Rural round-up

September 30, 2014

Excitement at wool levy possibilities – Sally Rae:

When Sandra Faulkner was a young girl, her father gave her a valuable message – ”don’t grizzle unless you’re planning on getting involved”.
The Muriwai farmer is now chairwoman of the Wool Levy Group, which is behind next month’s referendum seeking to reintroduce a wool levy.

”I guess it’s never really been an option to sit back and let somebody else do it. You gain the right to comment for being involved,” Mrs Faulkner said. . .

Farmhand pilot programme welcomed – Sally Rae:

Farming is the career path Emma Hollamby knows she wants to follow.

Ms Hollamby (25) was among the first intake of the pilot of the Farmhand training programme, launched in Dunedin last week.

The programme, which runs for 12 weeks, aims to expose the city’s disengaged youth to rural work opportunities.

For Ms Hollamby, who had previously worked on dairy farms and loved the outdoors, it was an opportunity to broaden her horizons and ”get a feel for sheep”. . .

Fonterra Farmers and Farm Source – together as one:

Fonterra has signalled a significant step-up in its relationship with farmers, rolling out Farm Source which will support farmers and their farming businesses and bolster the Co-operative’s connection with rural communities in New Zealand.

Farm Source combines service, support, rewards, digital technology and financial options for farmers together with local Farm Source hubs to support the major dairying regions throughout the country.

Speaking at today’s launch in Methven, Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said Farm Source’s seed was discussions with farmers and the “together as one” principle behind co-operatives.
Brothers show how they grow it in Kansas – Market to Market:

The Kansas prairie is well known for its fields of wheat, soybeans and irrigation rigs.

Tucked into the central part of the sunflower state near Assaria, is a farmstead known around the world.

Well, the world-wide web, that is.

What began as a tribute to the beauty of the Kansas landscape, quickly escalates into a rap parody as performed by the Peterson Brothers; college senior Greg, college freshman Nathan and high school junior Kendal.

Greg Peterson, Assaria, KS: “I was at Sonic and I was with my friends and a song comes on the radio and I’m like all right, it is that stupid song again. And I am going to change the words and my friends thought it was funny and I was like maybe I will make a music video out of that.”

That springtime idea inspired by LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It,” became a summer sensation “I’m Farming and I Grow It.” . . .

 


Rural round-up

March 23, 2014

Irrigator wins Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

IrrigationNZ congratulates Mark and Devon Slee on taking out the main prize at last night’s Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Mark is a board member of IrrigationNZ with an irrigated dairy farm in Ealing within Ashburton District employing 13 full time and two part time staff.

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says Mark and Devon’s sustainable irrigation practices and investment in technology played a large part in their win.

“Mark and Devon are among our top performing irrigators because of their significant investment in technology and personal commitment to reducing their environmental footprint,” says Mr Curtis. . .

PGP Forestry programme takes big step forward:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew are welcoming commercialisation of new forestry technology this week as a big step forward in improving both productivity and safety.

“The Steepland Harvesting Programme is a very exciting Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project, with $6 million in joint funding from the industry and the Government and a vision of ‘No worker on the slope, no hand on the chainsaw’,” says Mr Guy.

The new technology involves harvesting on steep slopes using new mechanised technology, rather than exposing forestry workers to risk.

The project was demonstrated to around 55 forestry contractors and company representatives at a Future Forest Research field day in Maungataniwha forest near Napier this week. . .

Minister signs new conservation accord:

An accord between the newly established $100 million NEXT Foundation and the Government was signed in Nelson today by Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith.

“The NEXT Foundation is an incredible deed of generosity which has the potential to deliver huge steps forward for conservation in New Zealand. This Accord is about providing the right framework for DOC to partner with the Foundation and to ensure we maximise the conservation gains from this huge investment,” Dr Smith says.

“There are two key elements to the Accord. The first is in ensuring these funds go to new projects that are out and above the work the Government would have ordinarily done. The second is in providing a commitment that the conservation gains are maintained into the future. . . .

Ministers leading agribusiness delegation to South America:

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy are leading an agribusiness delegation to Chile and Colombia from 23-28 March.

“Latin America is a valued trading partner for New Zealand and a fast growing region,” says Mr Groser. 

“Our relationship with Chile is thriving with a high level of engagement in areas such as energy and environment, agriculture and education. They are encouraging New Zealand business to explore future investment opportunities and we hope to build on this.

“In Colombia we are aiming to build a greater understanding of the market, through a range of farm visits and meetings with local Ministers and authorities.” . . .

Arable research body sets strategy:

The Foundation for Arable Research has just launched its next three-year strategy, which aims to keep arable farming a good viable option for farmers.

Chief executive Nick Pyke says the key points include making sure they have the right people doing the research and having leading research that has the ability to make a difference for farmers.

He says arable farming is buoyant at the moment and they want that to continue. . .

The Peterson Farm Bros’ Beef With Chipotle (Part 2): The Definition of a Family Farmer – Greg Peterson:

Chipotle’s videos depict today’s farmers as huge, industrial farmers, concerned not about ethics and animalwelfare, but motivated rather by greed and money. This could not be further from the truth!

There are over 2 million farmers in this country. Each of whom are working long hours, braving extreme weather, and tirelessly caring for land and livestock. How many of those farmers are family farmers? 96 percent of them, according to the USDA, including the farm I work on with my brothers, my parents and my sister. In fact, I’ve never actually met a farmer who isn’t a family farmer! Have you? I’m sure there are a few out there, but even then, do you really think a farm run by non-family members would operate any differently from those that are? . . .

Rural Women™ International Year of Family Farming Roadshow kicks off next week:

Four South Island towns will be celebrating the International Year of Family Farming next week, as the Rural Women NZ roadshow series gets underway. Three North Island events will follow in early April.

“Rural Women NZ has always backed families working on the land, and in the rural communities that surround them,” says Liz Evans, who is promoting the Rural Women NZ roadshow to be held in Marlborough’s Rai Valley on 30 March.

“For this reason, we were ‘first in’ to initiate a nationwide programme of events to support the UN International Year of Family Farming, a timely opportunity to celebrate the dedication and contribution of farming families, past, present and future.” . . .

Lick block increases lamb survival in triplet bearing ewes:

Significant improvements in lamb survival have been demonstrated by using Crystalyx blocks in a University of Auckland trial in Southland.

Crystalyx Extra High Energy molasses blocks were provided as a supplement to ewes from three weeks prior to lambing through to weaning and resulting in an 11% increase in lambs presented for docking, compared to the control flock.

Barry and Julie Crawford’s Rosebank Farm near Gore was the venue for the trial to determine the benefits of targeted supplementation on triplet bearing ewes. . . 

The Rosebank property is part of the FARMIQ programme. . .

Seed Industry Opens New Office in Templeton, Christchurch:

The New Zealand seed industry is pleased to announce the official opening of its new office in Templeton, Christchurch.

The opening on Wednesday was officiated by the Hon Nathan Guy, Minister for Primary Industries, and attended by over 100 VIPs and guests including Kelvin Coe, the Mayor of Selwyn District.

“It’s a huge honour for our industry to have the Minister officiate and his acknowledgement of the vital importance of our sector to the wider primary industry,” says General Manager Thomas Chin. . .


Rural round-up

March 22, 2014

Chinese trade target sky-high – Hugh Stringleman:

Prime Minister John Key and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to aim for $30 billion of bi-lateral trade between New Zealand and China by 2020.

That would be an increase of 65% over the total of two-way trade last year, when NZ sold China almost $10b of exports, mostly from the primary sector, and imported $8.2b.

In a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing they also agreed to modernise the free-trade agreement between the two countries.

“We have great confidence that the coming years will see trade between us increase at a very fast pace,” Key said. . .

No time to penny-pinch on TB – James Houghton:

Looking at the week that was, we have seen Fish & Game come out with a survey full of leading questions, three of our top agricultural science centers lose Government funding, and the Ministry for Primary Industries taking Fonterra to court. One might take that as a bad week, but this is a standard one for agriculture.

What is important to note is that we deal with a lot of negativity on a day-to-day basis and part of that is because we hold ourselves to a very high standard. However, looking at an average week you can get drowned in the negativity and lose sight of the bigger picture. All these things that are happening around us can seem like a blur of madness, some are but some things are for the big picture, for our children, and theirs.

Locally, we are dealing with the Waikato regional draft Annual Plan, which the council are looking to withdraw their direct funding from the national strategy of pest eradication. The National Pest Strategy, funded by the Animal Health Board, has been focusing on high-risk areas, such as Waikato, to rid the country of TB. The work is achieved by eradicating possums, with TB, from the province, and is spear headed by TB Free New Zealand and OSPRI. . .

The nitty gritty of the nitrate debate –   Lynda Murchison:

We are a part of the water quality discussion in some shape or form, and we get our information from many sources.  A major focus has been on nitrogen losses from farming. If nitrogen is one of the key ingredients in this national conversation, it ought to be explained beyond the notion that it is all about cows in streams.  The science can be complex and the explanations mind-boggling; here’s my simple geographer-farmer take on it.

Why should we care how nitrogen loss is managed? Farmers care because their future flexibility and thus viability is at stake, and like most New Zealanders they want a sustainable future that allows for agricultural growth whilst enjoying healthy waterways. The rest of the population should care because the flexibility and productivity of farming, our ability to feed the world, is what makes New Zealand tick.

Recently, the Ministry for Primary Industries revised their projections for earnings in the primary sector for the 2013-14 year, up another $4.9 billion to $36.5 billion. From that, the direct economic contribution farmers make to the Christchurch economy is estimated at $750 million per year, an impressive feat. One can only assume that contribution is even more significant in smaller provincial cities and towns. . .

Let’s Broadcast Rural New Zealand – Jamie Mackay:

It was the only option available but watching the excellent on-line live stream of the Golden Shears Open final was yet another salutary reminder of how  mainstream media in this country, most notably television, pays lip service to farming and rural New Zealand in general.

Country Calendar is an institution on New Zealand television, only bettered by Coronation Street for longevity. Heck, its most loved voice Frank Torley would probably give Ken Barlow a run for his money for length of tenure on the telly.  

I don’t wish to sound dismissive about the iconic Country Calendar because it is a rural flagship and rates well in its 7pm Saturday spot.  However, I would argue it’s a show designed more for townies than rural folk, as can be attested by the prevalence of quirky lifestyle stories it features.

But what Country Calendar does prove is there’s an appetite out there for television featuring rural New Zealand.  However, this message is not getting through the solid craniums (euphemism for thick skulls) of television programmers. . .

Homewood Run – Lashings of meat right way to eat -Alan Emmerson:

Those who have read my columns will know my philosophy of not getting to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.

I can remember, as a relatively young journalist, of the panic over saturated fat, the health risks associated with eating meat and dairy products.

Back then the doomsayers were trying to convert the world to mung beans and the like, for the good of their health of course.

Fortunately few listened and we continued eating meat, butter, and cheese.

Now, according to an article in the New York Times, the myths have been dispelled. . .

The Peterson Farm Bros’ Beef with Chipotle (Part 1)  – Greg Peterson:

Many have probably seen or heard about Chipotle’s commercial, “The Scarecrow” and their recent video series, “Farmed and Dangerous.” Chipotle claims these spots are shedding light on the “inhumane” and “unsustainable” nature of “industrial farming.” They try to use the videos to inform people of the perceived problems with the current food system, such as the difference between meat that is ethically raised and meat that isn’t. Their approach seems genuine and sincere at first and is attracting a lot of attention from consumers. I’m certain that Chipotle is doing a lot of positive things with their “food with integrity” approach and to be clear, I do agree with the general ideals Chipotle claims they are supporting:

  • The consumer does deserve healthy meat from humanely raised animals
  • The family farmer is who should be raising their food
  • Ethical behavior should be of greater concern than profit.

What I don’t agree with is Chipotle’s definitions of family farmers, humanely raised animals, and ethical behavior. . .


Rural round-up

March 5, 2014

Good news keeps on coming for New Zealand dairy farmers with record prices and production figures – Jeff Smith:

Record production and milk prices bode well for confidence in dairying areas and will overcome some of the problems in areas affected by dry conditions.

Rural communities across the country will be celebrating record milk production as well as an increase in Fonterra’s forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2013/14 season by 35 cents to a record level of $8.65 per kilogram of milksolids.

“Milk production across the country is looking great for most areas, with Bay of Plenty in particular up nine percent on the drought reduced production in 2012-13. Production in Canterbury is also seven percent up on last year, but some of this extra milk is from more cows being milked,” says DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle. . .

Kansas farm boys put ag in national spotlight with parody videos – Karoline Rose :

“We are seriously just normal guys,” said Greg Peterson, the oldest of the three “Peterson brothers.” The Kansas farm boys have put agriculture in the national spotlight by producing and starring in farming parody videos of top music hits.

Peterson said the boys think it is “hilarious” that fellow agriculturalists are treating them like celebrities. “We are just down-to-earth Kansas farm kids,” he said.

It all started June of 2012, when “I’m Farming and I Grow it” hit YouTube.com. Greg, an agricultural communications major at Kansas State said, “Professors were always challenging us to find new ways to advocate for agriculture. I was browsing YouTube one day and noticed that the most popular YouTube videos were music videos. At that point I decided I wanted to make a farming music video with my brothers.” After hearing “I’m Sexy and I Know it,” Greg jokingly changed it to “I’m Farming and I Grow it.” The idea caught fire and after writing the song, he took it home to his brothers and they filmed their first humorous mock video. . . .

Ballance signals CEO’s retirement plans:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Chairman David Peacocke has announced that Larry Bilodeau will be retiring as Chief Executive of the co-operative at the end of September. His retirement will end 17 years with the co-operative, 14 of them as Chief Executive.

Mr Peacocke said that under Mr Bilodeau’s leadership Ballance had evolved from a fertiliser business to a co-operative covering the full spectrum of farm nutrient requirements.

“Larry has always ensured our co-operative has stayed one step ahead of our shareholders’ and customers’ needs. He developed and led our strategy and ensured we earned our place as a trusted name in complete farm nutrient management. That trust is reflected in our consistent financial performance.” . . .

Comvita looks to new manuka types:

Honey and natural health products company Comvita expects plantings of manuka to make a significant contribution to increasing the supply of the sought-after honey.

The company, which produces and markets manuka honey for medicinal as well as culinary use, has been running trials of new varieties of the tree, with the aim of establishing plantations to supplement naturally growing stands.

Gathering manuka honey.

Gathering manuka honey.                                                                                                                     Photo: PHOTO NZ

Chief executive Brett Hewlett says crosses of indigenous varieties and special varieties are making progress.

“We’ve got some 25 different planting programmes and trials around the country where we’re studying the behaviour of these unique varieties. . .

Hamilton-based SummerGlow Apiaries – what you need to know about medical grade manuka honey:

TE KOWHAI’S SummerGlow Apiaries believe a recent UK television show has done a great job in showing consumers the difference between medical grade manuka honey and the honeys you eat.

Food Unwrapped presenter Jimmy Doherty recently investigated whether manuka honey has any medicinal properties.

He found that while all honey – even that which you buy in the supermarket – could have benefits, only medical grade manuka honey should be used to treat wounds, cuts, scratches, burns and skin ulcers as it has a naturally present activity not found in other honeys. . .

te Pā strikes again: Gold Medal at Royal Easter Wine Show:

Wairau Bar based vineyard, te Pā, has been awarded again for its 2013 Sauvignon Blanc with a Gold Medal win at the 2014 Royal Easter Show Wine Awards, racking up a double Gold record in just four months.

The Royal Easter Wine Show win follows up te Pā’s almost perfect score in the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in November, where the Sauvignon Blanc was awarded 19 points out of a possible 20.

Winemaker at te Pā Liam McElhinney says of the win: “The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc offers a rich, full and honest taste, which is due in part to the fact that we source our grapes from a single site. Because of te Pā’s unique position on the Wairau Bar, the soil and climate creates the ideal conditions for the highest quality wine. We create limited volume because we’re about quality and perfection – and this second Gold nod in just a few months shows that critics and consumers love what we are doing.” . . .


I’m Farming and I Grow It

July 4, 2012

This video by three farming brothers from Kansas has become a YouTube hit.

Mashable gives the background:

Three brothers from Kansas recently took LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It,” rewrote the lyrics and created a fun music video to showcase their farming lifestyle.

Now, the Peterson brothers are the latest rural sensations on the web, attracting  2.8 million YouTube views in a week for their “I’m Farming and I Grow It” parody. Greg, Nathan and Kendal Peterson star in the video with cattle, crops, tractors and hay bales. . .

 You can see more on their Facebook page.

Hat tip: Whaleoil.


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