Rural round-up

07/09/2013

Fonterra crisis: could have done better – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra’s operational review of the botulinum food-safety scare has identified opportunities when the mess might have been avoided.

Group director of strategy Maury Leyland and her in-house team have also come up with several ways of preventing something like this happening again.

Fonterra said its world-class manufacturing facilities, quality systems, and robust testing regimes were all stress-tested by the incident.

“Overall our systems worked well, while some aspects showed room for further improvement,” Leyland said. . .

Government inquiry critical for New Zealand:

Federated Farmers welcomes the Government’s confirmation of an independent inquiry into the handling of Fonterra’s contamination incident.

“It is critical this inquiry is held to the highest standard and that it remains independent, robust and comes up with meaningful recommendations,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“New Zealand’s reputation as a credible and trusted supplier of food both domestically and internationally, demands this if we are to move forward. It is crucial that we repair any damage to our well deserved reputation as world leader in food safety and trade. . .

Lamb supply model based on dairy industry – Alan Williams:

A new supply offer to lamb producers is a bid to replicate the payment system in the dairy industry, South Canterbury livestock agent Peter Walsh says.

His company, Peter Walsh & Associates (PWA), is offering farmers advance payments of $8 a lamb a month, from the start of lambing through weaning and for a maximum four months.

The total $32 a lamb payment would help farmers with much-needed cash flow, the company said in a note to clients.

The Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) farmer group had concerns about the third-party involvement between farmer and processor, chairman Richard Young said. . .

Canterbury irrigation project wins $2.4m Govt grant:

Canterbury’s vast Hurunui irrigation project has received a shot in the arm with a $2.4 million grant from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ irrigation acceleration fund.

The money will go towards feasibility work on the Waitohi irrigation and hydro scheme, a crucial part of the project that will irrigate the plains and valleys in the Hurunui and Waipara Rivers through four storage reservoirs.

The project is the first to emerge from the Canterbury Water Management Strategy and if the initial study shows the dams can be built. further investment will be required to take the scheme to full feasibility stages. . .

Genomics can fast track tree breeding:

The forest industry is investigating new tree breeding techniques that could more than halve the time it takes to develop new varieties of pine.

The Government is contributing half the cost of a $5 million research programme by the Radiata Pine Breeding Company.

Chief executive John Butcher said using established selective breeding techniques can take up to 30 years to reach the stage of planting new tree varieties. . .

Stratford farmer in breach of Minimum Wage Act:

A Stratford farmer is to pay a former worker wage arrears after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate identified breaches of minimum employment rights.

The case follows Labour Inspectorate action in the dairy sector focussing on employer maintenance of accurate time and wage records.

The Labour Inspectorate found the worker’s pay was averaged across seasons and didn’t meet the minimum wage rate. . .

Seeka first-half profit plunges 92 percent on Psa impact:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the fruit grower and coolstore and packhouse operator, reported a 92 percent dive in first-half profit as the outbreak of Psa-V vine bacteria takes its heaviest toll on certain kiwifruit varieties.

Net profit sank to $672,000, or 5 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30, from $8.5 million, or 59 cents, a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Revenue dropped 16 percent to $67 million on declining kiwifruit volumes. The most dramatic was the slump in Zespri Hot16A gold to production of just 155,000 trays, compared with 1.2 million trays a year earlier. . .


Money for irrigation and cleaner water

18/09/2011

Agriculture Minister David Carter  has announced the opening 0f applications for the Irrigation Acceleration Fund:

“NZIER research suggests the fund could support 340,000ha of new irrigation, which could boost exports by $1.4 billion a year by 2018, rising to $4 billion a year by 2026.

“All successful projects will need to be committed to good industry practice that promotes efficient water use and environmental management, particularly around land-use intensification.  Irrigation good practice is essential if we are to protect our vital water resource for tomorrow,” says Mr Carter.  

The fund will support regional scale rural water infrastructure proposals that address:

  • regional rural water infrastructure
  • community irrigation schemes
  • strategic water management studies.

Mr Carter says the Government will contribute up to 50 percent through the fund to successful proposals.  Applications will be assessed by MAF, with input from a panel of independent experts.  The final decision will be made by the Director General of MAF.

The same day Environment Minister Nick Smith announced the criteria and assessment panel for the new fund to help councils and communities clean-up nationally significant water bodies that have been polluted.

That fund was one of the recommendations of the Land and Water Forum which has been engaged by the Government to progress the next stage of policy work on setting limits on water quality, quantity and allocation.

Progress on fresh water reform stalled for a decade because of highly polarised positions. The Land and Water Forum has done a great job bringing together farmers, environmentalists, industry and iwi to develop an agreed way forward. We are releasing today the Government’s high level response to the Land and Water Forum’s April report and are engaging the Forum to do further work on the complex issue of setting water limits and improving systems for allocation,” the Ministers said.

Federated Farmers says the announcements are about the cleaning up from the  past and looking after the future:

The Irrigation Acceleration Fund will help transform and future proof New Zealand agriculture on the same day another fund, the ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund’, will help communities remedy the legacy of the past. . . .

Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers RMA and environment spokesperson said:

“There’s no coincidence that it is announced concurrently with the ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund’. This is about the future every bit as much as the past.

“The $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund is a positive step forward to developing water as a resource. That’s because 95 percent of the water used in agriculture does not come from storage and when I use the term agriculture, I include horticulture and the wine industry too.

“Federated Farmers has enthusiastically pushed for a ‘new water’ policy because this is about storing what falls from the sky. Economic studies done on the Opuha Dam during the last Labour Government showed an 8:1 economic payback.

“The $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund could well unlock billions of dollars in benefits.

“What’s more, native fish and water fowl can’t prosper in dry river beds. Water also provides recreational and community gains. . . .

Those community gains are environmental, recreational and economic.

Water storage provides opportunities for fishing and water sports, it can enhance waterways to ensure they have a reasonable minimum flow during dry spells and also protect soils from wind erosion.

Storing water for irrigation safe-guards farms during droughts which ensures money keeps flowing through to the people and businesses who work for, supply and service farmers.

We had about 10 mls of rain yesterday, it’s the first significant precipitation since the two winter snow falls. Without irrigation we’d be starting to worry, with reliable water we know we can grow grass whatever the weather.

There is potential for more irrigation here and in other places. The Irrigation Acceleration Fund will help the development of new schemes while the work of the Land and Water Forum will ensure past mistakes are cleaned up and not repeated in the future.


%d bloggers like this: