Rural round-up

17/01/2023

Growers warn of price spike after Cyclone Hale – Kate Green :

The price of fruit and vegetables could be set to spike because of the damage done to crops by Cyclone Hale.

Severe weather has been affecting Northland, Bay of Plenty, Coromandel, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa since Monday, as the cyclone reached New Zealand.

Farmers were advised by Civil Defence to move stock to shelter and higher ground, but crop farmers had fewer options.

Federated Farmers president for Gisborne and Wairoa, Toby Williams, said heavy rain could damage fruit trees, grapes and maize. . . 

Smart eco-solution to reduce phosphorus in waterways – Karen Kawawada:

Wastewater, whether urban or from farms, may not look or smell good. But to University of Auckland researchers, it can be the source of agricultural gold.

Engineers at the University of Auckland are designing way to clean phosphorus from waste water and turn it into fertiliser – a process with both environmental and financial benefits

Wastewater, whether urban or from farms, may not look or smell good. But to University of Auckland researchers, it can be the source of agricultural gold – well, a whitish-goldish mineral called struvite, anyway.

Phosphorus-rich struvite not only makes a great slow-release fertiliser, recovering it from wastewater helps clean up our waterways. . . 

HWEN legislation ‘unlikely before poll’ – Neal Wallace:

Speculation is mounting that the government will run out of time to pass the He Waka Eke Noa legislation before this year’s general election.

But interested parties disagree on whether any delay on HWEN laws would simply be a timing issue or if it could allow changes to the legislation.

Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard said  the organisation’s own analysis and well-placed sources have told him the government will not have time to pass the empowering legislation before the election.

He said legislation still has to be drafted and with Parliament not resuming sitting until February 14, it will be March or April before any documents are ready to be put before Parliament. . . 

 

Rush of farm applications beat deadline – David Williams :

Conservation group fears a flood of applications is “a rush to develop the high country”. David Williams reports

Farmers on Crown pastoral leases flooded authorities with development applications just days before tighter protections kicked in.

The leases cover about 1.2 million hectares, or 5 percent of the country, spanning the South Island’s high country. Lessees have grazing rights and other activities need approval from the Commissioner of Crown Lands, an independent officer employed by the Crown’s land manager, Land Information New Zealand.

LINZ confirms it received 218 applications in November – more than the previous six months combined. . . 

Robots boost animal disease testing :

Could robotics be the secret to faster and improved animal disease testing?

It’s certainly a possibility, say Biosecurity New Zealand, who recently invested in a new antibody testing robot for the National Animal Health Laboratory.

The $580,000 high throughput diagnostic robot is the first of its kind in New Zealand and it is said will increase testing accuracy and consistency during future biosecurity responses.

“The Mycoplasma bovis outbreak gave us useful insights into how our laboratory could increase its capacity during a response. In particular, it highlighted the need for automation,” says Animal Health Laboratory manager Joseph O’Keefe. . . 

Government to pay more to farmers who protect and enhance the environment :

Farmers will receive increased payments for protecting and enhancing nature and delivering sustainable food production under the Government’s Environmental Land Management schemes, Defra has announced today (Thursday 5 January 2023).

Speaking at the Oxford Farming Conference, Farming Minister Mark Spencer announced more money for farmers and landowners through both the Countryside Stewardship and the Sustainable Farming Incentive schemes, which will provide more support to the industry and drive uptake at a time of rising costs for farmers as a result of global challenges. He also confirmed an expanded range of actions under the schemes, which farmers could be paid for, would be published soon.

The changes mean farmers could receive up to a further £1,000 per year for taking nature-friendly action through the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). This new Management Payment will be made for the first 50 hectares of farm (£20/ha) in an SFI agreement, to cover the administrative costs of participation and to attract smaller businesses – many of whom are tenant farmers – who are currently under-represented in the scheme. SFI is already paying farmers to improve soil and moorlands, and an expanded set of standards for 2023 will be published shortly.

In addition, farmers with a Countryside Stewardship (CS) agreement, of which there are now 30,000 across England, will see an average increase of 10% to their revenue payment rates – covering ongoing activity such as habitat management. Defra is also updating capital payment rates, which cover one-off projects such as hedgerow creation, with an average increase of 48%. . . .

 


Rural round-up

23/12/2022

Te Kuiti man smashes new world lamb shearing record –  Jessica Dermody :

On Tuesday, Taihape teen Reuben Alabaster broke Irish shearer Ivan Scott’s record of 744 lambs set at Opepe (near Taupō) in 2012. He did so in the dying minutes, setting a new record with a total of 746.

But just two days later, Te Kuiti’s Jack Fagan etched his own name in the record books, shearing 754.

A record that’s been held for a decade, has now been broken twice in one week.

Starting at 7am on Thursday at Puketiti Station near Pio Pio, Fagan made Alabaster’s hold on the record a short one. . .

Govt emissions will lead to production loss and leakage – DCANZ – Peter Burke :

The Dairy Companies Association of NZ (DCANZ) says it’s disappointed at the Government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa partnership proposal.

Executive director Kimberly Crewther says the Government’s proposal is fundamentally different to what He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) put forward. She says DCANZ has raised concerns about how the changes made are pushing a system that achieves a reduction by cutting dairy production.

“In our view, [the proposal] holds a very strong risk of emission leakage, being counterproductive to the global emissions reduction outcomes that we are trying to contribute to,” she told Rural News.

Crewther says the agricultural sector had worked hard to come to a consensus, which took into account a broad range of considerations. This included taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in NZ and managing the risk of undue economic impact on rural communities – especially if that involves cuts to production in NZ. . .

The signs look ominous – Sudesh Kissun:

Prices fetched by New Zealand’s primary produce are facing clear downward pressure as economic conditions deteriorate offshore.

BNZ senior economist Doug Steel says the signs are looking more ominous.

However, he believes strong balance sheets, thanks to several years of strong commodity prices, should help farmers navigate a looming recession.

Steel points out that over the past six months global dairy prices have dropped 19%. . .

Hunting, shooting, fishing – and Covid – Neal Wallace :

Diversification has taken on a whole new meaning for Richard and Sarah Burdon of Glen Dene Station at Lake Hawea in Central Otago.

An initial investment in a guided hunting and fishing business was designed to assist with farm succession, but when the adjacent Lake Hawea Camping Ground came up for sale in 2009, they saw it as another vehicle for greater control over their affairs.

Income from those off-farm investments disappeared with the arrival of covid in 2020, and they had to look again at what diversification meant to them. It came to describe diversity of thought and the strategy and planning needed to ensure their businesses survived.

“We lost all our income from the camping ground and hunting and it took an enormous amount of working through contracts and realigning our business,” said  Richard. . .

End of an era for the Mt Ida musters – Neal Wallace :

For 125 years, access to summer grazing on Central Otago’s Hawkdun Range has been a relief valve for a group of Maniototo farmers.

That all comes to an end in 2025 when stock are excluded from the land, now part of the Oteake Conservation Park.

The syndicate’s origins lie in a horrendous snowstorm in the 1890s and the ensuing stock losses  that drove the runholders of the Eweburn and Hawkdun stations off their properties. 

“When they mustered the sunny country on the Eweburn, they didn’t have enough sheep to pay the wages, so they walked off,” said syndicate shareholder and secretary Grant Geddes. . . 

Eminent vet Lord Trees backs gene editing for healthy livestock :

Given my interests as a veterinarian, indeed the only vet in the House of Lords, my contribution to the second reading debate of the Genetic Technology (Precision Breeding) Bill focused on its potential implications for animals, particularly in terms of disease resistance, the environment and animal welfare.

These are overlapping issues for which, in my opinion, there is huge potential for positive effects with the adoption of new breeding technologies such as gene editing.

I share passionately the concerns raised during the debate by a number of peers about the need to safeguard animal welfare and to prevent animal abuse and suffering. Importantly, however, these concerns are not unique to this Bill.

Legislation already exists to cover laboratory, breeding and on-farm welfare issues, which would apply to precision-bred animals, as I will discuss. . . 

 


“Vague improvements” not enough

22/12/2022

Business confidence has hit a record low:

New Zealanders’ confidence in our economy has hit a record low, with Kiwis across the country feeling the crush of mounting pressures on their household budgets, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence survey released this morning fell in December to the lowest recorded since the survey began. Earlier this week the Westpac McDermott Miller Consumer Confidence survey also recorded its lowest ever level of confidence.

“The increasing costs of food, household bills and mortgages are all contributing to a bleak outlook for the coming year,” Ms Willis says.

“This year’s Christmas will be tough for many families. Kiwis across the country are looking at these rising costs and wondering how they are going to make them all add up.

“The surveys this week from ANZ and Westpac show how consistent this feeling of economic malaise is, with confidence tumbling across the board and the Government failing to show any light at the end of the tunnel.

“Instead of presenting a plan to reduce inflation and strengthen the economy, Labour Ministers have been distracted by pet projects such as Three Waters reform, the TVNZ-RNZ merger and hate speech laws.

“The Reserve Bank has instead been left to do the economic clean up job after the massive money-printing of recent years – cranking interest rates faster than ever before, meaning already struggling Kiwis will next year have much higher debt costs to contend with.

“National would rein in wasteful spending that’s adding fuel to the inflation fire, stop adding new costs and taxes, refocus the Reserve Bank on price stability, address worker shortages and let Kiwis keep more of what they earn.”

David Farrar points out the government has achieved a perfect score :

The latest ANZ  Confidence survey is out.

 confidence has fallen to an all time low of -70.2

But if you think that is bad enough, look at the breakdown by industry:

    • Services -64.0
    • Retail -68.6
    • Manufacturing -74.5
    • Construction -75.7
    • Agriculture -100.0

Yep Labour has managed to get it so that not a single farm or agricultural company in the entire country is optimistic over the next 12 months for the economy – a perfect 0, never before managed.

If farming farming confidence isn’t bad enough already, the government has tinkered with its plan to tax farm animal emissions but its not gone far enough for Federated Farmers :

Today the Government announced changes to their October plan to price agricultural emissions, but the vague improvements are simply not enough and Feds remain opposed.

While this Government remains focused on the primary purpose of using the price of methane as a ‘stick’ to achieve reduction targets, and without any commitment by the government to base those targets on what is the actual scientifically required reduction in methane from agriculture by 2050 for it to be warming neutral and causing no additional warming (the goal set for all other greenhouse gas emissions) , Feds remains opposed to pricing agricultural emissions.

Feds has only just received a copy of the government’s final report and is still considering the detail, or what seems to be a lack of detail.

“The response is so high level, we may not be able to clearly understand the detail until we actually see it when introduced as legislation next year,” Federated Farmers national president and climate change spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says.

He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) was a finely balanced plan that had buy-in across the agri-business sector. That didn’t mean all farmers agreed with it but had the government accepted it, we’d have had no option.

Instead they tinkered with it which united farmers against it.

They’ve walked back on the original tinkering but what was announced yesterday is too light on detail for anyone to know the costs and implications.

At a high level some of the changes seem to be improvements and it appears to have somewhat moved back closer to the original He Waka Eke Noa proposal from industry in May. But large concerns and unrealistic timelines remain in place.

“Feds stick by the position we took in our submission, that without a review of the methane targets based on what is required for warming neutrality and for methane to contribute no additional warming, we will not be giving our support to any pricing mechanism. Considering what is at stake, vague promises of an obscure future review with unknown terms of reference are simply not good enough.

“As our past president Katie Milne saw first hand when involved with the Agricultural discussions at COP27 on behalf of the World Farmers Organisation last month, the whole world is watching on, aghast at what New Zealand is doing, in a midst of a global food crisis, seemingly aloof to the potential impacts.

“Everyone else is talking about food security, and working with farmers to develop practical on-farm solutions. Only New Zealand is taking the punitive step of taxing efficient, unsubsidised food production, even if it comes at huge costs.”

There’s a global food shortage to which New Zealand isn’t immune.

Compounding that here, inflation and other cost pressures on production and processing have made meat and dairy products unaffordable for far too many people.

The tax will increase costs and reduce production making that worse and it won’t do anything for the environment when other less efficient producers in other coutnries increase their production to fill the gaps less New Zealand produce leaves in the market.

“At present, New Zealand’s 2050 target is based on cherry-picking data from a 2018 international report that explicitly warns against using this data to inform domestic policy. This clear warning was later reiterated by a lead author of the report, when he was in New Zealand in 2019. Frustratingly, despite these warnings, the New Zealand Government continues to justify the current unscientific targets by misusing this 2018 report.

“We need targets based on the NZ context, so farmers know what we really need to do to play our fair part in the global sense. This does not exclude us going beyond those targets if that is what customers want, or technologies come about that enable us to do more, and we should be open to that, but this shouldn’t be via regulation it should be through markets signals, or so that farmers are rewarded for going above and beyond, these regulations offer no carrots only a lighter stick for going over and above.”

A combination of the best science and market signals will achieve far more than a tax, and do it without the economic, environmental and social carnage the government’s plan will cause.


Rural round-up

16/12/2022

Labour’s emissions pricing plan has turned into a self-inflicted wound – Craig Hickman :

No matter whether you are for He Waka Eke Noa, the proposed method for calculating how agriculture will pay for their greenhouse gas emissions, or vehemently against it, I think everyone can agree on one thing: the plan was a stroke of political genius from the Labour Government.

In October 2019, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced that the Government would enter a five-year partnership with primary sector organisations and Māori. Their job would be to develop a system that would incentivise farmers to measure, manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The formation of this partnership, He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), was almost universally celebrated by the farming sector while being roundly mocked by environmentalists for the same reason; it allows farmers to remain outside the emissions trading scheme (ETS) for five years while the proposal was developed, and possibly indefinitely if the partnership was successful.

This was the first clever part of the Government’s strategy, placing responsibility for devising a way to charge farmers for emissions at the feet of farmers themselves. If the partnership failed to deliver then agriculture would simply be rolled into the ETS, and the blame would lie squarely on farmers’ shoulders for not having seized the opportunity they were so generously given. . .

Investor wants tech farmers not tax – Sally Rae:

New Zealand-American businessman Tom Sturgess said he placed full-page advertisements in newspapers this week to “stimulate a debate” around livestock emissions.

Under the headline “Let’s do right by farmers, and our planet”, the advertisement said he was worried an opportunity was being missed to “truly do something about methane” and that the primary sector would be hurt in the process.

Mr Sturgess, the founder of New Zealand’s Lone Star Farms, is an American-born businessman who served with the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam before gaining a master’s degree in business administration at Harvard.

He later embarked on a highly successful corporate career in private equity firms, food service, aluminium manufacturing, housing and office products. . .

Retailers increase their margins on soaring food prices – Jonathan Milne:

From fertiliser to grow the grass on our dairy farms, through to supermarkets’ profit margins, we investigate the different costs contributing to the $1 rise in a simple two-litre bottle of milk

Add Covid to the “costs” column of Richard McIntyre’s ledger. The Horowhenua dairy farmer would often be up early milking, but this morning his workers are doing it all, while he tries to recover from a dose of the coronavirus.

McIntyre’s costs column is a lengthy one. The cost of urea fertiliser has doubled to $1370 a tonne this year – and for a 200ha farm like McIntyre’s, that’s $80,000. Farmers are paying more for diesel. They’re paying more on environmental costs like riparian planting and effuent systems.

They’ve been able to pay those costs, because the farmgate price they’re paid by Fonterra and other dairy companies has also increased this year. But the AgFirst dairy financial survey shows that farmers need a price of $8.48 per kg of milk solids to cover their farm working expenses, debt servicing, drawings, depreciation and taxes. . .

United Fresh market report 2022 finding value in the freshest Kiwi produce :

As we near the end of a rollercoaster year of recovery from the global pandemic, New Zealand’s fresh fruit and vegetable growers will be taking a deep breath before they leap into 2023.

United Fresh President, Jerry Prendergast, says the challenges faced by those in our $6 billion horticulture industry this year have been significant.

“Despite the overwhelming media around COVID-19, the weather has actually been the largest cause of disruption to growers throughout the year. A particularly wet autumn left many around the country struggling to maintain a steady supply through the winter months.,” he says.

“Unusually for Aotearoa, the weather bombs that disrupted early plantings hit in virtually every region, rather than just in isolated areas, so the impact was felt nationwide. Further damaging spring frosts in early October gave the blueberry crop a real knock and caused significant damage to both kiwifruit vines and apricot trees,” says Prendergast. . .

Rejecting ag technology can be costly – By Stuart Smyth & Robert Paarlberg:

Over the past 25 years, many governments have faced the decision of whether to approve agricultural biotechnologies and their resulting products, genetically modified crops.

Governments that decided to approve GM crops have benefited from higher yields and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The evidence of lower agricultural productivity for countries that opted to not adopt GM crops becomes glaringly apparent when comparing agricultural production in the European Union with that of the United States.

As we know, the U.S. has approved GM crops, whereas the EU decision found the costs of adoption to be greater than the benefits.

Between 1995 and 2019, the agricultural production index for the 27 countries of the EU increased by only seven percent, while agricultural production in the U.S. increased by 38 percent. Further evidence of the cost of the EU’s failure to adopt GM crops as consistently as in the U.S. found that EU agricultural greenhouse gas emissions are 33 million tonnes higher than if they had adopted GM crops, equalling 7.5 percent of total EU agricultural GHG emissions. . . 


Rural round-up

07/12/2022

Sham marriage! – Peter Burke :

There is widespread anger and disbelief among farming leaders over the actions of MPI and MfE within the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) partnership.

Both ministries were touted by the Government as being ‘partners’ along with iwi and a number of farming organisations in HWEN, which had been involved in working on a joint counter proposal to put to government to deal with agricultural emissions and avoid them going into the ETS.

However, Rural News has discovered that with about a month before HWEN’s proposal was due to go to the Government in May, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) suddenly announced that they would not be signing it because they were “conflicted”.

This last minute walkout by the two ministries came as a complete surprise to the other members of the partnership who say they were led to believe the two ministries were ‘genuine partners’ like themselves. However, it seems they weren’t. Rural News has been told the other HWEN partners felt they had been misled. . . 

Exporters take a double blow as prices fall and currency rises – Point of Order :

NZ  exports have been  hit by falling world prices and a rising NZ dollar. It’s a sharp reversal from earlier in the year when ANZ Bank  was reporting its  commodity price index  had returned to its record breaking run  and stood  nearly  20%  above the level  where it had been  12 months previously.

The price index has fallen 3.9% in November on the previous month to be 11.5%  lower on the same month a year earlier.

The  pain is all the more severe, since overseas markets  are suffering  from inflation and one might have expected  returns to be higher.

 ANZ Agricultural economist Susan Kilsby said exporters suffered a “double whammy” because the NZ dollar had risen in value knocking export returns by 9.1% for the month, with returns at their lowest level since January 2021. . . 

Three year cashmere scheme launches – Sally Rae:

New Zealand Cashmere is hoping goats will float the boats of the country’s farmers.

A three-year programme aimed at “restarting” the cashmere industry has been launched, led by New Zealand Cashmere and backed by the Government via a $900,000 contribution over that period through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund.

Textile manufacturer Woolyarns has commissioned a multimillion-dollar cashmere processing facility at its Lower Hutt operations to meet customer demand.

The programme is led by Woolyarns general manager and New Zealand Cashmere director Andy May, who said it was focused on assisting farmers with advice and support structures to restart the industry and sustainably farm cashmere-producing goats within their existing farming systems. . . 

ED nurse shortage hits provincial areas :

Emergency department’s will continue to be under immense pressure this summer as the health workforce shortage remains, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“Every day, our emergency department staff go to work to provide critical services to New Zealanders, knowing that they will be understaffed and over worked.

“Data revealed to National show that as of 2 November 2022, there are over 230 emergency department nurse vacancies across the country, with our provincial areas being hit the hardest.

“Northland is currently 42 per cent short of the 66 emergency department nurses it is meant to have. . . 

Why diversification from exporting to China must be a deliberate choice – Gareth Kiernan:

There is a deliberate focus needed to diversify away from China.

Since New Zealand’s free-trade agreement with China came into force in late 2008, the share of our exports heading to China has increased from 5% to as high as 32% last year.

This well-documented trend clearly reflects the economic benefits to New Zealand of being hooked into the fast-growing Chinese market.

But the increasing concentration on a single market has also raised questions of New Zealand’s over-reliance on selling into a country where human rights and foreign policy tensions could easily lead to a breakdown in diplomatic relations. . . 

Tony Bouskill takes out fencing top title at Fieldays :

The winners of the annual New Zealand Fencing Competition (NZFC) held annually at Fieldays has been announced after a fierce battle between competitors from across the country.

Reigning champion Tony Bouskill was announced as this years winner of the coveted Golden Pliers by WIREMARK Singles Championship trophy for the fourth year running, while Sander Visser worked hard to take out the top spot in the Bill Schuler competition, named after legendary Waikato-born fencer Bill Schuler who passed away in 2018.

Tony was the one to beat this year as he and his father Shane Bouskill took out the Fieldays Silver Spades Doubles Championship, showing great teamwork and dedication to the job at hand. This not the first time the duo has won the Fieldays Silver Spades Doubles Championship, having competed and won the same championship and award in 2017, 2019 and 2021. . . 


Rural round-up

02/12/2022

Who scuttled HWEN? – Rural News :

Around the traps, rumours are flying as to who scuttled the so-called joint agri sector response to dealing with agricultural emissions.

Two government departments, Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Ministry for Environment (MfE), were both part of the partnership which came up with an agreed solution and put this to the politicians and officials. The farming industry groups trusted the departments and, when they put in their proposal, they had every reason to believe that the deal had effectively been done.

Not so. It seems that a whole new lot of officials, or maybe the same ones as well, and then the politicians started to get their grubby little hands on two years of hard work and negotiation and put their spin on the proposal.

Do such people know much about agriculture? For example, do they believe they’ll find a cryptorchid in a glasshouse? Who knows, but the honest brokers of HWEN must be wondering about the credentials of the people or political motives behind the Government response. . . .

Netherlands to close 3000 farms to comply with EU climate rules –  Paul Homewood :

The Dutch government plans to buy and close down up to 3,000 farms near environmentally sensitive areas to comply with EU nature preservation rules.

The Netherlands is attempting to cut down its nitrogen pollution and will push ahead with compulsory purchases if not enough farms take up the offer voluntarily.

Farmers will be offered a deal “well over” the worth of the farm, according to the government plan that is targeting the closure of 2,000 to 3,000 farms or other major polluting businesses.

Earlier leaked versions of the plan put the figure at 120 per cent of the farm’s value but that figure has not yet been confirmed by ministers. . . 

Moving forward with methane levies – Keith Woodford :

Split-gas breaks the link to charging methane emissions based on contentious carbon dioxide equivalence. It opens the door to a levy based on research, development, extension and education (RDE&E) needs rather than simply a tax

In my last article I asked whether, in seeking a way out of the current policy mess relating to agricultural greenhouse gases, we might agree on two overarching principles.  

The first principle is that pastoral agriculture must remain vibrant and prosperous. This is essential, not because farmers have any right to a protected future, but because New Zealand’s export-led economy is highly dependent on pastoral exports.

Pastoral exports comprise approximately 50% of merchandise exports, with primary industries in total comprising approximately 80% of merchandise exports. It is in the interest of all New Zealanders that pastoral agriculture thrives. . . 

Tough spring and production decline more than likely – Gerald Piddock :

The so-called spring flush is appearing more like a trickle across some North Island farms as the wet spring weather continues to affect pasture growth.

It’s reflected in production numbers, with Fonterra’s NI milk collection down 6.3% for September and 5.9% for the season to date.

Anecdotally, some farms are definitely down in production in both single- and double-digit numbers. It’s also starting to flow through in mating with submission rates back on last year because the tough autumn and winter have meant farmers have simply not been able to put on the right amount of condition on their herd.

The GDT has fared no better, lumbering on in October with three consecutive falls before surprising everybody by lifting 2.4% on November 15. NZX in its analyst opinion cautioned that is potentially a technical bounce before prices keep easing. . . 

17,000 flock to National Fieldays on a wet opening day – Sudesh Kissun :

A wet start to the 2022 National Fieldays saw a smaller crowd, compared to previous events pass through the gates on the opening day.

A statement from National Fieldays says nearly 17000 people attended day one of the four-day event.

“We’ve had just under 17,000 visitors through the gate, which is a bit softer than previous years, but not unexpected due to the weather across the North Island,” says Fieldays chief executive Peter Nation.

With the weather set to improve for the remainder of the event, organisers are looking forward to three more days of agricultural trade, entertainment and innovations. . .

Crop production in Brazil outpaces storage capacity – Joana Colussi, Gary Schnitkey, and Nick Paulson:

While Brazil hits successive records in grain production, Brazilian farmers face an old problem: a deficit in grain storage. The Brazilian government projects national grain output will be 313 million tons of soybeans, corn, cotton, rice, and wheat in the 2022/2023 crop season – which would be a new record. That would be 15% higher than last season, when Brazilian farmers harvested an all-time high of 271 million tons of grain (see farmdoc daily, August 29, 2022). If projections for a record Brazilian harvest occur, the storage deficit could reach more than 100 million tons in Brazil. Storage capacity growth since 2010 has not been proportional to increases in crop production in the same period. In this article, we review changes in Brazil’s grain storage capacity over time, including off-farm and on-farm capacity.

Between 1982 and 2000, Brazilian grain storage capacity was higher than grain production, according to data from the National Register System of Storage Units of the National Supply Company (Conab), the country’s food supply and statistics agency. Grain storage capacity is the total quantity of grain that can be stored at one time in physical structures such as warehouses or silos. In 2001 there was a reversal: production exceeded this capacity.

From 2010 to 2022, total grain storage capacity in Brazil increased 35%. At the same time, total grain production increased 82%. In the last crop season, when Brazilian farmers harvested an all-time high of 271 million tons of grain, the total grain storage capacity was 183 million tons, resulting in a storage deficit of almost 90 million tons. If a new record is established in the 2022-2023 season, the storage deficit could reach more than 100 million tons (see Figure 1). . . 

 


Rural round-up

30/11/2022

New Zealand’s meat processors and exporters call for change to emissions pricing proposal :

New Zealand’s red meat processing and exporting sector is urging the Government to make changes to its agricultural emissions pricing proposal.

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) rejects the Government’s proposed interim processor-level levy, wants changes to the emissions price-setting process, proper recognition for genuine sequestration happening on New Zealand’s sheep and beef farms, and levy relief for those farmers disproportionately impacted by emissions pricing.

“The red meat sector has a role to play in addressing climate change and we support an approach to pricing that would reduce emissions but not at the expense of massive production losses and hurting rural communities,” says Nathan Guy, chairman of MIA.

“The He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership’s recommended proposal was carefully calibrated to ensure that disproportionate impacts were minimised across sectors, particularly for the sheep and beef industry. . . 

Thinking gets even woollier – Sally Rae:

Amanda Dorset has gone fully woolly.

And that should come as music to the ears of strong wool growers, as the Wanaka businesswoman — co-founder of Wilson and Dorset with her husband, Ben Wilson — is a passionate advocate for the fibre.

For 16 years, the couple have made sheepskin furnishings, having spied an opportunity to do something “cool” with New Zealand sheepskins.

Having been looking to buy a sheepskin, she found it hard to find a suitable one. “Some fleeces may as well have been synthetic, they were so over-processed,” she recalled. . . 

What reception will PM Jacinda Ardern and Labour get at Fieldays – Jamie Mackay :

If tractor sales are the barometer of success for Fieldays exhibitors this week, then adoring throngs gathered are the equivalent for politicians.

I’ve been a regular attendee at Fieldays since the mid-90s, meaning I’ve seen Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark, John Key, Bill English and Jacinda Ardern come and go. And it would be fair to say that only two of those prime ministers, past and present, have enjoyed rock star status at Mystery Creek.

I fondly (sort of, if you excuse the fog diversion from Hamilton airport), remember picking up a fellow stranded traveller for the drive down to the ‘Tron from Auckland. It must have been about 2012 or 2013, because David Shearer was the then leader of the Labour Party.

Like me, and any number of other passengers who were diverted to Auckland, he needed to make his way to Fieldays. We had a rental car. He was (in true egalitarian Labour fashion) going to take a bus. We had a spare seat. I insisted he hitch a ride. He obliged and we thoroughly enjoyed his company, even stopping to broadcast our midday radio show on the side of the road somewhere near Huntly. . . 

A kick in the guts for rural nurses – rural general practice nurses once again overlooked by the Minister :

Today Minister Little announced action planned by the Government to provide pay parity for health workers. In his statement he made two conflicting statements:

“The Government is committed to ensuring health workers are paid fairly and receive parity with others doing the same or similar work, especially given the current cost of living pressures workers and their families are under”,

and then in the next breath,

“However, I have to be clear that this package will not mean significant change immediately for those working in GP practices.” . . 

The deer dairy diaries – Tony Benny :

When deer scientist Geoff Asher and colleague Jason Archer suggested collecting milk samples from milk hinds for a research project at AgResearch’s campus at Invermay near Dunedin, some were sceptical but they found a way to make it work. Now, decades later, deer milk (tia miraka) is not only harvested routinely, it’s a key component of high-value cosmetics.

“We got a lot of commentary thrown at us, ‘I hope you get a new set of teeth soon because you will get your current ones kicked out!’, and various things like that,” Asher says.

“It was kind of considered in the very, very hard basket but we were not been daunted by that. Sometimes you just need determination and a touch of stupidity.” 

Invermay recently celebrated 50 years of deer farming science by AgResearch and its predecessors, always in partnership with the deer industry and farmers. The research on lactation was typical of their studies, which included major advances in understanding deer nutrition, health, behaviour and genetics and the development of products such as venison, velvet and milk that are exported around the world. . . 

New Zealand dairy industry pioneer’s original farm place on the open market for the first time :

A prime cattle grazing block once owned by a former New Zealand dairy industry leader and one of the Hauraki Plains’ earliest farming founders has been placed on the market for sale.

One of the titles in this 81.6-hectare block at Kopuarahi was owned by former dairy industry leader Sir William Hale who not only represented New Zealand’s farming sector on the world stage for its meat and diary products, but also ensured the industry was in a healthy state domestically.

Born in Thames in 1883, William Hale left school at an early age, and took up farming work at Puriri, before he drew a property allocation at Kopuarahi in the first land ballot in 1910. William Hale lived on the same farm until his death in 1968, being the only person of the first ballot to be still living on his property at the time of his death.

William Hale’s long associations with Hauraki Plains local body affairs commenced in 1914 and he served for 18-years as a member of the Thames Hospital Board, 13 of these being chairman. In 1916 he became a director of the Thames Valley Co-operative Dairy Company. . . 


Rural round-up

28/11/2022

HWEN wants govt review of methane targets – Neal Wallace:

The primary sector has asked the government to review its methane targets and the method by which it sets those targets before it starts pricing agricultural greenhouse gases.

In its submission in response to government proposals on pricing emissions, the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) partnership is asking for the Climate Change Commission to take another look at the 2050 emission reduction targets to reset methane levels using the GWP* calculation.

HWEN chair Sarah Paterson said this reflects feedback from farmers and growers during consultation on the government’s proposals.

HWEN chief executive Kelly Forster said it “really is a call to ensure the [commission’s] review takes into account the latest science”. . . 

Setting a standard: How our beef and lamb footprint measures up against the world avatar – Liam Rātana :

New research has found that the carbon footprint of Aotearoa-produced beef and lamb is among the lowest in the world. We took a deeper look at what the report says, and why it matters.

So what is this research?

Commissioned by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association, and conducted by AgResearch, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study looked at on-farm emissions – which allowed for direct comparisons with other countries – but also went further, looking at the full “cradle to grave” footprint (ie including on-farm, processing and post-processing emissions). The report’s findings showed that despite the additional emissions involved with exporting product, our total footprint was still lower than the majority of countries – even those who had domestically produced meat.

While the report acknowledges that differences in methodologies make it difficult to accurately compare countries’ footprints across the entire process, particularly notable is the difference in the liveweight footprint of our stock. This metric, used to measure emissions before an animal is processed, shows that New Zealand’s average carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) per kilogram of sheep meat is less than half the international average, and about 30% lower than the international average for beef. . .

Immigration red tape frustrates short-staffed farmers  – Robin Martin :

A Northland farmer fears immigration red tape will see an experienced German dairy hand walk away from a job vacancy that she desperately needs to fill.

Katrina Pearson said applying for a work visa under the Accredited Employer Scheme had been a bureaucratic nightmare.

She runs a 250-hectare dairy farm west of Whangārei, milking nearly 500 cows.

Pearson needs two full-time staff, but she is struggling to recruit. . . 

Father and son named national ambassadors :

Ashburton father and son, Phillip and Paul Everest have been named as the new National Ambassadors for Sustainable Farming and Growing and the recipients of the Gordon Stephenson Trophy.

The announcement was made earlier this week at the National Sustainability Showcase at Te Pae in Christchurch.

The event was attended by all the regional supreme winners from the 2022 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA). The BFEA is an annual celebration and promotion of sustainable farming and growing practices hosted by the New Zealand Environment Farm Trust (NZEFT) where regional supreme winners come together to share ideas and information.

The Everest family run Flemington Farm in Ashburton where they’ve expanded the255ha property into a sustainable dairy and beef farm. They were named the 2022 Regional Supreme winners in the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment awards in July this year. . .

Fonterra confirms timeline for Capital Structure implementation :

Fonterra can today confirm that its new Flexible Shareholding capital structure is set to be implemented in late March 2023, subject to the Board being satisfied that the relevant preparations are completed before then.

The structure, which is laid out in a step-by-step tool for shareholders as well as this Guide to Flexible Shareholding, is intended to make it easier for new farmers to join the Co-operative and for existing farmers to remain, by allowing greater flexibility in the level of investment required.

Chairman Peter McBride says Flexible Shareholding will support Fonterra’s strategy by helping to maintain a sustainable milk supply, protecting farmer ownership and control, and supporting a stable balance sheet.

“Our Co-operative is already making good progress towards our 2030 strategic goals, and we believe moving to our Flexible Shareholding structure will help ensure that we stay on track,” says Mr McBride. . .

 

Innovative uses of forestry and wood products unveiled at Fieldays :

New and innovative uses of forestry and wood products will be on display at 35 stands in the Fieldays Forestry Hub near Hamilton between 30 November and 3 December, including a revolutionary treatment for radiata pine, a super carbon-storer – biochar – and cutting-edge research exploring using woody biomass for aviation fuel.

Planted trees are the raw material for more than 5,000 products we use every day. They also form the foundation of New Zealand’s next-generation bioeconomy, with the demand for new biomaterials only set to grow as fossil fuel-based products are replaced with renewable alternatives.

The revolutionary treatment for radiata pine allows it to be used in place of imported hardwood timber for decking, interior bench tops and as a fortified exterior cladding.

Called Sicaro, this timber treatment technology is being distributed by Motueka-based architectural company Genia. It uses a fortification process that replaces water within the cell structure with a water-borne solution that cures to a resin. . . 


Rural round-up

25/11/2022

Unacceptable’: Primary sector slams govt emissions thinking – Neal Wallace:

New Zealand’s largest primary sector bodies and companies have labelled as unacceptable and unworkable the government’s proposal for pricing greenhouse gases.

Their individual submissions have common concerns: the social and economic impact, establishing a greenhouse gas price, sequestration and food security.

The groups are also signatories to the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) submission, apart from Federated Farmers which, while broadly supportive, has doubled down on its opposition to the government’s proposals.

The federation details three principles it says the government must adhere to. It requires a scientific target to be set for methane based on no additional warming by 2050; incentives for the adoption of viable and cost-effective mitigation options; and ensuring that policies do not create emission leakages or reduce food production. . . .

Pining for change – Rural News Group :

Over the coming weeks, government officials will start going through the raft of submissions on their bosses’ proposal to tax farmers on agricultural emissions.

What they will likely find is that very few farmers and primary industry groups are impressed with what has been proposed – judging by the outcry from rural NZ. The question is: Will the Government listen?

Damien O’Connor claims the Government and farmers are not that far apart and that with some tweaking and compromising it can all be fixed amicably. That seems a long bow.

Most farmers are very cynical when they hear this Government talking about consultation – especially when it comes to complex changes written by bureaucrats. The documents are long and complex and no serious attempt has been made by the Government to make the changes remotely understandable for the average farmer, whose livelihood and community faces potential ruin at the hands of the anti-farming lobby. . . 

Tension in the rural sector :

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) shows 97 fewer farm sales (-35.9%) for the three months ended October 2022 than for the three months ended October 2021. Overall, there were 173 farm sales in the three months ended October 2022, the same number as in September 2022; in the three months ended October 2021 there were 270 farm sales.

1,501 farms were sold in the year to October 2022, 284 fewer than were sold in the year to October 2021, with 7.2% fewer Dairy farms, 20.4% fewer Dairy Support, 16.0% fewer Grazing farms, 13.2% fewer Finishing farms and the same number of Arable farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to October 2022 was $25,270 compared to $31,360 recorded for three months ended October 2021 (-19.4%). The median price per hectare increased by 9.8% compared to September 2022.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index decreased by 1.7% in the three months to October 2022 compared to the three months to September 2022. Compared to the three months ending October 2021, the REINZ All Farm Price Index decreased by 1.6%. The REINZ All Farm Price Index adjusts for differences in farm size, location, and farming type, unlike the median price per hectare, which does not adjust for these factors. . . .

 

Return of arable grower confidence in milling wheat :

Farmer confidence in the prospects for milling wheat is on the upswing, with the 11,113 hectares already sown or intending to be sown up 44% on last season.

“That brings milling wheat hectares back very close to the 11,798ha harvested in 2021, before grower confidence was severely dented by changed buying practices by the mills and to a lesser extent poor conditions during last season’s grainfill,” Federated Farmers Arable Vice-Chairperson, Grains, Andrew Darling says.

The just-released October Arable Industry Marketing Initiative (AIMI) report found that both unsold and sold stored milling wheat was down on the same time last year, and that around 53% has been forward sold compared to 36% in October 2021.

“It’s pleasing to see farmer confidence in milling wheat rally, especially given the industry’s ambitions for New Zealand to lift its production of this staple,” Andrew says. . . 

Nadia Lim and Carlos Bagrie launch ‘Eau de Dagg’ fragrance for a good cause – The Country:

Nadia Lim’s farming television show may have finished its first season but that doesn’t mean she’s stopped supporting rural New Zealand.

The celebrity chef has launched a cheeky new room fragrance to fundraise for mental health charity, Rural Support Trust.

However, some consumers may find the scent a little bit daggy, even though it’s for a good cause.

“Eau de Dagg” was created using essential oils made from the wool dags from Lim’s sheep. . . .

Design academic turns the spotlight on woolsheds :

A Massey University lecturer and design expert is focusing attention on the importance of preserving New Zealand’s most historic, colourful and community-oriented woolsheds.

Federated Farmers is helping Dr Annette O’Sullivan raise the $30,000 she needs to complete her book.

Annette says she feels a sense of urgency to getting the book completed, as so many iconic woolsheds are being lost due to changes in land use and sheep farming.

The funding will be used to commission world-class photography of woolsheds from award-winning New Zealand photographer Jane Ussher, who is already well known for her beautiful work capturing New Zealand’s iconic homesteads. . . 

 


Rural round-up

23/11/2022

Feds breaks ranks on HWEN – Sudesh Kissun:

The He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Action Partnership and Māori Agribusiness Partners are calling on the Government to change key aspects of its proposal on agricultural emissions pricing.

However, Federated Farmers has decided not to back the joint submission from the 10 partners.

It recommends changes that would develop an emissions pricing system that creates incentives and opportunities to reduce agricultural emissions while maintaining the viability of the primary sector.

The submission recommends changes to price setting, governance and transitional arrangements that would see decision-making on emissions pricing balance the socio-economic impacts on the primary sector and wider economy with emissions reductions.  . .

HWEN partners question methane targets – Neal Wallace:

The primary sector wants the government to review its methane targets before it starts pricing agricultural greenhouse gases.

This is included in the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) submission on the government-proposed pricing structure, saying new targets that reflect the latest scientific evidence are needed before the sector starts to be charged in 2025.

Methane targets were legislated by Parliament in 2019 as part of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act, requiring the sector to reduce emissions 10% below 2017 levels by 2030 and by 24-47% below 2017 levels by 2050.

The HWEN submission pulls few punches, saying the government’s changes are not acceptable to the partnership and the growers and farmers they represent. . . 

Emissions plan: DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ – The Country :

No deal is better than a bad deal when it comes to pricing agricultural emissions, DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says

DairyNZ had made a submission in the emissions plan and hoped for a response from the Government, van der Poel told The Country’s Jamie Mackay.

“We had to go into this next stage in good faith because our primary objective is still to get a solution here and put this to bed.

“We’ve been talking about this since 2004 and it’s not going to go away.” . . 

Cherry on top growers feeling “positive”, expecting record volumes of fruit :

Central Otago cherry growers are expecting record volumes of fruit this season.

45 South Cherries chief executive Tim Jones said now that they had survived October’s nasty weather, they had been able to assess crops, and fruit volumes may be double that of past years.

New plantings were coming into their own, he said.

“The last three years have been pretty disappointing crops but all those trees that have been planted in the past five or six will really hit their straps this year.

“Last year the industry exported a little over three thousand tonnes and I would suggest this year it could be at least five or six thousand,” he said. . . 

It’s time to resolve carbon forest conflicts –  Dean Baigent-Mercer :

 Forestry is back in the spotlight. After years of being on the margins, forestry has come full-circle and is again at the heart of discussions about New Zealand’s future. Why? Because of climate change and biodiversity. The opportunity is exciting but there are issues to resolve. A key question is native versus exotic forestry carbon sinks.

The world risks overshooting its climate change targets. We need to stop using fossil fuels, cut emissions and store increasing amounts of carbon in forests, wetlands and other natural carbon sinks for centuries to come.

New Zealand forestry has been quick to act and respond. New Zealand has gone down the pine forest carbon storage route as a relatively fast and cheap way to store carbon.

But it’s clear that this is no longer a viable path. The Climate Change Commission has advised that we must stop relying on pines to store carbon and instead rely on permanent carbon sinks in native forests. Pine planting may appeal in the short term, but a large blaze can release a carbon bomb. There is increasing evidence that pine-based carbon sinks will end up being stranded assets or uninsurable. . .

Rural tourism business finalist at New Zealand Tourism Awards :

“The future of rural tourism is bright”, say Will and Rose Parsons of Driftwood Eco Tours, finalists of the 2022 New Zealand Tourism Awards for community engagement.

The annual New Zealand Tourism Awards, hosted by Tourism Industry Aotearoa in Hamilton, highlights excellence in tourism and helps operators aspire to greater customer service.

Driftwood Eco Tours was delighted to be one of three finalists for the community engagement category.

Operating since 2004, Driftwood Eco Tours is based in Kaikōura, but runs small group, multi-day tours throughout the upper South Island and on offshore islands, offering guests the chance to visit and experience some of New Zealand’s most isolated rural communities. . . 


Rural round-up

15/11/2022

New taxes put rural communities at risk – Kathryn Wright:

Rural people in New Zealand are under attack.

In the last few weeks, many “experts” have been revealed within the topic of new requirements for New Zealand farms, which will inevitably devastate and diminish rural communities.

New taxes and stock reductions will ensure that around 20% of sheep and beef farms will collapse, and with them, a part of their community.

I’m going to discuss this loss of community and why it matters, rather than arguing the points themselves — which also deserve to be investigated more robustly as they seem to be only telling half of the story. . .

No magic bullet for methane: Prof :

Honorary professor Keith Woodford has doubts about the “hype” around adding seaweed in feed supplements to cut methane emissions from livestock.

Seaweed-based feed ingredients are among future solutions being highlighted to help farmers reduce methane emissions in cattle and their share of climate change.

Prof Woodford said it was hoped that bromoform in the seaweed would reduce methane production, but promoters of technical ruminant solutions were overlooking nutritional issues that made this unlikely.

‘‘Yes they will kill off the methanogens alright, but they will also flow into the milk. …. Some people don’t like that story because it spoils their story and their investment opportunity, but now that it’s there, gosh it’s pretty serious.“ . . .

Industry bodies resolve to advocate strongly for farmers:

This week, leaders from DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and Federated Farmers met to discuss emissions pricing.

Leaving it until the last minute, the meeting comes the week before consultation closes on the Government’s proposed emissions pricing plan and follows some criticism that the three groups – via He Waka Eke Noa’s proposal to government – have not advocated strongly enough on farmers’ behalf.

DairyNZ chair Jim van der Poel says a united voice on emissions pricing is the best way to ensure positive policy outcomes for farmers.

“All three organisations have reaffirmed nine core principles that we will all be raising in our submissions and through the He Waka Eke Noa partnership,” he says. . .

Inspiring the future of rural health :

The Rural Health Careers Promotion Programme is inspiring the next generation of health professionals, whether they are just beginning tertiary study and have not considered medicine, or if they are medical students who had not considered practicing rurally.

The Rural Health Careers Promotion Programme’s final Rural School Visits for 2022 will take place over multiple regions this November, visiting both schools and medical practices to foster connections with rural communities.

28 tertiary students will embark on tours throughout Northland, Waikato, and Taranaki regions, where they will engage with secondary students from a range of rural schools through interactive presentations, demonstrations, and workshops. From November 14-18, two groups will travel to rural schools throughout upper and lower Northland, while two further groups will meet with rural students in Waikato and Taranaki November 21-25.

In between school presentations, the volunteers will also visit rural medical practices where they will see and experience first-hand the lifestyle and value of rural medicine, as well as engaging with rural Health Professionals. Five practices are booked for visits with more to come. . . .

Farmers proud to be guardians of ancient drawings – Country Life:

In South Canterbury, there are hundreds of Māori drawings on limestone rock – some of which could be up to 1,000 years old.

Peter Evans believes it was his grandfather who discovered the ancient drawings on cliffs that overlook his Pareora Gorge sheep and beef farm.

His grandfather developed an interest in rock art beyond what was on the family farm and passed his curiosity on to his children.

“He and his children in the 1920s went searching the area for rock drawings … as they knew they were special and unique,”  Peter says. . . 

Fed-up farmers: why US government will put us out of business – Mary Kay Linge :

Within the next few months, the United States is projected to import more agricultural products than it exports for the first time in history — a worrisome development for America’s family farmers, who say government meddling threatens their livelihoods and the nation’s food security.

“The United States has never had any trouble feeding itself and much of the world, too,” said upstate New York farmer Tim Stanton. “I guess the politicians just figure we’ll keep going no matter what they do to us.

“But, you know, there is a limit.”

Farmers all over New York and New Jersey say they are being pushed to those limits by President Biden’s attack on energy, Gov. Hochul’s labor betrayal, foreign competition and other woes. Here, five of them describe their challenges. . .

 


Ag bodies united

11/11/2022

Beef + Lamb NZ, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers are speaking with one voice on the government’s plan to tax farm emissions.

Their email to farmers says:

This week the leaders of Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, and Federated Farmers met in Christchurch to discuss emissions pricing and to establish common positions between our three organisations so we can move forward together and advocate strongly on behalf of farmers.  

A united voice on emissions pricing is the best way to ensure positive policy outcomes for farmers.

The government’s proposal is so bad it’s achieved something – uniting the agricultural industry against it.

It was a productive discussion and all three organisations have agreed on the following core principles that we will all be raising directly with the Government on your behalf:

    1. The current methane targets are wrong and need to be reviewed. Any target should be science-based, not political, and look to prevent additional warming. 
    2. The methane price should be set at the minimum level needed and be fixed for a five-year period to give farmers certainty.
    3.  Any levy revenue must be ringfenced and only be used for the administration of the system, investment in R&D, or go back to farmers as incentives. Administration costs must be minimised. 
    4. The future price should be set by the Minister on the advice of an independent oversight board appointed by all He Waka Eke Noa partners. 
    5. The system must incentivise farmers to uptake technology and adopt good farming practices that will reduce global emissions. 
    6. All sequestration that can be measured and is additive should be counted. We stand by what was proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa partnership on sequestration. 
    7. Farmers should be able to form collectives to measure, manage, and report their emissions in an efficient way. 
    8. Farmers who don’t have access to mitigations or sequestration should be able to apply for temporary levy relief if the viability of their business is threatened.
    9. We will not accept emissions leakage. The way to prevent that happening is by getting the targets, price, sequestration, incentives, and other settings right.

Our organisations are all united in our determination to get the best possible outcome we can and will continue to work closely together as we advocate for farmers. 

Individual organisations will continue to raise sector specific issues.

This is good progress but will the government listen?

And if it doesn’t will the government do what Richard Harmen says it could?:

. . . However, the Government holds the whip hand; it can simply impose a so-called processor levy on farmers, which would see all milk and meat levied by the dairy company or meat works that processed it.

That would lump everyone in together with no reward for those doing the best work and no extra costs for those doing nothing.

It would add costs that will cripple some farms and lead to thousands of job losses in businesses that service and supply them;  it would also lead to the loss of billions of dollars in export income and for what?

Even if there was no carbon leakage there would be no significant reduction in carbon emissions and if there was carbon leakage emissions would increase.

If climate change is as important an issue as the government says it is, it must listen to the agriculture industry and come up with a policy that will endure.

Its current plans won’t, if it accepts what these organisations are asking for and works with them, it might.

 


Rural round-up

10/11/2022

Māori farmers upset at proposal – Peter Burke :

In an unusual move, the Māori Trustee and chief executive of Te Tumu Paeroa Dr Charlotte Severne says she’ll be making a submission on the Government’s agricultural emissions proposals.

Severne administers as trustee or agent for approximately 1,800 Māori Land Trusts and other Māori entities. This is about one third of all Māori Land Trusts. Te Tumu Paeroa is therefore effectively a major Māori land owner.

Speaking exclusively to Rural News at the recent Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards she noted that the pressures on the sheep and beef sector now are real and she wants to see the rapid development of good well-qualified leaders. Severne is concerned about the way Māori are treated by some government departments.

“I believe that big parts of government don’t understand Māori land. They think we are group of farms that are doing really well, whereas – in fact – most Māori land is on a lease portfolio and in small parcels,” she told Rural News. . . 

Put a cap on unworkable emissions plan – Malcolm Bailey:

The HWEN furore shows neither the government nor the industry has the answer, says Malcolm Bailey.

Openly opposed by industry as well as the political opposition, the government’s emissions pricing proposal looks dead in the water and should be scuttled. Perhaps the government has done us a favour by amplifying the weaknesses of the levy approach and the stupidity of cutting New Zealand’s world-leading low emissions production. 

Both He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) and the government proposal should go to the bottom and make way for a new solution that follows key principles, uses market solutions, and works.  

What has also been exposed is that HWEN was never a genuine partnership. 

The government has come up with new impact modelling and rejection of the emissions leakage risk with no link to earlier work or credibility. . . 

An unpopular move whatever your position – Alan Emmerson :

Feds-commissioned research uncovers some surprises on attitudes to the farm tax.

To state my position: I accept the climate is changing and we need to do something about it. I believe much of the science we get quoted is dodgy and I don’t believe New Zealand should be leading the world on anything. We’re a small insignificant country in the South Pacific.

I further accept that 19 out of 20 of our politicians wouldn’t know a cart from a horse and that 99% of our civil servants are woefully ignorant of the practicalities of life on the farm.

When it comes to our emissions, I do not accept that markets will open if we reduce them and have seen zero evidence to back that up. With floods, drought, pestilence and the war in Ukraine, food will be at a premium and I don’t believe we’re making enough of our grass-fed status, let alone anything else.

In addition, the majority of Kiwis support farmers’ current practices as evidenced in a recent poll by Federated Farmers. . . 

Alliance chief executive resigns – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor has resigned from the co-operative after nearly eight years in the role.

The company announced yesterday that Mr Surveyor would leave by the end of April next year to return home to Australia and the board would begin the search for his replacement.

In a statement, chairman Murray Taggart said he had “regrettably” accepted Mr Surveyor’s resignation.

However, the board understood his desire to pursue other opportunities. . . 

The worst is still to come – Peter Burke :

Driving from home base in the Horowhenua through Hawke’s Bay and up the East Coast, it’s pretty evident that feed for cows is in short supply and that ground is still wet.

There are large puddles in many paddocks and there is little evidence of grass silage being made. On last week’s trip to Napier I saw only two farms where silage was being cut and, in both instances, the amount of grass that had been cut was pretty meagre compared to previous seasons when one would have seen a hive of activity, cutting and bailing grass silage.

The word from farm consultants is that silage production is significantly below what is normal for this time of the year and that this and the planting of crops is at least a month behind normal. To add to the problem, the view is the grass is ‘gutless’ and of poor quality because of the lack of sunshine and the continuous rain. One farmer told me that he couldn’t remember a week when it hadn’t rained.

For dairy farmers this is the ‘money time’ – when production is supposed to be at its peak – but it isn’t and the number being quoted is that milk production will be down by 4% on last season which itself was not a good season. . .

Innovation will help farmers feed a world of 8 billion and counting – Gurjeet Singh Mann :

You can mark the date on your calendar: On November 15, 2022, a mother will give birth to a baby who is the world’s 8 billionth person.

This milestone in human history comes to us from an estimate by demographers at the United Nations.

They also predict that next year, my country of India will pass China as the planet’s most populous nation, with about 1.4 billion people.

This means the expanding population will need much more food than we ever had before. If we’re going to feed them, we need another Green Revolution and a lot more for India as well as for the rest of the world. Farmers must enjoy access to the full power of modern technology so that we can do our part to meet the necessities of life. . . 


Not what farmers think

07/11/2022

Audrey Young has given Damien O’Connor the highest mark in her annual cabinet ratings:

. . . Damien O’Connor 9

Agriculture, Biosecurity, Land Information, Rural Communities, Trade and Export Growth

Outstanding year. Another FTA under his belt with EU–NZ deal concluded after UK-NZ deal last year. Important role in setting climate change policy in agriculture. Chairing CPTPP next year. Ageists may expect him to retire but why should he when he is at the peak of his career? Previously 9 . .

That isn’t what farmers think.

The UK trade deal is a good one but the EU one is not.

It looks like it was rushed through to give the government a good headline while the PM was in Europe.

It would have been far better to have continued negotiating than to have accepted this deal.

Whatever his role in setting climate change policy was, it hasn’t been good for farming, farmers, rural communities or the country.

Butchering He Waka Eke Noa would, by the government’s own figures, kill off one in five sheep and beef farms with consequent loss of jobs and export income that will make the ag-sag and share market crash of the 80s look like good times.

Turning productive farmland into forests is economic, environmental and social vandalism.

If there was any advocacy from the Minister on unblocking the immigration pathway for agricultural contractors and farm workers it hasn’t been effective.

Then there’s this:

New Zealand has agreed a declaration along with other members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that commits members to working together to boost sustainable agriculture and food systems, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said today in Paris.

The ‘Declaration on transformative solutions for sustainable agriculture and food systems’ was adopted at the OECD Committee for Agriculture on 4 November. . . 

“The Declaration will see OECD countries identify opportunities and challenges facing food production and share ways to tackle them. 

“It includes ensuring food security and nutrition for a growing global population, along with addressing environmental challenges in an inclusive manner. . . 

How does the goal of ensuring food security align with his government’s determination to tax farm emissions that by their own modelling will reduce food production so drastically?

If farmers had been rating the Minister he’d have got a very generous, not achieved.


Rural round-up

03/11/2022

More frustration as southern farmers meet on HWEN – Neal Wallace :

Farmers remain far from convinced of the merits of the government’s response to the He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) agricultural emissions charging document.

A second meeting of southern farmers within a week was dominated by anger, exasperation, accusations that levy bodies are not fighting hard enough and claims political ideology is trumping common sense – all underpinned by contempt for the government policy.

About 50 people attended the Beef + Lamb NZ Southern South Island Farmer Council meeting in South Otago on Monday following a BLNZ meeting in Gore on Friday at which about 100 farmers expressed similar sentiments.

Discussion on Monday rapidly switched to the impact of the government’s proposal to cost agricultural emissions. . .

The pile-on effect gets worse – Peter Burke :

Farmers in many parts of the North Island are now facing a looming feed crisis.

The rain has been relentless during winter and spring and the ground is saturated in a way not seen before. This applies not only to dairy farmers but also horticulturalists and anyone who works the land for a living. Not only has there been heavy rain, stifling pasture growth, the lack of sunshine hours has meant that whatever grass that has managed to grow is ‘gutless’ and lacking in nutrition for animals.

Anyone travelling around the North Island in recent months would know: there is simply not enough grass available to animals compared to the norm for this time of the year. Travelling between Horowhenua to Napier over the weekend, I saw just two farms that had or were in the process of making grass silage and the cuts from those two were sparse to say the least.

Farm consultants are worried because dairy farmers are having to use their reserves of supplement to keep cows in condition for mating and the word is that many cows will not be mated on the first cycle due to their condition. . .

World dairy prices tumble further as farmers face the prospect of being charged for livestock emissions – Point of Order :

As debate rages in New Zealand’s farming industries over the Ardern  government’s  plan  for  charges  on  agricultural emissions, prices at Fonterra’s  Global  Dairy  Trade fortnightly auction  have fallen to their lowest level in nearly two years.

The average price at the sale fell 3.9%  to US$3537 (NZD$6054) a tonne, after falling 4.6% in the previous auction.

Prices have generally been falling since hitting a record high in March, and are now at their lowest level since January last year.

Whole milk powder fell 3.4%  to US$3279 a  tonne and  skim milk  powder 8.5% to US$2972  a  tonne, while  butter  was  marginally  up at US$4868  a  tonne  (though  a  long way  down  from  its peak  in  March  above  US$7000 a  tonne)  and cheddar 0.9% to US$4802 a tonne. . . 

NZ Battery Project has air of déjà vu – Jill Herron:

The prospect of Roxburgh having a second go-around as the host town of a major hydro project is starting to feel more real for residents as the government’s Lake Onslow scheme inches ahead

Massive disruption will be on the cards for residents of Central Otago’s Teviot Valley and a “treasure” lost if the government proceeds with the Lake Onslow pumped-hydro scheme, a community leader says.

Compensation should reflect that, says 78-year-old Pat Garden, and it should be structured to create benefits from the scheme that outlive the “boom and bust” of the build.

“The community needs to be recognised as a stakeholder and expects a shared benefit to compensate for the negative impacts,” he says. . . 

Full disclosure: I work to reduce the footprint of animal agriculture – Frank Mitloehner:

My response to The New York Times and Greenpeace articles on CLEAR Center Funding

There’s a shocking revelation out there, and I am at the heart of it. Are you prepared for this?

Animal scientists work with animal agriculture. That’s it. That’s the exposé, the conspiracy that so many activists and journalist want to share with you.

Oh, if you want more, try this on for size: Agriculturists work together to be more sustainable.

If you work in agriculture, these statements probably aren’t surprising. In fact, it would likely be concerning if that were not the case. Sustainability issues are too big to be tackled in in silos – metaphorically speaking, of course. One way the sector has come together to further sustainability is through the CLEAR Center. . .

A more sustainable approach to farming looks better together :

With a future focused on sustainable farming and growing, increasing demand for food products and an increasing regulatory environment, two companies have come together to aid the agricultural and horticultural industries.

Tokoroa based Blue Pacific Minerals Limited (BPM), has joined with AgriFert (NZ) Limited (AgriFert), in what Executive Chairman, Jamie Mikkelson, says “is part of our ongoing strategy to be ready for the future with innovative and science-led solutions. This partnering will benefit the future of farming and growing here in New Zealand. Like our agricultural community, we too are adapting to new trends and finding innovative ways, all while standing true in what we believe in, being clever by nature.”

“The future is exciting for farmers and growers with advances in science and technology. New Zealand farmers and growers are global leaders in efficiency and innovation. We have a part to play driving the sustainable farming and growing solutions” says Mikkelson. . . 


Rural round-up

02/11/2022

Why this virtue signalling Govt is so reviled by the rural sector – Jamie Mackay :

Would it be unkind to say you’ve got to go back to the days of David Lange and Rogernomics to find a government so reviled by the rural sector?

And it’s rather ironic that Labour finds itself in a unique electoral situation because of the support it garnered from the provinces in the 2020 election. A case of be careful what you vote for. A perfect storm of Covid, an empathetic PM, fear of the unknown, the fear of the Greens and a totally dysfunctional National Party, combined to produce the first majority government in MMP history.

The Government’s recent response to He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) and the resultant modelling was an abrupt wake up call to rural New Zealand and those self-same provinces that swept Jacinda Ardern into power. Only Wayne Barnes missing that forward pass in 2007 is a bigger mystery to me than why every electorate, Epsom aside, party voted Labour in 2020. We’ll never see the likes of that again.

And we may never see the likes of 50,000 Kiwi farmers again if we lose 20 per cent of our sheep and beef production and six per cent of dairy. The numbers being modelled are frightening, even if they’re only half correct. . . 

Is this our generation’s subsidy-free moment – Jacqueline Rowarth:

How farmers move forward and negotiate with the government’s response to He Waka Eke Noa proposals could be this generation’s “subsidy-free moment,” reminiscent of the 1980s, writes Dr Jacqueline Rowarth.

The release of the Government’s response to the proposals from He Waka Eke Noa has resulted in misunderstanding, muddle and misery. New suggestions have appeared, questions have been asked, and the misery remains.

How can farm businesses survive what has been suggested? Economic viability is threatened.

The Prime Minister has recognised the concerns and has used the phrase “Just Transition” – the same words used in Taranaki when changes in the energy sector were made. . . 

Fed Farmers call for alternative farming emissions proposal – Evan Harding:

A leading Southland farmer says she won’t be getting winter grazing consents and hundreds of other farmers will also refuse to get them.

Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt, speaking at a meeting about the Government’s controversial farming emissions’ proposal and winter grazing regulations at Stadium Southland on Wednesday night, said consents were supposed to place extra scrutiny where the highest risks were.

But if thousands of people had to get them for an activity, it was not targeting the highest risk.

“That’ll mean councils can’t adequately check them out in advance or enforce them so it makes a mockery of the process. You’ll pay for a piece of paper but there’s nothing behind it, and that’s why we don’t support these ones,” she said. . . 

 

Planting trees for the future – Sudesh Kissun :

Waikato farmers John and Maria van Heuven believe in leaving their 164ha property in a better condition than when they bought it 20 years ago.

Hence the Matamata dairy farmers of 50 years quickly joined the Bridge to Bridge project (B2B), backed by Waikato Regional Council and Fonterra.

The three-year community-run project was completed recently with eight kilometres of Waitoa River fenced and 17,000 native plants and trees in the ground.

The project involved landowners on either side of the Puketutu and Station Road bridges near Matamata, removing pest plants, relocating fencing from the river’s edge to create bigger riparian margins and planting native plants and trees.

Here for the long game :

DairyNZ has launched a new campaign designed to showcase dairy farmers’ commitment to a better future for New Zealand.

The multi-media campaign, named Here for the Long Game, launched nationwide this week, and highlights dairy farmers’ commitment while sharing how the sector is addressing the challenges ahead.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says the campaign shares the hard work and dedication of dairy farmers.

“As a sector, we want to deliver a sustainable future – meeting the needs of our communities and customers, while maintaining profitable and sustainable businesses,” he says. . .

 

Anti-burping tablets could solve Australia’s cattle methane emission problem – Elly Bradfield and Amy Phillips :

A Queensland university claims its research into cattle has the potential to reduce methane emissions in Australia’s beef industry by 30 per cent.

The federal government confirmed last week Australia would sign up to a global pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent this decade.

Meat and Livestock Australia, industry’s peak research and development group, had previously vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030 through its CN30 pledge.

Professor Ben Hayes from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) at the University of Queensland said its four projects could be applied simultaneously to the $14.6 billion beef cattle industry. . . 

 


Government has sabotaged farming consensus

28/10/2022

The government’s butchering of the agri-sector’s He Waka Eke Noa has led to growing  farmer rebellion:

A large protest meeting of farmers in Invercargill last night heard Federated Farmers President, Andrew Hoggard, withdraw his support for the Government’s proposal for farmers to pay for their emissions.

And he indicated the Feds would leave the He Waka Eke Noa farm sector partnership that had been working with the Government on a farm emissions policy.

“It’s been two and a half bloody years or more of dumb regulation after dumb regulation after dumb regulation, and  for me, it’s just like, Nah, screw it, I’m done with being polite about it,” he told the meeting to applause.

Hoggard last night said the Feds had always opposed the methane reduction target of a reduction of 10 per cent by 2030.

He said his organisation had continued within the HWEN partnership because of its original principles. They were that the agriculture sector would work with the Government to design a pricing mechanism “where any price is part of a broader framework to support on-farm practice change” and “only to the extent necessary to incentivise the uptake of economically viable opportunities that contribute to lower global emissions.”

“It’s just gotten more and more tenuous as we’ve gone along the process, and finally, the government proposal was the knife that cut that link,” he said.

He said Federated Farmers had never supported pricing in the first place because the alternative would have been farmers going into the Emissions Trading Scheme, which would mean much higher payments and no chance of any rebates for mitigation.  

“We tried to argue that we didn’t want pricing in there, but everyone else was of the opinion that pricing had to be a part of it; otherwise, the government would reject it (the HWEN proposal)”, he said.

“And so we went along with it because we felt at least then if we’re in the team, we could push back, keep providing that sort of tension, keeping that farmer voice in there. “And certainly throughout the process, we have managed to at least get some changes, some wins, keep some stupid things out of it. “But it has been bloody hard work.”

Hoggard argued that what had been intended to be a levy was now a tax because of the failure to allow for sequestration. To achieve the 10 per cent gross reduction in emissions by 2030, the Government would do so by taxing farmers to force them to reduce production.

“And so the way you’ve got to think of it is that they need a gross reduction, and at the moment, without mitigations, a 10% gross reduction only comes from 10% less dry matter going down ruminants throats,” he said. “And so that is a key thing.

“And to me, that is the fundamental change the Government has made is that change to the pricing principles and that singular focus on achieving the targets at all cost to our communities.”

His views were echoed by two South Island National MPs.

“We will not accept the government’s proposal,” said Southland MP Joseph Mooney.

“Yes, we want the research and development to happen, and we want the science and technology to be able to lower the emissions, but we need to be doing it in step, so pricing can’t get ahead of competitor countries, and we can’t put our food security at risk,” said Invercargill MP, Penny Simmonds. . .

 

It took a lot of work to get the He Waka Eke Noa proposal together, there were a lot of reservations about it but most agreed it was less bad than putting farming in the ETS.

The government has sabotaged the consensus. Federated Farmers is leading the charge against the proposal and other organisations that had been part of HWEN are also very critical of the proposed changes for very good reasons.

The economic and social costs are far too high for little, if any, environmental gain.

The meeting also discussed the impractical winter grazing regulations.

A leading Southland farmer says she won’t be getting winter grazing consents and hundreds of other farmers will also refuse to get them.

Federated Farmers Southland vice president Bernadette Hunt, speaking at a meeting about the Government’s controversial farming emissions’ proposal and winter grazing regulations at Stadium Southland on Wednesday night, said consents were supposed to place extra scrutiny where the highest risks were.

But if thousands of people had to get them for an activity, it was not targeting the highest risk.

“That’ll mean councils can’t adequately check them out in advance or enforce them so it makes a mockery of the process. You’ll pay for a piece of paper but there’s nothing behind it, and that’s why we don’t support these ones,” she said.

The Government legislation was shoddy and was not ready to go which was why she would not be getting a consent for winter grazing, she said.

She was not asking everyone to boycott the consents, saying it was each individual’s choice, but suggested there would be safety in numbers.

“They can’t prosecute us all.”

She asked the hundreds of people at the meeting to stand with her in boycotting the consents and almost all did.

Hunt made of point of saying the Feds would not defend farmers who operated without regard for animal or environmental welfare. . . .

The video is a livestream of the meeting, the business starts at about 18 minutes.


“It is not a levy, it is a tax”

27/10/2022

National’s Selwyn MP Nicola Grigg gets it – when research, science and technology have yet to come up with the means to reduce farm emissions, the government’s proposal to charge for them is not a levy, it’s a tax:

NICOLA GRIGG (National—Selwyn): I was thinking, just earlier, after hearing Damien O’Connor’s contribution to the House followed by Meka Whaitiri’s, that we’d heard two valedictory speeches this evening, and I think I can add a third to that list. Yet another five-minute diatribe just proving nothing but what a tin ear the Ministers of this Crown have. We hear nothing but denial and defence coming out from this Government. They are so, so enthusiastic about rewriting history.

The facts of the matter are the industry, the 11 partnership groups of He Waka Eke Noa, took a proposal to the Government. The Government has come back with its response just last week. It has dumped the parts that the farming sector was prepared to sign up to. That is what the so-called “whinging and carping and griping” that Kieran McAnulty talks about is about, because, once again, this industry has been roundly ignored by this Government. And, yes, we do, on this side of the House, stand by the fact that we will not support a pricing mechanism until the science and technology is in place, otherwise it is not a levy; it is a tax. It is a tax on food while our country is in the grip of a cost of living crisis, and this Government is doing nothing but to fan the flames of that crisis.

The government keeps trying to tell us it cares about the poor and wants to help people out of poverty but either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care, that taxing food production will push more people into poverty by increasing unemployment and food prices, and reducing export income.

Nobody on that side of the House is talking about the 20 percent of sheep and beef farms that are going to go out of business. By the Government’s own numbers, one in five sheep and beef farmers in this country will go out of business, and they have the nerve to talk about this side of the House criticising them and not supporting this proposal. We would support this proposal if it was fair and if it was equitable. We have said from the outset that the National Party does support emissions pricing for the agricultural sector if there are fair and reasonable sequestration options in place; if there is the science and technology in place. We will not stand by a proposal that puts one in five of our sheep and beef farmers out of business. We will not stand by a proposal that sees our richest industry, the industry that earns this country some money, sent offshore to high-emitting farming countries. We will not stand by it, we will not support it, and I do not apologise for calling the Government out on it.

If you don’t want to hear it from me, Mr McAnulty, maybe have a look at the latest industry rag out this week. Here we go: “Govt ‘fails fairness test’ on HWEN”. “HWEN has farmers upset over offsets”. “Sector flags ‘immediate concerns’ on HWEN”. There is no balancing of the ledger on the levy; take that from the people in the industry, Mr McAnulty. And while Ms Whaitiri crows away about the farmers inviting her on to their place, I’ll tell you what: it ain’t for tea and tinies. It is to try, in a desperate, final attempt—in the six weeks they’ve got left, it is to try and educate this Government as to what it is doing to our most productive sector. Fifteen percent of this country earns 50 percent of its revenue, and you lot over that side of the House should pay wise words to that.

Every single one of the industry groups, the 11 groups that signed up to this thing, have reacted angrily and have opposed the Government’s response to it. Once again: you took their advice back in May; perhaps you best start listening to them now. As you keep saying, they are the industry. They are the ones at the coal face. They are the ones who should know what they’re talking about. Well, they’re telling you now: this thing does not work, and the National Party wants to work with those groups and find something that will work. We are committed to reducing carbon emissions. We do agree the primary sector does need to pay its way, and it plays an important part in designing a system, designing its own process for recording and pricing those emissions. It can only happen, though, if farmers are allowed all options of sequestration. That includes shelterbelts; that includes riparian planting; that includes native bush and reserves.

A National Government would invest in driving technology. It wouldn’t just announce $300 million technology incentives and funds and just write a press release and put it out; it would actually invest. Come down to my electorate. Come and visit Lincoln Agritech and all those solutions are right there. They have been developed. They need some sort of system to commercialise them and incentivise them. I would suggest, Mr McAnulty, if you want me up in Marlborough having a look at the flood damage, come down to my electorate, take a look at the technology being developed down there, put your money where your mouth is, and start investing behind them.


Rural round-up

26/10/2022

Ag sector not impressed – David Anderson :

NZ’s farming sector has been left disappointed and stunned over the Government’s proposal to price agricultural emissions.

Federated Farmers argues the plans would “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand, putting trees where farms used to be”. It accuses the Government of throwing out the years of work the sector put into finding a solution and said it was “deeply unimpressed” with the Government’s take on what He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN) put forward.

Modelling done by Ministry for Primary Industries shows that without representation – and assuming farmers paid the levies at the farm gate – using the price proposed by HWEN of 11c a kilo of methane, by 2030 production of milksolids would be down by up to 5.9%, lamb down 21.4%, beef down 36.7% and wool down 21.1%.

The same modelling showed that 2.7% of dairy land would go out of dairy production while 17.7% of sheep and cattle country would cease running livestock, presumably to be converted to forestry. . .

Emissions plan will sound death knell for farmer s – Mayor – Peter Burke :

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little says the Government proposal to charge the ag sector for emissions will be the death knell for East Coast farmers.

He says farmers like himself were already being treated like second class citizens and this proposal reinforces that.

“It takes away all hope,” he told Rural News.

Little says farmers are now talking about selling up and going to Australia where he says agriculture is booming. . . 

BLNZ calls out HWEN changes – Annette Scott:

More than two years of cross-sector collaboration with uncomfortable conversations and robust debate on pricing emissions has not been recognised and “I am gutted”, Beef + Lamb New Zealand director Nicky Hyslop says.

“I am gutted as a sheep and beef farmer and as a BLNZ director with the government decision to make significant changes to He Waka Eke Noa (HWEN), which now have an unacceptable impact on a sheep and beef farmer,” Hyslop told farmers at the central South Island farmer council annual meeting.

“We get the current farmer anger and frustration but let’s channel that into strong messages that will resonate with the public, build pressure on the government and get constructive changes to make this whole thing workable.

“The bottom line is we are not going to agree to anything that threatens the viability of our industry and of our family farms. . . 

Call for more support for rural communities’ fight against climate change :

Government support for rural communities is vital to realising the potential in mitigating climate change says Rural Women New Zealand.

“Our members care for our land, our people and rural communities and we acknowledge the need to adapt, however, we would like to see more work on empowering rural communities through the provision of resources to effect positive change,” says National President Gill Naylor.

“There is no doubt that the solutions proposed by the He Waka Eke Noa Primary Sector Climate Change Partnership and the Government’s discussion document on pricing agricultural emissions, will have an impact on rural communities.

“Rural communities include the towns and regional centres which service them – the adverse impact of, and the opportunities afforded by, emissions pricing stretch further than the farm gate. . . 

Trust takes Ahuwhenua Trophy for top farm :

The Wi Pere Trust, a large sheep and beef farming operation at Te Karaka near Gisborne, was awarded the 2022 Ahuwhenua Trophy for the top Māori sheep and beef farm. 

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor made the announcement at the Ahuwhenua Trophy awards dinner in Hawke’s Bay. He said Māori account for 25% of the production of sheep beef and wool in New Zealand, and have brought a highly professional approach to their farming operations. 

He encouraged everyone to go along to Ahuwhenua Trophy field days to better understand the complexity of the farms and passion of the farmers.

Trudy Meredith of Wi Pere Trust said winning the Ahuwhenua Trophy was absolutely amazing – especially given this was the first time they had entered the competition.  . . 

NZ Rural Land diversifies into forestry – Hugh Stringleman :

New Zealand Rural Land Company (NZL) is moving into forestry land ownership at a cost of $63 million for five properties in the Manawatū/Whanganui region.

The listed landlord has entered an agreement with private company NZ Forest Leasing to acquire the forest estate of approximately 2400ha and lease it all back to NZFL for a period of 20 years.

The settlement date for the acquisition is April 15, 2023 and the first year’s lease payment will be $4.98m.

Thereafter annual lease payments are subject to CPI-linked adjustments. . . 


Rural round-up

25/10/2022

Govt proposal puts farmers at risk – Nicky Hyslop:

It was with good faith that more than two years ago, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and 10 primary sector partners entered into discussions about a sector-specific emissions pricing framework through He Waka Eke Noa.

This was as an alternative to agriculture entering the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which we firmly believed was the wrong outcome for our farmers.

All of this work has been put at risk with the Government’s proposed changes to the partners’ agreed-upon pricing approach. These changes are completely unacceptable, particularly to sheep, beef and deer farmers, and leave us questioning what the Government is trying to achieve.

Carbon sequestration was a critical aspect of the finely balanced proposal, particularly in terms of achieving fairness and equity for hill country farmers, so it is extremely disappointing that the Government has put forward a proposal that does not reward and incentivise the plantings that farmers have done and continue to do. . . .

What the hell? – Peter Burke :

Confusion and outright anger reign across rural New Zealand as farmers and communities try to get to the bottom of the Labour Government’s proposal to effectively make a large number of sheep and beef farmers unprofitable in its quest to get them to pay for their agricultural emissions.

There have been claims the Government is prioritising trees over food and questions have been asked as to whether the move is brave or stupid.

While farmers have consistently stated their willingness to pay for these emissions, PM Jacinda Ardern’s announcement from a hay bale stage at a dairy farm in the Wairarapa a couple of weeks ago was not what farmers were expecting.

As Rural News went to print farmers around the country were preparing to take to the streets and motorways to express their opposition to the emissions pricing proposal. . . .

Fonterra fires back at critics of DIRA bill – Hugh Stringleman :

Fonterra’s capital restructure and the enabling legislation will give the company a fair go at competing for a sustainable supply of New Zealand milk on more equal terms, the co-operative says.

Chair Peter McBride presented Fonterra’s submission to the Primary Production Committee of Parliament on the Dairy Industry Restructuring (Fonterra Capital Restructuring) Amendment (DIRA) Bill.

He said an internationally competitive, farmer-owned co-operative of scale is in the country’s best interests.

The new flexible shareholding capital structure will help to level the playing field with foreign-backed competitors in an environment of declining NZ milk production. . . .

Record profits for Alliance Group – Shawn McAvinue:

Red meat processor and exporter Alliance Group is celebrating a record profit, but supply-chain challenges remain, bosses say.

The co-operative held 20 meetings across New Zealand to update farmers on its operation and the tour finished in Mossburn last night.

Group chief executive David Surveyor, speaking at Ranfurly Bowling Club last week, said the co-operative had a record profit performance for the year ending September 30.

“It’s the most profitable year in Alliance Group’s history . . .

Pioneering UMF: a beekeeper’s story – Leah Tebbutt:

Being in the honey industry for 40-odd years is not enough for Margaret and her husband Bill Bennett.

“We hope we’ll be some of the ones that keep on going through – that survive,” Bill said as we enter the honey house with citrus and magenta-coloured hives piled high.

Their persistence and passion come as no surprise. The couple pioneered the UMF grading system 25 years ago and they have campaigned for it ever since.

And while they are taking a small step back, son Andrew and son-in-law James Jeffery are both now beekeepers for their business, SummerGlow Apiaries. . . 

Using livestock for healthier soil – Glenneis Kriel :

Much has been said about how the COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious limitations in the global logistics and food system, and how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine makes it even more unlikely that the world will be able to end hunger by 2050.

But Angus McIntosh, better known as Farmer Angus, who farms livestock at Spier near Stellenbosch, argues that the situation is compounded by the misconception that the world’s farmers will have to feed a projected population of nine billion people by 2050.

“The world is already producing enough food to feed between 11 billion and 14 billion people. [However], our problem is that a lot of food is wasted along the supply chain or grown for the wrong reasons, such as to feed cattle [or other livestock in intensive farming concerns] or to produce biofuels,” says McIntosh. . .

 

 

 


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