Rural round-up


New version of capitalism coming, rural-urban bridges have to mend: Bagrie – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand’s economy is in a transition of old economic drivers stepping aside for a new “social-justice” version of capitalism.

The three big engines that had driven the economy – migration, construction and tourism – had peaked and would make way for a new version of capitalism, ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie said.

That form of capitalism would feature a higher level of government spending following tight controls in the National-led government, he told farmers and agri-business people at the launch of the 2017 Fieldays Economic Impact Report at Mystery Creek on Thursday. . .

Milking sustainably more than compliance:

With the growing focus on regulation in New Zealand, you could be forgiven for thinking that milking sustainably is all about meeting limits.

But limits are just part of the equation and truly sustainable businesses are striking a balance to get the best out of their farms, their people and the environment. Here, a group of farmers share their experiences of developing a Sustainable Milk Plan (SMP) with DairyNZ.

SMPs were first developed by DairyNZ about five years ago, funded by the farmers’ levy and co-delivered by consultants in areas where the pace of regulation was accelerating. Their primary purpose was to help raise awareness of environmental issues and start a conversation with the farmer about how to move their business to a more sustainable footing – before change was forced upon them. . .

Fonterra trims 2018 milk collection forecast on wet August, September – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group trimmed its milk collection outlook for the 2018 season after a wet August and September sapped production, especially in the North Island.

The Auckland-based cooperative lowered the forecast to 1,540 million kilograms of milk solids for the year ending May 31, 2018 from a previous projection of 1,575 kgMS, it said in its latest Global Dairy Update. Fonterra collected 171 million kgMS in September, down 2 percent from the same month a year earlier, while the year-to-date collection slipped 1 percent to 294 million kgMS. . . 

Synthetic foods to have ‘major impact’ within 10 to 15 years – Sir Peter Gluckman – Tom Pullar-Strecker:

New Zealand may need to reconsider its approach to genetically modified crops to respond to the economic threat presented by synthetic milk and meat, the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, has suggested.

Gluckman told the NZBio biotechnology conference in Wellington that great strides were being made commercialising artificial milk and meat, which usually rely on genetically modified (GM) ingredients to enhance their taste or texture.  

He thought most milk sold worldwide in 20 to 25 years could be synthetic, though it might be “some time” before scientists could create a T-bone steak. . . 

Grass-fed steak with a side of environmental enhancement?:

Consumers are to be asked what attributes in beef and lamb are important to them in their purchase decisions in a research project led by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Greenlea Premier Meats and Lincoln University’s Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU).

The research, which will be focused on high market potential states or cities in the US and China, will test consumers’ awareness of New Zealand red meat and gain an understanding of the attributes that are important to them. . . 

Amazing grazing: why grass-fed beef isn’t to blame in the climate change debate – Diana Rodgers:

My inbox has been inundated with people freaking out about recent papers and articles claiming that grass-fed beef is NOT going to save the planet. Basically, these scientists are ignoring important research and not looking at the full picture. While there’s still work to be done, many have proven that yes, in fact, grass-fed beef IS better for the planet.

I’ve found there are three reasons why people are conflicted about eating meat. The environmental argument is just one. We’re also fed a lot of misinformation about the nutritional implications of eating meat and conflicted about the ethics of eating animals. I get it. While I don’t argue for factory farming, I do offer some logical, concrete reasons for why meat, especially grass-fed beef, is one of the most nutrient-dense foods for humans and according to the principle of least harm, large ruminants like cattle are the most ethical protein choice. . .

If you’re thinking about marrying a farmers stop – Uptown Farms:

I’m 400 miles from home, getting ready to walk into a church for a wedding, without my farmer. It’s not the first, nor the last, event I’ll attend without him at my side.

It’s harvest season, which means anything I do that isn’t in the cab of a combine, likely doesn’t involve him.

It’s been almost almost nine years ago since I said, “I do”, and walking into another wedding has me thinking…

If you’re thinking about marrying a farmer, stop. . . 


While they were marching


While a few hundred people were marching against Monsanto and genetically modified foods, others were appreciating a more scientific approach to the issue:

Food Standards Australia New Zealand released a report responding to concerns raised about the potential for double-stranded RNA molecules produced in new genetically modified crops to pose a risk to human health.

• The weight of scientific evidence published to date does not support the view that small double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs) in foods are likely to have adverse consequences for humans.

• There is no scientific basis for suggesting that small dsRNAs present in some GM foods have different properties or pose a greater risk than those already naturally abundant in conventional foods.

• The current case-by-case approach to GM food safety assessment is sufficiently broad and flexible to addresses the safety of GM foods developed using gene silencing techniques.

That one type of GM food is safe doesn’t mean it all is.

But the protesters aren’t opposed to something specific that has been proven to be unsafe, they’re opposed to GM in general and that opposition  is based on emotion and politics, not science.

Tourists not as green as myths paint them


When you’re planning a holiday is how a possible destination grows its food or generates its power a consideration?

I’ve travelled widely and those two things have never even crossed my  mind and a University of Otago survey finds they’re not a concern to most tourists who come here either:

A University of Otago survey of tourists concludes that it is highly unlikely that the introduction of genetically-modified drought-tolerant pasture to New Zealand would have long-term adverse effects on this country’s ‘clean green’ image overseas. . .

. . . Associate Professor Knight says the sample of 515 visitors gives “a pretty clear indication that GM pasture would not matter to tourists when making decisions about where to travel”.

This latest research follows Associate Professor Knight’s face-to-face research on “gatekeepers” in the food distribution channels in Europe, China and India.

These studies showed that people influential in food distribution in other countries did not rate whether or not a country grows GM crops as a relevant consideration when sourcing food for their consumers to choose from.

“It is an unsupported myth that GM crops in New Zealand (or even nuclear power, for that matter) would damage our clean green image in export markets”, he says.

The impact on tourists is often used by people opposed to new developments. It was one of the reasons cited by people who objected to Holcim’s plans to build a cement plant in the Waiareka Valley in North Otago although no hard evidence was produced to back up the contention.

“Whatever the issues regarding whether or not to introduce GM pasture, it seems safe to conclude that potential damage to our clean green image in the eyes of overseas visitors planning to come here should not be a factor,” Associate Professor Knight says.

Nuclear power isn’t on the radar but GM food is and this survey shoots down one of the straw men put up in opposition to it.

You’d have to be very concerned and informed about GM before it influenced your travel plans and most tourists aren’t, nor are they as green as those opposing progress would like to paint them.

Our clean-green image is a valuable one but that has a lot more to do with enjoying clean water, fresh air, our bush, beaches and countryside than how we grow our food.

Hat Tip: Credo Quia Absurdum Est

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