Rural round-up

November 1, 2016

Heartland: Grass is greenest for environment – Jacqueline Rowarth:

Streams of traffic at Labour weekend, with boats, jet skis and trail bikes loaded on or behind four-wheel drive vehicles, heralded the start of the summer outdoor life, part of the New Zealand heritage. 

The fact that fossil fuel consumption was involved, thereby increasing the contribution to global greenhouse gases (GHG), was probably not considered by most people as they took to the road. Nor was the decision to make 1.09 million overseas holiday trips in the September 2016 year. Statistics New Zealand data indicated residents took 71,200 more holiday trips than in the September 2015 year. 

But, overall, New Zealand produces less than 2% of the global GHG emissions, so people are getting out there and enjoying life. . . 

MP Chester Borrows says hidden camera footage threatens New Zealand’s economy – Sue O’Dowd:

Hidden-camera footage of on-farm practices not only breaches farmers’ security but also threatens New Zealand’s economy, says politician Chester Borrows. 

The Whanganui MP and one-time police officer turned lawyer is urging Taranaki farmers and rural residents to attend the rural crime prevention national roadshow – a joint police, FMG and Federated Farmers initiative – when it visits Stratford and Tikorangi on November 10. 

Figures presented at FMG’s annual meeting in Taranaki in September showed rural crime cost the company $21 million in claims in the last five years. . . 

From the Lip – bobby calves and Big Brother – Jamie Mackay:

The latest bobby calf cruelty video released by Farmwatch is yet again another salutary reminder of how careful farmers and farming have to be, in an age where social media rules and where the consumer is king.

I have to be bit careful when dishing out advice from behind the safety of a keyboard because I’ve never loaded bobby calves on to a truck, save for a few we bought and reared as kids on to the back of a car trailer.

But I have spent many years, in a past life, working with livestock and can understand the pressures and fatigue farmers and farm workers face in the course of a 14 hour working day at calving or lambing time. . . 

More tertiary graduates needed to grow a savvy agri-industry – Pat Deavoll:

The agricultural and horticultural industry will need more than 60,000 more workers by 2025 to be sustainable.

The Ministry for Primary Industries estimates horticulture will need an extra 7800 workers and meat and wool 16,500 fewer unqualified workers through the natural attrition of the industry but will need 11,400 with tertiary qualifications. The arable sector will need another 4700 workers and dairy 2300 more workers.

However, the biggest demand will come from the support area with as many as 30,000 more jobs required. . . 

Global Farmer Network ‘amazing’ – Sally Rae:

When Jane Smith headed to the Global Farmer Roundtable discussion in Iowa earlier this month, she was not sure what she should expect.

But it turned out to be an “amazing’ character-building trip for the North Otago farmer who was the sole representative from New Zealand.

The Global Farmer Network is a non-profit advocacy group led by farmers from around the world who support global expansion of trade and a farmer’s freedom to access the technology they need to be productive and sustainable. . . 

Farmers praised for ability to cut costs:

Not surprisingly, the 2015-16 dairy season has been officially declared the most challenging year yet for dairy farmers.

The $3.90 kg/ms milk price was the lowest in more than a decade and affected farmers who were, on average, operating at a break-even cost of $5.25 kg/ms, figures released at DairyNZ’s recent annual meeting in Ashburton showed.

Despite an obvious shortfall in farm income, farmers made positive steps in reducing their costs of production, chairman Michael Spaans said.

In August, DairyNZ revised the average farm’s break-even cost down to $5.05 kg/ms for 2016-17.‘‘This is a rare positive from a period of low milk prices and something farmers should be immensely proud of. . . 

Good points about US farming trumped by low profits – Pita Alexander:

In the middle of a fascinating election campaign any prayers you have would be reserved for the American people rather than their new president

Some years ago a reporter asked Pope XXIII about how many people worked at the Vatican.  His reply was: about half.  The sooner the United States election is over the sooner about half the population can get back to work.

Many years ago Mahatma Gandhi was asked what he thought of western civilisation.  His reply was: he thought it was a good idea.  Yet I counted 22 serious confrontations around the world on October 28 where lives were being lost every day.  Mr Gandhi would not be happy about this.  I did not include any of the internal US confrontations in my total.

At the farming level, do not get the idea that the typical US family farm has a good net income.  The median figure for this year is estimated to be about $109,000 (US$76,282), but most of this  comes from off-farm income. . . 


Rural round-up

November 8, 2012

Quantum leap in water management policies – Matt Harcombe:

The debate centering on water and agriculture is a tangled web of interlinked policies, on-farm actions, science, emotion, perception and economic and cultural factors affecting its use, availability and quality.

Some factors are well understood, others are not. The biggest issue in the public eye is quality. However, access to water and its use, irrigation and storage are also vital.

While the vast majority of farmers are working hard to adapt and evolve alongside changing public expectations of water quality, they are also trying to keep up with the demands of the Government and regional councils, while working out what it means to their farm. . .

Challenge to grow more food from less – Tim Cronshaw:

New Zealand stands to gain from farmers getting better at growing food in developing countries, says Methven farmer Craige Mackenzie.

Mackenzie became the first New Zealander to sit alongside selected farmers at last month’s Global Farmer Roundtable at Des Moines, Iowa, in the United States.

Contrary to the view that it might be in New Zealand’s best interest if developing countries struggled to supply their own food, he found there were advantages to farmers raising production.

Better-performing farmers could feed their families, change their diet and gain an income from selling surplus food to small towns, which could mean they and other people could afford better food, creating export opportunities for developed countries, he said. . .

Land use change focus of conference – Terri Russell:

Almost 400 farmers, scientists and agribusiness professionals will be in Gore this week to discuss land-use change and what it means for farmers.

The annual New Zealand Grassland Association conference is a chance for industry professionals to network and learn more about current farming issues.

The association’s local organising committee chairman, Nelson Hancox, said this year’s theme, Opportunities of Changing Land Use, was driven by a notable shift to dairy throughout the country. . .

Jim’s greens fit for royalty – Jessie Waite:

Feeding royalty is just another day at the office for Kakanui’s Jim O’Gorman.

The local produce grower will be supplying vegetables to Government House ahead of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next week.

Prince Charles, who is a well-known advocate of organic produce, is arriving in New Zealand on Saturday to celebrate his 64th birthday. . .

The high frontier comes to meat and fibre:

Speech by Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & 2012 Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre council, Wellington

Good morning and welcome to Meat & Fibre 2012.

I would like to thank our wonderful policy advisor, David Burt and the Events Manager, Hannah Williamson, for putting together an excellent programme. To my Vice-chair, Tim Mackinosh and members of the Executive, thank you.

Above all, it is you, members of the Meat & Fibre council who deserve to be recognised by your peers. . .


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