Rural round-up

September 21, 2015

Welcome boost to rural mental health:

New funding from the Government to help rural communities deal with an acute mental health situation is welcome, says Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa NZ (RHANZ) chairperson Dr Jo Scott-Jones.

But the problems are longstanding and go beyond the pressures of a low dairy payout, he says. 

Increased training measures are part of a one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities, announced by the ministers of health and primary industries. . . 

Let’s break the silence – Matt Linnegar:

I WOULD not be the first nor last person to be astounded by the recent spate of attacks against women in this country. That men, often husbands and fathers could exact such terrible damage or in some cases kill their partners, wives or daughters is beyond comprehension and sickens me to the core.

The latest sad episode splashed across this week’s media forced me to set aside my cup of tea and say “well what are you doing about it”?

It goes without saying that I do not accept any form of violence against women be they my wife, daughter, mum, sisters or anyone else. I have at times spoken out when I have seen evidence of some form of violence against women taking place and in one incident, had to use physical restraint while intervening. But I am also guilty of swallowing the words that should have been uttered – no, loudly declared – at other times.

So a silent declaration to self this morning – never again.

While such a declaration is a very personal one, broadly speaking we can only have an impact if everyone (or the vast majority of people – in particular men) do the same. While this goes for all Australians, I would like to pay particular attention to rural, regional and remote Australia. In terms of my work at the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, this is where our focus lies. We have a network of over 1000 leaders – men and women – across the country and primarily in rural, regional and remote communities. . . 

Farmers at breaking point after thefts, rustling rise – Phillipa Yalden:

Rising rates of rustling and farm thefts are pushing farmers to breaking point but police urge farmers not to take matters into their own hands. 

Dead cows have been stripped and lambs left orphaned in a spate of rustling and poaching from Waikato farms. 

Farmers are fed up with not only the thefts of stock, but prized equipment in what police say is a seasonal rise in rural crime.  . . 

Cost-cutting to outlast downturn – Glenys Christian:

Almost half of Waikato dairy farmers will keep cutting milk production costs even when returns lift, a field day survey has found.

Improving the cost of production this season was a priority for 60% while 23% were targeting an increase in pasture growth.

Just 8% said they would reduce the cost of supplements while none intended to increase stock sales.

A further 8% voted for other strategies, such as increasing off-farm income by letting their bach. . .

Mackenzie Basin farmers feel tenure review and nutrient rules have shut down land options – Tim Fulton:

Tenure review has given Mackenzie Basin farmers freehold land which they can’t fully develop because of nutrient management rules, says Simon’s Pass farmer Martin Murray.

He and his wife Penny have waited 17 years for permission to irrigate 500ha of Maryburn Station, their property in the middle of the Mackenzie Basin. To get a breakthrough, the owners needed to settle with “all the objectors” including the Mackenzie Guardians group.

Fighting for resource consent to irrigate had been expensive. Maryburn Station had spent $400,000 in legal and regulatory fees over the years, Martin Murray said. . . 

Future agri-leaders finalise UN declaration:

Young agriculture leaders from across the world have created a global call for action to help solve the pressing issues facing agriculture and food security.

In August 100 young thought leaders, aged 18-25, from 33 nations met in Canberra as part of the Youth-Ag Summit, where they discussed the role science and modern agriculture play in feeding a hungry planet.

During the week, the delegates voted on which themes they felt were most important, those with the overall highest priority formed the basis of the Canberra Youth Ag-Declaration. . . 

A Norfolk farmer has put 185 tractors up for sale:

Proud master of all he surveys, Norfolk farmer Paul Rackham takes us to Shed 9. From the outside, Shed 9 looks like just another grain store.

Inside it’s different. Inside, Shed 9, of Camp Farm, Roudham, near Thetford, is a cornucopia of tractor delights.

Filling nearly all its 55,000 square feet, tractors – veteran, vintage and classic – stretch as far as the eye can see.

There is a 1916 Saunderson Universal G, a 1941 Fordson N with row-crop conversion, a 1925 British Wallis (flat bonnet version!) . . .


Rural round-up

September 12, 2011

Getting a slice of the dairy actionWilly Leferink:

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

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

Station wool deal with Japanese

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

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

Tauranga horticulturist wins Loder Cup:

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

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

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

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

Waning RHD effect spurs studySally Rae:

Recent research on possum control is being applied to rabbits.

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

Farmer’s legacy of ingenuityMark Hotton:

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

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

Fieldays king steps down after 20 yearsCeana Priest:

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

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

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

Call to revive wool use in NZ:

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

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

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

Government, business and farmers to learn sustainability lessonsJames Houghton:

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

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

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


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