Rural round-up

July 17, 2015

Fonterra shares first results of business review:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has provided a further update on its business review.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the Co-operative’s leadership was developing initiatives to deliver value right across the organisation.
“The key aims of the review are to ensure that the Co-operative is best placed to successfully deliver its strategy, increase focus on generating cash flow, and implement specific, sustainable measures for enhancing efficiency. . .

Fonterra top brass on notice from farmers as 523 jobs go in shake-up – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Federated Farmers says top management should be leaving Fonterra Cooperative Group if results don’t start improving in the next couple of years.

The comments, from Fed Farmers dairy chair Andrew Hoggard, were in response to the confirmation today by the world’s largest dairy exporter that it will cut 523 jobs to save up to $60 a million a year on its payroll in the first swathe of a major review of the business. Hoggard said he hoped the job losses were part of a wider strategy to redirect resources in new areas rather than a knee-jerk reaction to cut costs as dairy prices continue to fall.

“Fonterra has had a history of knee-jerk reactions like that where it gets rid of a whole bunch of people and then two years later hires them back again, or rather having got rid of people with institutional knowledge, they hire new graduates who can’t do as good a job,” he said. . .

Waipaoa Station moulds young farm cadets for workforce – Kate Taylor:

The physical nature of the work means some farm cadets he works with fill out and some get lean but they all change, says Waipaoa Station stock manager Jerry Cook.

The station and the Waipaoa Farm Cadet Training Trust welcomes five new cadets every year for two years – all straight out of school.

“They come in as kids and leave ready for the workforce. They might arrive still with a bit of puppy fat at 17 and leave two years later toned and strong and armed with the right skills to go farming as adults.” . . .

New Ospri head sees big opportunities ahead – Gerald Piddock:

New Ospri chief executive Michelle Edge has some bold visions for where she sees the organisation making a greater contribution to New Zealand agriculture.

Edge started her new role in May and said there were exciting opportunities ahead for Ospri’s (Operational Solutions for Primary Industries) two wholly-owned subsidiaries TBfree New Zealand and NAIT (National Animal Identification and Tracing).

“There’s also a range of business development prospects on the horizon,” she said. . .

 Enterprising Rural Women Awards open for 2015:

Entries have opened for the 2015 Enterprising Rural Women Awards (ERWA) offering women who run their own rural businesses the opportunity to boost their profiles and gain recognition for their achievements.

“This year is very special as we have a lot of interest in the awards and we’re already fielding enquiries from women keen to enter,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Wendy McGowan.

Last year’s supreme winners, Keri Johnston and Haidee McCabe from Irricon Resource Solutions have come on board as sponsors. They are enthusiastic about the awards and want to encourage other women in rural businesses to have an opportunity to get the benefits that their business has gained since winning in 2014.

The future of Fijian sugar cane industry not so sweet:

Fiji’s National Farmers Union says the future of the country’s sugar cane industry could be in doubt.

The country’s cane farmers have begun harvesting however many are facing delays of up to six months due to labour shortages.

The union estimates up to 40 percent of the country’s harvesting labour gangs aren’t operating as they are unable to find enough people to fill them. . .

Weaker NZ Dollar Helps Lift Value of Meat Exports:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following is a summary of the first nine months of the 2014-15 meat export season (1 October 2014 to 30 June 2015).

Summary

Over the first nine months of this season, beef and veal returns and volumes have been higher than lamb and mutton.

Because of the significant size of the market, changes in Chinese demand – specifically, less lamb and mutton and more beef – impacted across all categories of New Zealand meat exports.

Meanwhile, the USD / NZD exchange rate averaged 0.76 in the first nine months of the current season, compared with 0.84 over the same period last season – a 10 per cent drop. This NZD weakness contributed significantly to this season’s higher average export values across all products. . .

 

LIC sires named best in season:

Two of LIC’s artificial breeding bulls were named sires of the season by Jersey and Holstein-Friesian breed societies at their annual conferences last month.

South Land Jericho received Jersey New Zealand’s JT Thwaites Sire of the Season award and San Ray FM Beamer received Holstein-Friesian New Zealand’s Mahoe Trophy.

LIC bull acquisition manager, Malcolm Ellis, said it is an honour for the co-op’s sires to be recognised by the societies again, after LIC sires took out both awards last year also. . .

Carrfields Group brand to commence market rollout :

The Carrfields Group brand will begin a market rollout from August 2015 and will be fully integrated across the New Zealand agrimarket by December 2015.

Carrfields is borne from the Carr Group’s acquisition of the Elders New Zealand business in August 2014. The name is representative of the South Island based Carr family who have farmed and built the Carr Group of companies over the past forty years from the fields of the Canterbury region. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

November 24, 2014

Has Australia leapfrogged New Zealand in China? Keith Woodford:

The big agribusiness news this week is that Australia and China have reached a free trade agreement. This has come as somewhat of a surprise to our Government here in New Zealand who thought negotiations still had some way to go. They have been even more surprised at the apparent quality of the agreement. And our Australian cousins have been quick, entirely for their own internal purposes, to claim their agreement is better than what New Zealand achieved some six years ago.

We can afford to be generous in our congratulations. In the greater scheme of things it demonstrates that globalisation of food trade is increasing. When the dust settles on the Australian agreement, New Zealand will take up with the Chinese on any issues that the Aussies have bettered us on. New Zealand will undertake those discussions with the same politeness that has characterised New Zealand’s previous negotiations with China, and which have held us in such good stead in the past. . .

Pair getting the best of both worlds – Sally Rae:

Working from home means the best of both worlds for Keri Johnston and Haidee McCabe.

Ms Johnston and Mrs McCabe are the principals of Irricon Resource Solutions, an environmental consultancy based in Canterbury and North Otago.

The pair were named the supreme winners in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards, which were announced during Rural Women New Zealand’s national conference in Rotorua. . .

Dairying big change from pervious jobs – Sally Rae:

For Otago couple Glenn and Lynne Johnston, switching from their respective previous jobs of courier driver and hairdresser was a big change but they have no regrets.

The couple, who milk 550 cows just south of Waihola, have been in the dairy industry for 12 years.

Mrs Johnston, who is the new convener for the Dairy Women’s Network, grew up in Milton, while her husband is from Dunedin, and the couple decided to have ”a whole lifestyle change”.

They started at Five Rivers and worked around Northern Southland for a couple of years before becoming managers in an equity partnership at Awarua. . .

 Voluntary contributions recognised with Lincoln University medal:

Between them former Lincoln University academics Dr Warwick Scott and Dr Rowan Emberson have taught and conducted research at the institution for 72 years, but it was not that which was being recognised at a ceremony today.

The pair were each awarded the Lincoln University Medal, an honour which acknowledges those who, in the opinion of the Lincoln University Council, have provided long-term meritorious voluntary service and support which has enhanced the fabric or reputation of the University.

Dr Scott worked as a plant scientist at Lincoln for 39 years, retiring in 2009 as a senior lecturer. However, for the last 14 years he has been part of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest, initially setting the questions for the contestants, with his growing contribution recognised when he was named its first patron in 2012.

He said the competition showcased agriculture to urban audiences, for whom it was essential to understand the depth of talent in the agricultural sector and its importance to the economy. . .

10 things about harvest most non-ag people don’t know – Wanda Patsche:

Now that we have finished our harvest for 2014, I thought I would write a few, fun random thoughts about harvest. Some things about harvest most non-ag people don’t know.

1. Lunches are eaten in the field. Thank goodness for autoSteer in tractors and combines. Autosteer is a mechanism that automatically steers the combine/tractor. I can literally eat, with both hands, while the combine/tractor continues to operate. And I ate many meals this way! Multi-tasking at it’s finest. And if you have lunch delivered to you, it’s eaten right where you are at. It comes to you. Farmers really do love harvest meals – just a nice little pick-me-up and one less meal to prepare. Trust me, it’s the little things.

2. The smells, sights and sounds of harvest. Nothing compares to smelling corn as it is harvested, watching the corn augured into the grain cart or truck, and hearing the sounds of corn dropping into the corn bin. Yes, it’s the simple things you cherish. But it’s the simple things that really are the big things of life. . .

Investors back Prime Range Meats’ growth plan:

In a move that will see Prime Range Meats firmly hooked into its own secure supply chain into China, Lianhua Trading Group is increasing its shareholding from 24.9% to 75%.

The move has been approved by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) – approval required because part of Prime Range Meats’ (PRM) assets include 99.1 hectares of land used for holding stock for the plant, some of which is sensitive wetlands and bush.

PRM managing director Tony Forde, fellow shareholder/director Ian (Inky) Tulloch and associated parties have sold down after diluting their shareholdings earlier this year, following a competitive sales process, through the issuing of new shares. This introduced new capital into PRM then and this new transaction will also see capital expenditure on PRM’s plant of several million more in coming months. . .


Irricon wins Enterprising Rural Women Award

November 20, 2014

A South Canterbury-based environmental consultancy partnership is  the Supreme Winners of this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards

Keri Johnston and Haidee McCabe, principals of Irricon Resource Solutions, have gone from strength to strength since they established their joint consultancy in 2010. They now employ nine staff located from Motonau in North Canterbury to Duntroon in North Otago, with expertise ranging from ecology to engineering, and planning to field technicians.

A key feature of their business is Johnston and McCabe’s philosophy of fitting work around family and farming life, wherever that might be.

Keri Johnston, a natural resources engineer, says, “Where we are today was born out of a desire to have professional careers, but on our terms – working from home, around children and farming.” Keri and her husband farm just out of Geraldine in South Canterbury.

Haidee McCabe, an environmental consultant from Albury, explains. “Five of our consultants are women who would not be working professionally if they didn’t work for Irricon. Working from home means the best of all worlds for these women, and it allows them the opportunity to work, but be wives, mums and farm workers as well.

“Unless we’re in a hearing, we’re not a “suit and tie” type of business – our jeans and gumboots are well worn! Our clients really appreciate having someone turn up who knows farming. We can talk to them in their language about the issues.

“Because of the expertise we have, we can handle almost any job from start to finish – design, consenting, implementation and compliance. We have over 500 clients, and this number is still growing.”

The business focuses on improving or maintaining the sustainability of natural resources, such as land, water and waste, and is also involved in irrigation and catchment management.

Irricon Resource Solutions also won the Help! I Need Somebody category, sponsored by Access Homehealth Ltd.
Other category winners in this year’s Enterprising Rural Women Awards are Renee De Luca of Putaka Honey based out of Blenheim. Renee won the Love of the Land category, sponsored by Agrisea.

The Making it in Rural section sponsored by Spark was hotly contested, with the main award going to Nicola Wright of Wrights Winery and Vineyard in Gisborne, and a special merit award to Dot Kettle and Georgia Richards of Dove River Peonies from Wakefield, near Nelson.

The winner of the Stay, Play Rural Award, sponsored by Xero, was Bobbie Mulgrew of Easyhike, a car relocation service based at Glenorchy, servicing hikers of the Routeburn and Milford tracks.

In congratulating all the winners, Rural Women New Zealand national president, Wendy McGowan said, “Through the Enterprising Rural Women Awards we are keen to raise awareness of women’s entrepreneurship and their input into rural communities. Women are not always good at promoting themselves, but we want to raise their profiles and give them credit for the huge amount of effort involved.”

These awards are well deserved recognition for the winners.

In highlighting enterprising rural women and their businesses they also show the opportunities that can be grasped outside city boundaries.

 

 


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