Rural round-up

April 20, 2015

Future of the heartland – Dr William Rolleston:

When we think of the Heartland we conjure up images of the rough and ready can-do farmer striding across the high country. But the farmer of the Heartland is not confined to this image.

Farming in the Heartland is a technically challenging career. I am in constant awe of my fellow farmer, who every day must make complex decisions, dealing with the vagaries of weather, biology and the market. Like me, my grandfather also came to farming from medicine and for the rest of his life found incredible satisfaction in the scientific challenge farming brings.

The Heartland has contributed enormously to New Zealand and our development as a country. This month we commemorate 100 years since New Zealand’s recognised baptism of fire.

Farmers contributed their horses and their sons to the war effort. Almost every horse and many of our men never returned. Back in New Zealand the production of food and fibre had to continue apace. We remember the past but we also must look to the future. The future of the Heartland. . .

 Award-winning agriculture student gets the job done – Kate Taylor:

Kahlia Fryer wants to own her own farm one day and she’s likely to make it if her work ethic to date is anything to go by.

As well as studying and working fulltime as president of the Lincoln University Students’ Association, she has 41 high-breeding-worth heifer calves that are in the top 5 per cent of New Zealand crossbreds and destined for her father’s herd.

Fryer won the Lawson Robinson Hawke’s Bay A&P scholarship at the recent Hawke’s Bay Primary Industry Awards  – chosen as much for her extensive work experience as her wish to succeed in agriculture and to encourage others into the industry, according to one of the judges.  . .

Grower tops veggie patch:

Pukekohe grower Hamish Gates  has beaten off tough competition from four finalists to be crowned New Zealand Young Vegetable Grower of the year.

Gates had the home turf advantage in the Horticulture New Zealand competition at Pukekohe on April 16 where finalists competed in a series of practical and theoretical challenges  to test their skills needed to run a successful vegetable growing business.

Gates, 24,  works at AS Wilcox & Sons as a carrot washline supervisor and won a $2500 travel grant for professional development and other prizes. As the vegetable grower titleholder he will travel to Christchurch to compete for the national Young Grower of the Year title in August. . .

Game of two halves for 2015 Grain Harvest :

The 2015 Grain Harvest has been a game of two halves, according to survey results released by the Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI).

Federated Farmers Grain and Seed Vice-Chairperson, David Clark, says “Whilst drought conditions during the growing season has reduced the yields on dry land that has been balanced out by improved yields on irrigated land resulting in total harvest yields being very similar to 2014 across all grains.”

“The survey shows the large surpluses of unsold grain in the previous 2013 season have well and truly gone, however available stocks of grain are very similar to last season which leaves the NZ Industry well placed to provide domestically grown feed to assist in drought recovery.” . . .

Paul Whiston appointed CEO of LIC Automation:

LIC has appointed Paul Whiston as chief executive of its new subsidiary business, LIC Automation.

Paul Whiston, originally from Rotorua, was previously head of sales and marketing for Paymark Ltd, the bank-owned payment network operator, where he was also acting chief executive for a time.

Prior to that, he was based in London as general manager international for Simpl, a New Zealand information technology professional services company. . .

 

ExportNZ welcomes introduction of U.S. legislation to facilitate trade agreements:

ExportNZ Executive Director Catherine Beard says the introduction of bipartisan legislation in Congress to re-establish Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) – trade legislation that facilitates the negotiation and implementation of U.S. trade agreements – is welcome news.

“There is still work to be done to pass this legislation, but this is an important step in that direction. We understand we are close to the final stages of the TPP negotiation.  . .

 


Rural round-up

April 18, 2015

Criteria “too tough” on migrant workers – Federated Farmers – Tess McClure:

Farmers facing labour shortages say immigration criteria is “too tough” for migrant workers plugging the gap.

High numbers of farmers had approached Federated Farmers Southland with concerns about visas for their migrant worker employees, regional president Russell Macpherson said.

He said many workers were having trouble getting residency visas, despite calls from farmers to help keep their employees in-country.
 
“For some reason the people at immigration don’t think these jobs are important enough to grant them residency,” he said. “They’re doing work that New Zealanders clearly don’t want to do, so why are we making it so hard?”
 
While many migrant workers coming to New Zealand on work visas have high hopes of staying in the country and bringing their families over, less than a third are granted the chance of residency. . .

Shearing community mourns woolhandler:

The shearing community is mourning the loss of New Zealand woolhandling legend, Joanne Kumeroa, who has died after a three year battle with cancer.

The 45-year old had been living in Australia but returned home to Whanganui just before Christmas, and died yesterday.

Ms Kumeroa was regarded in shearing circles as a New Zealand icon, winning more World, Golden Shears and national wool-handling titles than any other competitor in her 24 year career.

Friends said she used her battle with cancer to raise women’s awareness of the disease. . .

Project to future-proof our biosecurity system:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has launched a new project which will further strengthen and future-proof New Zealand’s biosecurity system.

The project, Biosecurity 2025, will update and replace the founding document of New Zealand’s biosecurity system, the 2003 Biosecurity Strategy, with broad input from stakeholders, iwi and the New Zealand public.

“Government and industry have set a goal of doubling the value of our exports by 2025, and an effective biosecurity system is fundamental to achieving this,” says Mr Guy. . .

 

Peta’s mutilated lamb campaign sparks backlash (graphic content) – Rosanna Price:

The picture above has been captioned by PETA with: THIS is what most sheep used for wool look like after “shearing”.

But many people, including animal-activists and sheep shearers, disagree.

The image of an Australian musician holding the explicity graphic and mutilated body of a lamb was animal rights group PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’) way of advertising their latest expose on sheep shearing. . .

Outstanding in her field:

Dairy Woman of the Year 2015 Katie Milne hopes to use her new profile for the wider good of New Zealand farming. 

Katie Milne hopes winning the Dairy Woman of the Year title will be a good platform to push messages about farming as “the rest of New Zealand do not understand us well”.

 “They need to understand us better so we can be allowed to grow our industry, and to do that New Zealand has got to back us,” Milne told Rural News. . .

Questions for Fonterra – Andrew Hoggard:

A lot of shareholders were disappointed with the interim results Fonterra announced last week.  Many feel they are not seeing a return on their investment.

I think we might be asking the wrong question.  It shouldn’t be about where’s the return on our investment, but rather where do we see the value of being part of a co-op.

At the moment the milk price we are paid is based on the Global Dairy Trade result.  It is averaged across the season – less manufacturing costs – in a very crude simplistic sense.  The reality is that all the other companies should be achieving this anyway with their products. . .

Field day for Waipā catchment:

An event organised by DairyNZ aims to advise famers and landowners on how best to manage their property in an environmentally sustainable way.

People in the Waipā River catchment are being encouraged attend the Kaniwhaniwha Stream field day, which will offer information on funding sources for environmental initiatives along with other resources.

Hosts Denis and Felicity Ahlers have worked with industry body DairyNZ to develop an environment-focused sustainable milk plan. They have also identified work that can qualify for council and Waikato River Authority funding. . .


Rural round-up

April 15, 2015

Don’t use high NZ dollar as excuse – MacPherson – Phil McCarthy:

Southland farmers need to look beyond the short-term constraints of a high New Zealand dollar and put pressure on meat and milk processors to perform better in the global market-place, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson says.  

Yesterday the New Zealand dollar was sitting at about 99.4 cents against the Australian and 76 cents against the US Dollar. Along-side the high dollar, European dairy producers are on the verge of an end to quotas meaning they could ramp up milk production.

But MacPherson said that rather than seeing the developments as threats, farmers should recognise the other side of the coin with lower costs for farm inputs and less pressure on labour costs. . .

The hills are alight – Laird Harper:

A world first on east Taranaki’s unforgiving slopes has set the dog trial community alight.

Twenty-one huntaway dogs tackled the community stage of the Tarata Sheep Dog Trial under lights on Saturday.

Club president Bryan Hocken said the innovative approach proved pivotal to the trial’s success.

The large crowd and competitors were “fizzing” and “buzzing” all night and interest from outside the region was growing.

“It was a perfect night, a perfect site, everything was magic,” he said. . .

Maternal longevity traits closer – Terry Brosnahan:

A longevity breeding value for sheep will be released later this year.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics senior geneticist Mark Young said Sheep Improvement (SIL), B+LNZ Genetics and ram breeders recently reviewed the first version of a longevity breeding value for sheep.

Young said SIL would introduce it by the end of June this year. He was responding to an article in the March, 2015 issue of Country-Wide regarding compelling arguments for genetic selection to increase longevity of ewes and beef cows. 

Maternal longevity is a key trait missing from selection indices that characterise profit for a ewe flock or a beef cow herd. . .

New pieces to the puzzle – Ginny Dodunski:

The impacts of ewe body condition, variations in pasture components and the effects of salt topdressing on bearings have produced some surprise results.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-initiated technology transfer (FITT) programme-funded trial investigated bearings on a large South Island sheep and beef property.

Lochiel Station, bordered by the Waiau River in north Canterbury, runs 42,000 stock units and has a history of high ewe losses from bearings.

“We have worked hard on improving our feed management and ewe body condition, plus have stabilised what was genetically a very variable flock,” station manager Kim Robinson said. . .

Diversity of opinion welcomed at Federated Farmers – Chris Lewis:

A few weeks ago I went through a bit of a learning curve about how to inadvertently make headlines. 

I’d thrown out a few thoughts at a Federated Farmers’ executive meeting on where our industry might be heading.  Those musings of mine morphed into front page news and down in Wellington what was claimed to be fixed Federated Farmers policy in parliamentary question time.

But I shouldn’t be too thin skinned about this.  Most of Waikato Federated Farmers’ meetings are fully open to whoever might want to turn up and we have always had a diversity of opinion expressed.

Our organisation has flourished the most when members have shown passion for a topic and offered to roll up their sleeves and offer their services to help on an issue.

This is how we initially attract most out our elected people to our organisation. . .

Lighting the way to dairy savings – Matthew Cawood:

ENERGY is a a major cost for dairy farmers, and one that keeps inexorably rising – which is why Dairy Australia has launched an initiative to identify energy waste in dairies.

The organisation secured $1 million in funding from the federal government to deliver the ‘Smarter energy use on Australian dairy farms’ project, which aims to improve energy efficiency on dairies.

Many of the potential energy leakages on farms, and the options for resolving them, are written up in a Dairy Australia booklet, Saving energy on dairy farms.  . .

 


Rural round-up

April 13, 2015

Shearing king David Fagan calls time – Libby Wilson:

Shearing king David Fagan had a fitting send-off to his competitive career last night, cheered on by a capacity hometown crowd in his final shear in Te Kuiti.

Having shorn 26,000 sheep in the course of his 640 open wins stretching back 37 years, the 16-time national champion put down the handpiece after contesting the Running of the Sheep in his Te Kuiti home.

His final contest came against his nephew James Fagan, whose father John beat David to second place in the 1984 Golden Shears. . .

Running of the sheep craws big crowd to Te Kuiti – Mike Mather:

A mob of hundreds of determined sheep made their way down Te Kuiti’s main street on Saturday, flanked by thousands of cheering humans.

The ovine athletes were the unwitting participants in the Running of the Sheep, an annual event that is part of the town’s Great New Zealand Muster, held to celebrate its claim of being the country’s sheep capital, and which also includes the New Zealand Shearing Championships.

Although a tad skitterish at the start of their run, the flock behaved in a very un-sheeplike manner, running straight and true down the centre of Rora St, through the centre of the town.

Waitomo District Council community development co-ordinator Donna Macdonald said she was very impressed with the behaviour of both the 342 four-legged runners and their two-legged audience. . .

Nitrate absorption trialled – Allison Beckham:

Scientists are trialling a filter system which they hope will provide dairy farmers with a simple and cost effective way of removing nitrates and phosphorus before they reach waterways.

A nitrate catcher was commissioned recently near Waituna Lagoon, southeast of Invercargill, and a phosphorus catcher will be built nearby soon. . . .

Blazed a trail in sales – Sally Rae:

Looking back, Katrina Allan wonders how she ever managed to juggle motherhood with work and tertiary study.

But, with a determination to finish her university studies before her son started his, Mrs Allan (44) did manage, finishing a year before he started, although she joked that she never wanted to see another textbook again.

Mrs Allan has the distinction of being the first female salesperson at Alliance Group, having worked for the company for 17 years. . .

Securing Glenfern Sanctuary’s future:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has announced the Government will contribute towards a joint bid to buy Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island for the nation.

The Nature Heritage Fund, which is allocated at the Minister’s discretion, will put a significant amount of funding towards a consortium including the Auckland Council and Great Barrier Local Board looking to purchase Glenfern.

The sanctuary, in Port Fitzroy in the north of the island, was founded by the late sailing champion Tony Bouzaid in 1992 and is now for sale. . .

We don’t know how lucky we are – Chris Lewis:

As New Zealand Dairy farmers we often take for granted the sophistication of our industry and the relative ease we have in producing food for the nation and the World. April will not be one of those months for me.

I received a phone call last month from a Tear Fund organiser about this woman who was coming over from Sri Lanka to talk about the benefits of a project that has been designed and supported by TEAR Fund and the New Zealand Government, with Kiwi expertise to improve milk quality.  She is Selina Prem Kumar and is the Director of the successful dairy project in Sri Lanka. Her story will shock and move you.

The Wanni Dairy Regeneration programme she heads, started during the protracted civil war in Sri Lanka, has brought together both Singhalese and Tamil small hold dairy farmers for the common purpose of raising their incomes and revitalizing the dairy industry which stalled during the conflict. . .

A hill lambing made simple:

Zan Kirk, from Low Kilbride, in Dumfries, has struck upon a novel way of making hill lambing that little easier if you are dealing with small numbers, perhaps on the scale that smallholders deal with.

‘There comes a time in everyone’s life when things need to be made easier, computers help in many ways, but not with lambing. So here is the fail-safe way to a simple, stress-free lambing – keep your pet lambs and lamb them!
We have been doing this for some time now and most of our flock started out life as pet lambs. This removes the inherent fear that most sheep have of humans and means that, as we are getting on and still lambing outside, if we need to catch a ewe, most respond to a ‘shoogle’ of cake. They can then be caught, popped into the transport box and taken up to the shed to be lambed in comfort, and with warm water.
On Sunday, my most pet ewe lamb from last year lambed, albeit not in the best place – right in the middle of the field! I wandered up, asked her if she needed some help and she just sat there pushing. I helped lamb her, saw the lamb was breathing fine, told her how clever she was, gave her an hour and brought her into the shed for her tea and toast. . .


Rural round-up

April 6, 2015

Helicopter pilot Simon Spencer-Bower sets high farming and flying standards – Tim Cronshaw:

As a boy Simon Spencer-Bower would crane his neck to the sky to watch the crop dusters flying over his family farm at Eyrewell.

The deep impression their aerial feats made on the youngster was to set him on a lifetime of flying with a healthy mix of farming.

As soon as he left school he gained his fixed-wing pilot license in 1967, aged 18. . .

Anti-dairying rhetoric is out-dated :

Farmers don’t want weaker environmental policies. Ten years ago we were fair game for the ‘dirty dairying’ remarks by Fish & Game, today not so much.

Bryce Johnson recently said his organisation has moved on – that they are not anti-dairying, but rather they are anti-dairying that is harming the environment. But the question remains, why is the focus on dairying, as opposed to any other activity that harms the environment?

Environmental compliance and reducing farming’s impact is now an everyday part of a dairy farmer’s business.  We know there are a few ratbags out there – every industry has them – but while some regional councils try to clean up the tail-end of our industry they overlook their cousins in their own backyards. . .

Otago Regional Council blindsides ratepayers:

Federated Farmers is calling on the Otago Regional Council to properly inform and explain themselves to their ratepayer farmers who are facing huge increases in rates and consent costs this year.

“The Otago Regional Council needs to be held to account on their Long Term Plan consultation document, which is severely lacking in reasoning for their major increase in farmer rates,” Says Stephen Korteweg, Federated Farmers Otago provincial president.

“The Council is proposing a heap of big changes such as new water quality targeted rates for water monitoring, a new dairy monitoring targeted rate, and significant increases in the consent fees they charge all of which will mean increased costs for farmers. For many this will run into the thousands of dollars.” . .

No bull in proper effluent management – Chris Lewis:

I never thought when I entered farming politics that there would be so much talk about the stuff that comes out of the back end of a cow.  The polite term is ‘effluent’ of course; not polite are its effects and the costs of managing it.

Waikato Federated Farmers has the task of holding our regional council to account when warranted, and effluent is a big bone of contention. But they have a job to do, as we do, so it’s sometimes important we celebrate them. Just as farmers often feel criticised by the media, I imagine councils do too, giving the public an ill-informed perspective. . .

  Top farm business an industry leader:

An Omarama couple who run a traditional high country combination of merino ewes and cattle with hydroelectricity generation for good measure have won the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Richard and Annabelle Subtil were the supreme winners announced at a ceremony on Thursday after amassing section awards for innovation, integrated management, soil management and water quality.

They run the 12,000 hectare Omarama Station, a family-owned property previously farmed by Annabelle’s parents Dick and Beth Wardell.

South of Omarama village, the Mackenzie Country property winters 23,000 stock units, including 7500 merino ewes and 310 angus-hereford cows. . .

Earth greening despite deforestation – Albert Van Dijk & Pep Canadell:

WHILE the news coming out of forests is often dominated by deforestation and habitat loss, research published in Nature Climate Change shows that the world has actually got greener over the past decade.

Despite ongoing deforestation in South America and South East Asia, we found that the decline in these regions has been offset by recovering forests outside the tropics, and new growth in the drier savannas and shrublands of Africa and Australia.

Plants absorb around a quarter of the carbon dioxide that people release into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. With a greening globe, more plants may mean more absorption of carbon dioxide. If so, this will slow but not stop climate change. . .


Rural round-up

April 3, 2015

New Zealand Greenshell mussel breeding begins at brand new hatchery in Nelson

New Zealand aquaculture will be getting stronger mussels, thanks to some heavyweight Kiwi science underway in Nelson.

A new hatchery and lab facility is opening today (02/04) just north of the city at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park where Greenshell™ Mussels can be selectively bred like sheep or cattle to give our mussel farmers the very best that nature has to offer on their mussel farms.

The project leaders say it takes the element of chance out of mussel farming. . .

 

New hatchery to boost mussel industry:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed a major milestone for the aquaculture industry today with the opening of the country’s first ever hatchery specially designed for mussels.

The mussel hatchery and nursery facility in Nelson is part of the SPATnz Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, which was established to develop selectively bred, high-value Greenshell™ mussels.

“This hatchery is the culmination of years of research and development by a team of scientists from Shellfish Production and Technology New Zealand Ltd (SPATnz) and the Cawthron Institute,” says Mr Guy.  . .

“It has the potential to generate nearly 200 million dollars per year to New Zealand’s economy. . .

Wasps sting NZ economy:

Two species of introduced wasps are costing New Zealand’s economy more than $130 million a year.

A study by the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries showed German and common wasps, which belong to the genus Vespula, have had huge economic impacts on farming, beekeeping, horticulture and forestry.

Department of Conservation scientist Eric Edwards said the loss of honey production was one of the major costs. . .

NZ’s “basketcase” bee industry seeks levies, national body – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Representatives of New Zealand’s fragmented bee industry have called on government support to reintroduce commodity levies for honey and the creation of a single national body by April next year.

Appearing before the primary production select committee, John Hartnell, chair of the Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group, Ricki Leahy, president of the National Beekeepers Association and its chief executive Daniel Paul, said government support is needed to reimpose commodity levies to help fund a single, comprehensive national association to represent the industry worth an estimated $5.1 billion annually. . .

New beagle pups join biosecurity team:

Two wriggly beagle puppies will spend their first Easter as trainee biosecurity detector dogs.

Ten-week-old Charleston and Roxy (brother and sister) joined the Ministry for Primary Industries’ detector dog programme two week ago.

If all goes well, they will start sniffing out food and plant materials at New Zealand’s airports and ports after 12-14 months of training. . .

Low dairy prices may have silver lining:

While all dairy farmers will be feeling the financial crunch this year, some are still looking for a silver lining.

Federated Farmers’ sharemilking chair Neil Filer said it could provide an opening for young sharemilkers to get their foot in the door.

Prices fell by 10.8 percent in last night’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, with an average price of $US2746 a tonne. Whole milk powder fell 13.3 percent to $US2538.

Mr Filer said sharemilking was still seen as an attractive and viable industry and at times like this, there could be a positive side. . .

 

Infant formula marketing decision welcomed:

The Infant Nutrition Council (INC) welcomes the Commerce Commission confirmation of the authorisation of the INC’s Code of Practice for marketing infant formula.

The Code of Practice restricts the advertising and marketing of infant formula by members.

It has been in place since 2012 and is consistent with New Zealand’s commitment to the World Health Organisation’s International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes (WHO Code). . .

 

Fonterra Notifies Affirmation of Credit Rating:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd is pleased to advise that it has been notified by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services that they have affirmed Fonterra’s credit rating. This affirmation follows the release of Standard & Poor’s rating criteria for agricultural co-operatives which applies to Fonterra. . .


Dairy audit results unacceptable – Feds

April 2, 2015

The high level of non-compliance with employment law found by labour inspectors is unacceptable:

Enforcement action is being taken against 19 employers in the dairy industry for breaching employment law following a three month operation by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The Ministry’s Labour Inspectorate visited 29 dairy farms in nine regions to check their compliance with employment laws. More than half were targeted due to information about likely non-compliance.

“The level of non-compliance identified during this operation was extremely high and it was disappointing to find that a significant number of farmers still do not have systems in place to keep accurate time and wage records that are compliant with employment legislation,” says Natalie Gardiner, Labour Inspectorate Central Regional Manager.

Mrs Gardiner says MBIE issued 15 Improvement Notices and four Enforceable Undertakings for a total of 71 minimum employment standard breaches. The majority of breaches related to poor record keeping but several farms had significant minimum wage breaches and there is estimated arrears owed – of more than 120,000. Nine of the more serious cases are being considered for filing with the Employment Relations Authority.

Poor record keeping is a breech which doesn’t necessarily impact on employees but paying poorly is exploitation which does.

“The Ministry takes the exploitation of workers very seriously and is working proactively to crackdown on it through compliance operations targeting sectors and at risk workers across New Zealand.

“We are also working with the industry to help equip farmers with the skills and knowledge to be better employers by ensuring they get the basics right.

“We will not hesitate to take action for breaches of employment law. Breaches will be subject to compliance action and potential penalties of up to $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for companies,” says Mrs Gardiner.

The Ministry encourages anyone in this situation, or who knows of anyone in this situation, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.

Federated Farmers, rightly, says the breeches aren’t acceptable:

Federated Farmers is disappointed in the findings released today by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment in their compliance operation.

Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair, says “It is not a great look for our industry to have this number of dairy farmers not meeting the minimum employment requirements. This is why Federated Farmers has and will continue to focus on this area.”

“MBIE inspectors targeted some of the farmers who were known to have existing employment compliance concerns, while others were random, so ratios of compliance cannot be generalised to dairy farmers at large.  But this does not take away the stern reminder of where the industry is at or our motivation to achieve the task we have set ourselves to get the whole industry to achieve above minimum standards.”

“We have a significant hurdle ahead of us in terms of attracting the next generation into the industry. To me it is not just about meeting the minimum compliance under the law, but changing perceptions of the dairy industry as a career. This means we need to change the reality on some farms in a number of situations.”

Hoggard says lifting employment standards is a high priority for the Federation which has developed industry standard employment contracts and tools, such as the time and wage records, all at heavily discounted rates for members.

“The support for farmers is out there, Federated Farmers has its 0800 number along with top notch, low cost contracts for members, and DairyNZ has fantastic resources available free to levy payers.”

Federated Farmers has been taking its support on the road holding Employment Compliance Workshops’ that cover what MBIE’s minimum standards are.

“The high farmer turnouts have been encouraging, so we are looking to set up more.”

“Federated Farmers wants to take the industry well above just being compliant. That’s why we’ve been developing a Workplace Accord with DairyNZ and other industry stakeholders.”

“The Accord is about setting goals for the industry to achieve quality work environments through helping farmers implement good people management practices.”

“While there have been some aspects of employment practices that were once considered standard, things have changed and we need to change with them. However the expectation that all staff should have an employment agreement has been around for well over 20 years now so there is no excuse for not having one.”

“Failure here will not only put your business into employment law quicksand, but will cost you in productivity. It was interesting to note that those farmers who were using the IMS, MYOB and I Payroll systems were all fully compliant. So the message also goes out to those firms that provide accountancy solutions to farmers to ensure their products are as modern and easy to use as they can be.“

“Federated Farmers has industry standard contracts and agreements that include comprehensive notes on the minimum wage, holidays act, seasonal averaging, accommodation and the like.  It is also written in plain-English for farmers too. So there are systems that will help farmers stay on the right side of the law.”

“I have seen a lot of progress made, but we have a long way to go yet. Dairy farmers need to take this as a reminder about what is expected of them.

The number found in breech of the law is a small percentage of the total number of dairy farms but no exploitation of workers is acceptable.

There is no  justification for paying below the legal minimum and most work on dairy farms should be worth more than that.

Consumers are looking for sustainably produced food which encompasses responsible environmental, economic and social considerations. Being a good employer is an important part of any social standards.

 

 


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