Rural round-up

25/06/2013

MIE may be sailing into a head wind – Allan Barber:

The Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group has appointed businessman and former sheep and beef farmer Ross Hyland to set up an establishment team, as it ramps up its campaign to achieve a restructure of the red meat sector.

After a series of meetings round the country at which it gained plenty of farmer support for its campaign, as well as backing from Beef & Lamb NZ and Federated Farmers, MIE has decided that it is now time to inject some muscle and structure into its plans. Chairman Richard Young said last week they had made this decision to ensure that they have an agreed solution and plan ready for the start of next season. . .

MPI says snow recovery progressing:

The Ministry for Primary Industries says South Island farmers are coping with recent heavy snowfall.

Snow has finally stopped falling in the most affected parts of the South Island hill and high country, says Trish Burborough, MPI’s Resource Policy South Island Regions manager (based in Dunedin).

She says the worst-affected areas are parts of Otago, Canterbury and Marlborough, especially in the high country above 400 metres.

“Rural communities are helping each other in practical ways, such as helping stock gain access to feed and water.

“MPI has been working with the Rural Support Trusts (RSTs) and Federated Farmers to coordinate the response. . .

Rural confidence soars after drought jitters – Jason Krupp:

The farming sector has shaken off its drought jitters, with economic confidence soaring in most rural regions, the latest Westpac McDermott Miller survey shows.

The national figures show confidence rose to 25 per cent by the end of the June quarter, up from 5 per cent at the end of March.

That was predominantly driven by a swing in rural sentiment.

Senior Westpac economist Felix Delbrucker said a generally improving global outlook and the Canterbury rebuild were certainly tailwinds, but the clincher was higher dairy prices offsetting the impact of the drought in the first part of the year. . .

Three and a half weeks in Turkey, most of the time outside Istanbul, have provided many revelations about the people, the country and not least about its agricultural production. Turkey, or to be more precise its government, wants to join the EU, although after the last couple of years of economic struggles and Eurozone problems, it isn’t clear why.

Turkey has enjoyed higher growth in the past decade than any EU member with only one year of contraction. Agriculture represents 25% of employment across an unmatched product base, although the sector is not very efficient with many small farmers and relatively unsophisticated farming methods. Subsidies are still in place, but are in the process of being reduced as part of the process of meeting the EU’s accession criteria. . . .

Leaders forum for young horticulturists:

Eight competitors from the Young Horticulturist of the Year met recently for a Young Leaders’ Forum.

The Auckland forum was established to provide an opportunity for the Young Horticulturists to develop their understanding of the industry and round out their knowledge beyond their sector specialty.

The two days featured presentations from sponsors Bayer, Fruitfed Supplies, Turners and Growers, ANZ and NZ Horticulture ITO. Presentation topics were selected to meet the forum’s theme of equipping future leaders for the challenges and aspirations of a sustainable and vibrant horticultural industry. . .

Oh Dirty River by Helen Lehndorf – Tuesday Poem:

The town where I grew up

was small, ugly and smelled
like burning blood.
 
Most of the dads and 
a lot of the mums and
heaps of the big brothers and sisters
worked at the Freezing Works. . .
(I used to link to each week’s Tuesday Poem and others in the side bar. I haven’t done it for ages because of time constraints,  but this one, and the commentary by Tim Jones  which follow it resonated with me.
My father was a carpenter at the freezing works a Pukeuri, a few kilometres north of Oamaru. The works were, and still are, an important part of the local economy. They were for many small towns then and still are for some today.)

At what cost?

11/02/2013

Around 10,000 jobs could be created if New Zealand boosted its use of renewable energy.

. . . Chief policy advisor Nathan Argent said key findings show that the clean energy sector could give the country a much needed boost in the economy and create 10,000 jobs.

He said the findings estimate that the geothermal industry could be worth $4 billion per year to the economy by 2030 and the use of bio-energy – rather than importing oil – could save almost $7 billion per year. . .

That’s the good news in a report commissioned by Greenpeace – but there aredoubts over the figures:

Energy News editor Gavin Evans said although the research is good at highlighting what needs to be done, the job creation numbers were not reliable.

Energy analyst, Bryan Leyland was also sceptical about the findings and said they were completely unrealistic.

Jason Krupp at Stuff notes:

. . .  Where the report stumbles is on the financial side, giving no detail on the level of investment required or the economic tradeoffs, making it impossible to judge if the transformation would be worthwhile or simply a pyrrhic environmental victory.

Argent said this was a deliberate choice, with the aim of the report to spark a discussion rather than getting too bogged down in the numbers.

About  which Agnito at The Visible Hand in Economics says:

Which basically means this report tells us nothing….

As a side note, as an economist I would replace “financial side” with “opportunity cost”  as it it’s not just “money” trade offs that need to be considered…social, environmental, and any other metric that will be part of the cost need to be considered. You can’t just look at non-monetary gains on the benefit side and ignore them on the cost side.

Exactly.

It’s not hard to create jobs but creating jobs which justify all the costs is a far more difficult and complex matter.

The report mentions geothermal and bio-energy. Jobs would also be created by the development of hydro or wind generation, which are renewable but they always attract opposition  from people who don’t think the gains outweigh the costs.

The deliberate absence of financial or economic considerations merely confirms the fears of those who are sceptical of green, and often Green, campaigns which concentrate on the environment in isolation without taking into account economic and social concerns.


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