Rural round-up

October 21, 2018

Purpose, strategy before structure – Pam Tipa:

Zespri chairman Peter McBride says he has highly transferable and unique skills and experience to bring to the Fonterra board table.

He is stepping down from his governance career with Zespri in the new year. Also chief executive of dairying and kiwifruit operation Trinity Lands, McBride says there are concerns about some Fonterra decisions and direction.

“We can either throw rocks at Fonterra or we can try to make a positive contribution.” . . 

Farm rescuer protects nature – Hugh Stringleman:

 Kaipara Mayor Dr Jason Smith wants to bring kiwi back to 47ha of regenerating native bush on Greenhill (Rehia) overlooking Ruawai in Northland. He owns the 430ha farm Greenhill in which the reserve is the centre and embodies a blend of history, family, farming and community service that impressed Hugh Stringleman.

Fifth-generation Kaipara sheep, beef and cropping farmer Jason Smith has brought his family’s farms back into profitable, sustainable production in just six years.

From a worse-than-standing-start he had to contend with some boundary fences that weren’t stock-proof, large paddocks up to 30ha, a huge area of old-man gorse, no recent fertiliser history, completely inadequate livestock handling facilities and a theoretical carrying capacity of 2500 stock units. . .

Urban consumers – do they want anything to eat or not? – Gray Baldwin:

You’ve got to feel sorry for the townies – locked up in postage stamp sized sections in suburbia. The neighbours to the south have loud parties, the northern neighbours have a Pit-Bull cross with a bad habit of biting you in the backside whenever you walk past the gate. The kids over the back fence keep kicking their rugby ball into your windows. In such environments, you yearn for the wide open spaces, for some room to flap your wings, for some farm life like you remember on Grandad’s farm.

But Grandad sold the farm back during the tough years in the eighties. No-one in the family wanted to carry on the daily chores of milking the cows, dagging the ewes and digging four foot deep post holes. Everyone went to town, there’s food enough in the supermarket right? Well yes there is food in the supermarket but because of the disgraceful behaviour of a few farmers and some media mischief making, townies don’t buy the argument from the supermarkets that the instore food is clean, sustainable and good for you. Instead some myths about farmers have developed in the minds of townies. Lets examine some of those myths: . . 

Noodles, milk and ale win awards – Richard Rennie:

Vegetable noodles from Marton, deer milk from Southland and a sour ale from Matakana captured the podium positions at this year’s Massey Food Awards.

The eclectic food basket of category winners was topped by a range of vegetable noodles from Marton business the Whole Mix Company, a subsidiary of Spiers Foods, claiming the Massey University Supreme Award at this year’s competition. . .

Historic Hawke’s Bay: Where the A&P show began – Michael Fowler:

The first Hawke’s Bay A&P show was held in 1863 in a paddock in Havelock North. An agricultural and pastoral society and its annual show was recognised as being important to Hawke’s Bay by the early pioneers as they knew the future wealth of the province would be generated by agriculture and horticulture.

By the 1920s, the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society’s annual show had been based at the Hastings Racecourse for more than 40 years. . .

Explaining agriculture to consumers using emotion not science – Eric Sfiligoj:

According to book author Michele Payn, Principal at Cause Matters Corp., the U.S. agricultural industry has a serious negative perception problem with the general public. “The anti-agricultural community has a very loud voice, especially on social media,” said Payn, speaking at the 2017 Mid America CropLife Association meeting in Kansas City, MO. “I don’t understand for the life of me why agricultural companies don’t do a better job at fighting back against this.”

And while Payn acknowledged that some agricultural entities have tried to refute anti-agricultural sentiment, many others have remained relatively quiet on the subject. “And when you sit in silence, we all lose,” she said.

Part of the challenge in reaching the general public is the fact that less than 2% of the U.S. population knows anything whatsoever about agriculture and how it operates. “Most consumers have never shaken hands with a farmer,” said Payn. “But based upon what they might know, they probably trust farmers. They don’t trust farming, however.” . . 


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