’t have long to celebrate their respective regional wins, as their attention quickly turned to preparing for the final round of judging which gets underway on 30th April.

The finalists represent 11 regions and will compete for prizes worth more than $200,000 and the honour of winning either the 2018 New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, 2018 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year or the 2018 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the year title.

General Manager Chris Keeping says the 33 finalists are the cream of the crop from the 374 entries received, and it was a hard-fought battle. . . 

Open day to help farmers recycle:

A field day is being held in Geraldine next week to inform farmers on options to deal with farm waste.

The field day is taking place on the Orari Estate on Wednesday 18 April at 2pm, and will help farmers find out how to participate in current rural recycling schemes.

This will be focused on some products that require specific handling including plastic agri-chemical containers, chemicals, silage and balage wrap as well as waste oil & its containers. . . 

Syndex announces first of its kind Diversified Agri Fund:

Innovative investment platform Syndex today announced the listing of its first diversified agriculture fund.

The “Natural Farm Food Limited Partnership” fund* (NFFLP) is being launched in conjunction with Farm Venture, a farm property and operations management business based in Taranaki.

The new funds targeted a total capital raise of NZ$150 million, with a first close of NZ$50 million. There is a minimum capital investment of NZ$25 million for ownership of an initial three dairy farms and livestock, plus capex and the proportional purchase of Fonterra shares. . . 

Dove River Peonies gets game-changing boost in venture capital from New Zealand’s first SheEO allocation:

Nelson’s Dove River Peonies will receive a game-changing boost from New Zealand’s inaugural SheEO allocation of venture capital, announced in Auckland today (9 April, 2018).

“It’s absolutely huge for us,” says co-owner of Dove River Peonies, Dot Kettle. “It’s a real honour. We feel that we’re benefiting from New Zealand women investing in women and we’re excited to use this investment in us to benefit many, many people of all ages with skin conditions, both around New Zealand and overseas.”

SheEO is a global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace started by Canadian Vicki Saunders in 2015. . . 

Canterbury and Marlborough students heading to Invercargill grand final:

A talented due from St Bede’s College has taken top honours at the Tasman TeenAg Regional Final in Christchurch.

Nick O’Connor and Angus Grant won the hotly-contested TeenAg event in Templeton on Saturday.

The event saw 44 teams clash at Innovation Park.

Tomos Blunt and Finn Taylor, who’re also from St Bede’s College in Christchurch, took out second place. . . 


Irricon wins Enterprising Rural Women Award

November 20, 2014

A South Canterbury-based environmental consultancy partnership is  the Supreme Winners of this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards

Keri Johnston and Haidee McCabe, principals of Irricon Resource Solutions, have gone from strength to strength since they established their joint consultancy in 2010. They now employ nine staff located from Motonau in North Canterbury to Duntroon in North Otago, with expertise ranging from ecology to engineering, and planning to field technicians.

A key feature of their business is Johnston and McCabe’s philosophy of fitting work around family and farming life, wherever that might be.

Keri Johnston, a natural resources engineer, says, “Where we are today was born out of a desire to have professional careers, but on our terms – working from home, around children and farming.” Keri and her husband farm just out of Geraldine in South Canterbury.

Haidee McCabe, an environmental consultant from Albury, explains. “Five of our consultants are women who would not be working professionally if they didn’t work for Irricon. Working from home means the best of all worlds for these women, and it allows them the opportunity to work, but be wives, mums and farm workers as well.

“Unless we’re in a hearing, we’re not a “suit and tie” type of business – our jeans and gumboots are well worn! Our clients really appreciate having someone turn up who knows farming. We can talk to them in their language about the issues.

“Because of the expertise we have, we can handle almost any job from start to finish – design, consenting, implementation and compliance. We have over 500 clients, and this number is still growing.”

The business focuses on improving or maintaining the sustainability of natural resources, such as land, water and waste, and is also involved in irrigation and catchment management.

Irricon Resource Solutions also won the Help! I Need Somebody category, sponsored by Access Homehealth Ltd.
Other category winners in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards are Renee De Luca of Putaka Honey based out of Blenheim. Renee won the Love of the Land category, sponsored by Agrisea.

The Making it in Rural section sponsored by Spark was hotly contested, with the main award going to Nicola Wright of Wrights Winery and Vineyard in Gisborne, and a special merit award to Dot Kettle and Georgia Richards of Dove River Peonies from Wakefield, near Nelson.

The winner of the Stay, Play Rural Award, sponsored by Xero, was Bobbie Mulgrew of Easyhike, a car relocation service based at Glenorchy, servicing hikers of the Routeburn and Milford tracks.

In congratulating all the winners, Rural Women New Zealand national president, Wendy McGowan said, “Through the Enterprising Rural Women Awards we are keen to raise awareness of women’s entrepreneurship and their input into rural communities. Women are not always good at promoting themselves, but we want to raise their profiles and give them credit for the huge amount of effort involved.”

These awards are well deserved recognition for the winners.

In highlighting enterprising rural women and their businesses they also show the opportunities that can be grasped outside city boundaries.

 

 


Rural round-up

November 9, 2013

Central Plains Water gets the green light from shareholders:

Thirteen years after it was first mooted, Central Plains Water Ltd (CPWL) Board have given approval for the giant scheme to become a reality after 90% of Stage I shareholders and over 72% of Stage II and III committed to the 60,000ha scheme.

For the scheme to progress it needed commitment for 18,000h of Stage I and 26,000 ha of Stage II and III. Both thresholds have been met fully by existing shareholders.

Chief executive Derek Crombie said that achieving this level of commitment from shareholders is testimony to the phenomenal dedication and hard work put in by so many over the years.

“I’m sure that there were many times when the hurdles seemed too great, so now all that is required is for the board to confirm our construction programme and to allocate shares,which should happen in the next week. To get this high level of uptake for the scheme from the existing shareholders is a fantastic result. This commitment ensures that the ownership remains local. We set a pretty high bar but are now delighted to say that we have managed to clear it,” he said. . .

First water released in irrigation scheme – Tony Benny:

The first water from the Rangitata South irrigation scheme is now available to some farmers as commissioning of the project, that will eventually irrigate 16,000 hectares between the Rangitata and Orari rivers and out to the coast, begins.
One of the project’s seven storage ponds on the south side of the Rangitata, near Arundel, is now 90 per cent full and water has been released into irrigation races to allow leak testing, part of a commissioning process that will take up to four months.

The seven ponds will hold a total of 16 million cubic metres of water, drawn from the Rangitata River when it’s in flood – a flow of more than 110 cumecs, enough to provide 30 days of irrigation storage. Farmer shareholders are also required to have an additional week of storage in their own ponds. . . .

Food safety forum to come to NZ for first time:

A number of food scares, including the botulism scare caused by Fonterra, has inspired the organisers of the Global Food Safety Forum to hold it in New Zealand for the first time.

“NZ has been caught out on a number of occasions and the dialogue and interaction will be focused on preventing further issues,” food integrity consultant Dr Helen Darling said.

The conference, to be attended by the 160 delegates from China, US and Australia, will look at emerging threats and ways to address them before they become a problem she said. . .

Challenges ahead in Ballance awards:

BALLANCE AWARDS organiser, the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, is gearing up for another big year as it strives to help farmers face the challenges of the future.

NZFE chairman Alistair Polson said at the annual meeting that 2013 was a successful year for the trust’s flagship enterprise, the Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). Regional and national BFEA competitions, ceremonies and field days are popular and well supported.

Another highlight for the trust was the addition of the Taranaki region for 2014, bringing the number of regions involved in the BFEA competition to 10. “We hope to include the remaining regions in future.” . . .

Nelson peony venture blossoming – Tracy Neal:

Growing “big blousy flowers” for America is far from Georgia Richards’ early ambition to grow culinary herbs, but the peony venture is proving highly suited to the quiet block of Dovedale land she farms with partner Dot Kettle.

The business is blossoming in a new direction beyond export grade flowers, to one that utilises the benefits of peonies in soaps, skin creams and even tea blends.

The pair have just launched Dove River Peonies soaps and creams, which like many new creations, was driven by need. In their case it was the lack of any good skin products for their sons’ eczema that drove them to create a product specially for sensitive skins. With the help of Nelson firm Global Soap, the soap range was born combining powdered peony root in an olive oil base for sensitive skin, or citrus blends for an “indulgent” soap. . .

It’s blooming time for quality fruit – Farming Unlocked:

Regular readers of my blog will know that I do not particularly enjoy our cold winters. However as spring envelops us, the weather warms up and the sun’s rays soak into my skin and prise something open from within. My heart feels somehow warmer and I feel invigorated and alive.

This is mirrored in my surroundings. At this time of year, no matter which window I look out, I can see a mass of white apple blossom, contrasted against the lush, green of tender new growth. I find myself in an almost constant state of distraction, drawn to gaze out at the breathtaking beauty with a sense of wonderment and respect.

I find that I cannot adequately put into words the magnificent performance that the orchard puts forward at this time of year, so I will try to show it in pictures instead. . .


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