Rural round-up

14/09/2022

On how farmers overcome diversity – Sally Rae:

Resilience is defined as the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Those in the rural sector, in particular, can face adversity from multiple sources and additional challenges to other sectors of society.

For high country farmer Jack Cocks, adversity came in the form of a life-threatening brain injury in March 2013.

Then 36 years old, the father-of-two got a massive headache; he recalls the pain as being unimaginable. He did not know what the cause was but he knew the outcome could potentially kill him.

His wife Kate phoned 111 and he was flown from their home at Mt Nicholas Station, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, to Dunedin Hospital in the middle of the night. . . 

Kaitiakitanga – the force propelling the Miraka marvel – Gerald Piddock:

A small company is taking a holistic approach in its business – and it’s paying off on the global stage.

A small central North Island milk company is proving it can do big things. Based in Mokai, north of Taupō, Miraka is showing it’s possible to operate with kaitiakitanga (meaning guardianship and protection or sustainability) and te ao Māori values, and punch above its weight on the global stage. Kaitiakitanga was not a strategy, it was embedded in Miraka values and everything it did, chief executive Karl Gradon says. It is one of Miraka’s key values. It means more than just being sustainable, he told farmers and industry leaders at the Primary Industries of New Zealand Summit in Auckland.

“That’s not the translation, it is much more holistic than sustainability and we are proving we can do this on a global scale.”

The $300 million dairy company based in Mokai just north of Taupō is a key player in the Māori economy, being one of its largest exporters. It collects milk from 100 local farms within a 120km radius of the factory, which gives it a farm-fresh advantage and results in superior quality products.  . . 

Firearms licence fears often unwarranted – Kathryn Wright:

One of the saddest — and most misinformed — reasons that has emerged in my research on young rural men and why they don’t seek help for mental heath issues, is a fear of losing their firearms licence, writes KATHRYN WRIGHT, rural counsellor.

Firearms are a serious topic and attitudes around them can be emotional and polarising.

Urban people tend to equate firearms with crime, whereas for rural people, they are an essential tool on the farm and beyond. Essential for quickly and humanely putting down sick stock, and for pest control.

The flip side of firearm use is that of recreational hunting, which several roles — killing wild animals to feed the family and then there is the social/emotional connection. . . 

Greenies challenge NZ food producers with push towards lab-produced tucker but Fonterra strikes back with Nutiani – Point of Order:

New Zealand’s  food  exporters, on whom  this  country  depends  for  the  bulk of  its  export earnings, may  have  to  contend  with  fresh  opposition  from a  new  quarter. This  is  the  school  of  “greenies” who  preach  the  need  for  a revolution  in  creating  food through  precision  fermentation: growing  food   in  labs  from  microbes  and  water.

Leading  this  school  in the  United Kingdom is a  formidable  authority,  George  Monbiot,  who argues  that  before  long

 “… most  of  our  food will come neither from animals nor plants but  from unicellular  life”.   

Monbiot  and  others  like   him  argue  it  is  “indisputable”   that  the  farming revolution of  the  the  1950’s ,  with  its  widespread use  of  herbicides, pesticides  and  fungicides has  waged  war  on  nature. . . 

Dairy commodities sustain high price :

Price rises across dairy commodities drove an annual increase in the value of exports for dairy products, Stats NZ said today.

In the year ended July 2022, the total export value of milk powder, butter, and cheese increased $2.8 billion (17 percent) to $18.8 billion, compared with the year ended July 2021.

“Dairy products had a strong finish to the export season with a continuation of high prices, especially in the second half of the season,” international trade statistics manager Alasdair Allen said.

The annual increase was heavily driven by exports of milk powder, up $1.1 billion to $10 billion and milk fats, including butter, up $1.1 billion to $3.8 billion from the year ended July 2021. . . 

Recognition for forestry’s highest achievers in 2022 :

This week at an awards dinner held in Auckland the New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF) announced the winners of its three most prestigious awards. The 2022 recipients are acknowledged for their diverse range of skills and experience. From hard graft and commitment at grass roots level, to high level policy planning and execution, and academic leadership.

Forestry continues to be a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy. NZIF President, James Treadwell says “the industry is working hard to benefit New Zealand, and we are particularly proud of the high calibre of this year’s award contenders.”

The Prince of Wales Sustainability Cup is awarded to Jake Palmer. This award recognises the achievements of a young New Zealand forest professional who lives and breathes the principles of sustainable forest management. In addition to the sound science based land stewardship, the awardee must demonstrate a commitment to raising the profile, of the wise use and conservation of forests and their ecosystems. Treadwell commented “This award was instigated by Prince Charles in 2017. It’s especially poignant timing this year following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. The mantel will pass to a new Prince of Wales, Prince William, to continue to champion environmentally positive forestry practices.” . . 


Rural round-up

24/02/2021

Lucky to be alive – Nigel Beckford:

Sheep and beef farmer Jack Cocks almost died from an aneurysm. Now he’s sharing with other farmers what his recovery taught him about resilience. 

Jack’s part of the team that runs Mt Nicholas, a high-country merino sheep and cattle station, on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu. “I grew up on a sheep and beef farm, went to uni, travelled overseas and came back and worked in an agribusiness consultancy. My wife Kate and I came here to work in 2009. There’s a team of four of us that run the farm. It’s probably more of a democracy than a lot of farms but it works well. It means we can use all our different skills.”

Jack says Mt Nicholas is a great place to work and raise a family (they have two kids). “Although we’re in an isolated situation, there is a team of us here so we might see more people during our working day than many sheep and beef farmers. I really love what farming offers – that mix of running your own business as well as working outside doing practical things. We enjoy a huge variety of work.”

All that was suddenly at risk when he suffered his aneurysm in 2013.  “I’m very lucky to be here,” he says, remembering the night it happened. . .

IrrigationNZ supports Infrastructure Commission assessment that ‘status quo’ for water management no longer tenable:

IrrigationNZ is heartened by the release of Te Waihanga’s (Infrastructure Commission) state-of-play report #3 on water released today and agrees with many insights .

“The report acknowledges that the status quo of water management is unlikely to be sustainable – and we 100% agree,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive Vanessa Winning.

“We are pleased the report highlights the need for a holistic and long-term strategic view of water to ensure optimal, sustainable and inclusive outcomes. This is long overdue and something we have advocated for. . . 

Regenerative agriculture white paper sets out pressing research priorities :

There is a pressing need for scientific testing of the anecdotal claims being made about regenerative agriculture. A new white paper sets out 17 priority research topics identified by 200+ representatives of New Zealand’s agri-food system.

Regenerative agriculture has been proposed as a solution for some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most acute challenges. Advocates suggest it can improve the health of our waterways, reduce topsoil loss, offer resilience to drought, add value to our primary exports, and improve the pervasive well-being crisis among rural farming communities.

With a groundswell of farmers transitioning to regenerative agriculture in New Zealand, there is an urgent need for clarity about what regenerative agriculture is in New Zealand and for scientific testing of its claimed benefits.

A new white paper, Regenerative Agriculture in Aotearoa New Zealand – Research Pathways to Build Science-Based Evidence and National Narratives, sets out 17 priority research topics and introduces 11 principles for regenerative farming in New Zealand. . . 

Young inventor on mission to transform wool sector – Annette Scott:

The strong wool industry can pin its hopes on a resurgence with $5 a kilogram return for coarse wool fibre in the sights of Kiwi inventor and entrepreneur Logan Williams.

Just 25 years of age and hailing from Timaru, Williams hit the headlines when he developed and successfully exited four revolutionary inventions, including polarised contact lenses to treat photosensitive epilepsy and a system to destroy methane gas produced on farms.

He received awards for his inventions, including a National Merit Award at the Eureka Science and Innovation Competition. . .

Roped in for life by rodeo – Sally Rae:

As the rodeo season continues around the country, Southland farmer and cowboy Greg Lamb has overcome a few hefty obstacles to get back in the saddle again. Business and rural editor Sally Rae reports.

Extraordinarily determined.

That sums up Greg Lamb, a Southland sheep and beef farmer and rodeo champion who has battled injury — and a brain tumour — while pursuing and succeeding in the sport he loves.

Mr Lamb (43), who farms near Waikaka, might be a bit banged up at the moment — he hit the ground with his shoulder “fairly hard” at Wairoa rodeo last month, fracturing his shoulder blade, four ribs and a vertebra — but he is focused on making a return this season. . . 

Westland’s new CEO takes reins :

Westland Dairy Company Limited’s new CEO Richard Wyeth is looking forward to bringing the strength of a global dairy giant to the opportunities that lie ahead for the West Coast dairy processor after taking up the leadership role this week.

Mr Wyeth’s arrival at Westland yesterday was welcomed by resident director of Westland Dairy Company Limited, Shiqing Jian, who stepped down as interim CEO. Mr Jian served as interim CEO following the resignation of former Westland CEO Toni Brendish in August last year.

“We hope Richard is as excited as we are about the opportunities that lie ahead for Westland as he takes stewardship of this iconic New Zealand company,’’ Mr Jian said. . . 


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