New Zealand’s meat processing and exporting sector faces being forced to limit production and let people go unless the Government recognises the essential role of its skilled migrant workforce.
Around a third of the country’s 250 essential halal processing workers, who help generate more than $3 billion in export earnings every year, will have to leave New Zealand next year due to the Government’s one-year stand-down policy.
Sirma Karapeeva, chief executive of the Meat Industry Association (MIA), said the loss of halal processing people — alongside hundreds of other essential meat workers — could result in reduced production and job losses in the sector, which is New Zealand’s largest manufacturing industry.
“Most of the 42 halal processing plants in New Zealand now operate between 10-12 months per year. A shortage of skilled halal processing people could result in production at many plants being limited to six months in the year, which would mean processing of livestock for farmers is severely disrupted and employees might be let go. . .
Ben and Yvonne Lee weren’t born into farming but have taken it up with vigour.
They run Bluestone Herefords, 30 minutes inland from Timaru, on 600ha of tussock and rolling foothills, ranging from 300-550 metres altitude. The South Canterbury farm will mate about 300 cows this season.
Yvonne, once a police officer, manages the farm day-to-day while Ben, formerly a lawyer, runs an animal health firm in Timaru. As stud owners, their cattle genetics are based squarely on client demand, typified by a growing call for cattle with low nitrogen output. . .
Farmers are back in the frame as the backbone of NZ’s export economy, after the Covid-induced collapse of the foreign exchange earning capacity of the tourist and international education industries. But it is not only the rural industries themselves which are scrutinising bulletins on the prices being earned abroad for commodities. Those data have become a vital item for New Zealanders eager to monitor the recovery of an economy battered by a one-in -100 year event.
This week the ANZ reported its world commodity price index had eased 0.2% in September as lower dairy and meat prices were largely offset by stronger prices for logs and fruit.
In local currency terms the index fell 1.3% as the NZ$ strengthened by 0.6% on a trade weighted index basis during the month.
Hard on the heels of those figures came the results of the latest Fonterra global dairy trade auction where the average price strengthened to $US3143 a tonne and wholemilk powder (which plays a significant role on Fonterra’s payout to suppliers) rose 1.7% to $3041 a tonne. . .
Clinton Young Farmer wins Otago contest – Yvonne O’Hara:
The Otago district skills final for the FMG Young Farmer of the Year competition was contested at Gimmberburn on Saturday.
Organised by the Maniototo Young Farmers Club, the competition attracted 10 entrants who completed 10 modules and later a quiz round.
The winner was George Blyth, of Clinton, with Josh Johanson, of Ida Valley, second, Adam Callaghan, of St Bathans, third and Matt Sullivan, of Oturehua, was fourth.
Club chairman Josh Harrex said the top four would go forward to compete in the regional final in Southland in March. . .
Judges faced tough decisions choosing finalists for the Primary Industries New Zealand Awards, with no shortage of contenders.
The six independent judges deliberated over 40 nominations across the six award categories for the second annual PINZ awards, which are to be held at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington on November 23.
“More than ever New Zealand needs the primary sector to be innovative and enterprising,” Federated Farmers Chief Executive Terry Copeland says.
“For our farmers, growers, foresters and fishers to continue to be at the top of their game as producers of quality goods exported to the world, we need suppliers and support agencies of the calibre of these finalists who can help us with cutting-edge technology and back-up.”
The finalists are: . .
Piper in the paddock – Toni Williams:
The skirl of the pipes can be heard among the cows in Lagmhor as dairy farmer Joseph Williams plays a warm-up tune to his captive audience.
The cows are unfazed and continue grazing.
Mr Williams learned to play the bagpipes during his primary school years in his homeland of Scotland and, since relocating to New Zealand for work opportunities, has taken up with the Ashburton Pipe Band.
“There is a strong music culture at school,” he said, and the bagpipes were taken up in primary and secondary school, first learning finger movements on a practice chanter (similar to a recorder) before advancing to the bagpipes.
Mr Williams admits he wasn’t as committed to the bagpipes as he should have been through his teenage years and then flatting while at university in Aberdeen, Scotland. . .