GM could be greener

July 2, 2018

Outgoing Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman says it’s time to reignite the debate on genetic modification.

Speaking on TVNZ 1’s Q+A this morning, Sir Peter told Corin Dann that debate needed to be more constructive and less polarising than it had been in the past.

“The science is as settled as it will be; that is, it’s safe, that there are no significant ecological or health concerns associated with the use of advanced genetic technologies. That does not mean that society automatically will accept them. And what we need is a conversation which we’ve not had in a long time, and it needs to be, I think, more constructive and less polarised than in the past,” he said.

“We’re facing issues of biosecurity; we’re facing issues of predators and the desire to be predator-free; we’re facing the fact that our farming system needs to change because of the environmental impact of the greenhouse gas emissions, the water quality issues, etcetera. We are, fundamentally, a biologically-based economy.

“Now, the science is pretty secure, and science can never be absolute. And everything about life is about rational decisions with some degree of uncertainty. But the uncertainty here is minimal to nil, very, very low. I think it’s a conversation we need to have.” . . 

Anyone who thinks New Zealand is GM free is dreaming.

While GM is tightly controlled here, there is nothing to stop food with GM ingredients being imported and  imported corn and soy products are just two which are likely to have GM components.

Jo Goodhew said in her valedictory statement:

. . .  it is high time New Zealanders woke up to the importance of genetically modified organisms to our future in the fields of health, plant, and animal genetics, and, through that, environmental protection. Gene editing can help us cure cancers, eradicate wilding pines as well as four-legged pests, develop grasses that assist us to reduce methane emissions, and so much more. The debate has to be less about fear of the unknown, and more about safe and proven science. . . 

GM has been around for decades with no evidence of harm to human health or the environment.

GM has the potential to improve human and animal health; food production, reduce the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and provide safer alternatives for disease, weed and pest control than conventional products.

GM could be a greener solution to many problems if, to paraphrase Jo, the debate moved from fear of the unknown to safe and proven science.


Jo Goodhew’s valedictory statement

August 11, 2017

I was a member of the pre-selection committee which approved Jo Goodhew’s application to seek the National Party candidacy of what was then the Aoraki electorate.

Our confidence in her was rewarded when she won the seat from Labour, held it and what became the Rangitata seat when boundaries changed.

She did that by listening to and working tirelessly for her constituents as the best MPs do.

She also served as a whip and Minister.

Yesterday she delivered her valedictory statement.

To the many peoples, all voices, all mountains, all rivers, thank you for coming to support this auspicious occasion. Welcome, welcome. I begin this, my last speech in the House as MP for Rangitata, with pride, having been part of something very special for 12 years, and still with the passion for the things that I care about. As such, today I have some stories to tell, some messages I want to record in Hansard one last time, and, of course, some thankyous to deliver.

I leave here having been part of the huge class of ’05, 12 years the parochial MP, first for Aoraki then for Rangitata, 5 years a Minister, and one of the renowned East Coast blondes. I arrived in this place determined to be a fantastic electorate MP. I would later realise that I was up to the task of being a Minister, but I never wanted to be PM. I am a team player and I relished being part of such a wonderfully strong and talented National Party team.

My maiden speech recorded that water was a major issue in my then seat of Aoraki. That speech also recorded my huge respect for and support of volunteers—more on both soon. I was elected 17 September 2005, having campaigned for 10 months and knocked on 12,500 doors across the seat. Delegates questioned me before my selection, and they did not hold back, even asking: “Who will cook for your husband and children?”. I was not long into my time as MP before our teenage daughters asked me to stop cooking meals at the weekends to leave for sitting days; they informed me that they preferred their father’s cooking. You know, it took me a while to get over that, but I did.

Later in the campaign I had help out door knocking from two fabulous women, Anne Steele and Robyn Hewson. They got me out of bed when I was almost too tired to go out and keep going. It has been the commitment of tireless volunteers just like these two women that has kept me going through the tough times and encouraged me when the going got rough.

The 2005 effort paid off, and on election night we recorded a 13,000 swing in the candidate results. I have always thought that timing is everything, and whilst the swing back to National was strong that year, I would spend my first 3 years as an MP as an Opposition backbencher. I was disappointed at the time, but, on reflection, it is actually the best way to start a political career. Campaigning and being seen does bring challenges. Our Ford Falcon was sign-written and also had my photo on it. Supportive up until then, this was a step too far for our teenage daughters. How embarrassing to be taken to rowing in that—that is, until one of their friends dubbed it “the Jo-inator”. Apparently it was suddenly quite cool. Huge boundary changes made 2008 another tough campaign. When 80 percent of the territory and 40 percent of the people change, you have a lot more work to do. I was welcomed by the people of mid-Canterbury, and I thank them for that.

Some MPs get to experience a local issue that makes people take to the streets against the Government. In my case, it was the statutory management of Hubbard Managed Funds and Aorangi Securities and the later failure of South Canterbury Finance (SCF). The taxpayers of New Zealand shouldered the burden of paying out SCF investors, but the people in the electorate took the issues personally. I got through that by hearing everyone out, respecting their strongly held views even when not agreeing with them, and not hiding away. I was certainly the stronger for that experience.

There have been many amazing opportunities afforded to me as an MP and a Minister, and I will share some of them because they have a wider message. Like most MPs I have opened a few conferences and buildings. I have opened quite a few dementia units, including one in a prison. I am not sure how I feel about having my name on the outside of dementia units. Dementia touches almost every New Zealander in one way or another, and it robs people of precious years. New Zealand needs to acknowledge, plan for, and learn to deal with this as respectfully and sensitively as possible.

I opened, on behalf of the then Minister, both the Timaru and Ashburton Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Community Link offices. The Ashburton site would, on 1 September 2014, become the scene of tragedy when my constituents Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland were, quite literally, gunned down doing their jobs. I would return to that site as Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector to open Ashburton Community House. Out of that tragedy a strong community, while still mourning, dusted itself off and combined its efforts to fund-raise and turn the building into a wonderful facility for the people. Out front stands a carving that marks the loss of Peg and Leigh.

I proudly presented New Zealand’s seventh Commission for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) report to the UN in 2012. I was questioned for 4½ hours by a 25-person committee, dedicated to pushing New Zealand to do more in this space. The committee was certain that New Zealand would be better off with gender quotas. I still totally disagree with that approach, and, for myself, I would be absolutely mortified if I suspected I was ever chosen for a role because I was anything other than the equal to the male candidate, or even better.

New Zealand has more to do in this space, but much to be proud of. I think there are a number of ways we can move the dial for women and girls, including one that I think we can do for ourselves. The female of the species is wired differently to the male, so we need to recognise what in that creates hurdles for us in achieving equality of outcomes. Some of the hurdles are literally innate—not put there by others. Before I get shouted at for blaming the victim, hear me out. We need to understand and confront our own unconscious bias, make it conscious, and then deal with it. When I automatically think to myself that I do not have all the skills required to apply for the job, I need to recognise that neither does the guy next door, but he will apply, intending to learn on the job. When the performance review rolls around, I should not take the oft times approach and expect that my skills and value will have been recognised already, instead I need to do what guys do and describe my value to the organisation on a regular basis so that there is no doubt. Sometimes we need an internal rewire to compete on an equal footing. It is only one of a number of fronts we should tackle, but it is an important one.

I wish the media focused on attitudes, intentions, and results instead of labels when it comes to bridging the gender divide. Who gives a continental whether I label myself a feminist or not? Let deeds speak for the determination to shift the dial towards equality. Prime Minister Bill English has been the driving force behind the social investment approach. We know women are grossly over-represented in domestic violence statistics. Women and girls who do not achieve in education will likely become part of a low-income family. Teen pregnancy can lead to poor outcomes for that woman, and the child or children. So who cares if Bill English labels himself a feminist? Under his and Paula Bennett’s watch, teen pregnancies dropped by 57 percent. The approach is to get in early and help women to change their path and achieve their potential.

To all of those out there who cry poverty, and how much better off these families would be with more money, I say “We the Government—the first time in 43 years—we raised the benefits.” But a dysfunctional family with an extra $50 in their hand a week will still be a dysfunctional family. They need so much more than money. That is where the social investment approach comes in.

I was patron of Goodhew Class SO 3/14 LSV course at Burnham Military Camp. You know, I was moved to tears by the stories the participants told me about how their lives were changed by that experience. I know there are others in this debating chamber who have been patrons as well. That course, however, was only the start for them. Without employers willing to take them on afterwards, without training for them to go to, a golden opportunity could well have been lost.

As Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector for 5 years I had innumerable chances to recognise and thank New Zealanders for their efforts to enrich our communities and help others less fortunate than themselves to achieve community goals and projects—our largest workforce. I am proud to have, amongst other things, developed the Government Position Statement on Social Enterprise, and then launched a cross-agency working group to further promote it. Social enterprise allows social or environmental objectives to be achieved using a social enterprise or business approach. It is not a new approach, but there are many more examples of it today. I ask you to think of Pomegranate Kitchen, Eat My Lunch, Wilding & Co, Kilmarnock, and Patu Aotearoa and think of businesses that are literally making a huge difference.

The more social enterprises that flourish here in New Zealand, the more social and environmental objectives will be achieved without the Government getting involved, and certainly not getting in the way. Discerning spenders want to support those approaches to achieve outcomes they believe in.

As senior citizens Minister I had enormous frustration when hearing older New Zealanders described as a looming natural disaster—a grey or silver tsunami, or even a landslide at times. This characterisation diminishes older New Zealanders. We often speak of young people fulfilling their potential. Well, it is time we did more to encourage older people to fulfil their potential across their whole life.

For those who would like to keep working—and I emphasise that; for those who would like to keep working—there could be flexible hours, mentoring or training roles, leave without pay for retirement travel, and then them going back to roles where they feel respected and valued. I am tired of hearing that the workforce is ageing and all will retire at once. To employers, I suggest they offer an alternative for those who want to stay in the workforce.

My food safety portfolio gave me the scariest moments. New Zealand has an enviable reputation for food safety technology and practices, but things can still go wrong. In late 2014 a threat to contaminate infant and other formulas with 1080 was received. A huge Police and Ministry for Primary Industries response commenced, called Operation Concorde.

When the Prime Minister, Nathan Guy, and I faced the cameras early in March, we knew significant protections were in place. When I was asked to give a message to mums and dads, I urged them to keep using the formula, even though I knew that if I was wrong, a child could die. There is no antidote or treatment if 1080 is consumed. Now, the Police got their man—amazing work. The whole supply chain is now better protected from threats of a similar nature, and consumers now know to check products they buy for tampering.

At Christmas 2015, frozen berries contaminated with hepatitis A hit the headlines. Now, tracing followed, and the recalling and additional testing of imported product, and my message on this front is simply that country-of-origin labelling (COOL) gives no assurance of food safety, or otherwise. Almost every single one of those frozen products was already labelled with its country of origin. It is not so long ago that New Zealand apples were also contaminated by a worker with hepatitis A. So the answer is health and food safety officials working closely to identify and trace food-borne illnesses fast. Excellent traceability systems on the part of producers are essential and COOLs are only a marketing tool that works when the origin has a great reputation, which is exactly what New Zealand has.

I worked hard to progress the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry. The gestation was far too long, but worth the wait, I believe. This will reduce, by thousands, the numbers of consents required each year.

Back to water—New Zealand has certainly woken up to the value of water. At the heart of the issue is the need to look after our freshwater and use it wisely and efficiently. We have an abundance of freshwater. Now the focus is on repairing degradation that has happened over many decades and preventing further lessening of water quality.

The National Government is the first Government to have the intestinal fortitude to tackle thorny issues like allocation, reliability of supply, measuring quality, cleaning up poor-quality fresh water, requiring stock exclusion from waterways, and mapping a path to restore degraded waterways.

One last thought for the primary sector: it is high time New Zealanders woke up to the importance of genetically modified organisms and our future in the fields of health, plant, and animal genetics, and, through that, environmental protection. Gene editing can help us cure cancers, eradicate wilding pines as well as four-legged pests, develop grasses that assist us to reduce methane emissions, and so much more. The debate has to be less about fear of the unknown, and more about safe and proven science.

So what am I proud of? I absolutely loved the electorate work, and people tell me it showed. The people of the electorate encouraged me to connect, and I feel connected to them. I have relished meeting regularly with leaders, businesses, non-governmental organisations, schools, rest homes, and individual constituents, because I believe I needed to know them to represent them. I have shared their celebrations, their tribulations, sought solutions for them, listened to their stories, and advocated for them. What a privilege it has been.

I will proudly claim to have been part of the team that progressed the social investment approach. It was a team that was not afraid to measure the cost of unfulfilled human potential in not taking action. It was not afraid to insist on measuring whether actions taken really worked. In targeting where resources can effect the most change in lives, we get to do what we came here for: make a difference.

From the time I came to Parliament I have often held the aged-care responsibility. In the Opposition health team under Tony Ryall, I rose to his challenge. He exhorted every one of his health team to know their particular issue better than anyone else in this Parliament. I held forums across the country, inviting all stakeholders, and I asked what had been going well and what we could do better. In September 2007, the document discussing options was launched by leader John Key. Entitled Choice Not Chance for Older New Zealanders, there followed many hundreds of submissions. Then came the policy launch: more money for respite for exhausted family caregivers and unannounced spot audits in rest homes, eventually leading to all audits being put up online for the public to see. Over time there was extra money for dementia care, and that resulted in a 25 percent increase in the number of beds. A standardised assessment tool was implemented and accelerated.

So that is why it was a very proud day for me when the National Government announced that more than $2 billion over 5 years would recalibrate the pay rates for caregivers, so that their work was given the value it deserves.

Time is running out, so a couple of very brief messages: New Zealand, plant more trees—lots more; build more wonderful buildings using our timbers; use engineered timber to build tall, strong buildings. I was delighted to read page 3 of the Dominion Post today and to see Sir Bob Jones is leading the way, with a 12-storey timber building.

In the health sector, I am a strong believer of the quality and safety markers, and that it really matters. It does not just save money and resources; it saves lives. All practice should be best practice.

Thankyous: to former party president Judy Kirk, who believed I could win. Thank you, my friend. I thank president Peter Goodfellow and the board members, regional chair Roger Bridge, and former regional chairs Ailsa Smail and Kate Hazlett for their friendship and support. To my current and former electorate chairs, Allan Booth and Mark Oldfield, and campaign chairs, John Rushton and Mark Oldfield. You have had great committees doing a wonderful job for me. I thank you. I really appreciated the farewell party last weekend.

To former Prime Minister John Key: thank you for the opportunities you gave me, first as junior whip and then as Minister. I made the most of them and had an amazing time. I will always know I was part of a caucus led by an amazing Prime Minister, who helped New Zealand recover from huge adversity with his unfailing belief in New Zealand, New Zealanders, and a positive and exciting future.

To Prime Minister Bill English, who now gets the opportunity he undoubtedly earned, and is superbly equipped to accomplish: I wish Bill and all the candidates for this election well in the contest of ideas, so you can continue to deliver what we have started to achieve, and what we as a nation are capable of. I hope, come 23 September, that the people of Rangitata elect young and energetic Andrew Falloon.

To my “class of ’05” classmates—good buggers all—Wednesday nights after 10pm will never be the same. To friends who are here today: there will be more time for us now. Thank you for hanging in there.

An electorate MP struggles to be effective without great electorate agents: Don McCully, Janet Bates, and Robyn Hewson; then came Annette Ireton and Barb Aitken; now Alison Driscoll, Tracey Miron, and Robyn Hewson. Robyn still has my back, all those years after helping me door-knock. I have been blessed. Thank you all so much.

To the Wellington crew: first, Heather Henderson, then Elizabeth Neilson, Micheal Warren, Annette Ireton, Susan Palmer, and now Erin Taylor—what a time we have had. To my “SPS Supremo”—Rebecca Tane and the whole ministerial gonzo team that you knitted together: those 5 years were incredible. I learned so much from you all. Thank you. I am honoured that so many of you are here today.

If things are not going well at home, it is impossible to do your work well. Thanks to the incredible support of my husband Mark we have made the juggle work. To our daughters, Abi and Harriet in the gallery and Emily in London: thanks, guys, for cutting me enough slack to do my job, for making me so proud of you, and for making sure we kept talking to each other. Happy birthday, Harriet and Emily.

I grew up on a farm. Dad and I would drive round the sheep in the little truck, the radio always on the Parliament station. Maybe I was brainwashed there, or maybe it was just entertainment for us both. My mum and dad, Bruce and Winnie, have found a myriad of ways to support me. Dad just retired from the electorate executive at the last AGM. Mum and dad, I cannot thank you enough for all of the ways you and our extended family have helped me.

Once upon a time, an experienced MP warned me against telling anyone that my maiden name was McCully. It is OK, Murray. I have been my own person and I do not think it turned into a burden. But perhaps that is because I do not have scary nickname—that I am aware of.

People have asked me what I am going to miss. I will miss the people in this Parliament. No matter what your role is, I thank you for your cheery smiles, your warm greetings, your help, and your courtesy.

I finish with the whakataukī that has never been so true to me as now:

He aha te mea nui o te ao?

He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

[What is the most important thing in the world?

It is people, it is people, it is people.]

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.


Cabinet changes

December 18, 2016

Prime Minister Bill English has announced changes in and outside Cabinet:

Prime Minister Bill English has today announced his new Cabinet line-up which builds on the success of the last eight years and provides new ideas and energy heading into election year.

“Over the last eight years National has provided a strong and stable Government which is delivering strong results for New Zealanders,” says Mr English.

“This refreshed Ministerial team builds on that success and provides a mix of new people, alongside experienced Ministers either continuing their roles or taking up new challenges.

“This new Ministry is focused on providing prosperity, opportunity and security for all Kiwis, including the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett will remain the Minister of State Services and Climate Change Issues and will pick up the Police, Women and Tourism portfolios.

“I am looking forward to working with Paula as my deputy and I am delighted she is taking on the Police and Women’s portfolios.

“As only the second woman Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand Paula is well placed to take on the Women’s portfolio and represent the interests of women at the highest level of the government.”

Steven Joyce will pick up Finance and Infrastructure, while Gerry Brownlee will remain the Leader of the House and retain Supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Defence, and the Earthquake Commission portfolios. He will also be appointed as the Minister of Civil Defence.

“Steven and I have worked closely together in the Finance portfolio over the last eight years, and as Economic Development Minister he has delivered strong leadership of the government’s Business Growth Agenda.

“As Infrastructure Minister Steven will have a key role in overseeing the significant investments the government will be making in the coming years.

“I am delighted to have Gerry continue in his senior roles, including Leader of the House, and also to have him pick up the Civil Defence portfolio in which he has provided such leadership during the aftermath of the Kaikoura earthquake.”

Simon Bridges and Amy Adams have both picked up additional senior ministerial responsibilities.

Simon Bridges continues as the Minister of Transport and will pick up the Economic Development and Communications portfolios and Associate Finance, while Amy Adams retains Justice, Courts and picks up Social Housing, Social Investment and Associate Finance. Amy Adams will take a lead role in driving the Government’s social investment approach.

“Simon and Amy are two high performing Ministers who are ready to take on more responsibility. I am confident they will work well with Finance Minister Steven Joyce,” says Mr English.

At National’s Mainland conference, Amy told delegates she’d asked for money to be directed into social portfolios because that was the way to address the causes of crime.

She is well qualified for the extra responsibility for social investment.

Jonathan Coleman continues in his Health and Sport and Recreation portfolios, and will play an important role on the front bench.

“All New Zealanders care deeply about the health system, and Jonathan’s focus on ensuring that the needs of people young and old in accessing quality health care is a very strong one.”

Michael Woodhouse has also been promoted up the Cabinet rankings, retaining Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety and picking up the ACC portfolio.

“I would like to congratulate Michael on his promotion. He has been a solid performer and I know he still has a lot more to contribute.”

Anne Tolley has picked up Local Government and will also be appointed Minister for Children, where she will continue her work on improving outcomes for children and young people.

Hekia Parata will retain the Education portfolio until May 1, at which point she will retire from the Ministry to the back bench.

“I am keen for Hekia to see through the education reforms which she is well underway on, and she will work closely with other Ministers to ensure there is a smooth transition in May.”

There will also be a transition of ministers in the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Murray McCully will retain the Foreign Affairs portfolio until May 1at which point he will retire from the Ministry to the backbench. A decision on his replacement will be made at that time.

“I am keen for Murray to stay on for this transitional period to ensure I have the benefit of his vast experience on the wide range of issues that affect New Zealand’s vital interests overseas.”

This ensures there will be no need for a by-election if he leaves parliament when he’s no longer a minister. It also leaves the door open   for another couple of back benchers to get promotion next year.

Judith Collins takes on new responsibilities in Revenue, Energy and Resources and Ethnic Communities, and is well placed to oversee the significant business transformation work occurring at Inland Revenue.

A number of Ministers largely retain their existing responsibilities, including Chris Finlayson, Nathan Guy, Nick Smith, Todd McClay, Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner.

Paul Goldsmith and Louise Upston have been promoted into Cabinet.

“I would like to congratulate Paul and Louise on their promotions which are all well-deserved,” says Mr English.

There are four new Ministers. Alfred Ngaro who goes straight into Cabinet and Mark Mitchell, Jacqui Dean and David Bennett who have been promoted to Ministerial positions outside Cabinet.

I am especially pleased that Alfred and Jacqui are being promoted.

He was an electrician before entering gaining a degree in theology and has extensive experience in community work. (See more here).

Jacqui is my MP, serving one of the biggest general electorates in the country. She c0-chaired the Rules Reduction Taskforce and was Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism and Local Government.

“The National party Caucus is a tremendously talented one, and as Ministers finish their contribution it’s important for the government’s renewal that we give members of our caucus an opportunity. Alfred, Mark, Jacqui and David have worked hard and performed well in their electorates and as select committee chairs, and deserve their promotions.”

There will be 21 positions in Cabinet until May 1 and a further six outside Cabinet (including two support party Ministers) keeping the total number of Ministerial positions at 27 plus the Parliamentary Under Secretary David Seymour.

“I would like to thank our support party leaders Peter Dunne, Te Ururoa Flavell, and David Seymour for their continued contribution to a strong and stable government.”

Mr English said that he expected to make announcements on the two further new Ministers to replace Ms Parata and Mr McCully just prior to their 1 May retirements from the Ministry.

Ministers Sam Lotu-Iiga, Craig Foss and Jo Goodhew are departing the Ministry.

“I would like to thank Sam Lotu-Iiga, Craig Foss and Jo Goodhew for their service to New Zealand as ministers. I am sure they will continue to be great contributors to New Zealand society in the years ahead.”

The full list of portfolios and rankings is here.


Rural round-up

November 9, 2016

MIE tried hard but couldn’t make a difference – Allan Barber:

MIE’s decision to disband after three years trying to persuade the red meat sector it was going to hell in a handcart has come as no surprise. But the organisation’s founders and directors are not unnaturally disappointed at their inability to gain support for their plan to solve the endemic problems of the industry.

MIE’s chairman Dave McGaveston has blamed everybody for MIE’s failure, including the government, directors of Silver Fern Farms and Alliance (especially the MIE candidates who were appointed to their boards), the rural media, Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb NZ. The last named organisation actually provided nearly $300,000 of financial support for farmer awareness meetings, business plan preparation and production of the Pathways to Sustainability report. But it incurred MIE’s displeasure when it refused to provide further funding for a roadshow to drum up support for the group’s plans, correctly recognising this was beyond its remit. . . 

China’s Binxi Cattle to mount $25.3 million takeover for Blue Sky Meats –  Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – China-based Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co intends to make a $25.3 million takeover offer for Blue Sky Meats, the Southland-based meat processor whose shares trade on the Unlisted platform.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, a subsidiary of the Chinese company, will offer $2.20 per share for up to 100 percent of the shares, Blue Sky said in a statement to Unlisted. The formal takeover offer has not yet been made but is due within 30 days of the notification of intention. . . 

Lamb flap prices jump to 18-month high on Chinese New Year demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Lamb flap prices jumped to their highest level in a year and a half, driven by increased demand from China where buyers are stocking up for New Year celebrations.

The price for lamb flaps rose to US$4.70 per kilogram in October, up from US$4.50/kg in September and US$3.80/kg for the same period a year earlier, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report. That’s the highest level recorded by AgriHQ’s since April 2015. . . 

Sydney shows off ag’s opportunities:

GROWING confidence in global agricultural is putting fizz back into the farm sector, and Rabobank’s innovation summit in Sydney today is yet another example of the investment communities’ interest.

Focused on food trends and new business development, 1000 local and international farmers are mingling with ag start up companies, investors and industry leaders on Cockatoo Island, formerly a convict prison barracks, Navy dockyard and now a UNESCO world heritage site. . . 

 

New programme tackling disruptive innovations for primary industries:

Five years ago, a small team of tech enthusiasts laid the groundwork for a new primary industry event for Australasia, MobileTECH. The objective was to bring together and showcase mobile innovations designed to increase productivity within the sector.

In a sector where meetings, conferences, expos or field days run every other week, it was always important that this event had to have a clear purpose. Those involved were excited about the growth in mobile technologies for the rural sector and in the rapid developments in cloud computing, wireless sensors, big data, satellite imagery and others.

In its design, it needed to be an independent programme about the technology and what it can do; not about politics, markets or the business buzzwords of the day. . .

Vegetable industry joins GIA partnership:

The vegetable industry has become the twelfth industry partner to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“It’s great to have Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated signed up and working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners,” says Mr Guy.

“It means we can work together on managing and responding to the most important biosecurity risks. . . 

Fresh vegetable industry signs biosecurity agreement:

Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated today signed an agreement with Government to better protect the fresh vegetable growers it represents in managing biosecurity procedures.

Vegetables NZ Inc is the governing body representing 900 commercial growers who produce more than 50 crops, with a farm gate value of over $390 million per annum, to supply the increasing demands of sophisticated customers both in New Zealand and in our export markets.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by representatives from Vegetables NZ Inc and government at Parliament, with Martyn Dunne, chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew in attendance. Vegetables NZ Inc joins 12 other primary sector industry groups that have joined with the government in the GIA partnership. . . 

Are dairy fats beneficial for good health?

For decades, experts advised people to reduce their fat intake, however they now agree that fats are actually beneficial for people’s health, and dairy fats have an important role to play.

Fonterra Senior Research Scientist and Nutritionist, Dr Elisabeth Weichselbaum, explained that the idea that fat makes you fat was flawed. Research today shows that, people who eliminated fats from their diet often replaced them with refined carbohydrates, which in turn is thought to have contributed to the double burden of obesity and diabetes.

“Fat not only provides a valuable source of energy, but also delivers key building blocks for the body and essential, fat-soluble vitamins. Dairy, which is a natural source of fat, plays a key part in this because it is packed full of nutrients. . . 


Rural round-up

September 21, 2016

Improved dairy sector expectations see New Zealand farmer confidence surge higher:

Results at a Glance

· Overall confidence in the agricultural economy has improved considerably from the previous quarter

· Farmers’ expectations for their own business performance also improved, driven by sizeable improvement in expectations among dairy farmers

· While overall confidence was up among all sectors, sheep and beef farmers registered small decline in expectations of their own business performance

· Horticulturalists’ business performance expectations also fell, but remain at elevated levels

· Farm business investment intentions remained stable. . . 

Young role model inspires primary sector job seekers – Gerard Hutching:

Ellie Cranswick knew New Zealand was different to the United Kingdom the moment she saw drench being advertised on TV.

She noticed on arrival that there were a number of differences between the two agricultural industries, from the end markets, to the genetics, to systems used.

Originally from Dorset, 27-year-old Cranswick now has her red bands firmly grounded in New Zealand soil after five years in the country. . .

Changing agri-food perspectives – Keith Woodford:

When I was an undergraduate back in the 1960s – in some ways it seems just yesterday – the dominant agricultural paradigms were about farm production and management.  As students, we learned nothing about marketing. And when marketing did come in vogue in the following decades, the dominant perspective was that marketing was what happened at the end rather than the beginning of the agri-food chain.

To a considerable extent, that perspective of a value chain that starts with production still survives within our animal-based agricultural industries. In contrast, the plant-based industries have been more successful in making the transition to a consumer-led position. And that may well be why, in an evolving world, our horticultural industries are currently succeeding where our traditional pastoral industries are currently struggling.

Our three big plant industries that are leading the way are viticulture, kiwifruit and apples. And then there are some other such as cherries which are also making good progress, plus seed crops such as carrots. . . 

Hope wallaby tracks ‘isolated incident’ – Lynda van Kempen:

The spread of wallabies is a serious concern and the last thing Otago needs is another destructive animal pest, a regional council director says.

Otago Regional Council environmental monitoring and operations director Scott MacLean, commenting about wallaby tracks being found at Galloway, near Alexandra, recently, said the council was treating the sighting seriously.

“Given that at this stage, only wallaby sign was sighted, I would like to think, and certainly hope, that this is an isolated incident. . . 

$3.1m funding for climate change projects:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have welcomed $3.1 million in new funding for 13 climate change research projects in the agriculture and forestry sectors.

The grants were announced today by the Ministry for Primary Industries through the Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme.

“This funding plays an important part in helping our primary industries prepare for the future challenges of climate change,” says Mr Guy.

“$935,000 is being invested in three projects to analyse soil carbon on hill country farms and under irrigation systems. . . 

Mighty mite makes easy meal of Marlborough broom – Mike Watson:

A tiny insect with a big appetite is making short work of invasive scotch broom plants in dry areas around Marlborough.

The broom gall mite was released by the Marlborough District Council biosecurity team into an area south of Blenheim in 2011.

In the past five years, the biocontrol agent has been spread by wind to surrounding farmland on the Redwood Pass and Dashwood Pass. . . 

Using wood fuel is heating up:

With the continual growth in the use of wood fuel for heating the Bioenergy Association is increasing its support for wood fuelled heat plant operators and maintenance staff, helping plant owners improve the performance of their plant and encourage others to move from coal to wood fuel.

“The amount of wood fuel replacing coal is growing each year and we want to ensure heat plant operating and maintenance staff are well supported,” says the Association’s Executive Officer Brian Cox.

The Bioenergy Association is holding a forum for heat plant owners, operators and maintenance staff in Christchurch on 27 September. . . 

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Rural round-up

September 13, 2016

Producing more and more milk not New Zealand’s future: Landcorp head:

The chief executive of Landcorp, Steven Carden, on TV One’s Q+A programme says the business is reviewing all land conversions and looking for alternate uses for land that are economically more viable, and environmentally more suitable, than dairy farming.

“I think if you look at Landcorp – and we farm throughout the country – we are looking at all of our land portfolio and thinking, “What is the right land use for it?” And I think what we’ve found is that we can’t really find dairying as the justified new additional land-use conversion option,” he told Corin Dann.

“So we are looking at alternatives. I think New Zealand can sustain a few more cows, so long as there are the farm systems set up to do that. So people are looking at herd homes and other farm infrastructure which would require us to farm quite differently but allow us to produce more milk. Having said that, that’s not our future, I don’t think, as a primary-sector country, to just produce more of a commodity product like milk, necessarily.” . . 

Rustlers slit pet cow’s throat, take legs for meat – Phillipa Yalden:

The grisly slaughter of a pet dairy cow that was dismembered for meat has left a South Waikato farming couple fearful.

Thieves armed with a gun and knives broke into Bev and Trevor Bayly’s 172-hectare farm early one morning and slit the throat of their “friendly” Jersey.

When attempts to shoot the cow dead went wrong, the rustlers took to the animal with knives, cutting off the legs before leaving the carcass behind at the property between Wharepapa South and Arohena, near Putaruru. . . 

Shanghai Maling bid to buy Silver Fern Farms stake under consideration by Upston, Bennett – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office has sent its recommendation on a proposal for China’s Shanghai Maling Aquarius to acquire a half stake in Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s largest meat processor, to the relevant government ministers for a decision.

Land Information Minister Louise Upston and Associate Finance Minister Paula Bennett received the documentation from the Overseas Investment Office last week, and are now considering the application, spokesman Harley Thorpe said. The Ministers are aware of the Sept. 30 deadline Shanghai Maling and Silver Fern Farms had set for the deal and have that in mind, he said. . . 

Boom time for ag robotics:

Robots and drones have already started to quietly transform many aspects of agriculture. And now a new report is predicting the agricultural robotics industry, now serving a $3 billion market, will grow to $10 billion by 2022.

The report, by IDTechEx Research in Britain, is called Agricultural Robots and Drones 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, and Players. It analyses how robotic market and technology developments will change agriculture, enabling ultra-precision farming and helping address key global challenges.

It describes how robotic technology will enter into different aspects of agriculture, how it will change the way farming is done and transform its value chain, how it becomes the future of agrochemicals business and modifies the way we design agricultural machinery. . . 

Helicopter’s beacon leads to farm rescue :

The pilot of a weed-spraying helicopter used his emergency locating beacon to raise the alarm about a seriously injured farm worker in the central North Island.

The pilot was about to start his spraying job on a farm near Ohura, west of Taumarunui, on Monday when he noticed a man on the property had apparently fallen from his horse. . . 

Lake snot the ‘new didymo’ :

Lake snot will have to be treated like a new didymo, says the Otago Regional Council, which has begun a two-year study into the spread of the algal slime.

The slime – also known as lake snow – was first found in Lake Wanaka in 2004, and has since been found in Lake Coleridge and Lake Wakatipu.

The lake snot has clogged up fishing lines, boat intakes and Wanaka’s laundromats, and has led the Queenstown Lakes District Council to install a filter on the Wanaka town water supply. . . 

Lamb day-care proves a hit:

A primary school north of Auckland has seen its roll surge in recent weeks with the opening of an unusual daycare.

Waitoki School near Kaukapakapa has built a daycare pen for lambs and is encouraging its 90 pupils to fill it with their own woolly companions.

“We have about seven to nine lambs on site at the moment. The kids bring them along and it’s their job to raise them, look after them and feed them,” said the school’s principal Chris Neison.

The lamb daycare was built in mid-August by a team of teachers, parents and grandparents. . .

Native Tree Plan Shows Positive Face of Scion’s Research:

The commercial propagation of indigenous trees in Ngati Whare’s new nursery in Minginui is an exciting development for all New Zealand and shows the benefits of ethical research that does not require release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms into the environment. [1]

Scion has been helping with the project by developing vegetative cuttings using leading edge technology that reflects community values. Ngati Whare and Scion are to be congratulated. This shows the acceptable face of Scion’s work and does not involve transgenic organisms or genetic engineering. Scion had earlier success with the propagation of seeds from the rare taonga plant Ngutukākā (white kaka beak), which have been planted on the ancestral lands of Ngāti Kohatu and Ngāti Hinehika. [2] . . 

Minister Goodhew on food safety visit to China:

Food Safety and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew will travel to China today for bi-lateral meetings and to open a new Fonterra dairy facility in the Shanxi Province.

“The relationship between New Zealand and China has never been stronger, and it is crucial for our economy that we maintain that strong relationship in food safety,” says Mrs Goodhew.

While in Beijing, Mrs Goodhew will meet with Vice Minister Teng Jiacai of the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) for the third Joint Food Safety Commission meeting, to build upon the shared goal for increased communication and cooperation between the two countries. . . 

Events to help make the most of ‘money months’:

DairyNZ’s Tactics for Spring events kicked off in the Waikato last week, aimed at helping farmers manage their pasture during the most productive time of the year on-farm.

The nationwide events are taking place in September and October, the beginning of the ‘money months’ when more pasture will be grown and more milk produced than any other time of the year.

With uncertainty around where milk prices will go DairyNZ research and development general manager Dr David McCall is urging farmers to focus on what they can control. . . 

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The most memorable days end with the dirtiest clothes.

(that’s not a job that usually dirties clothes and I’m not sure why he’s using a ladder).

New winery future-proofs Rockburn Wines in Central Otago:

After leasing premises at the industrial McNulty Road site for 10 years, the team at Rockburn Wines recently completed their first vintage at their new winery in Ripponvale Road, Cromwell.

The award-winning producer acquired the existing winery site in September last year to meet increasing demand and future-proof its operation.

“Due to rapid growth and remarkable popularity of our wines, we were forced to outsource some processes in previous years due to capacity shortfalls. We’re very pleased to bring everything back under one roof from this vintage onwards. The old McNulty Road winery was getting near breaking point and we’re thrilled to have found a site at Ripponvale Road that sets us up for further growth,” says Paul Donaghy, General Manager of Rockburn Wines. . . 


Rural round-up

August 31, 2016

Why the green, green grass of home is simply the best – John Roche, Kevin Macdonald:

New Zealand’s grazing system was once considered “the eighth wonder of the world”.

In the 1970s and 80s, a team at Ruakura led by Dr Arnold Bryant undertook grazing experiments that were to revolutionise the way pasture was managed through winter and spring.

The system matched herd demand through assigning the correct calving date and stocking rate with a store of pasture (ie cover at calving) and crop and an assumed winter growth rate. . . 

Westland ups season forecast payout:

New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative Westland Milk Products today announced a 20 cent increase in its forecast 2016-17 season payout.

The company’s forecast average operating surplus has increased to $4.75 – $5.15 per kgMS while the average cash payout range has increased to $4.55 – $4.95 per kgMS.

Chairman Matt O’Regan says this is a result of a recent uplift in international dairy prices for the range of products Westland produces, along with positive August GDT auction results. . . 

Population of honey bees is growing fast:

New Zealand’s honey bee population is growing rapidly, despite recent reports of its decline, according to Apiculture New Zealand.

The industry body was responding to comments from Lincoln University that give the impression that honey bees are under threat in New Zealand.

The university said New Zealand agriculture stands to lose between $295 and $728 million each year if the local honeybee population continues its ‘current decline’.

“I’m pleased to say that hive numbers are growing rapidly,” said ApiNZ chief executive, Daniel Paul. . . 

Wild bees set to save our honey industry from varroa mite – but they need your help  – Jamie Small:

Plant & Food Research is asking for public help to locate colonies of feral bees, as groundbreaking evidence suggests they may save our honey industry from the devastating varroa mite.

Bee numbers in New Zealand are growing – bucking the international trend – thanks to human intervention controlling varroa, says Dr Mark Goodwin, who leads the organisation’s apiculture and pollination team.

The high price and demand for manuka honey is encouraging apiaries to expand in the face of the colony-killing mite and other threats. . . 

Buyers caught napping by potential milk production decine – Gerard Hutching:

A milk futures broker says whole milk powder buyers have been “caught napping” by a potential shortfall in the product, explaining why the price has risen 28.8 per cent at the last two global dairy auctions.

Director of OM Financial Nigel Brunel said the price hike had been “staggering” and taken everyone by surprise.

“Buyers haven’t been able to source WMP at the right price and have been concerned that New Zealand supply could be well down this season. They have been caught napping in a sleepy sideways WMP market for almost a year,” Brunel said.

As a result the buyers had climbed over each other to source WMP and lifted the price. . . 

New appointment to FSANZ Board:

Jane Lancaster has been appointed to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Board, Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew announced today. Ms Lancaster’s term began on 1 July 2016.

“Ms Lancaster will make a valuable contribution to the FSANZ Board with her background in food science, biotechnology, and strong governance experience. In particular, she has professional experience in food safety, food regulation, and the food industry,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Ms Lancaster replaces Neil Walker, whose second term on the FSANZ Board expires on 30 June 2016. Mr Walker’s extensive knowledge has been highly valued by both myself and the FSANZ Board over this time.” . . 

Environmental impacts come first in EPA insecticide decision:

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has declined an application to import an insecticide to control pests on onion and potato crops.

The insecticide Grizly Max contains the active ingredients imidacloprid, novaluron and bifenthrin. These active ingredients are already approved for use in New Zealand, but not in a single formulation. The proposed application rate for the neonicotinoid imidacloprid was much higher than other insecticides already available in New Zealand.

At a 19 July hearing, the applicant, Agronica New Zealand Ltd, noted that Grizly Max had proved to be effective against target pests. . . 

New Appointment to Synlait’s Senior Leadership Team:

Quentin Lowcay, General Counsel and Commercial Manager, has joined Synlait’s Senior Leadership Team.

Since joining Synlait in 2013, Quentin’s role has grown to advise the SLT and Board on legal affairs, risk, corporate governance, insurance and commercial matters (particularly customer and supplier relationships). . .

New Zealand King Salmon confirms intention to undertake an IPO:

There may soon be an opportunity for Kiwi investors to own a stake in New Zealand’s estimated $180 million salmon industry.

The world’s largest aquaculture producer of King salmon, New Zealand King Salmon Investments Limited, has today (29 August) confirmed its intention to undertake an initial public offering of shares in New Zealand and a listing on the NZX Main Board and ASX. The proceeds of the offer will be used to repay debt, fund future investment and working capital, and to enable investor Direct Capital and some other shareholders to realise some or all of their investment. . . 

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Rockburn releases limited edition Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir & Rosé:

Rockburn’s Stolen Kiss Rosé enjoys a cult following around country for a couple of years now and the boutique producer from Cromwell now added another way to enjoy the “fruity and saucy side” of Central Otago Pinot Noir with the launch of their limited edition Stolen Kiss Pinot Noir.

Stolen Kiss wines are made from grapes ‘stolen’ from Rockburn’s best Central Otago Pinot Noir. The name alone evokes images of summertime rolling-in-the-clover frivolity and romance. . . 

Substantial Hawke’s Bay winery operation goes on the market for sale:

One of Hawke’s Bay’s best known vertically-integrated wine operations – featuring multiple vineyards, the winery plant and cellar door retail sales outlet – has been placed on the market for sale.

The assets are run under the Crossroads brand – owned by Yealands Estate Wines. The Crossroad’s vineyard and operations being sold encompass three separate vineyards in the bay, along with a plant capable of pressing more than 700 tonnes of grapes and storing the resulting juice in 59 tanks, and a cellar door retail premises which attracts more than 5000 visitors annually.

The Crossroads brand, business and existing stock in bottles, barrels, and tanks, are not part of the sale. . . 


Rural round-up

August 18, 2016

Trade access landscape increasingly crowded – Allan Barber:

At the same time as the TPP is struggling to get across the finish line before the next American President takes over early next year, there are several signs of access to the USA freeing up for some of New Zealand’s competitors.

The announcement of greatest significance concerns access for Brazilian beef after 17 years of negotiations which will be permitted to begin in September. Admittedly Brazilian plants must still gain accreditation before they can export to the USA and, when they do, their entitlement will be included in the ‘other country’ quota of 64,800 tonnes at the same preferential tariff of 4.4 cents per kilo as New Zealand for its 213,402 tonne quota. However, there is a possibility Brazil’s eagerness to export, combined with its weak currency, will encourage it to sell at the 26.4% general tariff rate. . . 

The pros and cons of PKE – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks, PKE has been in the spotlight.  The key reason for this has been the decision by Landcorp to phase out its use on the Landcorp farms. This has brought back into focus Fonterra’s 2015 recommendation to farmers to only use 3kg per cow per day. It has also given a platform for various other groups to promote their own perspectives.

Amongst the environmental groups, there are two polar perspectives. Greenpeace says we should stop using all PKE. However, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says that palm oil production is OK as long as it sustainable, and certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). . . 

A farming mum who loves helping others – Kate Taylor:

Regular visitors to the Facebook site, Farming Mums NZ, will be familiar with an online blogger whose zest for life seems never-ending. Kate Taylor reports.

There’s an element of irony about the name of Chanelle O’Sullivan’s daily blog, Just a Farmer’s Wife, because it couldn’t be further from the truth.

She is, actually, a farmer’s wife, but is also a mother of two, qualified vet nurse, blogger, project manager, 2016 scholar on the Kellogg Rural Leadership Course, guest speaker, online business woman, long-distance runner and admin for several flourishing Facebook pages.

Chanelle lives at Waitohi in South Canterbury with husband Dave, who is working on a farm on Rockwood Rd. He grew up near Timaru and has a Diploma in Farm Management from Lincoln University. . . 

Silver Fern Farms shareholders vote conclusively in favour – Allan Barber:

The long awaited special meeting finally took place this afternoon with the company’s desired outcome. 80.4% of shareholders voting voted in favour of the Shanghai Maling deal, a small reduction from the 82% that voted in favour last October.

At today’s meeting in Dunedin, as soon as the result was announced, it appears John Shrimpton who led the requisition group shook SFF chairman Rob Hewitt’s hand and agreed that democracy had had its say and the campaign was over. . . 

Clear vision for red meat sector in sight at last – Allan Barber:

After many years of relatively low levels of expenditure on market development and promotion, the red meat industry faces a major challenge in deciding how best to create the desired image to appeal to the world’s affluent consumers. Currently expenditure is divided between generic promotion, funded by farmer levies, and brand advertising by the meat exporters, with a small amount of joint funding in some of the less mature markets.

Delegates at the recent Red Meat Sector Conference heard about the importance of telling a believable and emotionally compelling story built on the heritage and healthy attributes of New Zealand and its farming sector. But they were also challenged to make sure this story is constructed on credible building blocks of environmentally sustainable farm, animal welfare and processing practices. . . 

New primary sector groups to support climate change goals:

Two new reference groups will help support New Zealand’s climate change goals and reduce emissions from the livestock and forestry sectors, Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have announced today.

“As part of ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change, New Zealand has set a target of reducing our emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The primary sector will need to be an important part of that,” says Mr Guy.

“The Biological Emissions Reference Group will bring together a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and farming stakeholders to collaborate with Government and build a solid evidence base. This will ensure we have the best possible range of information on what can be done right now to reduce biological greenhouse emissions. . . 

Glass half-full for dairy after price lift – Alexa Cook:

Dairy farmers could finally have break-even milk prices this season, AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says.

This season’s forecast of $4.25kg/ms is the third season of prices below $5.

Most farmers need about $5kg/ms to cover their costs, which is about $US3000 a tonne for whole milk powder, the industry’s main export.

In the overnight Global Dairy Trade auction prices lifted by 12.7 percent and whole-milk powder surged 18.9 percent to $US2695 a tonne. . . 

Countdown Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn launches today – Supermarket assures farmers their investment in free range and barn eggs will pay off:

Countdown has today launched an Egg Producer Programme to support free range and barn egg farmers to increase the supply available for Countdown stores and our customers.

The Egg Producer Programme provides farmers an opportunity to increase investment in free range and barn egg capacity, as Countdown will make a commitment to take future supply through individual partnership agreements.

Currently, just 18 per cent of eggs produced in New Zealand are free range. Countdown wants to put in place plans with farmers, to increase the availability of the free range and barn eggs.  . . 

Bill to streamline Food Safety passes first reading:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming the Food Safety Law Reform Bill having passed its first reading in Parliament last night, with unanimous support.

The Bill is the final step in implementing the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Inquiry recommendations, in particular those which require legislative change.

“This Bill is an important part of putting the false Botulism scare behind us. It illustrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and suitability of food, which is vitally important for the health of consumers – both in New Zealand and overseas – and our international trade reputation,” says Mrs Goodhew. . . 

Retirement of Fonterra Director:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced that Mr John Waller ONZM will be retiring as an Independent Director on the Fonterra Board with effect from 31 August 2016.

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said that Mr Waller is retiring to reduce his workload after serving on the Fonterra Board since 2009. He chaired Fonterra’s Fair Value Share Review Committee, the Trading Among Farmers Due Diligence Committee and the Milk Price Panel, and was a member of the Audit and Finance Committee and the Risk Committee.

“John has been an outstanding director of our Co-operative and has made an invaluable contribution by combining his strong personal values, drive and leadership with commercial common-sense. I am pleased that after such a significant contribution John is finding the time to rebalance his commitments so that he can spend more time with his family and pursue his other interests. . . 


Rural round-up

July 30, 2016

‘Massive’ Chinese stake in the south – Dene Mackenzie:

News of a $200 million milk plant to be built 5km north of Gore has been enthusiastically welcomed by Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks, who yesterday described the announcement as “massive”.

Mataura Valley Milk will have nearly 72% Chinese ownership. Construction of the new plant is planned to start on the site of the former McNab auction yards in October, with a planned commissioning date of August 2018.

Southland dairy farmers will hold 20% of the shares and be the suppliers to the new factory.

Much of the production will be infant milk powder bound for the Chinese market, although other markets will be developed. . . 

Westland Milk Products appoints new Chief Executive:

Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative, has announced the appointment of Toni Brendish as its new Chief Executive Officer.

Westland Chairman Matt O’Regan said today (28 July 2016) that Brendish has extensive leadership experience in the international food and dairy industries, most recently as Vice President of DKSH (Thailand), a large consumer goods distribution business based in Bangkok, where she currently resides.

“Toni’s familiarity with the manufacture, supply chain and sales and marketing of value-added dairy products, including paediatric and nutritional powders and UHT dairy products, will be of immense value to the company as we progress the development and execution of our growth strategy for these businesses,” O’Regan said. . . 

Processing on the horizon – Shannon Gillies:

Waitaki Orchards in Kurow is building a fruit processing plant to avoid a repeat of the loss of up to 50 tonnes of its apricot crop earlier this year because of rain.

The orchard lost most of the crop on nearly half of its 35,000 trees in January after two weeks of near-continuous rain.

The orchard’s smaller crop of nectarines was also badly hit, but other stone fruit, cherries and plums survived the rain. . . 

Upbeat conference attracts 200+ delegates – Allan Barber:

The delegates at the 2016 Red Meat Sector Conference were challenged and entertained by a stimulating range of guest speakers and New Zealand icons the Topp Twins.

Minister for Everything Stephen Joyce gave the welcome speech at the Sunday evening cocktail function and took the opportunity to compliment the industry on its great performance in offsetting the dairy downturn, while encouraging it to work hard on progressing PGP funded projects with 40% of the total already allocated to the red meat sector.

At the formal conference opening the next morning Minister for Food Safety Jo Goodhew made a strong plea for industry government collaboration to protect New Zealand’s food safety and biosecurity reputation. She reinforced her message with the reminder that the consumer is not just interested in product quality and food safety, but also in its provenance, sustainability and the animal welfare standards applied to its production. . . 

Sheep, beef farms must focus on costs – Hugh Stringleman:

Sheep and beef farmers need to focus on onfarm costs in the same way as dairy farmers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says.

The key focus for his organisation was to help farmers get the average onfarm cost structure down below $3 a kilogram of product, both meat and wool.

When opening the Red Meat Sector conference in Auckland, Parsons said everyone in the sector needed to tell their story better to get product value growth from export markets.

The Red Meat Sector Strategy aimed to increase export earnings from all products – meat, wool and co-products – from $8 billion to $12b. . .

Risk, reward in produce sector – Stepehn Bell:

Huge changes in the booming horticulture sector present export opportunities but also mean considerable risk is developing, Westpac industry economist David Norman says.

Risks included consolidating in fewer markets, growing debt, the potential for more non-tariff barriers and the risk of labour shortages, Norman said in Westpac’s Industry Insights into Horticulture.

The sector was small in terms of jobs with about 39,000 full-time equivalents but accounted for more than 7% of merchandise exports with earnings of $3.4 billion in the year to May. Its exports, accounting for 60% of production, had grown 140% this century compared to 94% for all exports. . .

When a farm kid goes to an animal rights conference… – Laura Bardot:

I grew up on a cattle farm in rural Missouri. I am a classic, stereotypical farm kid that was involved in the local 4-H and FFA. I raised cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits and ducks. I know how to drive a tractor and drove a truck in a field before I drove a car on the highway.

Bullying farmers and ranchers 

I became aware of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) from their pessimistic TV commercials trying to gain more donations by appealing to viewers’ emotions. I knew these animal rights organizations always said they were trying to help dogs and cats, but when they said they needed to “rescue” farm animals, that’s when I started to do research.

In August of 2014, Missouri residents voted on a “Right to Farm Bill”- ensuring Missouri farmers and ranchers are guaranteed the right to farm for forever in the state. I advocated heavily in favor of this bill, yet I met several people who were skeptical, and the majority of those people were misinformed on the bill by anti-agriculture groups. Therefore, I attained a dislike for these groups that felt the need to bully and pressure their way into getting what they think is best for animals – which often does not align with science. . . 

FMG's photo.


Rural round-up

July 25, 2016

Future grim if deal off – Neal Wallace and Alan Williams:

A grim economic future has been painted by Silver Fern Farms directors should the meat company not complete its merger with Shanghai Maling.  

In notice of meeting documentation being sent to shareholders, chairman Rob Hewett said banks twice last year warned the co-operative they would not “under any circumstances” provide ongoing finance unless shareholders approved a new injection of capital.

Hewett said in an interview that nothing had changed since those warnings were issued in May and June last year. . . 

Market-ready lamb set for China:

Alliance Group has launched a new range of market-ready retail packs to China.

The co-branded lamb products will begin being sold in China’s retail and food service sectors next month in conjunction with the co-op’s in-market partner Grand Farm.

The initial focus of the programme will be on the upper end of the Chinese market with five regions, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Harbin, being targeted. . .

Turning effluent into electricity – Allison Beckham:

Southland cows are good at producing milk, and now it has been proven they are also good at producing another useful staple – electricity.

After two years of planning and design, a pilot plant producing electricity from dairy effluent methane is about to be commissioned on a Southland dairy farm.

The system is expected to generate about 50kW of electricity annually, enough to power about 75% of the farm’s electricity needs and equivalent to the requirements of about 10 urban households. . . 

Minister clarifies China trade issue:

Trade Minister Todd McClay has today reiterated that the Government has sought and received assurances from the Chinese Government that any competition issues would not impact on trade between the two countries.

Mr McClay is responding to reports that retaliatory action could be imposed if an investigation is launched into allegations of steel dumping.

“On my return from Indonesia I asked my office for a full review of the broader issues around this matter.

“I want to make it clear today that there have been discussions and limited correspondence over the past few months as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has endeavoured to assess the veracity of these reports. . . 

New PGP harvest technology targets safety:

New forest harvesting technology revealed today in Nelson sets its sights on further increasing safety in steep land harvesting operations, Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew says.

The new ‘tele-operation’ technology provides out-of-harm’s way operation of a purpose-built tracked feller-buncher forest harvester, from the safety of a separate operator cabin and console.

The breakthrough is part of Steepland Harvesting, a 6-year, $6 million Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme between the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and a consortium of forestry companies and contractors, led by Future Forests Research Ltd (FFR). . . 

New Zealand’s Largest Organic Apple Grower Plants Big in New Varieties:

New Zealand’s largest organic apple grower, Bostock New Zealand has been making the most of the sunny Hawke’s Bay weather, busily planting about 4000 new apple trees each day.

The company has been pulling out it’s old apple varieties and planting new trees to keep up with the international demand for organic, GM Free fruit.

Bostock New Zealand Organic Orchards Manager Craig Treneman says it’s exciting to be planting new varieties, which are sweeter and higher colour and appeal to the growing Asia market.

“We have some new orchard developments in Twyford, where we are planting about 4000 new tree varieties a day. . . 


Rural round-up

May 19, 2016

Forging a path for other young Maori women to follow :

Confidence and self-belief have always help Ash-Leigh Campbell achieve her goals in the dairy industry – and she hopes her success will inspire more young Maori women to follow her lead.

“You have to back yourself. If you know you can do it, everyone around you will eventually buy into that too,” she says.

The enthusiastic 25 year-old from Lincoln is one of three finalists in this year’s Ahuwhenua Young Māori Dairy Farmer Awards and has big career ambitions.

“I don’t see myself as an industry leader now but the journey I’m on will hopefully fulfil that in future.

“I definitely want to make an imprint on Maori farming in New Zealand and become an ambassador for others. I especially want to publicise that Maori females can do it.” . . .

Up and coming Agri:

The children are the future, but how well do they know the in’s and out’s of agri? 17-year-old Greer Baldwin, an Agribusiness student at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton, sat down with us to give the inside scoop.

Despite not growing up on a farm, Greer has been around agri her whole life. Her Mum, Karen, works in Agri-tourism and the Baldwin family have been involved at National Fieldays for generations. Karen’s line of work allows overseas visitors to experience a real life Kiwi farm in action and is an interesting line of tourism a lot of young people aren’t aware of.

Thanks to Greer’s experience with her mother’s business, she has grown up fully aware that agri is more than gumboots and milking cows, and now has her sights set on studying agriculture at a tertiary level. Born and bred in the Waikato, Greer is excited to branch away from home and is tossing up between either Massey or Lincoln University where she will study agribusiness and tourism. . . 

New irrigation investments for Canterbury:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed three new investments totalling $7.85 million into irrigation projects in Canterbury from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).

“These projects are a real boost to the Canterbury regional economy. A reliable source of water gives farmers certainty and options to invest in such as arable, intensive pastoral, dairy support or horticulture.”

The projects receiving funding are: . . 

Government supports Ashburton water study trial:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has allocated $312,000 to a trial project in the Hinds Plains area which aims to improve water quality and restore spring-fed flows.

The funding comes from MPI’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) and the announcement was acknowledged by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, during his visit to Canterbury today.

David Caygill, Environment Canterbury Deputy Chair of Commissioners, welcomed the announcement which will allow the Regional Council to carry out the Hinds Managed Aquifer Recharge Pilot Study in an area where groundwater nitrate concentrations are well above the national bottom-line. . . 

Central Plains schemes receive government support:

Government support for the Central Plains Water (CPW) Scheme was announced today by the Ministry for Primary Industries during a visit to the scheme by Minister Nathan Guy.

Through the Ministry for Primary Industries Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF), up to $6.64 million has been allocated to CPW to support completion of Stage 2 of their scheme’s development as well as $898,000 for the Sheffield Irrigation Scheme (a sub-scheme of CPW).

CPWL CEO, Derek Crombie has welcomed the latest funding announcements for the two projects. . . 

Change in responsibilities for Crown irrigation bodies:

A change in responsibilities for the Government’s irrigation programmes will help streamline and speed up water storage projects, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

From 1 July, Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) will take over the responsibility for funding grants to regional irrigation schemes in the early stages of development, which are matched by local backers. This role has previously been carried out by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF).

“It makes sense to have a single agency looking after this funding as well as CIIL’s current role of commercially investing in projects which are investment-ready,” says Mr Guy. . . 

Hold on tight farmers, the future is bright – Farmers’ Forum experts:

Leading industry speakers at the DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum held in Hamilton this week reaffirmed the view that while another year of low milk prices is on the horizon, the long-term outlook for dairy remains bright.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon Bill English, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings and Rabobankhead of food and agribusiness research and advisory, Tim Hunt, all reiterated that global demand for dairy products will continue to grow.

Mr English said in the government’s view, the dairy industry will remain the engine room of growth as the second biggest New Zealand exporter behind tourism. But facing up to the reduced milk price is the current challenge. . . 

Fonterra expected to lift milk price – Tina Morrison:

Fonterra is expected to lift its farmgate milk price payout to farmers next season, although it’s likely to mark the third year of prices below the level required by most farmers to break even.

The company is scheduled to hold a board meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, and may release its opening milk price forecast for the 2016/17 season early Thursday morning. Analysts in a BusinessDesk survey expect a payout of at least $4.43 per kilogram of milk solids for next season, up from a $3.90/kgMS forecast payout for the 2015/16 season, and from $4.40/kgMS in 2014/15.

DairyNZ estimates the average farmer required $5.25/kgMS to cover costs this season and hasn’t yet finalised a break-even price for next season. . . 

Sharemilkers lose 49 cows and $73,000 to nitrate poisoning – Gerard Hutching:

Waikato sharemilkers Cam and Tessa Hodgson have lost 49 cows to nitrate poisoning, which could cost them up to $73,000. 

Nitrate poisoning happens as animals graze, and often occurs after a drought when there are high levels of nitrogen in the soil, and is exacerbated by humid, cloudy conditions. 

Cam’s brother Matthew Hodgson has started a givealittle page for them, saying their passion is farming “and to see the cows die in front of them is heartbreaking to them”. . . 

Farmers can cope with stress during busy times – Jill Galloway:

Experts suggest the best way farmers can cope with busy times is by exercising, sleeping and eating well and to never stop talking with people.

Wairarapa farmer, phycologist and rural trust co-ordinator Sarah Donaldson gave stress hints to about 50 people, mainly farmers as well as bank people, trust organisers and rural professionals at last week’s Beef & Lamb New Zealand AgInnovation conference in Palmerston North.

She said it was hard to recognise stress. . .

Food Safety Science & Research Centre launched:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Food Safety Minister JoGoodhew today launched the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre at Massey University in Palmerston North.

Formed as a partnership between government, industry organisations and research institutions, the virtual centre aims to ensure New Zealand’s food safety system remains among the best in the world.

“The centre will use the best science available to protect and enhance New Zealand’s international reputation as a producer of safe and  trustworthy food,” Mr Joyce says. . . 

New Zealand Apple Industry the most competitive in the World:

New Zealand’s $700 million apple industry has again been named the world’s most competitive performer.

The World Apple Report, out this week, ranks New Zealand first over 33 major apple producing countries.

Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard said it is a great achievement to have a competitive edge over the world and to keep holding the position. . .  

Johne’s disease solutions available:

Help is at hand for dairy farmers facing a problem with Johne’s disease in their cattle.

LIC is reminding farmers of the options available from their herd improvement co-operative to help them manage the disease, including diagnostic testing and a comprehensive Johne’s disease management guide developed by experts.

“We know Johne’s disease can be a stressful and frustrating challenge for many dairy farmers,” LIC GM Biological Systems Geoff Corbett said. “We want to make sure farmers know there are tools available that can help them manage the disease in their stock.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

April 21, 2016

Farmers’ urged to make their voices heard at local elections:

With local authority elections less than six months away, Federated Farmers is urging farmers to get engaged and involved.

Federated Farmers spokesperson on local government, Katie Milne, says local government elections is vitally important for farming on many levels, and is encouraging farmers to make their voices heard.

“It is absolutely crucial that farmers get involved in holding their councils to account. This includes being engaged on the issues and when the time comes make an informed vote.

“It’s also important that we get good candidates, including farmers and other business-minded people, to stand for election,” she says. . . 

New UHT milk plant for Canterbury:

The official opening of Westland Milk Products’ new UHT plant in Rolleston is a significant boost for the Canterbury dairy industry and is a sign of the continuing shift to value-added products, says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew. 

“It is important to celebrate good news stories such as this new UHT facility, which combined with the strong medium to long-term outlook for the sector, gives dairy farmers confidence that the period of low prices they are currently experiencing is only temporary,” Mrs Goodhew says.

The new plant can process 14,000 litres of milk per hour and has been constructed by Westland Milk Products, New Zealand’s second biggest dairy cooperative and third biggest dairy company overall. . . 

A2 Milk’s push into China bolstered by results of human clinical trial in that country – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Specialty milk marketer A2 Milk has bolstered its push to sell more products in China through a recently completed human clinical trial comparing the gastrointestinal and cognitive effects of consuming milk containing the A1 beta casein with that of the A2 variant on people with self-reported lactose intolerance.

The results of the Chinese study were published this month in the Nutrition Journal and are due to be released at a Beijing press conference late tomorrow by the company.

It’s part of a bid by A2 to get more credible scientific validation of its marketing claims, that have been in contention since the late 1990s, that its products might be better for people intolerant to standard cow milk. . . 

Protect our most precious and vulnerable waterways first, says Environment Commissioner:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has welcomed the Government’s latest discussion document on water quality, but has called for councils to give priority to the most precious and vulnerable rivers and lakes.

“Water quality has been declining for years and significant improvements will take time,” says Dr Wright. “Not everything can be done quickly, so regional councils must focus on immediate problems and pressure points.”

Dr Wright today released her advice to Parliament in response to the ‘Next steps for fresh water’ consultation document.

In her submission, Dr Wright states that the Government has made significant progress and has called for councils and communities to follow through and make the policy work. . . 

Farming 9 til 5: The farmers putting people before production – Jendy Harper:

On one farm near Waimate, the mantra “people before production” underpins employment decisions.

On Cara Gregan’s farm, workers must pass what she calls the “gumboot test”. 

Cara says she asks herself whether if her children or husband were wearing the gumboots, how she would feel about their conditions of work.

“I’ve got teenaged children, and I wouldn’t be prepared for them to work 12-14 hour days.” . . 

PGG Wrightson seed site hit by Uruguay flooding – Edwin Mitson:

(BusinessDesk) – Agricultural products and services company PGG Wrightson has warned investors that its seed cleaning site in Uruguay has fallen victim to that country’s widespread flooding.

The company told shareholders in February that its South American business was expected to perform better between January and June. In a statement to the NZX today, chief executive Mark Dewdney said that was no longer anticipated.

“The strength of beef prices gave us reason to believe we would see a recovery in our Uruguayan business at the full year, he said. “While it remains too soon to quantify the full impact of the current flooding, we are now not expecting to see that full recovery in the current financial year”. . . 

Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker 2016:

Blending knowledge, skill and passion for New Zealand’s premium winemaking future

Entries are now open for 2016. Who will take out the title this year?

This exciting competition for NZ winemakers under 30 years old was held for the first time last year and proved to be a challenging yet fun and very rewarding competition. Contestants felt it increased their winemaking skills, knowledge and confidence as well as building important contacts for their future careers. . . 

Greg Mccracken New Shareholders’ Councillor for Southern Northland:

Today, following the close of voting in the Shareholders’ Council by-election in Southern Northland, Greg McCracken was announced as the successful candidate.

Mr McCracken, who has been farming in the Northland region for more than 30 years and currently farms at Wellsford, will take up his new role effective immediately. . . 


Rural round-up

March 11, 2016

Speech to MPI Internal Science Conference – Dr William Rolleston:

Ladies and Gentlemen

Thank you for providing me the opportunity to address you today.

In my view you couldn’t have chosen a more important topic as your theme for today.

“Our Science” represents the essence of what you do for the primary industry. Remember you are the Ministry for Primary Industries.

This name was not chosen lightly and it indicates not only where your purpose lies but also the strength that New Zealand has. That strength is biology – we are good at medicine and we are good at agriculture.

Biology depends on science. Our health depends on science, our environment depends on science and our economy depends on science. . . 

Federated Farmers welcomes cut in Official Cash Rate:

Federated Farmers has welcomed the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut the Official Cash Rate by 25 basis points to 2.25 percent.

“It’s now up to the banks to pass this cut on to mortgage holders, and we urge them to do so on behalf of all New Zealand farmers,” Dr Rolleston said. . . 

New requirements for the sale of raw milk to consumers come into force:

New requirements about the sale of raw (unpasteurised) milk to consumers have now come into force.

The requirements follow an extensive consultation and review process and strike a balance between managing the risks to public health while recognising that there is a strong demand for raw milk from both rural and urban consumers, says the Ministry for Primary Industries Deputy-Director Regulation and Assurance, Scott Gallacher.

The new requirements recognise that raw drinking milk is a high risk food, carrying an increased risk of food poisoning relative to pasteurised milk. . . 

New wood products partnership launched:

The formal launch today of the Specialty Wood Products Research Partnership, marks a new chapter for the forestry sector in New Zealand, Associate Primary Industries Minister, Jo Goodhew says.

“I welcome the launch of this new partnership, and the ground-breaking research that will be undertaken. Forestry is a key export earner for New Zealand that is worth around $5 billion annually, and employs nearly 20,000 people” Mrs Goodhew says.

The research project, entitled “New Regional Value Chains for Specialty Wood Products Matching Species, Site, Processing, Product and Market”, is part of a seven year partnership between central government and industry. It aims to investigate the development of new wood products from specialty species. . .

Wool Stays Steady:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the South Island offering of 7,800 bales saw good competition with 88 percent selling.

The weighted currency indicator came down 0.98 percent compared to the last sale on 3rd March, however the US dollar was practically unchanged with the NZ Dollar softening against the Euro, Stirling and Australian currencies.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were generally firm to slightly dearer. . . 


Rural round-up

March 1, 2016

Fonterra Plant Openings Celebrate Strength in Southern Dairying:

Fonterra has further highlighted its commitment to New Zealand’s dairying communities this week as the Co-operative officially opened four new plants across the South Island.

Ribbon cuttings have been held to celebrate successful opening seasons for the new mozzarella plant at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site near Timaru, along with three new plants at its southernmost site at Edendale.

Fonterra Managing Director Global Operations Robert Spurway said these expansions generate cash not only for the Co-operative’s 10,500 farmers but also help to bolster rural and regional economies. . . 

Another link added in Transforming the Dairy Value Chain:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew today congratulated Fonterra on the opening of their new mozzarella plant at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site. The new plant will result in 25 new jobs and a doubling of Fonterra’s total mozzarella production to 50,000 metric tonnes per annum, over two plants.

The Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme “Transforming the Dairy Value Chain” helped Fonterra to commercialise their patented, breakthrough technology for producing frozen mozzarella cheese in a fraction of the usual time – without sacrificing functionality for their customers or sensory qualities for the end consumers. This technology will help to grow Fonterra’s Foodservice business in the $35 billion global pizza market.

“The Government has a goal of doubling the value of exports by 2025. Around half our exports are food, so our food safety systems are closely linked to this goal”, said Mrs Goodhew. . . 

“Put your hand up and ask for help”:

Stay away from negativity and don’t be afraid to ask for help are 2 tips that farmer Hannah Topless has for her counterparts around New Zealand.

Great swathes of Hannah’s 150ha Taranaki dairy and sheep farm in Strathmore, eastern Taranaki, were flooded or cut off in the storms of June 2015.

“We had 340ml of rain in one weekend,” said Hannah. “Rivers overflowed, taking out fences and gouging out races; and landslides took out culverts and fences, and cut off access to some of the farm.”

Hannah says that they were fortunate to have strong community links, particularly with her local church, as well as their Rural Support Trust, FMG and Federated Farmers. . . 

Returning Pacific workers an asset to NZ industry:

Pacific Island workers returning to New Zealand for seasonal employment have become an increasing asset for the horticulture and viticulture industries.

In New Zealand’s region of Hawke’s Bay, there’s an increased demand for Pacific workers contracted through the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The General Manager of Focus Contracting Ltd, Linley King, said the industries would not have grown as much as they had in the past decade without the involvement of Pacific islands workers. . . 

Avocado sector joins GIA Biosecurity partnership:

The avocado industry has become the seventh industry partner to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership today, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced.

“It’s very pleasing to have the avocado industry on-board, working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners to manage and respond to the most important biosecurity risks,” says Mr Guy.

Avocados are New Zealand’s third largest fresh fruit export. In the 2014-2015 season the industry produced 7.1 million trays of avocados worth around $135 million. . . 

MPI seeks submissions on proposed amendments to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking feedback on proposals to amend the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999. The proposals are outlined in a discussion document released today.

“This is the first comprehensive review of the Regulations since they were enacted,” says Jarred Mair, MPI’s Acting Deputy Director-General Policy and Trade.

“The current regulations have enabled New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry to compete effectively on the international stage. In 2015, New Zealand exported kiwifruit to 50 countries, valued at $1.003 billion. . . 

Next Steps for Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project (KISP):

 

The government’s consultation document supporting the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project has been released.

Public consultation is a standard regulatory process, giving stakeholders an opportunity to consider alternatives to the recommendations proposed by the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project Team.

NZKGI Chairman, Doug Brown, says the government consultation process is another step towards the implementation of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project that the majority of kiwifruit growers overwhelmingly supported.

“We are very pleased the government has included all of the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project’s recommended options in their consultation document. I encourage all kiwifruit growers to read through the document and submit their feedback through the consultation process. . . .

Kiwifruit NZ welcomes regulations review:

The regulator of the kiwifruit industry, Kiwifruit New Zealand (KNZ), has welcomed the review of the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999 and the release of a discussion document by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today.

KNZ believes the regulations have served the industry well for 16 years but the New Zealand industry and the international fruit market are very different today than they were in 1999. . . 

Allied Farmers 1H profit falls as it focuses on livestock services growth – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Allied Farmers reported a 32 percent drop in first-half profit as income from its shrinking asset management services segment plunged, while its livestock services segment increased sales.

Net profit fell to $615,000 in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $907,000 a year earlier, the Hawera-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 0.7 percent to $10.3 million.

“This is a strong operating result, benefiting from the livestock division’s trading performance, and does not have the benefit of the corporate and asset management one-off gains that bolstered the group result for the corresponding six months period ended Dec. 31, 2014,” said chairman Garry Bluett. “The directors now consider that the group is well placed to shift its primary focus to growth.” . . 


Rural round-up

November 6, 2015

Lochinver Station sells to New Zealand buyer:

One of New Zealand’s largest farms, Lochinver Station in the central North Island, will remain in New Zealand ownership following its sale for an undisclosed sum to privately owned New Zealand farming group Rimanui Farms Ltd.

It will take over the ownership of the 13,843 hectare sheep and beef station, upon settlement of the sale in March next year, from one of New Zealand’s largest private companies, Stevenson Group Limited, which has owned it for more than half a century.

Bayleys Real Estate recommenced marketing the property last month after the Government announced it had turned down an Overseas Investment Office application from Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin’s subsidiary Pure 100 to buy the property. . . 

IrrigationNZ calls for 350,000ha more land to be irrigated – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – IrrigationNZ is calling for a dramatic escalation in irrigation, saying New Zealand could bring water to an additional 350,000 hectares by 2025, boosting agricultural production and providing a buffer against weather events such as El Nino-induced drought.

The lobby group wants a 50 percent increase in irrigated land in the next 10 years, according to its industry snapshot released today. New Zealand currently has about 720,000 hectares of irrigated land, and IrrigationNZ has produced a map showing where irrigation could be expanded, pushing total watered land to more than 1 million hectares.

Chief executive Andrew Curtis said New Zealand’s primary production growth is being hampered by a lack of a reliable water supply, which ultimately holds back economic growth. . . 

No jobs?  move to the regions, urges govt:

Unemployed people are being urged to look to the regions for work by the government, after the unemployment rate broke the 6 percent mark yesterday.

The rate is now at its highest point in two years and economists have predicted that it is likely to rise further.

Listen to more on Morning Report ( 4 min 32 sec )

But Steven Joyce, Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment told Morning Report it was a “multi-regional story”, with lot of shifts around the country.

He said that in some regions such as Otago and Northland, there were shortages of people applying for jobs, and unemployed people should consider moving if they could. . . 

Forestry joins GIA biosecurity agreement:

The forestry industry has become the sixth industry group to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have announced today.

“It’s great to have the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (FOA) onboard, working with the Ministry for Primary Industries to manage and respond to the most important biosecurity risks,” says Mr Guy.

“A growing number of industries have now signed up to work together with the Government through the GIA.” . . 

Forest defence bolstered by agreement with government:

The Forest Owners Association says having a biosecurity agreement with the government is a vital part of the forest industry’s defence system.

FOA chief executive David Rhodes and primary industries minister Nathan Guy today signed what is known as a Government-Industry Agreement at Parliament. The agreement defines where responsibilities and costs will fall in the event of an outbreak of a serious forest pest or disease.

“For 50 years we have had a forest health surveillance scheme that is seen by overseas experts as one of the best in the world. But being ‘best’ is not good enough, we need it to be as near to perfect as we can make it,” says Mr Rhodes. . . 

FMG's photo.


Rural round-up

September 15, 2015

Silver Fern Farms Board Unanimously Recommends Partnership with Shanghai Maling:

Board gives unanimous recommendation to accept Shanghai Maling Aquarius Group (Shanghai Maling) as new partner to secure an improved and sustainable future

• A 50:50 partnership with total commitment to our global plate to pasture strategy

• Transaction values Silver Fern Farms’ equity at $311m. This equates to $2.84 per ordinary share, which compares to the $0.35 share price prior to their suspension in July

• Shanghai Maling to invest $261m in cash to own 50% of Silver Fern Farms’ business, in partnership with the existing Silver Fern Farms Co-operative

• A special dividend of $0.30 per share to Co-operative ordinary and rebate shareholders . . .

Cooperatives and private companies work best in agriculture – Allan Barber:

Good company performance demands clarity of purpose which is defined and monitored by a board of directors elected or appointed by the shareholders. There are five main types of company ownership structure that are or have been represented in New Zealand’s agricultural sector and each has advantages and disadvantages.

The five are private and public companies, cooperatives, subsidiaries of an overseas company and State Owned Enterprises. Whatever the structure, good governance and direction are pre-requisites of success.

A privately owned company normally has the greatest clarity of purpose because of the simplicity of the ownership structure, although there is plenty of scope for disputes between individual shareholders, particularly family members. Private company structures range from very simple to more complicated, depending on relative size of shareholdings and the number and origin of the shareholders. . . 

Rural productivity is improving in some sectors, falling in others. Influenced by soil, technology, size and governance according to Motu research:

The agricultural sector produces 40% of New Zealand’s merchandise exports. Not only is agriculture the primary source of employment in many rural areas, its performance influences the success of urban regions and many secondary industries are dependent upon it.

In this study, we estimate the drivers of revenue and productivity in two key agricultural industries – dairy and sheep/ beef. Together these account for about two-thirds of New Zealand’s agricultural exports.

Productivity is an economic term that, in this case, explains changes or differences in output not explained by use of labour, capital, other expenditures or land. Output is measured as revenue excluding income from interest and dividends. Labour is employees and working proprietors. Capital includes stock, depreciation and rent on tractors, irrigation systems and fencing. Other expenditure includes use of fertiliser, diesel, electricity, wormicide and grass seeds; and land is all the land used for production. Productivity encompasses everything else, including management and worker skills and knowledge, technological improvements, unexpected economic shocks (such as the global financial crisis), changing weather conditions (e.g. droughts), and the inherent quality of each farm. . . 

Strong farmer support for sheepmeat and beef levies to continue:

Farmers have given their organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand a strong mandate to work on their behalf for the next six year sheepmeat and beef levy cycle with over 84% support.

The Declaration of Result provided by the independent Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, of Electionz.com said 84.56 per cent of farmers on a one farmer, one vote basis had voted in favour of the sheepmeat levy with support of 86.04 per cent on a weighted stock unit basis. There was over 84.66 percent support for the beef levy on a one farmer, one vote and 84.60 per cent on a weighted stock unit basis. . . 

Roles review part of a bigger cost savings project Westland says:

Westland Milk Products confirmed today that it is conducting a review of staff roles throughout the company. The review is part of an overall programme to gain efficiencies and reduce costs to help preserve the best possible return to shareholders during the current global dairy price downturn.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says the review is likely to result in some redundancies. However, he was not going to speculate on how many, or what positions might be affected, until the review is complete, affected staff are consulted, and given an opportunity to provide feedback on any proposed roles under review. The review is scheduled to occur over two rounds, with the first round this month (September 2015) and the second in February 2016. . . 

UN issues stark warning on Pacific drought threat:

The UN’s Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani, says communities and governments need to prepare now for the extreme weather changes El Niño usually triggers.

He says some countries are already implementing or drafting drought plans and the UN is ready to help co-ordinate this and to provide technical advice.

Over the coming months, countries on the equator can expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels, presenting challenges for low-lying atolls already feeling the impacts of climate change. . . 

Getting the better of El Nino before it gets dry:

Tap rooted, reliable and highly productive, one forage herb species could make all the difference to farmers’ summer feed supply as El Nino looms large this season.

Summer crops are being sown early before soils dry out and chicory is already proving to be a popular drought-proofing choice, according to local pasture specialist Paul Sharp.

“With the long range forecast the way it is, 501 Chicory makes a lot of sense. In a dry year, it’s more reliable than leafy turnips and it also has several other advantages.”

Current soil moisture levels are significantly below average in Hawke’s Bay and Sharp, who works for Agriseeds, says many farmers are being very proactive about setting their feed supply up for the months ahead. . . 

Commission releases final report on 2014/15 review of Fonterra’s base milk price calculation:

The Commerce Commission today released its final report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2014/15 dairy season. The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays to farmers for raw milk and is currently set by Fonterra at $4.40 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2014/15 season.

Having considered public submissions on the draft decision released last month, the Commission’s overall view that Fonterra’s calculation of the 2014/15 base milk price is largely consistent with both the efficiency and contestability purposes of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001 remains unchanged.

Deputy Chair Sue Begg said the Commission appreciated the engagement and effort from Fonterra and the parties they met with during this year’s review. . . 

Funding round starts for new forest planting:

The first funding round of the Afforestation Grant Scheme will see 5819 hectares planted throughout New Zealand, says Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew.

The Afforestation Grant Scheme is a $22.5m programme to help establish about 15,000 hectares of new forest plantations over the next six years.

“Under the first round of funding the total area applied for covered 9044 hectares, far exceeding our expectations,” says Mrs Goodhew. . . 

Farm skills day proves popular – James Kinsman:

On Sunday, August 23, the Waitaki Boys’ Fraser Farm hosted Opihi College, Waitaki Girls’, St. Kevin’s and Geraldine High to our first farm skills day.

School pupils did a lot of prior planning to make the day a success. It was a big learning curve for us and the school. The day started with a dog trialling demonstration by Barry Hobbs, assisted by Allan Thompson.

The visitors watched with interest as his well trained dogs got the sheep into the pen. Next it was off to be put into random groups for modules. Barrie Rae, an enthusiastic Poll Dorset breeder taught them stock judging, helped by Jack Price. . . 


Rural round-up

July 15, 2015

FMG gets $3m flood, snow claims – so far:

The country’s largest rural insurer Farmers Mutual Group says it has received $3 million worth of claims related to the flooding and snow that hit the country last month.

FMG said the severe flooding in the lower North Island prompted 264 claims from the Manawatu-Whanganui and Taranaki regions, and snow damage in Canterbury led to 80 claims being lodged.

General manager of advice and insurance Conrad Wilkshire said most of the claims were for damage to houses, contents, sheds, and farm equipment.

In one case, a farm building was swept down a river. . .

Fonterra’s rivals tell DIRA review there is insufficient competition for dairy industry deregulation – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Competitors of Fonterra Cooperative Group, the country’s largest dairy processor, claim there’s still insufficient competition to deregulate the industry.

In submissions to the Commerce Commission, which is undertaking a government-ordered review of the industry’s competitiveness, rival processors either want the status quo or the regulations tightened.

Farmers lobby group, Federated Farmers, says the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act 2001(DIRA) will need to be amended if it’s retained long-term. . .

 Kiwi Developed Sugar Substitute to Tackle Obesity Problem:

A new low-calorie sugar alternative made entirely from fruit and developed by Kiwis, is set to offer companies around the world a natural way to reduce sugar in everyday foods and beverages such as cereals, yoghurts and juices, without compromising flavour.

Developed by Kiwi and Chinese joint venture company Guilin GFS Monk Fruit Corporation, Sweet-Delicious is a natural fruit juice made from a small Chinese melon called monk fruit. As a natural low-calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners it is a new way to tackle the growing obesity epidemic. . .

 ‘Drought man’ coming to Lincoln:

“Innovate or stagnate” will be the main message from Grassmere farmer Doug Avery when he visits Lincoln University next Thursday.

Avery’s talk about turning drought and desperation into sustainability and success will take place on Thursday, July 16 at 7pm.

Avery, also known as the ‘drought man’, says he understands the value of farmers learning from farmers. . .

Fonterra strengthens ties with the Netherlands:

Associate Minister of Trade Todd McClay says a new Fonterra ingredients factory in the Netherlands, opened yesterday by Dutch King Willem-Alexander, marks an exciting step forward in agribusiness collaboration between New Zealand and the Netherlands.

The state-of-the-art factory in Heerenveen, Friesland, has been developed in partnership with Dutch conglomerate A-Ware Food Group, which has built a major new cheese plant next door.

Whey and lactose, by-products of A-Ware’s cheese-making process, will be processed into specialty ingredients by the Fonterra plant. These will be used in high-value paediatric, maternal, and sports nutrition products for sale in the European Union and beyond. . .

Kiwifruit Claim Wins First Round:

The High Court at Wellington has ruled in favour of The Kiwifruit Claim and against the Crown on all substantial points, in a judgment released on 8 July.

Kiwifruit growers and post-harvest operators who were negatively affected by Psa have untilFriday 9 October 2015 to sign up to The Kiwifruit Claim, the court has ruled.

The court said growers and post-harvest operators should be allowed to bring the proceedings as a representative or class action, which had been opposed by the Crown Law Office (CLO). . .

Hemp seed food sales remain on horizon:

The adoption of a hemp seed food standard remains on the horizon, following work requested by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Ministerial Forum earlier this year says Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew.

“New Zealand supports a standard allowing the sale of hemp seed food products, and I am hopeful that the Ministerial Forum will be able to assess the proposed hemp standard again early next year,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The best available science shows us that hemp seed is safe to eat and has positive nutritional properties. However, the Ministerial Forum had some unanswered questions when it met in January. . .

 

Review of Hemp as a Food:

The NZ Grain and Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) was pleased to learn today that the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) was continuing to address some concerns around the sale of hemp seed foods for human consumption.

Responding to the Forum’s communiqué issued from Hobart Thomas Chin, association general manager, said the industry realises that the NZ Minister and officials were supportive of hemp seed foods and they are continuing with strong efforts to help see the development of a new cropping opportunity for NZ primary producers and manufacturers. . .

 

Wool Market Slightly Easier:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the first wool auction of the 2015/16 season offering 6,800 bales comprising predominantly 80 percent short second shear wools, saw a 92 percent clearance with a slightly softer tone.

Despite a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 25th June, with the weighted currency indicator down 1.96 percent, the bulk of the offering was firm to 2 percent easier.

Mr Dawson advises that the seasonal slow-down in order, approaching European vacation period and well stocked supply lines in China are limiting new orders for wool temporarily. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 10, 2015

Former Fonterra boss Craig Norgate dies:

The former Fonterra boss, Craig Norgate has died. He was 50.

Mr Norgate had a spectacular rise in business, becoming head of New Zealand’s biggest company, Fonterra, at the age of 36. . .

$158,000 to protect Taranaki biodiversity:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced a $158,000 Community Environment Fund grant for a project which aims to protect native birds and forest at Rotokare Scenic Reserve in South Taranaki.

“This funding will help support the work underway to ensure a ‘halo’ more than 2000 hectares in area surrounding the predator-proof fence of Rotokare Scenic Reserve. This funding will extend the successful work of the Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust as well as neighbouring property owners and local councils to create a flourishing ecosystem in an area that was previously threatened by predators and land use change,” Dr Smith says. . .

ComCom to file court proceedings over price fixing – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – The Commerce Commission intends to file court proceedings against PGG Wrightson, Elders New Zealand and Rural Livestock by the end of the month, claiming the three fixed fees charged during the implementation of a national livestock tagging scheme.

The consumer protection authority is investigating fees charged during the adoption of the National Animal Identification and Trading Act 2012, commonly known as NAIT. A spokesman for the commission confirmed it intends to file proceedings against the three agricultural companies and five undisclosed individuals before the end of this month. . .

Improvements sought for forestry scheme:

A review to increase uptake for the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative is underway and the government is seeking feedback from industry on the proposed changes, says Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew.

Introduced in 2006, the Permanent Forest Sink Initiative was the first national scheme that allowed forest landowners to earn emissions units for the carbon stored within their forests. . .

More than one prize to aim for in South Island farming competition:

In addition to the top prize of a $20,000 travel fund, entrants in the 2015 Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year Competition will also be able to pitch for one of four special category prizes, with a cash prize of $5000 each.

Lincoln University Foundation Chairman Ben Todhunter said generous support from sponsors meant that the four prizes could again be offered this year, after their debut in the 2014 season. . .

Two Brands, Three Blokes, One New Wine Company:

Two renowned Marlborough wine brands are joining forces, with the backing of former employees.

Highfield and TerraVin Wines will now be known as Highfield TerraVin Ltd.

Winemakers Alistair Soper and Gordon Ritchie have joined with General Manager Pete Coldwell to run the new company, with all three men having some strong goals in mind. . .

 

Technology takes vineyard to the world:

One of New Zealand’s fastest growing and most innovative wine companies, Yealands Family Wines is taking its sustainability story to global markets via a leading edge, digital platform.

YealandsLive.co.nz features dynamic content captured via a series of live feeds, directly from the Yealands Estate Seaview Vineyard and Winery in Marlborough, New Zealand. The website aims to give consumers and the wine trade a unique, and authentic behind the scenes look at one of the world’s premier sustainable wine producers. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

June 26, 2015

Young Queensland beef leader Emma Hegarty wins inaugural Zanda McDonald award – Matt Brann:

A beef extension officer from western Queensland took out the inaugural Zanda McDonald Award at the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) conference in Darwin last night.

The award is in honour of grazier and young beef industry leader Zanda McDonald, who died in 2013 following a tragic accident on his Queensland cattle property.

The award winner, Emma Hegarty, is from Colanya Station near Longreach and works as a beef extension officer for the Queensland Department of Agriculture. . .

Final Board of Inquiry decision:

The Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Investment Company, HBRIC Ltd says it is pleased to be at the end of the Board of Inquiry decision process on the Tukituki Plan Change and consent conditions for the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

The Board today released its final decision, with submitters allowed 15 working days to appeal. HBRIC Ltd Chairman Andy Pearce says it is good to be getting some finality in what has been an extremely long and involved process. . .

Some Manawatu farms still under water:

 Farmers in Manawatu, like those in the Whanganui and Taranaki regions, are waiting for floodwaters to clear before they can begin to clean up and repair fences, and see what damage may have been caused to pasture.

 Farms in Rangiotu in southern Manawatu were left badly flooded after the weekend rain caused the Oroua River to breach its stopbanks.

The chief executive of Hopkins Farming Group, Richard Syme, said all six of the company’s dairy farms flooded and one of them was left almost entirely under water.

Mr Syme said that farm’s manager had to be plucked from his home by a helicopter after the flood cut off all road access. . .

Opening of the Oete Farms new goat milking facility – Jo Goodhew:

 . . . Apparently Captain James Cook had a taste for goat milk, and took a goat along with him on his maiden voyage to New Zealand. This was the beginning of a long established history of goat milk in this country.

In 1988, New Zealand was the first country to develop goat milk based nutritional products for infants (by Dairy Goat Cooperative). Since then it has been a long journey building the profile of goat milk, and addressing issues such as when the European Union didn’t recognise goats’ milk as an approved infant formula.

With the EU’s recent approval, and growing global demands in the Middle East, Latin America as well as Europe and Asia, goat milk infant formula already accounts for 7% of our infant formula exports, and future growth is predicted. . .

Apiculture industry unification to go ahead:

The apiculture industry has voted to progress plans to unify under one representative organisation.

National Beekeepers Association president, Ricki Leahy, said today’s AGM had voted overwhelmingly to progress unification.

“I am excited about what this offers the industry moving forward.” . .

 Fragmented honey industry votes to create single peak body – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Federated Farmers Bees, Honey Packers’ and Exporters’ Association, and National Beekeepers’ Association have all voted to proceed with plans to create a single national body for the apiculture industry.

The industry bodies voted with a substantial majority to unify the industry at their respective annual meetings held after a four-day conference in Taupo, Fed Farmers said in a statement. The Apiculture Industry Unification Project’s interim working group told the conference that to be profitable and sustainable the industry needed formalised administration and a single peak body funded by a possible reintroduction of commodity levies. . .

Innovative Fonterra return on investment project wins international award:

A return on Investment (ROI) project delivered by Fonterra’s Sales Excellence Team and guided by Bloom Training and Recruitment’s Director, Beryl Oldham, has won a prestigious international award from the ROI Institute.

The Fonterra project was recognised for its approach to ROI measurement and evaluation and earned Fonterra and Oldham this year’s award for the “Most Innovative Approach to ROI”.

“ROI is a performance measure used to evaluate the effectiveness of an investment,” says Ms Oldham. . .

 Fonterra’s June Guaranteed Milk Price Set at $5.25 Per kgMS:

Fonterra has set the June Guaranteed Milk Price (GMP) at $5.25 per kgMS, the same price as the opening 2015/16 forecast Farmgate Milk Price.

A total of 45.2 million kgMS was offered by 443 farms, more than double the number of farms that applied this time last year.

Fonterra’s Group Director Co-operative Affairs Miles Hurrell said: “More of our farmers are seeing GMP as a financial risk management tool and are choosing to lock in a price for a percentage of their milk production. . .

 Wool Generally Holds Its Ground

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island auction comprising 20,585 bales saw a 91 percent clearance and a generally firm market except for the previously over pressured Fine Crossbred types which eased slightly.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was down 1.47 percent compared to the last sale on 11th June helping underpin local values.

Mr Dawson advises that Finer Mid Micron Fleece were 3 to 6 percent easier with the coarser types firm to 2 percent dearer. . .


Rural round-up

June 19, 2015

Beef + Lamb New Zealand not able to progress joint market development model:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand won’t be progressing a joint market development model with meat processors in the next commodity levy cycle from 2016-2022.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, James Parsons said meat processors have decided not to progress the proposed collaborative 50:50 funded market development entity focusing on country of origin promotion. This was a proposition worked up by Beef + Lamb New Zealand in conjunction with meat companies over the past two years.

“We’ve had a lot of dialogue and constructive discussions with processors, considering how market development could be funded and delivered in the future. Naturally, after all the hard work, it’s disappointing that we weren’t able to get agreement. However, we respect processors preference for their own commercially-focused marketing given, they are the ones who sell the product. What became apparent over the two years of one-on-one meetings and workshops with meat companies was the wide ranging views on how we should promote New Zealand’s sheepmeat and beef.” . .

 

Sign dairy prices bottoming out – Sally Rae:

The latest GlobalDairyTrade auction results offers ”the mildest of encouragements” that global dairy prices might be bottoming out, economists say.

While the overall price index was down 1.3% this week, it was also the smallest drop since the latest downturn in prices began in March.

But it still ”shed no real light” on whether prices would recover enough over the course of the season to meet Fonterra’s milk price forecast, Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said. . .

Mushroom farm faces prosecution  – Simon Hendery:

Long-established Havelock North business Te Mata Mushrooms is being prosecuted on charges carrying a maximum $600,000 fine for multiple alleged breaches of its resource consent.

The Brookvale Rd company has been the subject of regular complaints about the odour it produces which has allegedly wafted over its boundary in breach of its consent conditions.

It has also been accused of failing to build a multi-million dollar building to contain its compost-making facilities – another requirement under its resource consent. . .

Forestry standard part of Govt’s plan to simplify RMA:

A new National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry to simplify and standardise Resource Management Act requirements was proposed today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew at Paengaroa Forest in the Bay of Plenty.

“The current system for environmental regulation of forestry is complex and confusing with thousands of different rules across New Zealand’s 78 councils. This proposed standard will simplify the rules and save the forestry industry millions in compliance costs while ensuring environmental issues like wilding pines, protecting spawning fish and erosion are better managed,” Dr Smith says. . .

 

Government decision made on raw milk:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced the Government’s decision to introduce a new policy around the sale of raw milk to consumers.

“Raw milk is a high risk food, particularly for children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“After extensive consultation and review, the Government decision will allow farmers to continue to sell raw milk directly to the public from the farm and via home deliveries.

“I recognise that people feel strongly about their right to buy and drink raw milk. Equally, I am also aware of the strong concerns about the public health risks associated with drinking raw milk and the potential risk to New Zealand’s food safety reputation. . .

Federated Farmers want to see fine print on raw milk:

Federated Farmers wants to see the fine print of the rules around selling raw milk before farmers will know it its worthwhile.

The Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew has announced farmers will still be able to sell raw milk to consumers, and the government will not be implementing plans to abolish raw milk sales, restrict their volume or prohibit home deliveries.

Dairy spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says farmers value having a range of selling options. . .

 

Hort leaders connect with students to grow industry:

Although the number of horticulture students has increased, it is still not enough to satisfy demands. Now, industry leaders are connecting with Massey University in an effort to grow graduates in the sector.

Massey University offers the only horticulture degree course at university level in New Zealand. One of the partnerships it has is with Horticulture New Zealand.

Senior business manager at Horticulture New Zealand Sue Pickering gives a guest lecture to students taking the first-year Horticulture Production paper. . .

Seeka reports record crop volumes handled for 2014-15 harvest:

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries has packed a record number of trays in the just-completed 2015 kiwifruit harvest, handling more than 26.3 million class 1 export trays, compared to 20.0 million class 1 trays in 2014. The total volume of all classes of kiwifruit is expected to exceed 27.4 million trays this year. This compares to the 24.944m forecast to shareholders at ASM held on 28 April 2015.

Both Hayward [Green] and Gold class 1 volumes are up. Total Hayward packed or in store for 2015 is 21.8 million trays compared to 18.1 million in the previous year. Gold volumes in 2015 totalled 4.3 million trays and compare against 1.7 million in the previous year. Seeka also packed approximately 200,000 trays of the Zespri G14 SweetGreen. . .

 


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