Rural round-up


Small dog helping with big message – Sally Rae:

Poppy might be a miniature dachshund but the message the diminutive dog is helping spread is a big one.

Poppy is the constant companion of Harriet Bremner, a North Canterbury-based teacher-turned-author who is focused on making the most out of life.

Miss Bremner’s partner, James “Bob” Hayman, was killed in a farm machinery accident in the Hakataramea Valley in January 2017.

Following his death, she launched the brand Gurt and Pops and released her first children’s book Bob `n Pops, which was a tale of the special relationship between Mr Hayman and the couple’s dog Poppy. . . 

How banks peddled a product that killed farmers – Nikki Mandow:

The disastrous impact of banks selling risky financial derivatives to farmers is still being felt in rural communities more than a decade later. How did it happen and how can we stop banks doing it again?

Rural advocate Janette Walker has a storage box at her house. She calls it her “suicide box”. In it are letters from farmers – mostly men, mostly in late middle age – who tell her about the impact on their lives of the events surrounding the global financial crisis (GFC) back in 2007-2008. 

The letters came to Walker as part of a research project she worked on in 2010 with Massey University banking specialist Dr Claire Matthews. . . 

Spooked insurers walking away from agriculture – Ean Higgins:

Farmers face potential ruin as insurers spooked by climate change, drought and bushfires ­refuse to cover crops worth billions of dollars.

Plantation crops such as ­bananas and pineapples, some of which were destroyed in the latest Queensland bushfires, could be the next to be uninsurable, a ­report published on Monday by global insurance broker Gallagher warns.

“Plantation insurance will be one of the first casualties of climate change,” the report says. Other crops including grapes, citrus and almonds could be not far behind, with insurers pulling cover altogether or raising premiums to the point where they become unaffordable for most growers. . .

Research to help rural health – Pam Jones:

A Central Otago health professional hopes her upcoming research will help address some of the inequities faced in the rural health sector. Pam Jones talks to Sarah Walker about a national fellowship she has received that will help her look into the challenges and complexities faced by rural allied health professionals.

A Central Otago physiotherapist will notch up a national first following health research she hopes will help all rural communities.

Sarah Walker has just been named a recipient of a Health Research Council of New Zealand Clinical Research Training Fellowship.

The $204,000 fellowship will allow Mrs Walker, who is a physiotherapist for Central Otago Health Services (Cohsl), which operates from Dunstan Hospital, to begin a doctorate at the University of Otago next year. . . 

Who should take up the challenge? – Gravedodger:

Many people who spend their time in cities with occasional trips to popular places for relief, often  have little idea how much of NZ landscape is bereft of communications as they have evolved to in the closing second decade of century 21.

We store our mobile home around five Kms from the northern end of CHC main runway. A site we used as a “Town House ” during our time in Akaroa.
It has zero access to the Spark network and is marginal for Vodafone.

We also have a site at a small camp just south of the two bridges that cross the Rakaia where it emerges from its gorge. That site has even more precarious phone links and our site has a luvly old Cabbage Tree,  ‘ti kouka’,   that completely blocks line of site to Optus. . .

ClearTech a gamechanger for Canterbury dairy farmer:

A revolutionary dairy effluent treatment system is delivering enormous environmental benefits for Lincoln dairy farmer Tom Mason.

Ravensdown’s ClearTech system, developed in conjunction with Lincoln University, uses a coagulant to bind effluent particles together to settle them out from the water. This clarifying process reduces freshwater use, helps existing effluent storage go further and reduces the environmental and safety risks linked with farm dairy effluent (FDE). . .

Rural round up


What farmers face in 2013  – Caleb Allison:

Farmers face their most volatile year in recent memory as New Zealand’s agriculture sector remains at the mercy of world markets, according to industry commentators.

While every year comes with a certain level of uncertainty for the farming community, Waikato University’s head of agribusiness, Professor Jacqueline Rowarth told NBR ONLINE it is of particular concern this year.

“Many farmers are already running at a very slim margin. . .

Happy helping Kiwi kids – Hugh Stringleman:

Delivering milk to 56 Northland schools is very rewarding, say Luke and Corrine McDonald, Fonterra Brands franchisees based in Whangarei.

Twice a week they have two of their four trucks on the roads around their large delivery area, delivering the 250ml UHT cartons and picking up the empties for recycling.

Northland was the provincial pilot for the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, launched at Manaia View School, Whangarei, last March. . .

Paying it forward at Little Acres – Tim Fulton:

Animal care centre run “in the spirit of koha” is getting a make-over, propelled by the kind of generosity that got it started.

Jacqui Emmett and her husband Barry operate the non-profit Little Acres in western Waikato, helping prepare surplus livestock for new homes.

The Te Akau couple charge nothing for taking in animals, despite feed costing them up to $350 a week.

In fact, if money gets tight the humans are the last to be fed. . .

Debt mediation law would rein-in banks: Walker – Jamie Ball:

A farm debt mediation law would reduce the tendency for banks to engage in “reckless” lending practices similar to the mass marketing of complex interest rate swaps to farmers, according to campaigner Janette Walker.

“It will also introduce a level of fairness that will rebalance the power structure, which is presently poorly balanced in the bank’s favour.

“It’s about setting up a more transparent process. The banks have responsibilities and so do the farmers. It also stops the banks doing their snatch and grab,” the farmer’s advocate said. . .

Porina biocontrol promise :

IMAGINE LOOKING across the farm and being pleased to see hundreds of creatures vomiting and dying of dehydration.Sounds surreal, but it’s becoming reality thanks to smart scientists working on porina caterpillar control.

Mark Hurst, AgResearch Lincoln, and his Invermay colleague Colin Ferguson, have, for several years, been working with bacteria Yersina entomophaga MH96, a bug Hurst discovered in native grass grubs in 1996. It’s since been found to be deadly to porina and other insect pests such as bronze beetle and diamond back moth. . .

Bayer and Motutapu Restoration Trust announce forest planting partnership

The Motutapu Restoration Trust has today announced a partnership with Bayer, which is contributing $25,000 for forest restoration to celebrate the company’s 150th birthday in 2013.

In addition to donating to the Trust to support the planting of a block of forest, Bayer will offer its staff an annual opportunity to volunteer on the island to help with planting and weeding.

“In 2013, Bayer celebrates its 150th birthday and we will be marking that in various ways around the world,” Bayer New Zealand Ltd Managing Director Patricia Castle said today. “Helping create a home for kiwi and takahe is something our team in New Zealand would love to support so we’ve chosen to take responsibility for funding the planting and maintenance of two hectares of forest on Motutapu as our birthday gift to New Zealand. . .

TV3 has a video of: Mustering sheep with a remote control quadcopeter.

And NZ Farmers Weekly has a selection of photos of 2012.

Rural Round-up


Repeat after me -Farmers are not special – Cactus Kate writes:

Fongterra and Federated Fuckwits are a powerful lobby force in New Zealand. Despite tourism lending more to GDP, everyone in NZ is brainwashed into thinking floating up farmers stupidity is in the best interests of the country. I’ve met several PR people claiming to do PR work for Fongterra. I don’t doubt them for a second as they are all duplicitous lying fuckwit sorts.

If farming is a business, as they say it is, then why should banks treat it any differently to other SME (small medium enterprises)? . .

The story which prompted her post was Loan one Challenge too many  in the NZ Herald:

Janette Walker’s farm was soaring in value and the bank was happy to lend – then everything changed.

Janette Walker has always been the type of person who relishes a challenge.

It was, after all, her feisty nature and can-do spirit that prompted her to give up nursing two decades ago to try to make a living from the land.

 The $47 billion rural hangover :

Think it’s all good down on the farm? Think again. Property values are plunging, and the crisis could yet hit the cities too, reports Karyn Scherer.

On the afternoon of January 17, John Taylor (not his real name) decided to take some time out from the daily grind of managing his family’s farm in the central North Island.

Persuaded it would be worth his while, he filled his car with gas and tootled off to a meeting of fellow farmers fed up with their banks.

While the evening proved a catharsis of sorts, it may have done more harm than good. When another farmer offered her blunt assessment of John’s situation – there was no doubt, she suggested, that he was about to lose his farm – he visibly recoiled, as if slapped in the face. . .

Milk runs in the veins of lifelong farmer – Jon Morgan writes in the Dominion Post:

The South Wairarapa dairy farm of Bryan Weatherstone has grown steadily over the years. When he returned home with an agriculture diploma in 1966 to help his father, Alex, it was 80 hectares and was milking 240 cows. This year, under the management of son Stewart, 2000 cows will be milked on 485ha.

Along with this growth has come a vast improvement in the farm’s capital value, but cashing up is the furthest thing from Mr Weatherstone’s mind.

He does not look at the green irrigated paddocks and herds of peacefully grazing jersey cows and see dollar signs.

“I see an asset for the generations to come,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for, to build the business up and to pass it on to Stewart for him to add to. That’s the satisfaction I get.” . . .

Growers of choice for boutique beer – Sanra Taylor writes in Country Wide:

When beer drinkers crack the top off a bottle of Monteith’s latest boutique offering they will know exactly who grew all the ingredients that went into the pale amber liquid.

They will know, from the information on the distinctive black bottle, the exact longitude and latitude of the paddocks in which the grain and hops were grown, as well as the name and location of the brewer Tony Mercer.

Rakaia farmer Bill Davey grows all the barley used in Single Source lager while Nelson grower Ian Thorn grows all the hops. Both growers have a reputation for their attention to detail in producing top-quality crops.

Selling rams with sandwiches – Jackie Harrigan writes:

At 86, Honor Brown buys teabags to make cups of tea for her son Richard Brown’s Banklea stud ram clients – but she still makes the tea in the teapot, and sets the table with a cloth.

She has her special way of making club sandwiches for the ram buyers, saying the men prefer sandwiches. She also has something sweet to accompany them – sultana cake or a sweet slice.

Corned beef minced with tomato sauce forms the bottom layer, then mashed egg goes on the top. They are always well-received, so popular in fact, that Richard says he is not sure if the clients come to buy the rams or to eat Honor’s sandwiches.

Growing up in Southland as the youngest of nine children in a sheep-farming family prepared Honor well for a lifetime as a stud sheep breeder’s wife in the Manawatu. Even after 60 years she has not quite lost her Southland accent.

The farms within the “super city” – Hugh Stringleman writes:

The regional parks of Auckland, acquired over 45 years, are a superb resource for recreation, conservation, education – and, perhaps surprisingly, primary production.

Auckland is home to 1.46 million people, but it also has 18 working farms within the regional parks now operated by the new “super city” council.

Within the new local government boundary, New Zealand’s largest metropolitan area covers 500sq km urban living in 6000sq km of total land area. It has a huge rural hinterland of farms, orchards, lifestyle blocks, water storage, native and exotic forests, and reserves.

Without livestock and good farming practices, the regional parks would quickly become weed-infested wildernesses unless growth was kept under control by a small army of mowers.

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