Rural round-up

18/05/2013

Looking out for one another is positive for all – James Houghton:

Rural New Zealand has traditionally been made up of close-knit communities.

The knowledge that the people around you were looking out for you in tough times, as well as good, was a source of huge strength for heartland New Zealand. Lately I feel our rural communities are not as close as they used to be.

This is probably a reflection of society as a whole, but it would be great if we all made more effort to look out for our neighbours and get that sense of community back.

Are we in an era of entirely corporate thinking? Does extracting the value of every dollar and cent make us stronger?

I believe self-interest and self- preservation sometimes work against people. . .

Contestants battle elements as well as each other – Hugh Stringleman:

Seven Young Farmer Contest grand finalists and hundreds of supporters and schoolchildren battled steady rain at Kumeu Showgounds last Friday.

The weather got worse as the contestants tired, which made the combined technical and practical day an endurance test.

About 500 schoolchildren from Auckland secondary schools attended to hear presentations by primary sector leaders on career choices. That part was undercover and was well attended. . .

Mackenzie agreement confirms it is a working landscape:

Farmers who work the Mackenzie country are central to its future and that has been recognised in the Mackenzie Agreement, which was launched on Sunday. This Agreement fundamentally recognises the iconic region to be a working rural landscape.

“The Mackenzie Agreement is a significant achievement,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“This agreement is a tribute to all those who sat down to understand each other’s point of view. It is environmental groups, recreational users and tourism interests reaching common ground with farmers that the Mackenzie is a working landscape with high conservation values. . .

Small grazing blocks drive rural sale volumes:

While Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) data shows 67 more farm sales took place in the three-months to April 2013, this has been driven by the sale of smaller grazing blocks and comes with the median price per hectare falling 9.3 percent.

“While more farms were sold, 42 of them were grazing blocks with a median size of 65 hectares,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Perhaps more significant is that the median price per hectare across all farm types actually fell. At $20,241 per hectare, this is 9.3 percent down on the previous median of $22,317. . . .

Farmlands Marketing Man to Head New $2.2 Billion Co-op Marketing Team:

He’s headed marketing teams in industries as diverse as frozen foods, fragrances and farming and now Allister Bathgate’s success sees him appointed to an executive management role in New Zealand’s major rural retail co-operative.

Mr Bathgate’s new role as General Manger Marketing for Farmlands Co-operative Society Limited is a significant opportunity that doesn’t come along every day so he’s “rapt about it”.

Formerly the General Manager of Innovation and Communication for Farmlands, Waikato-born and bred Mr Bathgate’s new role is a result of the recent merger of rural retailers Farmlands and CRT. . .

NZ fine dining salmon wins global award:

New Zealand’s Ōra King salmon has been judged as ‘remarkable’ at the iTQi Superior Taste Awards in Belgium.

The brand has been developed specifically for fine dining by Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon and was launched only last year.

Ōra King Fresh Whole Salmon achieved two stars in the awards and an overall mark of 83.1 per cent.

The iTQi Superior Taste Awards are in their ninth year and are judged by more than 120 of the world’s opinion-leading chefs and sommeliers. . .


Rural round-up

13/03/2013

The big dry – Groping Towards Bethlehem:

We’re in a drought. Pastures are drying out, stock are stressed, and Wellington now has water restrictions (very mild water restrictions, it must be said).

The costs are being toted up. The figures being tossed around are in the $1 to $2 billion range (0.5% to 1.0% of GDP, roughly), which compares to agriculture being ~10% of GDP. If it hits lambing or breeding stock, the impacts could go on past this season. Given the weak economic recovery, there are concerns about moving back into recession.

The drought is, of course, a lack of water. But really, it’s a lack of insurance. By insurance, I mean information and infrastructure that protect us from downside risk. There isn’t enough of that around water in New Zealand, and no wonder. We haven’t needed it. But this year we do, and climate change is expected to increase the variability of weather and make ‘insurance’ more important. . .

Water governance and the RMA – Steve Couper at Waiology:

Deteriorating water quality is consistently rated by many New Zealanders as being their number one environmental concern. Their concern is well placed. Some of our lowland waterways are now so badly polluted that the ‘clean green’ brand we promote is being actively challenged.

The evidence for declining environmental health in these waterways is strong. Monitoring 77 sites along 35 rivers, the National River Water Quality Network (NRWQN) shows an overall decline in water quality since its inception in 1989. While the bulk of this deterioration has been caused by diffuse pollution from intensification of agricultural land use, the waterways running through our urban environments are the most degraded. Urban dwellers are in no position to point the finger at “dirty dairying.” . . .

Drought backdrop to disaster research seminars:

Farmers digging in for the reality of a long drought will also have to face the implications of such dry spells on their lifestyle off the land too.

Massey University clinical psychologist Dr Sarb Johal, from the Joint Centre for Disaster Research says the likely recurrence of drought conditions in future farming seasons would not only cause a transition in the management of land and water use but also in the way farmers mentally handled challenges set to affect everything from economic productivity to leisure time.

Dr Johal is among other emergency management specialists gathering at Massey Wellington campus this week for a series of seminars addressing issues around preparing for and responding to natural disaster. . .

Drought could push farm businesses close to the wall – James Houghton:

After meeting with Ministry for Primary Industries representatives on Friday, I am pretty confident that a medium-scale adverse-event drought will be declared for Waikato and much of the upper North Island soon. While any drought declaration would be a relief for farmers, the reality is we need rain, stat.

Some of us have been reluctant to call for an official declaration, because farmers do not want to be seen as bludgers. In fact, we do not get any more help than any other sector struck by a natural adverse event.

There is enough science supporting that this weather is out of the ordinary. However, with this being the third drought declaration since 2008, we could be seeing the start of a worrying trend. . .

NZ wins tri-nations:

The 2013 Pure South Butchery Tri Nations has been taken out by New Zealand’s Wedderburn Sharp Blacks.

The team beat last year’s champions, Australia, and newcomers, Britain, to take the winners spot.

Taking a side of beef and a whole lamb, each team had to use the product to create a butchery display within a two-hour timeframe.

“The pressure was definitely on. We’ve put a lot of work into this competition and it feels great to walk away with the result we were after,” Wedderburn Sharp Blacks Captain Corey Winder said.

“Being on our home turf created the perfect setting for an unforgettable experience.” . .

Young Farmer time again – RivettingKate Taylor:

Okay now I am starting to feel old.

There was a time when I knew everyone (technically, not EVERYone) in Young Farmers, not just in my region, but around the country. Now, as the press releases roll in with the 2013 finalists, they’re just too young! I spoke to a young farmers meeting the other day with another hat on and some of them probably weren’t alive when I joined!

Not just from national conference, but the Young Farmer Contest.. I remember (just to name drop a bit….) when a friend Warwick Catto won in Hastings in1995 (Thomas and I were on the organising committee as well and Warwick is now high on the management list at Ballance Agri-Nutrients), our farming friends Shaun Baxter from the mighty East Coast in 1997 and Callum Thomsen in 2007. Some of them I don’t remember as such but the names are familiar to many in agribusiness in NZ – Young Farmers CEO Richard Fitzgerald was third in 1995, Philip Reid of Southland radio fame won in 1996, Waikato Federated Farmers chairman James Houghton (I think) was second in 1998 (yes Steve Hines, I’ll mention you too cos you won that year!) Paul McGill was in two Grand Finals – he’s just finished a stint as Wairarapa Feds chairman. . .

And Hat Tip CoNZervative:

Image

Townie: “What are those filing cabinets in the field?

Rural hick: “We need to keep accurate records of every sheep.”


Rural round-up

23/10/2011

Success stories: how Glowing Sky grew from printing T-Shirts in Stewart Island to makigna nd selling merino clothing through its own chain of stores – Bernard Hickey:

Cath Belworthy still seems surprised at her business success as she tells her story to a business conference in Dunedin.

“We’ve taken it to a level that we would never ever have dreamed of all those years ago,” said Belworthy, who co-founded Stewart Island-based clothing company Glowing Sky Merino with her husband Dil in 1997.

But she is rightly enthusiastic and proud of all the hard work, sacrifice and inspiration that led to that success . . .

The trade environment: Future of WTO, beyond Doha TPP-regional FTAs – Bruce Wills (speech toInstitute of International Affairs:

. . .After talking to Federated Farmers staff about the long running saga that is the Doha trade round, one staff member relayed to me a political joke, if such a thing is possible, which may just hit the Doha nail on the head.

In Moscow, not long after the communist takeover, a factory worker trudging past the city gates noticed a revolutionary guard intensely scanning the horizon.

In mud, snow, sleet and rain, this worker trudged past the same guard above the same gate, year in, year out.

One snowy day, our worker stopped, looked up and summoned up the courage to yell out, ‘comrade, what exactly are you doing up there?’

The guard stood to attention and with snow falling from his tattered greatcoat proclaimed proudly, ‘I am the lookout for the global communist revolution’.

‘Oh’, our factory worker innocently shoots back, ‘it’s a job for life then!’

That possibly sums up where the Doha trade round is right now. Despite much heroic effort by NZ trade officials, ten years on from when it all started; it seems to be where it started. . .

Who should hold the power of prosecution? – James Houghton:

The Auditor-General might be worried about regional councillors’ personal bias when the authority is deciding to undertake prosecutions, but I wonder if the staff can be totally fair either.

Following a recent recommendation by the Auditor-General, Waikato Regional Council is asking its staff to review the role our elected councillors take in deciding what prosecutions it should be pursuing.

At the moment the decision whether to initiate a prosecution or not is made by a regulatory committee of councillors. I guess the worry is they could be tempted to consider their re-election chances when weighing up the options whether or not to prosecute when a person has breached the law . . .

Processing changes may not mean better capacity alignment –  Allan Barber:

The meat industry will see a number of processing initiatives taking effect over the next 12 months, all of them designed to create greater efficiency for their owners. They may not necessarily lead to better alignment of capacity with predicted livestock numbers for which B&LNZ Economic Service forecasts an increase from 2011 of 5.7% to 20.1 million lambs, second lowest in more than 50 years, and 1.8% more cattle, mainly cull cows . . .

Tasty and healthy, venison is set ot tkae over your dinner table

NEW YORK (WABC) — To indulge your love for red meat without detriment to your health, venison is the meat choice for you.

Grilled, pan seared or smoked, venison is the new “it” food, according to Chef Brad Farmerie and he should know. At his Soho restaurant Public, he prepares and serves about 10 thousand portions of it each year.

“I know for a fact, this is going to be a rockstar meat going forward, next year, the year after and everywhere from then on,” he says.

He cooks with cervena venison. It’s farm raised in New Zealand, grass fed and one of the most popular dishes from his kitchen. . .

How much water do we use? Daniel Collins:

One of the arguments being used at the moment to promote water storage and irrigation schemes is that much of the water that falls on New Zealand flows to the sea, not to the farm. Conor English, CEO of Federated Farmers, wrote in an opinion piece earlier this year:

“It’s not that New Zealand is running out of water, it’s that water is running out of New Zealand.”

As it turns out, about 80% of the water that falls on New Zealand flows out to sea, the rest evaporates back into the atmosphere. . .

Chica the bright red car:

Children expecting a visit from Rainbow Place’s nurses and therapists can now look forward to shorter waiting times, thanks to the gift of a bright red Nissan car to be named ‘Chica’, donated by Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) at the weekend.

The therapists and nurses at Rainbow Place – an arm of Hospice Waikato – travel thousands of kilometers each month throughout Waipa, Waikato and Coromandel, supporting children and young people who are coping with serious illness or bereavement . . .

My New Hero Kenyan Farmer Kimani Maruge! It’s never to late to learn – Pasture to Profit:

It’s been an amazing week! What with the Rugby World Cup. I am very proud to be a New Zealander & to see the fantastic rugby the
All Blacks play. A very interesting week on UK pasture based dairy farms too.

This week I watched an amazing DVD called “First Grader” an award winning 2011 film about the Kenyan hero “Kimani
Maruge”. Kimani Maruge (a farmer) was a 1950’s Mau Mau veteran who arrived at a tiny rural primary school as an 84 year old man determined to get an education after the Kenyan government offered “free education for all”. Kimani holds the record as the oldest person ever to start primary school. His determination to get an education was truly
inspirational.

Latest results from Shearing Sports NZ:

New Zealand representative Dion King had to put in one of his better performances of quality shearing to beat a top quality lineup and deny the legendary David Fagan a memorable double in the new season’s first North Island shearing competition in Gisborne on Saturday.

Shearing at the Poverty Bay Show, which attracted almost 100 shearers and woolhandlers, Te Kuiti gun Fagan was trying to add victory in his first show as a 50-year-old to his last at the age of 49 at Waimate a week earlier, and also complete a double he had scored last season. . .

Mortgagee sale of prime Wakatipu land:

A prime piece of land on the shores of Lake Wakatipu is to go to mortgagee sale following the developer going bankrupt.

The 38-hectare Walter Peak Estate is across the lake from Queenstown. It has consent to build a luxury lodge or several homes . . .


Rural round-up

12/09/2011

Getting a slice of the dairy actionWilly Leferink:

For those who wish to ‘save our farms’ from foreign hands, I’m an immigrant. For others who view the cow as an environmental devil, I am a dairy farmer. To those who accuse corporate farmers of avarice, my family and I have interests in six farms. I just hope they’ll note ‘family’ in the last sentence. To those who accuse dairy farmers of tax evasion, I pay my taxes and employ people who do the same.

While I could recite economic numbers showing over a quarter of all exports are dairy, this tends to fly over the heads of many. Listening to the Herald’s Fran O’Sullivan on the radio recently, I was struck by her saying ‘people want a slice of the dairy action’. This was about ‘mum and dad’ investors getting their share in our biggest export industry. The argument is attractive, if somewhat idealised. There’s an assumption retail investors will collect dividends rather than selling their shares at the best possible price. This confounds my idea of what capitalism is . . .

Station wool deal with Japanese

 Mackenzie high country farmer is taking his merino wool straight to the Japanese market after securing a deal with a Japanese buyer that will turn his product into high-end fashion garments for wealthy consumers.

The agreement will see Maryburn Station owner Martin Murray supplying Japanese spinning company Nankai with 20 tonnes of his wool, which comprises about half of what he produces at his station in the Mackenzie Basin . . .

Tauranga horticulturist wins Loder Cup:

Tauranga horticulturalist Mark Dean has been awarded one of the country’s highest conservation honours, the prestigious Loder Cup for 2011, Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson announced today.

“Mark has made an outstanding contribution throughout his lifetime working in the horticulture industry specialising in native flora.

“He has spent much of the past 30 years inspiring others as an advisor, teacher and role model both within the horticulture industry and in community conservation projects.

“This prestigious Cup is awarded for outstanding service and commitment to the protection of New Zealand’s native plant species . . .  

Waning RHD effect spurs studySally Rae:

Recent research on possum control is being applied to rabbits.

The research programme was driven by the waning effectiveness of the rabbit-killing virus rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD), with farmers increasingly having to rely on 1080 and pindone poisoning . . .

Farmer’s legacy of ingenuityMark Hotton:

It has been more than 40 years since Southlander Jack Pritchard came up with a simple solution to the annual problem of feeding orphaned lambs, but demand for his invention remains as strong as ever.

It is hard to know how many millions of his Pritchard flutter valve teat have been sold, but many farmers around the world will be familiar with the distinctive red rubber teat, which can be cut to adjust the feeding rate . . .

Fieldays king steps down after 20 yearsCeana Priest:

After two decades of guiding the National Fieldays to an international $500 million agribusiness event, general manager Barry Quayle has resigned.

Quayle, 56, will step down as head of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest field days and Mystery Creek Events Centre on November 1, saying he leaves behind a role that became his passion.

“I’m leaving with a sense of pride and recognising a lot of enjoyable days here,” he said. “It has become a passion and it gets into your blood. You live and breathe it.” . . .

Call to revive wool use in NZ:

As the international Campaign for Wool rolls on, the industry in New Zealand is looking to rebuild the demand for wool in its own back yard.

The latest step in the campaign to revive global interest in wool, the Wool Modern Exhibition, opened in London last week.

New Zealand products are featured in the exhibition which aims to break new ground in uses for wool by exhibiting work by leading fashion and interior designers . . .

Government, business and farmers to learn sustainability lessonsJames Houghton:

 I am astounded at some of the exorbitant prices being charged by some businesses now the Rugby World Cup is around the corner.

The World Cup may be a one off event, but treating it simply as a money grab is not sustainable thinking.

As a farmer and businessman myself, I am keen to see all industries operate a tight ship and turn a decent profit. However, farmers are starting to learn that business success in the long term is tied to sustainability and some stories of commercial greed in the news lately indicate not all industries have learnt that lesson. . .


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