Rural round-up

July 27, 2015

TPP must deliver, say beef producers:

Beef producers from five Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries are calling for a high-quality market access deal on beef to be secured at the TPP ministerial meeting in Hawaii this month.

Negotiators and trade ministers from the 12 TPP countries will meet in Maui in late July, with the goal of reaching agreement on the outstanding issues across the TPP agenda.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA)1 says it is vital that a comprehensive, trade liberalising deal be finalised. . .

North Canterbury farmers get reprieve on intensification limits – Tim Fulton:

Farmers dealing with drought in North Canterbury have been spared the “unintended consequations” of rules that could have stunted their recovery.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) will no longer apply its proposed “10 per cent rule” in the Hurunui catchment, meaning farmers will not be forced to get resource consent for normal farming practices, like re-stocking and applying fertilisers.

ECan will no longer consider some of these improvements a “land use” change triggering its so-called “10 per cent” limit. . .

Hawke’s Bay ‘Land Girl’ honoured:

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss will today present a pin and certificate of appreciation to Hawke’s Bay ‘Land Girl’ Tiny (Helen) White.

During World War II, Mrs White and more than 4000 other New Zealand women volunteered for organisations such as the Women’s Land Service.

“These women, commonly referred to as Land Girls, took up the roles of the men sent overseas — they worked on farms and in other essential industries,” Mr Foss says. . .

From city to country to DWN coordinator:

It was the call of the land that saw Dairy Women’s Network’s newest staff member pack up her family from living the city life and head back to the family’s 830-cow dairy farm.

Melissa Sinton, who has just taken over the role of DWN regional convenor coordinator for the lower North Island, was working in pharmacy in Rotorua three years ago, when she was encouraged to come back to the family farm in Arohena, south east of Te Awamutu.

“As a mum of three young boys, it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up. Moving back to the farm was definitely something I did for myself, but more so for my family,” she said. . .

 

Hamilton Honey Scores Sweet Silver at National Awards:

Honey collected from hives at three popular Hamilton locations has claimed a silver medal at the recent National Beekeepers Association National Honey Competition.

Kirikiriroa Honey, produced by Waikato firm Sweetree, claimed second prize in the Beekeepers Special Reserve section of the awards, held in Taupo in June.

The awards’ Special Reserve Category included 12 entries. . .

 

Agcarm President Mark Christie to the 68th Agcarm Annual Conference

Like all well run organisations, Agcarm has a clear vision.

“To protect and enhance the health of crops and animals through innovation and responsible use of quality products.”

From this, our objectives focus on sustainable, science based innovation, where high quality products result in high quality produce for local and global consumption.

They also focus on the strong need for stewardship and responsible use, while ensuring user and environmental safety. . .

Cows master maze make mice, look like dimwits – Julie Power:

Everyone knows rats and mice can navigate mazes, but cows?

New research shows cows can be taught to follow sounds to find food in a maze. Some cows got a perfect score, when tested four times a day for four days straight. 

And confirming that some cows are smarter than others, heifer number two nailed it immediately from day one of testing, amazing researchers when she found the food in less than 20 seconds. . .


Rural round-up

September 14, 2014

No need for capital gains tax – experts – Andrea Fox:

Labour’s proposal to introduce a capital gains tax will reduce farmland values and add a new layer of bureaucracy but will give farm business succession planning a positive boost, tax experts say.

However, mostly it would simply duplicate taxes already enshrined in income tax law, they said.

Labour’s election policy promotes a capital gains tax from 2016 on property sales, including farmland, though not the farm family home. 

The party is targeting property speculators in the housing market, but farmers would be affected. . . .

We’re mobile milking – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve been milking for 3 weeks now and it’s been a hectic 3 weeks. I’ve finally got a moment for a quick update.

I’m really happy with how the cowshed is operating. The second hand milking plant runs really well, the cows are walking on to the cowshed happily & I’ve learned how to manoeuvre the cowshed through gateways and up and down hills, while keeping both gateways & the cowshed in one piece.

It’s funny how over the last year I have thought about how to design various parts of the cowshed & pondered every little detail. Yet it only took 10 minutes of the first milking for me realise I had made mistakes with the layout of equipment etc.”>I’ll be honest, the first milking did not go to plan. I have bought 7 Heifer cows. They had just calved and they have never being milked before let alone on a mobile trailer with no yards to contain them. . .

Environment research focus for red meat sector – Sue O’Dowd:

An organisation funded by the country’s sheep and beef farmers is doing its best to help them deal with the juggernaut that is the environment, says a director.

Beef+Lamb NZ (B+L NZ) director Kirsten Bryant was addressing this week’s annual meeting of the Western North Island Farmer Council (WNIFC) in Stratford.

Increasingly, B+L NZ was turning its attention to helping farmers manage the challenges of the environment.

“It’s like digging a hole and throwing money into it,” she said.

“But it’s not a conversation we can avoid. We want outcomes that are great for sheep and beef farmers and to show leadership around environmental responsibilities.” . . .

 WEL change opens door to PWC shareholding – Jackie Harrigan:

Wool Growers are no longer the only group allowed to own shares in wool investment holding company Wool Equities Ltd (WEL).

A special WEL meeting on Friday changed the constitution to allow share ownership by any entity engaged in wool activities, including woolgrowers, grower groups, trading entities, and wool processors.

The change was sought to allow WEL to issue 5% of its equity to grower group Primary Wool Co-operative (PWC) for $50,000. . .

Scholarship win scores US beef industry conference – Gerald Piddock:

King Country rural professional James Bryan will travel to the United States next month after being selected as an ambassador at this year’s Five Nations Beef Alliance conference and young leaders programme.

Bryan beat 13 other applicants to win the Beef + Lamb New Zealand scholarship, which covered the full cost of travelling to and attending the conference, to be held in Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas in October.

The scholarship is offered annually to New Zealanders aged 22-32, who are working in, and have a passion for, the beef industry. . .


Rural round-up

May 23, 2014

Beef producers demand a high quality TPP deal:

Beef producers from four Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries have again demanded that any TPP agreement be a high quality deal that eliminates all tariffs on beef.

Members of the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA)* from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, urge all participants involved in the TPP negotiations to re-commit to securing a comprehensive, non-discriminatory outcome – one which eliminates tariffs and importantly addresses behind the border trade barriers.

FNBA is concerned that TPP members have not been able to craft a tariff-eliminating deal for beef, and unless all parties step up to the plate and reaffirm their commitment to a trade liberalizing outcome, countries could begin to drift away from the goal of achieving a 21st century agreement. . .

Forest researchers frustrated by ruling:

A High Court ruling against the use of genetic engineering techniques for tree breeding has frustrated forestry researchers but relieved GM opponents.

The Sustainability Council challenged a decision by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that allowed Forest Research Institute Scion to use two new plant breeding technologies to grow pine trees that among other things would cope better with climate change, and be more disease resistant.

But the High Court has ruled the authority misinterpreted the law and should not have approved the techniques.

Scion said the court decision showed up serious deficiencies in the law covering genetically modified organisms. . .

Native plants often the best answer:

Native plants can help farmers in a multitude of ways, South Canterbury expert Hugh Thompson says.

Speaking at the Trees on Farms workshop at Pleasant Point on April 30, Mr Thompson said native species could be used in shelter belts and riparian plantings, for soil stability in creeks and steep areas, for biodiversity, and for aesthetic reasons.

”They look natural and they’re there forever.”

Six years ago, concerned by the neglect of native vegetation on farmland, Mr Thompson became a full-time horticulturist and started a native nursery.  . .

Goat Conference to address adding value to New Zealand:

Federated Farmers is pleased to announce that the inaugural NZGoats Conference in Queenstown, on 23-25 May, will be focusing on adding sustainable value to the industry.

“Right now the goat industry has a lot to offer with goat meat leading global red meat consumption and Mohair becoming a popular niche fibre so this conference is at a pivotal time for the industry,” said John Woodward, Federated Farmers Mohair New Zealand (INC) Chairperson.

Chairperson of Federated Farmers NZGoats, Dawn Sangster, added “The event is a collaboration between Mohair New Zealand (Inc), Meat Goat New Zealand and NZ Goats, under the Federated Farmers Goats industry umbrella, and the New Zealand Boer Goat Breeders Association (Inc).

“It is aimed at both experienced goat farmers and those interested in the potential of goat farming as a way to diversify their farm business”. . .

Chilly diners get blanket coverage – Sally Rae:

When it came to warming up Queenstown’s Public Kitchen and Bar over winter, the solution was simple – New Zealand wool.

And it all fell into place after Domenic Mondillo was tackled by restaurant manager Heidi Thomson about ways to promote Mondillo Wines and also how to keep customers warm.

Mr Mondillo’s wife Ally had been looking for wool blankets to put their branding on and use as promotional items for clients and overseas visitors and met Polly McGuckin at Exquisite Wool Blankets. . . .

Outdoors Lobby Seeks Party Election Policies:

A national organisation is seeking the views of political parties and current MPs on outdoor recreation and environmental issues. The Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations (CORANZ) has prepared an election charter and sent it to political parties and MPs said Andi Cockroft, CORANZ co-chairman of Wellington.

“Responses will be later collated and made public,” he said.

Andi Cockroft said CORANZ was strictly apolitical and “politically impartial” but had increasingly viewed with alarm the style and policies of recent governments that were bypassing democracy and eroding the public’s heritage of the outdoors and environmental quality.  . .


Rural round-up

October 30, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Puts Case to Washington:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and representatives from other Five Nations Beef Alliance partners have called on Washington’s Capitol Hill to promote a unified view of how trade in agricultural products – and especially beef – should be treated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP, which is currently being negotiated and of which New Zealand is a participant, aims to open up trade in goods and services. Progress towards an outcome was most recently reviewed in Bali, where Prime Minister John Key chaired the meeting of the 12 TPP negotiating countries.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is made up of the national organisations that represent beef cattle producers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. Collectively, the five countries account for one third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. . .

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to be bulletproof:

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to ensure their operations are “bulletproof” if they want to compete in an increasingly aggressive global marketplace, an industry expert says.

Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner and National Leader, Food and Beverage, Simon Hunter, is describing the firm’s latest International Food and Beverage sector report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’, as a wake-up call for the local industry.

The report, based on interviews with 248 senior executives in seven countries (including New Zealand), says 90% expect revenues to increase in the next 12 months but only half expect to employ more people. . .

Gigatown competition will change the future for one town:

Federated Farmers is excited by Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town.

“This competition is a great opportunity for rural towns,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“If a rural town wins it will become the first town in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe.

“New Zealand’s farmers are desperate for new ways to get onto the internet and this competition has the potential, for one fortunate town, to spark innovation and mobilise and transform their local economy and society. . . .

(This is why we’re supporting #gigatownoam and the #gigatown campaign).

Fonterra board to set up separate risk committee after food scare review – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The board of Fonterra Cooperative Group will establish a separate committee to oversee risks facing the dairy group in the wake of the false alarm food scare that prompted a precautionary recall in August.

The company’s board will carve out the risk elements from its audit, finance and risk committee into its own separate committee, which chairman John Wilson said will cover “food safety, food quality and other risks Fonterra in today’s environment faces.”

The measure was one of a raft of recommendations from the board-ordered inquiry, led by Jack Hodder QC, after recall of three batches of whey protein concentrate, which were thought to have been contaminated.

Fonterra’s handling of the fall-out was “inadequate” for the kind and size of the crisis and the company’s lack of responsiveness to external stakeholders was seen as a “fortress” mentality, the report said. . . .

Shareholders’ Council welcomes report, inquiry recommendations:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said it welcomed the completion of the Fonterra Board commissioned independent report of the WPC80 issue.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “The Council has received the report and we commend the Oversight Committee and the Independent Inquiry Team on the comprehensive nature of the report.

“We also commend the Board on their openness and support their decision to make the report public. . .

New health & safety regulations will increase potential penalties for employers:

The potential for higher penalties for non-compliance as a result of upcoming changes to Health and Safety regulations means employers in the high-risk agricultural sector need to be more aware than ever of their obligations, says Melissa Vining, AGRI Consultant for human resources specialists Progressive Consulting – the HR division of Crowe Horwath.

The government will establish new Crown Agent WorkSafe New Zealand by December 2013, when it also plans to introduce to parliament a new Health and Safety at Work Act, which is expected to come into force by December 2014. . . .

Xero releases farming blueprint:

Xero has released its Farming Integration Guide, a blueprint that helps rural solution providers connect to Xero and deliver integrated farm management and accounting solutions. 

Xero CEO Rod Drury says this is a great example of technology bringing an industry together. “This guide is the key step towards full integration between farmers, rural accountants, rural suppliers, banks and software providers. The innovation we’re experiencing in the tech sector is being applied directly now to the rural economy, the backbone of the NZ economy.” . . .


5 Nations beef producers back TPP

September 27, 2013

Free trade has got a boost with Five Nations beef producers agreeing to core principles in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

An alliance of cattle producers representing Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States have signed a letter announcing their support for a comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand is delighted to be a signatory to this Five Nations Beef Alliance Joint Communique that outlines core principles to ensure the TPP negotiations fulfill the promise of a high-quality agreement that can serve as a standard for future trade agreements,” said Mike Petersen, chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

“The TPP needs to be an ambitious, high quality, comprehensive agreement, with no product or sector exclusions, address non-tariff barriers, and be enforceable. The more we can work together with our international counterpart organizations on these trade issues the more likely it is to result in a win-win for all.”

“As a collective global beef industry, if we are going to feed a growing world population we need to facilitate the open and unrestricted trade of food around the world,” said Cattle Council president Andrew Ogilvie, from Kingston SE in South Australia.

“By removing trade barriers and tariffs to create fair and open access for all nations, the world’s population will have equal opportunity to a reliable and safe food supply without trade barriers inflating the cost of that food.”

The agreement is based on 10 core principles, ensuring any agreement must be comprehensive and must eliminate all tariffs and market access barriers while emphasizing the importance of unfettered trade.

“Working to achieve a TPP without product exclusions, especially in agriculture, that also eliminates tariffs and other market access barriers in the TPP region, is a goal worth striving for,” said Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Martin Unrau, a cow-calf producer from MacGregor, Manitoba.

“I am pleased to see momentum building in the TPP negotiations and am hopeful we can achieve a comprehensive result soon.”

The agreement also relies on risk based scientific decision making, based on international science-based standards.

“We are a strong supporter of this agreement and others like it, on the grounds that they increase market access and provide stable export markets based in internationally recognized scientific standards,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Scott George, a cattle and dairy producer from Cody, Wyo.

“With 96 per cent of the global population living outside of the United States, it is essential that we take measures to enable trade and expand market access, both to stimulate the economy and more importantly, to feed a growing global population.”

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is also asking the negotiating countries to push for arrangements where beef producers are all treated the same.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance comprises Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Cattle Council of Australia, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederacion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Together, the alliance represents producers from countries that account for one-third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports.

This is significant progress towards freer trade that will benefit producers and consumers.

New Zealanders have been farming without subsidies and tariff protection since for nearly 30 years.

The transition was abrupt and painful but I know no-one who wants to go back to the bad old days when we were answerable to politicians and bureaucrats rather than markets.

Farmers in many other countries have been slow to realise the benefits of free trade and those in North America have, unitl now,  been particularly reluctant to lose the protections they have.

The agreement to the principles by Canadian, Mexican and USA producers is a huge break through.The FNBA’s overriding principle is to exceed global consumers’ expectations in respect of beef, while eliminating non-scientific and political trade restrictions.fnba


Rural round-up

September 21, 2013

Champions drive clean streams – Jon Morgan:

Ossie Latham introduces himself as a tree hugger. But he’s more than that. He’s a tree hugger who aims to get everyone in Manawatu’s Mangaone West catchment hugging trees with him.

He’s a farmer who headed to Auckland to make his fortune in business before retiring back home to a small farm.

And he’s also one of Alastair Cole’s community champions. Cole, Landcare Trust’s regional co-ordinator, looks for enthusiastic volunteers to drive environmental protection.

Three big projects are underway in the region, all with the aim of making the Manawatu River cleaner. . .

Global Beef Priorities Advanced at Five Nations Conference – says Beef + Lamb New Zealand:

International trade was front and centre of discussions at the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) conference in Cairns Australia last week.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chair-Elect, James Parsons led New Zealand’s participation in the annual conference of beef cattle producer organisations from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Chief Executive, Scott Champion and General Manager Market Access, Ben O’Brien also attended alongside three “young ranchers” Richard Morrison (of Marton), Pete Fitz-Herbert (of Hunterville) and Lauren McWilliam (of Masterton).

The key action item was the signing of a position statement on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. . .

Farmers face two-year wait for new green scheme – Johann Tasker:

Environmental schemes that reward farmers who look after the English countryside will be closed to most new applicants for two years as the government implements CAP reform, it has emerged.

In a move described by some critics as a “massive threat” to wildlife and the countryside, DEFRA has no plans to let farmers sign new agri-environment agreements during the whole of 2015 as the department develops a successor to its existing environmental stewardship scheme. . .

Minister attending Inter-American agricultural conference:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy will depart for Argentina tomorrow to attend the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) conference.

“This will be a valuable opportunity to meet with my counterparts from Latin America, the US, Canada and the Caribbean, to discuss some of the issues and opportunities facing the agricultural sector across the world.

“Some of the issues covered will include the work of the Global Research Alliance of which New Zealand is a major supporter, and the importance of water storage and management.”

Mr Guy will also visit Uruguay and Paraguay to meet with officials and his Ministerial counterparts. . .

Bumblebee talents being recognised – Richard Rennie:

The humble bumblebee is about to get a boost for its pollination skills from scientists and farm retailers this spring.

For the first time Farmlands is selling commercial box hives of bumblebees to kiwifruit and avocado growers, while scientists celebrate funding for more research into the bee.

Farmlands’ Te Puna branch in western Bay of Plenty is the first to start marketing the bees. . .

Horses sell at a brisk trot – Murray Robertson:

THE annual horse fair at Matawhero yesterday attracted about 140 head, with a top price of $3500 paid for a nine-year-old gelding — and an almost total clearance.

Thirty “broken” horses were sold and about 100 “unbroken” changed hands.

Only about six animals remained unsold at the end of the three-hour sale. . .


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