Rural round-up

May 24, 2013

Agribusiness Innovation and Growth 2013:

New Zealand’s agritech sector is a $3 billion industry, generating export sales in excess of $700 million a year. Top players in the sector are gathering in Hamilton on the night before Fieldays for a mini-symposium on agribusiness and innovation. It’s a Universities New Zealand event, hosted by the University of Waikato on behalf of the University Commercialisation Offices of NZ (UCONZ), and it’s open to the public by online registration.

The keynote speakers will be the Minister for Economic Development Hon Steven Joyce, Wayne McNee, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries, and Fonterra Nutrition’s Managing Director Sarah Kennedy. . .

Fieldays Innovations Centre brings to life Kiwi can-do attitude:

The Fieldays Innovation Centre Competition is the perfect forum for inventors to introduce their primary industry themed, ‘homegrown’ designs to a local and global audience.

By creating an opportunity for inventors to showcase their designs and prototypes, which are then critiqued by key industry leaders, it’s the ideal way for Kiwis to get past the first, crucial step to gaining commercial success in New Zealand and beyond.

With a serious prize pool available for inventors in the following categories; Grassroots, Launch NZ and International (covering local and global, individual and company entrants), they must wow judges to be in with a chance of winning financial and mentoring support. The goal: to establish their invention across local and global territories and gain commercial success. . . .

Fertiliser Company Helps Curb Pollution in Rural Red Zone:

A group of South Island farmers have rallied together to improve their environmental practises and protect their land and waterways.

Environment Canterbury (ECAN) has declared the Upper Waitaki region a red zone because the nutrient levels in the Ahuriri River are too high.

At a farm field day organised by fertiliser and lime company,Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate Ltd, ECAN told farmers in the Ahuriri Valley that the community wants to see clean water in local rivers and streams and farmers need to better manage their nutrient application. . .

‘Farmy Army’s’ John Hartnell Honoured:

John Hartnell, the driving force behind Federated Farmers’ ‘Farmy Army’, received the New Zealand Order of Merit today.

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, John organised farmers from around the region, now coined the ‘Farmy Army’, to assist in clearing liquefaction, delivering food parcels and providing general assistance to vulnerable families.

“It is a real honour to be recognised in this way by the Governor General, I am truly humbled,” says John. . .

Exports to China back on track:

Federated Farmers is hugely relieved the meat export impasse in China has been resolved, but believes New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) need to take a hard look in the mirror.

“Can we say thank you to the Minister, our trade officials and the Chinese authorities for solving a big problem,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.

“China is our largest market for lamb by volume and in the first quarter of 2013, surpassed Britain in terms of value for the first time ever. This is what was at stake so it is embarrassing to discover the fault lay here in New Zealand.

“It feels as if we have been ankle-tapped by a member of our own team. . .

MIE secures farmer mandate for meat industry reform:

A week after meetings in Te Kuiti and Gisborne, Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) has secured a farmer mandate to pursue a value and growing meat industry.

“Having concluded a series of meetings from Gore to Gisborne, MIE now has the confidence to push forward with red meat industry reform,” says Richard Young, Meat Industry Excellence chairman.

“Farmers realise there must be change in our industry if we are to arrest the loss of farms and farmers to other land uses, like dairying and these days, forestry. The only way you achieve this is to make red meat an attractive commercial proposition.

“That is why all industry stakeholders need to be part of the positive change our industry is desperately crying out for. Something MIE is here to champion. . .

New president for Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo:

Following Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo Annual General Meeting, Alan Wills has been elected provincial president following the retirement of Neil Heather.

“What Neil has done over the past few years will be a hard act to follow but I shall give it my best,” says Alan Wills, Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo provincial president.

“The positive contribution made by Federated Farmers and Neil is exemplified by the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective. Known as the Otorua Accord, this was signed in February between Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Te Arawa and our councils. . .

New Technology to Boost Sustainable Fisheries Research:

 Deep sea technology that will provide some of the world’s most accurate and useful marine sustainability research is being launched today.

In a world-first, New Zealand fishing company Sealord has invested more than $750,000 in a new multi-frequency Acoustic Optical System (AOS).

At an event on-board Thomas Harrison, prior to the vessel taking the new equipment on its first sea-trial, Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy launched the new AOS which will provide a boost to the science that contributes to New Zealand’s world recognised Quota Management System. . .

Dollar Pushes up Local Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the local market lifted significantly for the 10,400 bales on offer at the South Island sale this week. The weakening NZ dollar, particularly against the US dollar which was down 4.97 percent compared to the last sale on 9th May and the weighted currency indicator down 3.91 percent was the principal market influence. This was supported by recent strong purchasing interest and a seasonal limited wool supply.

Mr Dawson advises that a nominal offering of Mid Micron Fleece were firm to 3 percent dearer. . .


Rural round-up

December 20, 2012

Dead cows suffered urea poisoning:

The deaths of a 120 cows on a south Taranaki farm was a large-scale, one-off accident, caused by urea poisoning, a vet has confirmed.

The cows, which made up about a quarter of the farmers’ herd, died suddenly earlier this month, after their water troughs had been topped up using a portable tank.

Within 30 minutes, cows began falling to the ground. Vets were called immediately, but there was little they could do as some of the cows died quickly.

Taranaki Veterinary Centre chief executive Stephen Hopkinson says the cows suffered urea poisoning.

He told NZ Newswire the portable tank used to fill up the water troughs had also been used to spray pastures with urea.

Though it was rinsed in between uses, there was still enough urea left in the bottom of the tank to poison the cows. . .

Smedley Station invites Lincoln University to join them in producing the ‘very best future farmers’:

North Island-based Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm has initiated a partnership agreement with Lincoln University to form a unique on-farm education and training offering for young farmers.
 
Smedley Station is located in the central Hawkes Bay, 40kms west of Waipukurau, and the 5,000ha (30,000 stock unit) property offers two-year, intensive on-farm training and experience for 22 cadets.   Smedley’s Board Chairman, Pat Portas, is delighted that the two like-minded training institutions have formed a partnership to work together: “Smedley’s vision is ‘developing the very best future farmers’.  For an individual to become one of the best farmers they need to have a well-rounded education, including both practical work and theory.   Smedley Station has traditionally been providing excellent on-farm practical training and the partnership with Lincoln University will now enable the delivery of the best land-based theory New Zealand has to offer.  Our cadets will finish their time here with all-round practical skills and having had the potential to study right through to Level 5 with the University”. . . 

Foresters growing less pruned wood:

Forest owners are moving away from production of pruned logs, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI has released the 2012 annual National Exotic Forestry Description (NEFD) report, which gives a snapshot of the area and make-up of New Zealand’s planted production forests. . .

Stay safe on the farm this summer:

On average, 850 people each year are injured riding quad bikes on farms. Five die.

It is because of these unacceptable statistics that Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment inspectors will visit farms this summer to ensure key quad bike safety steps are recognised and understood.

Rural Women New Zealand joins the Ministry in urging farmers and their families to take extra care on the farm over summer, particularly when it comes to quad bike safety.

As it gets closer to the holiday season the pace of work picks up and more tasks are fitted into the longer days. . .

Canterbury Earthquake Awards recognises the Farmy Army

Key members of Federated Farmers’ Farmy Army were recognised last evening at the Canterbury Earthquake Awards.

“The individual recognition received was a well deserved tribute for their selfless contribution and commitment,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees Chairperson and ‘Generalissimo’ of Federated Farmers’ Farmy Army.

“The five ‘Farmy Army’ people recognised last night accepted their awards really on behalf of the thousands who pitched in to help Christchurch. . .

Prevention best protection for facial eczema risk:

Reports that farm revenue is not matching increases to input costs mean farmers need to be acutely focused on maximising production.

Altum Animal Nutrition Manager Jackie Aveling says warmer temperatures and higher humidity are a sign that summer is finally here, but they also signal the potential for facial eczema.

“Dairy and beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats are all susceptible. For dairy farmers in particular, facial eczema can put a real brake on production when they are aiming to make the most of reasonable growing conditions at a time when peak production can taper off,” says Mrs Aveling. . .

Marlborough Sounds Blue Cod Fishery Opening For Summer:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is calling on recreational fishers to know the rules when they go fishing for blue cod in Marlborough this summer.

District Compliance Manager Manager Ian Bright said Fishery Officers would be out and about making sure recreational fishers follow the rules. . .

And from World Angus Forum:

angus


Rural round-up

March 21, 2011

Water rich New Zealand points to a brigther future

“Being ‘water-rich’ means that future trade prospects, and therefore future standards of living, for New Zealanders are very bright,” Water NZ CEO, Murray Gibb told a meeting of the Kapiti Central Combined Probus Club yesterday.

His presentation showed how New Zealand is one of only very few developed countries that are net food exporters. “We are actually a sustainable virtual water exporter,” he said.

Woolly walls new dream for telco deal maker:

A prominent figure in the hi-tech sector, former CallPlus shareholder and managing director Martin Wylie, has put together a new investment group and finalised its first deal, purchasing the fast growing Eco Insulation Group of companies.

Eco, with franchised operations throughout New Zealand, is a leader in the supply and installation of insulation, specialising in unique green products using planet-friendly locally-sourced sheep’s wool insulation products. The company has seen huge growth in revenue in the last three years. . .

EU relaxes GM rules – NZ Farmers Weekly reports:

British farmers could soon be given access to genetically modified animal feed after the European Union voted to relax its zero-tolerance policy to contaminated feed being imported into Europe.

It marks a step-change in the EU’s approach to GM and comes following warnings of feed shortages and inflated prices with importers increasingly wary of shipments being turned away from ports in the EU.

Europe imports about 80% of its animal feed, much of it from GM growing countries in North and South America. . .

Farmy Army comes from far and wide –  Rural News reports:

FARMERS FROM all over the country have converged on Christchurch to help clean up the February 22 quake aftermath.

A force of 800 went in during the first weekend, at first using shovels and wheelbarrows before wheeled loaders got clearance.

“It’s been incredible the number of offers of help we’ve had,” Federated Farmers Dairy chairman for North Canterbury, Kieran Stone, told Dairy News. . .

McNee the man? – Rural News picks the man most likely to head the new Primary Industry Ministry:

THE MOST likely head of the new super ministry is current MAF Director General, Wayne McNee. He will oversee the merger and be acting Fisheries CE as well as DG of MAF, until the merger takes effect on 1 February 2012.

McNee is highly regarded in government circles. He’s seen as a skilled leader and change manager. He’s also credited with re-organising MoF – which was said to be in poor shape when he took it over two years ago. Prior to heading up fisheries, McNee worked in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

Since taking over at MAF, just before Christmas, McNee has already been ringing the changes. . .

 


Urban-rural divide bridged by kindness

March 10, 2011

Fonterra’s newsletter to shareholders includes this Roger Kilpatrick, the company’s North Canterbury field officer:

A story that sums up the month up for me:

I needed to fill a couple of BBQ gas bottles after the earthquake. I went past a petrol station that was taped off, as it was out of petrol but still had LPG. There were more than 20 people queuing for LPG. I joined the queue and got talking to a couple from New Brighton who had spent an hour and a half getting to the station. They noticed my Fonterra uniform and the conversation went like this:

“We don’t know a lot about dairying and you guys seem to get a lot of stick, but Fonterra and your farmers have been fantastic.  You have helped deliver water – you have helped with cleaning up – you have donated heaps of money – remember  there are a lot of people in town who really appreciate everything the farmers are doing, so make sure you say thanks”

So, thanks to all of you from a lot of people in the city of Christchurch who really have appreciated the efforts of Fonterra and the farming community in general, for their generosity in a number of ways.

I don’t know how much Fonterra has given to the quake recovery effort in total now. A week ago it was more than $3 million which included the initial million from the company plus its dollar for dollar matching of donations from shareholders and staff.

Stock firms, freezing companies, wool processors and at least one rural real estate firm have also facilitated donations from clients; and Federated Farmers and the Farmy Army will be making another assault on the dirt and silt next weekend.

The rural-urban divide sometimes seems like an unbridgeable gulf but in a crisis it closes completely.


A failure of community for minority

March 9, 2011

Farmy Army volunteers have found elderly people stuck in shocking conditions:

John Hartnell of Federated Farmers says there are homes with up to a foot of silt inside, but the elderly occupants are too afraid to leave and seek help.

“There are people really struggling, they don’t have enough food, water’s a problem and there’s cases where people have been too scared to come out of their properties and it’s taken a degree of coaxing to get them to come out and let us come in to help them.”

Mr Hartnell says many have no power, running water or sanitation services. The farmer volunteers have lifted carpets and dried out homes as best they can.

When natural disaster strikes we expect government – local and central – to react and help. But we can not rely on that help when we need it if they don’t know of our plight or they have higher priorities.

In the first instance we must help ourselves, our families, our neighbours and communities.

Modern life has made that more difficult – people are more mobile, families are scattered, neighbours keep to themselves.

In spite of that there are many heart warming stories from Christchurch of people helping people, neighbours looking after neighbours, strangers caring for others in need.

Sadly sometimes, as in the cases the Farmy Army and other volunteers have found, not everyone who needed that support received it.

That isn’t in the first instance a failure of government, central or local, or of civil defence. It’s a failure of community and fortunately it happened to only a minority.

 It will be no comfort to those who were in need and neglected that they were among a small number of people who had no-one close by to care for or about them.

But Christchurch its people and the thousands of volunteers from outside can be proud that they helped, supported and comforted so many.

The community which failed a few made a huge difference to many others.


Gratitude

March 6, 2011

Members of the Farmy Army were moved by the plight of many of victims of the Christchurch earthquake they helped and the gratitude they received from almost all of  those they helped.

Although one group came across a notable exception.

When the volunteers entered a silt-covered property they found about half a dozen adults lounging on a trampoline drinking.

“About time someone turned up to clean up the mess,” one said before returning his attention to his beer can.

Tempted as they were to ask why these apparently able-bodied adults  hadn’t at least started to clean up themselves, the volunteers bit their tongues, dug in and moved the silt.

They then went next door where the property owners had tried to help themselves and were very grateful that others had come to lend a hand.


Farmy army moving mountains

March 4, 2011

When the country is hit by snow and floods,  town people often mobilise to help with the clean up.

The Farmy Army is returning many past favours by taking people power, tools and machinery to Christchurch to help with the earthquake recovery effort.

The student Volunteer Army is doing an amazing job of recruiting and mobilising volunteers to help in the city but many of the recruits aren’t used to the physical demands of the work.

Farmers have diggers and tractors to move the mountains of dirt and silt and are accustomed to the  heavy physical work which must be done where machinery can’t be used.

(RivettingKate Taylor has a photo here).

CRT and Federated Farmers are taking bus loads up from North Otago to join the recovery effort tomorrow.

North Otago Young Farmers has another way farmers can help. They are asking for donations of stock to be sold at the Waiareka sale on Monday with all proceeds going to the earthquake appeal.

Sometimes the gulf between rural and urban New Zealand seems unbridgeable but when it really counts, we are all there for each other.

It’s not just New Zealanders, either. Steve Wyn-Harris who flew down from Hawkes Bay to help found an American who had got airpoints from friends to fly to San Francisco then took out  a loan to fly to Auckland and flew south to join the recovery effort. Steve introduced him to Jamie MacKay on the Farming Show today.


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