Mike Petersen Ag Comunicator of Year

14/06/2018

The New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists announces:

The current New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, is the 2018 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year. This was announced at a dinner in Hamilton last night, when he was presented with a trophy and a cash prize.

This is the thirty-second year the Agricultural Communicator of the Year title has been awarded, and is the second year of involvement by sponsor Ravensdown.  This year there were six people nominated and the decision was reached by a panel of 10 judges from around the country.

Mike has been described as a superb communicator and always able to deliver his messages in tune with his audience in any location anywhere in the world.

Mike has been involved in leadership positions within the agri-food sector for nearly 20 years. During that time, he has been elected to positions on industry organisations representing farmers such as chair of Beef + Lamb, and the ability to communicate effectively has been a core component of these positions.

He has travelled the length of the country speaking to hundreds of meetings over the years, providing the opportunity for farmers to engage with their organisation and discuss opportunities for the sector.

Over the past five years he has spent a considerable amount of his time in the role of New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy. This is a ministerial appointment to advocate for the dairy, sheep, beef, horticulture and wine industries in their efforts to improve market access and trading environment.

In this role, he travels offshore about six times per year to all markets of the world where New Zealand is looking to improve market access and market reputation. He speaks to numerous conferences and meets with the complete range of stakeholders from farmers, industry groups, corporates, officials, ministers and Prime Ministers dispelling myths and promoting the New Zealand agri-food sector.

As New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, he also presents to numerous conferences and events in New Zealand, reports back to industry following his travels and responds to many media requests for interviews and commentary on all issues relating to trade.

The Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year award is administered by the New Zealand Guild of Agricultural Journalists and Communicators, and recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues, events or information.    Guild president Elaine Fisher said the Guild is delighted to partner with Ravensdown in offering this long-standing award, which recognises excellence in communicating agricultural issues events or information.

“This year’s winner, Mike Petersen, epitomises all that it is to be a highly effective communicator for our primary industries. He has advocated on behalf of sheep and beef farmers, promoted Māori agribusiness, and effectively represents New Zealand’s primary industries on the international stage, all underpinned by his background as an award-winning Hawke’s Bay farmer.

Taking communications even further, Mike also shares his knowledge and skills with the next generation of leaders through working with Young Farmers, university students, Nuffield and Kellogg scholars. The Guild is pleased to join with Ravensdown in honouring Mike as the 2018 Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year,” Elaine said.

Regarded as the premier award for agricultural communicators, the Ravensdown Agricultural Communicator of the Year is also the most valuable prize the Guild offers. Ravensdown provides a prize of $2,500 for the winner, part of a sponsorship package of nearly $6,000 for the Guild. The additional funding assists with administration costs for the award, including the awards dinner in Hamilton.


Rural round-up

12/06/2018

Work at Ravensdown’s helm ‘incredibly fulfilling’ – Sally Rae:

It is not very often, as Greg Campbell acknowledges, that a chief executive wants more regulation.

But the boss of Ravensdown is very pleased the Government is investing more money on biosecurity.

He has been concerned the fertiliser sector was far too open to anyone to bring any product into New Zealand and call it fertiliser. . .

Envoy recommends eradication – Sally Rae:

New Zealand special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen says it appears Mycoplasma bovis is more serious than reports have  so far indicated.

Mr Petersen, a former Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman, has just returned after a busy time in the UK and Europe with discussions around the future of farming and trade.

Farmers he had spoken to who had the bacterial disease on their properties believed New Zealand should try to eradicate it. . .

Sheep and beef farmers working with nature to create profit:

Farming systems that work with nature are in high demand from consumers of the food that is being produced.

A true farm profit working with a healthy environment is the goal in this new world of ever-increasing environmental scrutiny.

Brendon Walsh from GrowFarm has been working with sheep and beef farmers as a business coach for a number of years. . . 

Love at first sight – after a haircut: Farmer finds his future wife at Fieldays

Taranaki’s trio of Fieldays Rural Catch finalists can take heart – the competition has resulted in at least one marriage and two babies.

Trainee helicopter pilot Lilly Newton, 21, of Urenui, South Taranaki dairy manager Sam Hughson, also 21, and New Plymouth dairy farmer Berny Hall, 29, are among eight young farmers facing off in the fight for the coveted Golden Gumboot this week.

The competition has been a popular fixture on the Fieldays calendar for 13 years, giving competitors the opportunity to test their skills both on and off the farm and a shot at an impressive prize pool. . .

First Northlander to go through to the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final:

 Congratulations to Jake Dromgool from The Landing in Kerikeri who became the Bayer Auckland/Northern Young Viticulturist of the Year 2018. He will go through to represent the region at the National Final at the end of August and will be the first Northlander to ever compete in this prestigious Final. . .

I quit my job to farm: Laura Hodgkins, 30, West Sussex – Emily Ashworth:

Laura Hodgkins, 30, quit her her job in marketing to take on a tenanted farm with her husband, Andy, 31. Here she tells us her reasons and how she has found her place in the farming world.

1) Where and what do you farm?

Our tenanted farm, Cocking Hill Farm, is part of the Cowdray Estate. Situated on the South Downs in West Sussex, it consists of around 700 acres. It is mainly chalk grassland, rising up to 800ft above sea level.

We run a 2,000 head flock of New Zealand Romneys on an extensive outdoor system, predominantly for breeding stock. . . 


Rural round-up

07/02/2018

Still dry on Otago farms despite rain :

Recent rain is unlikely to be enough to break Otago’s drought. Farmers are still feeling the pressure of the extreme January heat as low water stocks start to take their toll.

Federated Farmers Otago president Phill Hunt, of Wanaka, said farmers were still facing what some were describing as the worst dry spell in decades. The stock water supplies farmers relied on in a typical year were not available or sufficient this year, he said.

“Farmers are understandably concerned about the wellbeing of their stock and are de-stocking where needed.” . .

Pioneer to build new hydro scheme on Fraser River – Pam Jones:

A new Pioneer Energy hydro scheme on the Fraser River, on Earnscleugh Station, will generate enough electricity to power 4000 households.

Due to the altitude and topography of the area, construction would not be possible during the winter, but track construction and upgrades would begin this month, Pioneer Energy development general manager Peter Mulvihill said. The main construction of the intake, powerhouse and pipeline was scheduled to start in September.

The scheme would generate about 30GWh of power annually and should be supplying the local region by March next year, Mr Mulvihill said. . . 

Deal a good one for NZ farmers – Peter Burke:

The deal NZ has in the now-negotiated Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the best we could have expected, says NZ’s special agricultural trade envoy.

Mike Petersen told Rural News the deal is potentially better for NZ with the US pulling out of the discussions. It is effectively a series of 11 bilateral agreements between each group member, and while the US has pulled out the market access schedules have remained intact.

That means in theory that NZ has a greater opportunity to export products to the other 10 countries in the agreement, Petersen says. . .

Farmers want Healthy Rivers amendments that are practical and not a free pass – Andrew McGivern:

I would like to think that in 2018 this is, at last, when we all start finalising the Healthy Rivers Plan Change One provisions, with hearings scheduled to begin at the end of this year.

For farmers and rural communities within the Waikato-Waipa river catchments, it will be great to finally get some clarity around the rules and direction of this plan change.

This is because from a business point of view, these regulations have been operational and enforceable since it was notified back in September 2016 and are already affecting farm values and investment.

From Federated Farmers’ point of view, while we agree with the aspirations of the vision and strategy, we believe parts of the plan and some of the rules and implementation, is skewed and in need of change. . .

Sorting the wood from the trees – Steve Wyn-Harris:

One billion trees. That’s a whole lot of trees.

I got an intriguing email last week.

It was from Crown Forestry, a business unit of MPI.

They were asking me if I had any suitable land to plant for the new government’s One Billion Trees programme, which is the ten-year target. To achieve, it will require new forests on up to 500,000 hectares.

This programme with Crown Forestry is but one of several initiatives to help achieve the target.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t help them as I fell outside the criteria of a minimum 200 hectares, which is just over half of our farm area, but most of the other criteria like access within the block and to local roads, terrain, fertility and such applied as we are about to harvest 8 hectares of our own trees that I planted 30 years ago. . .

Rod Slater on how much beef and lamb we eat

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Rod Slater has gone in to bat for New Zealand farmers after a newspaper article suggested environmental sustainability concerns were putting the heat on meat, with rapidly declining domestic consumption of beef and, particularly, lamb.

Speaking to Jamie Mackay on The Country today, Slater said the figures in the article, including that New Zealanders are eating less than 1kg of meat each a year, were inaccurate, and Kiwis were still eating a lot of beef and lamb, though not as much as we used to. . . 

Read the rest of this entry »


Farmers’ pledge will work where water tax won’t

23/08/2017

Farming leaders have pledged to make rivers swimmable:

In a first for the country, farming leaders have pledged to work together to help make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for future generations.

The Farming Leaders’ Pledge has been signed today by a group of New Zealand pastoral farming leaders, that represent over 80% per cent of that country’s farmed land, committing them to an ambitious goal of working to make New Zealand’s rivers swimmable for their children and grandchildren.

Group spokesperson, Federated Farmers President and West Coast dairy farmer Katie Milne says the intent behind the pledge is clear.

“Many of our rivers are not in the condition we all want them to be. We are doing this because we want our kids and their kids to be able to swim in the same rivers that we did as children.  And by swim we mean swim. It’s as simple as that.

“We’re standing up and saying we haven’t always got this right. More work is required and we will play our part. While there has been progress on farm in the past 10 years, we know there is more to be done, and that it must be done fast, and together.

Clean rivers aren’t an abstract concept for farmers.

This is the water we drink and wash with every day, not something we might visit a very few times a year.

“Today isn’t about laying out the detail on the huge amount of work going on already on farms up and down the country and how these efforts will need to increase.

“It’s about us as farming leaders signalling our commitment to making New Zealand’s rivers swimmable and doing everything we can to achieve that.”

Ms Milne, says the group understands much of the work needed will be challenging for the farming sector.

Challenging yes, but a  lot will build on work already being undertaken.

“We haven’t put a timeline on our commitment.  Each community will need to decide that for themselves.  This goal will be difficult to meet and we don’t have all the answers today on how it’s going to be achieved”, she says.

“We know that we have work to do. We know it will be challenging for farmers. We know the answers are complex and we don’t have them all now.   This commitment is simply the right thing to do in playing our part to give back to future generations what we enjoyed as kids.”

The Farming Leaders Group is an informal grouping of New Zealand pastoral farming leaders that was established in May 2017 to work on issues of importance to the sector. 

The current membership is Mike Petersen (Sheep & Beef Farmer), Michael Spaans (Dairy Farmer and Dairy NZ Chair), James Parsons (Sheep & Beef Farmer and Beef + Lamb NZ Chair), John Loughlin (Meat Industry Association Chair), Katie Milne (Dairy Farmer and Federated Farmers President), Bruce Wills (Sheep & Beef Farmer and Ravensdown Director), and John Wilson (Dairy Farmer and Fonterra Chair).

The improvements already made have been done by farmers who understand the importance of clean water, without the crude instrument of a water tax which Megan  Hands describes as a kick in the guts for farmers:

There is no doubt that water management is top of mind for many of us this election, but none more so than our farmers and growers, particularly those with irrigation. It’s struck me that using the word farmer seems to irk many, as if it has some kind of negative connotation.

The reality is that New Zealand’s farmers collectively are a group of thousands of small, often family run businesses and their employees. Many are self-employed and punch well above their weight to compete on a global scale, often up against farmers from nations who receive significant subsidies from their governments to assist with their costs of production, top up their incomes or assist them to undertake environmental works.

Irrigation dates to back the Ancient Egyptians and, simply put, we have it because we need water to grow crops or feed for our animals. In the areas of the country that have the most irrigation, rainfall can be scarce, ranging from just 300mm in parts of Central Otago, through to 500-700mm in Canterbury and Marlborough, as compared with the 1,200mm that falls in Auckland annually. Irrigation is used by some farmers and growers to supplement that shortfall in rain and to remain resilient in drought years.

Irrigation schemes don’t just allow farmers to weather dry weather. They also augment natural flows in rivers and streams to improve water quality and enhance water life.

What then is the likely impact of Labour’s water tax policy on these families and their communities?

On the face of it phrases like “polluter pays” or “user pays: may sound appealing, but the balancing of the environmental, social, cultural and economic needs of our communities is more complex than that.

An important point to note from the outset is that nobody in New Zealand pays for water. Even in Auckland, Watercare charges for the treatment and reticulation of water to your home or business, not for the water itself. In the same way as you pay the council through your rates or water bill, Irrigators pay for the infrastructure through consenting, drilling of wells, installation and running of pumping stations or through payments to irrigation schemes with costs of up to $800 a hectare.

That’s what we pay for water from North Otago Irrigation COmpany’s scheme – $800 a hectare a year. On top of that we have to have an environmental farm plan which is independently audited each year.

When Labour’s policy was first announced, there was little detail of pricing. It appears now we are looking at a price of 2 cents per cubic metre, or 1000 Litres.

For some context, to apply 1mm of water over 1 hectare of land it takes 10,000 litres of water or 10 cubic metres. So, to supplement that shortfall of rainfall and sustain crop or pasture growth it quickly equates to large volumes of water.

To keep the maths simple, a 200ha cropping farm growing grain or grass seeds in mid Canterbury applying 500mm of irrigation water a year would have a new additional tax bill of $20,000 a year.

A 100hectare vineyard in Blenheim might use 199,500 cubic metres of water through a drip micro system and have an additional tax bill of $3,990.

Another dairy farmer well known on Twitter has calculated his annual water tax bill on his farm to be $53,000.

Suddenly a couple of cents doesn’t sound so small.

It’s not just the amount but that it will be taken from irrigators regardless of whether their practices are contributing to water quality problems, some will go to Iwi and some will go to regional councils.

What’s left after the costs of collection and distribution is supposed to be used to clean up waterways, but how? It it’s individual farms causing problems they should be responsible for fixing them and not at the cost of those who are already doing everything right.

The key drivers for irrigation requirements are the soil type and its ability to hold water, the crops water demand and the evapotranspiration of the area. In the examples above, grapes have a lower water demand than pasture or grain crops. There is a great deal of science and high level of management that goes into managing irrigation efficiently.

One arable farmer at a meeting in Ashburton on Friday said that he had calculated that at 2 cents/m3 his annual water tax bill could equate to half his annual income. Another wondered aloud what happens if he has a crop failure and he receives zero income for that year but still must pay the tax for the irrigation water he used?

What will happen in wet seasons, like the last one, when there was hardly any irrigation? Our power bill was about 10% of what it had been the previous season which indicates we used about a 10th of the irrigation.

And what will they do with the seagulls which are causing the only water quality problem in the Kakanui River?

In districts where there are significant areas of irrigation this tax would mean millions of dollars being removed from these local economies in additional tax. In these regional areas, the small towns and cities rely on primary industry to keep them going. For Ashburton and Timaru some estimates have come in around $40 million. Tim Cadogan, mayor of Central Otago, is quoted as saying the tax will cost his district $6 million dollars. That’s millions of dollars not transferred to local tradesman, the local café or the rural supplies store.

This proposed tax has been portrayed as the solution to NZ’s water quality problems, although the more we learn about this policy the more difficult it is to link the purported benefits with the method proposed. If Labour do as they say and return the tax to the areas from which it is collected (minus the percentage that goes to iwi), the areas with the poorest water quality will only receive a small slice of the tax. This is because there is almost no correlation between swimability of rivers and irrigation.

This policy is based not on facts but on the unsubstantiated belief that irrigation causes water degradation.

In our area it’s the opposite case. The Waiareka Creek that used to be a series of semi-stagnant ponds now flows clear  all year and water life has re-established because irrigation water is doing what nature couldn’t – maintain water flows.

One of the greatest concerns regarding this policy is the possibility it could make meeting required reductions in nutrient losses more difficult. Making changes on a farm to improve water quality is not cheap and any additional money squeezed out of what are often tight budgets may make it more difficult to do so. As an example, $20,000-30,000 can pay for three or four soil moisture meters to aid in more targeted use of irrigation or perhaps part of a new effluent system.

A water tax is a broad-brush approach to what are varied and complex issues. In my view identifying the contaminants causing the water quality problems for a catchment and targeting the management of those at catchment scale is a far superior approach than paying money to a government organisation in the hope that it will be returned to be spent the catchment it came from.

Last Friday David Parker, Labour’s spokesperson for freshwater fronted a public meeting in Ashburton. While I’d already been publicly critical of the approach of a water tax, I wanted to hear what he had to say in more depth than a media soundbite or the 300-word summary on the Labour party website. I’ve also long believed that there is a legitimate conversation to be had about how we should fund environmental infrastructure such as the Managed Aquifer Recharge site in Ashburton, new storm water systems or floating wetlands such as those installed at Te Arawa in Rotorua.

I was bitterly disappointed.

Mr Parker provided photos of poor farming practices to set the tone. Of the farming practices that we were seeing in the photos, not even one of them was related to irrigation and none were from Canterbury. Almost every single one of them would be illegal in Canterbury under the existing Land and Water Regional Plan putting your consent to farm or your access to irrigation water at risk of being cut off.

When questioned on the price, Mr Parker warned the room that he wasn’t there to negotiate and threatened the farmers in the room that if they pushed him it would be 2 cents instead of 1 cent. He continually referred to the farmers in the room as “you people”, taking aim at them and telling them they alone were responsible for the rural urban divide.

It is the responsibility of us all to manage our water well and that includes irrigators, towns and cities, and other commercial users. If we are going to tackle these challenges we must do it together, instead of pointing the finger at one another.

The management of our freshwater is important for our ecosystems, our businesses and our recreation. Water is precious to all of us and deserves far more sophisticated and collaborative policy development then soundbites and feel good election policies if we are to deliver the kaitiakitanga it deserves.

The pledge by the farmers’ group will work where the water tax won’t.

It will be led by and accomplished by farmers working with farmers, not politicians extracting a tax only some of which will be applied to improving water quality.


Rural round-up

31/10/2016

Graduates take red meat path – Sally Rae:

Young Telford graduates William Benson and Lisa Bonenkamp will today embark on careers in the red meat sector.

The pair have completed their studies at Telford, where they were involved in the Red Meat Network, a tertiary network designed to increase the number of high achieving graduates entering the sheep and beef industry. Established last year, the network allowed 20 leading students from six tertiary institutions to hear high calibre speakers from the red meat sector, including New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Envoy Mike Petersen. It was funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership, a Primary Growth Partnership programme.

Encouraging young people into the red meat sector was a key part of increasing productivity, RMPP general manager Michael Smith said. . . 

Chinese investment in NZ likely to shift to companies – Alexa Cook:

Public suspicion and red tape is discouraging Chinese investment in New Zealand, a Shanghai Pengxin boss says.

Shanghai Pengxin president of overseas investment Terry Lee told a Chinese agriculture conference in Wellington they wanted to control the value chain from farm gate to the table, but New Zealand kept putting up hurdles.

Mr Lee told the audience New Zealand’s government tailor-made regulations so Shanghai Pengxin could not buy Lochinvar station last year.

He said there should have been an apology, and while suspicion was a natural reaction to foreign investment it was not helpful for New Zealand. . . 

The future of milk – Lynley Hargreaves:

Value-added milk products are likely to continue their rise, says new Royal Society of New Zealand Fellow Dr Skelte Anema. That means we’ll keep moving away from commodities like dried milk powder and export more expensive products such as fresh and long-life liquid milk and cream. A Principal Research Scientist at the Fonterra Research and Development Centre, Dr Anema has worked in the New Zealand dairy industry since 1990. He tells us how the science and economics have changed, and how processing milk in different ways can effect milk proteins, making for more consistent products, a longer shelf life, or even pourable cheese.

When you first started working in this area, New Zealand had cream-topped glass bottles of home-delivered milk. How has the research environment changed in the last 26 years?

Fresh milk that is sold in New Zealand is only a very small part of our milk supply. But one thing that’s very different now is that we used to do a lot of research on milk powder. . . 

Jane Hunter Honoured by Marlborough Wine Industry:

Jane Hunter, owner of Hunter’s Wines in Marlborough, has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the board of Wine Marlborough.

The annual award is given in recognition of services to the wine industry over a period of time.

Jane, who arrived in Marlborough in 1983, has played an integral role in making Marlborough a household name in international wine circles.

Arriving in the province in 1983 as a viticulturist for Montana Wines, she went on to marry Ernie Hunter, the founder of one of Marlborough’s first wineries. When Ernie died in 1987, Jane took over the reins of the company. . . 

Future of Food:

The Netherlands and New Zealand have much in common, in both culture and economics, particularly in the areas of agri-food, horticulture and trade. Next month, the Embassy of the Netherlands is hosting a one-day forum, in cooperation with Massey University and FoodHQ, which will take advantage of the many parallels between the two nations with the aim of creating momentum for exploring new opportunities where we can collaborate on the issues of sustainable food commerce in key global markets.

Next month’s Future of Food Forum will be opened by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Netherlands Minister for Economic Affairs Henk Kamp. The Forum includes presentations and discussions between leaders from the private and public sector, including Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings, Zespri chief executive Lain Jager and Massey Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey. . . 

Insects are the sustainable food of the future –  Dick Wybrow:

The buzz is getting louder as we make more room on our dinner tables for bugs.

With a growing global population and shrinking resources, some experts think insects could eventually replace meat and fish.

It’s been estimated that it takes 1750 litres of water and more than 6kg of feed to make an average hamburger.

So maybe it’s time to bite the bugs back.

We already know a handful of freeze-dried ants or a salad sprinkled with crickets can provide heaps of protein. . . 

Meth use spikes amongst rural Australians:

There are calls for drug monitoring in rural areas after a study found meth use among rural Australians is twice as high as those living in cities.

One in 43 people in rural areas are using the drug, according to researchers from the University of Western Australia – that’s 150 percent more than in 2007.

In cities, use has only gone up 16 percent.

The highest rates of usage were found in rural men aged 18 to 25, particularly tradies. . . 

Nine Hours in the Combine : Reflecting on #My60Acres – Uptown Farms:

The corn is harvested!  It took Matt and I, each running a 9500 John Deere combine with a 6 row corn head, about nine hours to harvest the entire 60 acres.  So now that it’s all done, here are my thoughts.

Farming is hard work!

There might be a reason only 2% of Americans do this – it’s hard!  I try to battle that fairy-tale version of farming on my  blog but I don’t think I’ve given enough credit to the physical aspect of farming. 

I see him come home every night  covered head to toe in dust and looking physically exhausted.  But it never really registered with me.  Especially this time of year.  I know working cattle is hard, shearing sheep is hard. But driving a tractor or a combine?  . . 


Rural round-up

18/05/2016

NZ primary sector needs story to sell globally, trade envoy Petersen says – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand needs to develop a new primary sector story to help sell its products to the world, says Mike Petersen, New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoy.

Speaking at today’s Dairy NZ Farmer Forum at Mystery Creek, Petersen said he has been “banging on” about this idea for some years without getting much traction.

“We need a coherent New Zealand story and we need it desperately to take out into the world,” he said. “We are behind the game at pulling this together to make the most of our opportunities.” . . .

Monsanto’s pesticide ‘unlikely to cause cancer’ :

The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, probably does not cause cancer, according to a new safety review by United Nations health, agriculture and food experts.

In a statement likely to intensify a row over its potential health impact, experts from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) said glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans” exposed to it through food.

It is mostly used on crops.

Having reviewed the scientific evidence, the joint WHO/FAO committee also said glyphosate is unlikely to be genotoxic in humans. . . .

Why Many Midwestern Farmers Are Pro-TPP – Kristofor Husted:

Turn on the TV and you can barely escape the acronym TPP.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade deal between the U.S. and 11 other countries that’s currently being negotiated. Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are deriding the TPP, saying it’s a bum deal that will hurt the U.S. economy and especially low-wage workers.

But if you venture into the Midwest and ask a farmer about the TPP, you’re likely to get a different answer.

“This pending TPP trade negotiation, to me, is hugely important for agricultural commodities, but specifically for beef,” says Mike John, a cattle rancher in Huntsville, Mo. He’s one of many Midwest farmers and ranchers who are bucking the political trend to dog the TPP. . .  (Hat tip: Kiwiblog)

Māori land report shows potential in Northland:

Māori land owners in Northland have promising options for developing their land, according to a report commissioned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi-O-Ngāpuhi and the Far North District Council.

“The report shows that in a 50km radius around Kaikohe there are nearly 4000 small parcels of unproductive land that have the potential to be developed for uses like horticulture and agriculture,” says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The report highlights two case studies focusing on horticulture and pastoral land use scenarios that show the potential for many parts of Northland. . . 

Summit to Consider Farming Within Environmental Limits:

The 2016 New Zealand Primary Industry Summit will once again provide farm and business leaders with the opportunity to consider sustainability and environmental issues.

This years programme includes sessions that will tackle the hottest topics in the industry including the TPPA, sustainability, smart branding and marketing, and foreign investment. A highlight for those interested in sustainability will be a session delivered on day two by Fish & Game New Zealand’s Environmental Manager Corina Jordan entitled ‘Farming within environmental limits.’ . . 

Fonterra NZ, Australia milk collection drops in season to date – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says milk collection is down in New Zealand and Australia, its two largest markets, in the first 11 months of the season during a period of weak dairy prices.

Milk collection across New Zealand fell 3.3 percent to 1.499 billion kilograms of milk solids in the season from June 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016, with all of the decline coming in the North Island while good weather conditions kept South Island production unchanged, Auckland-based Fonterra said in its Global Dairy Update. The 2015/16 season forecast has been revised to 1.558 billion kgMS, down 3 percent on the previous season, its said. . . 

Fonterra Confirms Early Final Dividend Payment:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today confirmed it will pay part of its forecast final dividend earlier, to support farmers during a time of extremely tight on-farm cash flows.

Chairman John Wilson said a solid performance during the nine months to 30 April in the current financial year enables the Co-operative to declare the 10 cents per share dividend today. Payment will be made on 7 June, bringing dividend payments so far this year to 30 cents per share.

“While the milk supply and demand imbalance continues to impact global milk prices and our forecast Farmgate Milk Price, the business is delivering on strategy and has maintained the good performance levels seen in the first six months of the financial year. . . 

Drop in number of farms on the market:

Farm sale prices held steady in April, but the number of farms on the market is falling, says the Real Estate Institute.

New data showed there were 16 percent fewer sales for the three months ended April this year, than for the same three months last year.

But the median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to April was $30,000, up nearly 5 percent on the same period last year. . . 

 

image

Hat tip: Utopia

 


Rural round-up

29/04/2016

Trade negotiations like water dripping on a stone – Allan Barber:

Before he left for China last week, New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, gave me his thoughts on the process of trade negotiation and a brief list of successes he has been involved with since 2003. At that time he was Chairman of Meat & Wool NZ as it was called in those days.

During that 13 year period New Zealand has signed free trade deals with Taiwan, China, ASEAN which comprises 12 countries and at long last South Korea, not to forget the TPPA. No wonder he called trade negotiations ‘like water dripping on a stone.’ Signing FTAs is never quick and demands a huge amount of manpower, preparation, patience and recognition no country ever gets everything it wants.

The reaction to the TPPA, not only here, but also in other signatory countries, notably the USA, indicates a growing feeling of disaffection with free trade deals because of the perceived loss of sovereignty they entail, including domestic employment opportunities, and conversely the benefits to big business. . .

Food ‘knowledge gap’ creates dangers for farmers:

Does a cow need to have a calf to give milk?

The answer should be obvious, but more than 70% of consumers get the question wrong explains University of Guelph associate professor Mike Von Massow. A majority of Canadians also believe that a chicken is processed for meat when it reaches four years of age.

Von Massow shared these findings from his research on consumer perceptions of food at the Farm & Food Care Ontario annual meeting earlier this month. While many of the findings are troubling for agriculture there is also reason to be optimistic. “Consumers feel pretty good about the food they eat in Canada. Generally they believe they have safe, healthy food and they trust farmers,” says Massow. . .

Tribal councils appeal farmers’ discharge consents – John Gibb:

A decision by independent commissioners to grant a consent for a North Otago farmer from 2020 to discharge nitrogen from three farms on to land ‘‘in a manner that may enter groundwater” has been appealed to the Environment Court.

The consent application from Borst Holdings Ltd was the first to be made under Otago’s new 6A water plan change, which concerns itself with the amount of nitrogen being released into the area’s rivers.

The consent for the Borst farms, near the Kakanui River, was granted for 15 years starting from April 1, 2020. . . 

Dairy farmers will pay for next five years say John Mulvany:

MURRAY Goulburn has sheltered farmers from the real global milk price and they’re going to pay for five years, according to a leading consultant.

Gippsland-based consultant John Mulvany said the effect of the overpayment for milk in 2015-16 will result in the deduction of the equivalent of 24 cents a kilogram of milk solids from milk supply during the next three years, or $36,000 a year for a 150,000kg/MS farm, to pay back for this season’s mistake.

“The late notification is absolutely inexcusable,” he said.

“It is not fair to the MG field staff who, until mid-December, were issuing income estimates with three step-ups leading to a milk price over $6 a kilogram of milk solids. . . 

Sweet opportunities in honey industry for locals:

Today marks the first day of work for 11 Work and Income clients, who will be developing Northland College’s mānuka plantation site.

30 hectares of mānuka will be initially planted on Northland College land – an initiative that provides current and future employment opportunities for Kaikohe people.

The Northland College Mānuka Initiative stems from the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan which identifies 58 actions for stimulating the Northland economy. . . 

Horticulture Welcomes Dam Progress:

Horticulture New Zealand has welcomed the announcement of the progress made in funding for the Ruataniwha Dam project in Hawke’s Bay.

The horticulture industry is reliant on sensible management of freshwater in New Zealand and the provision of water for future generations of primary sector business is essential.

“This will see the number of growers increase, and this in turn will improve the sustainability of the proposal,” HortNZ natural resources and environment manager Chris Keenan says. . . 

Expect more gains in nutrient management says Ballance:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is confident that Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord targets around nutrient data collection and efficiency reporting will continue to lift as more farmers understand the direct benefits to their farms and their OVERSEER® nutrient budgets.

Commenting on the release of Accord results yesterday, Ballance CEO Mark Wynne said that while results had fallen short of targets for nutrient management data and the reporting back of nutrient efficiency information, good progress is being made.

The target is for all dairy farms to provide quality nutrient management data. Progress is currently sitting at 75 percent, up from 56 percent last year. . . 

New online financial problem-solving platform for farmers: ASK Crowe Horwath:

Earlier this month accounting and business advisory firm Crowe Horwath announced the launch of the online platform, ASK Crowe Horwath.

ASK Crowe Horwath, an obligation-free, online financial problem-solving service allows questions to be posed by New Zealand agribusinesses and individuals that are then answered by Crowe Horwath advisors – ‘get a real answer from a real advisor’ is indeed the tagline of the platform.

There are no boundaries to the questions that can be asked, with rural professionals covering the full spectrum of financial services. . .

Debbie Kelliher's photo.


Rural round-up

09/02/2016

Southern Field Days: from humble beginnings to huge event – Brittany Pickett:

From humble beginnings the Southern Field Days at Waimumu have transformed into the second largest in the country. Brittany Pickett set out to find out how Southland’s biennial agricultural magnet began and where it goes to next.

Some have dubbed it the “friendly field days”, a more laid-back version of the National Field Days, but behind the scenes Southern Field Days is anything but laid-back.

Like most events, the Southern Field Days began with an idea; hold an ag-focused event for Southland farmers which was farm-related and had a technical agricultural focus. . . 

Subsidies stall recovery – Neal Wallace:

Subsidies for European and United States farmers, that could be stalling the much-anticipated recovery in global dairy prices, are now being investigated by the New Zealand dairy industry.  

The subsidies were mostly linked to environmental protection rather than milk production but special agricultural trade envoy Mike Petersen and Dairy Companies Association chief executive Kimberly Crewther both believed the payments were shielding farmers from market reality.

“If price signals are masked for European farmers it could mean a delayed response to the dairy price cycle,” Crewther said. . .

‘People Lift’ having an effect – Sally Rae:

During challenging times such as those the dairy industry is now experiencing, being efficient on-farm is crucial.

So for Waipahi farm manager James Matheson, being involved in People Lift has been a beneficial experience.

The initiative, which is being trialled in the Waikato and Southland, has been created by DairyNZ. . . 

Training for Farmstrong cycling tour – Sally Rae:

A cycle seat is not the sort of saddle that Olivia Ross is ordinarily accustomed to.

But Miss Ross (27), a keen equestrian rider and barrel racer, has been enjoying a change of horsepower.

As Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s southern South Island extension manager, a keen Young Farmer, and supporter of all things rural, she has embraced Farmstrong, an initiative launched in June last year to promote wellbeing for farmers. . . 

Big traders forced to rethink –

A World Trade Organisation ban on agricultural export subsidies was more important for its signals on where global trade negotiations could go next than the ban itself, former top trade negotiator Crawford Falconer says.  

Fonterra immediately hailed a “watershed moment for global trade” with the removal of what it described as the “most damaging” subsidy available to governments wanting to support their farmers.  

The description of the subsidies – undoubtedly a drag on world dairy prices in the 1980s and 90s but not used for the best part of a decade – raised eyebrows among some local trade-watchers. . .

Historic Otago coastal property up for sale – Brooke Hobson:

Another piece of New Zealand paradise is up for sale, this time at the other end of the South Island.

Nature Wonders, a privately owned 172-hectare property at Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula is on the market as of today.

It comes after Awaroa Inlet in the Able Tasman National Park was listed for sale and a Givealittle campaign started for Kiwis to buy a piece of the property and gift it the Department of Conservation to oversee. . . 

Duck eggs hatch into growing business for Taranaki couple – Christpher Reive:

Forget chickens, duck eggs are the next big thing.

After doing their research about the health benefits of the duck eggs, Taranaki couple Dawn and have started to make a living out of making people, including themselves, healthier. 

“It’s not just about us and the ducks, it’s about helping people,” Dawn said. . . 

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

Nathan Guy the Minister for Primary Industries and Steve Holland founder of the ‪#‎hilux‬ ‪#‎ruralgames‬ finding a good moist cowpat to throw.

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games's photo.

TVNZ coverage of the games is here  and Newshub’s report is here with the Minister trying cow-pat throwing and saying: “Sometimes we dish it out, sometimes we receive it.”

Hilux New Zealand Rural Games

Who will be judged Outstanding Rural Sports Competitor at this year’s Games and win the Grumpy Graham Trophy? Here’s Games founder Steve Hollander with Mitre 10 New Zealand‘s Stan Scott who made the shield in memory of our founding patron Neil ‘Grumpy’ Graham.
Hilux New Zealand Rural Games's photo.


Quote of the day

19/08/2015

“I am very disappointed the Labour Party has turned TPP into a political platform and broken what appeared to be a very constructive and bi-partisan position on trade,” he says. “However, I would like to think that when the deal is concluded and proceeds through the ratification process, this position will be reversed. There are enough rational thinkers on trade in the Labour Party to enable this to happen.”

Petersen also dismisses critics’ claims that NZ’s negotiators will sell off the country’s sovereignty in an effort to sign up to the TPP.

“I am close to the negotiations – without being directly involved – and I assure you our negotiators are not going to sell NZ’s sovereignty,” he said. “I would urge [the critics] to wait until the final deal is agreed before passing judgement on these aspects and I believe that when the deal is completed the NZ public will be surprised at how good it is and how ridiculous some of the claims have been.”Mike Petersen


Rural round-up

09/03/2015

Scotsman wins Golden Shears open final:

The competition dubbed the ‘Wimbledon of shearing’ entered a new era at the weekend with the retirement of legend David Fagan and its first ever international winner.

Fagan, the long-standing champion, has 16 Golden Shears wins under his belt, but in the year of his retirement he did not make the final of the open event on Saturday.

Instead, he ended his 35 year career in the semi-finals, leaving the Masterton crowd to witness something the competition has never seen before in the 55 years it has been running.

In front of a full house of 1600 people, plus another 40,000 around the world who watched a live stream of the event, the Scottish national anthem rang out for the first time.

Scotsman Gavin Mutch, who now farms in Whangamomona in the King Country with his family, was initially lost for words at his win. . .

Hunter Downs water scheme a viable proposal – Annette Scott:

Proposers of a new $350 million irrigation scheme in South Canterbury have tagged their preferred option and unveiled the scheme costings.

The scheme proposes to irrigate 40,000ha from the Waitaki River.

Hunter Downs Irrigation chairman Andrew Fraser said its technical and economic feasibility had been confirmed with a second capital call going out before the end of this month. . .

Rules must be obeyed, ECan says – Annette Scott:

Rain that has fallen in the past two weeks has been welcome but has been no drought-breaker for parched Canterbury farmland.

As farmers desperately wait for nature to give them a much needed break, NIWA’s autumn forecast does come under a brighter rainbow for parched pastures and farmer anxiety as worst-decision time approaches.

A serious concern now is an autumn drought, which would be worse because there won’t be enough autumn growth to see livestock through winter. . .

Morrinsville sharemilker wins title –   Gerald Piddock:

Aaron Price is a young, fit, professional married man with a plan.

He is also the 2015 Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winner, netting him $22,000 in prizes.

The 29 year old took out the major title at Friday night’s 2015 Waikato Dairy Industry Awards.

It was the fourth time he had entered the contest and had been runner-up twice.

Winning the title helped him achieve a short-term goal. . .

Bald Hills sold to overseas investor – Lynda Van Kempen:

Another Central Otago vineyard is changing hands to an overseas investor – the second this year.

The sale of Bald Hills, owned by Blair and Estelle Hunt, was approved by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) this week.

The 11ha Bannockburn property has been bought by a Japanese investor, who has set up a company called Beecom (NZ) Ltd. . .

Planting an orchard to build a pre-school:

Planting an orchard as a marketing ploy – hardly from the pages of marketing textbooks but highly effective for the Pukeko Pre-School at Tauwhare, near Hamilton.

The recipients of a grant from Fonterra’s Grass Roots Foundation (as well as from the WEL Energy Trust), the pre-school kicked off its efforts to create a new $300,000 facility with a tree planting exercise late last year.

From the grants, the trust overseeing the new pre-school decided to plant about 45 trees – feijoas, blueberries, peaches, plums, apples, lemon, oranges, mandarins, limes, persimmons and some rosemary. A planting day involving about 40 parents and children saw the trees start their new lives after being purchased from a Te Aroha nursery. . .


Rural round-up

08/08/2014

 Anti-foreigner stance ‘short-sighted’:

A New Zealand farming leader says he’s frustrated that a range of political parties are targetting foreigners and saying they shouldn’t be allowed to buy farms.

Federated Farmers vice president Anders Crofoot bought Castlepoint Station in Wairarapa after moving to New Zealand from the United States in the 1990s and went through the Overseas Investment Commission to do so.

The Labour Party has said that if it wins the general election sales of rural land to most foreigners will be banned. . .

Dairy farm purchase boosts employment

The purchase of a North Otago dairy farm by a company founded by a South Canterbury businessman will create more local jobs, the company says.

Craigmore Sustainables has received Overseas Investment Office approval to purchase a dairy farm in Tussocky Rd, months after buying three other farms in North Otago.

Craigmore is the brainchild of South Canterbury businessman and farmer Forbes Elworthy and is based in London. It also has offices around New Zealand.

“We have an extensive development programme in place for this property, including building a dairy shed, new effluent system, and native planting to assist with nutrient management,” the company’s director of commercial development, Hamish Blackman, said. . .

Lochinver owners want sale money for development – Patrick Gower:

The Kiwi seller of Lochinver Station is a century-old Kiwi business and wants to use the $70 million for a major property development that will help the expansion of Auckland.

Sir William Stevenson was the driving force behind his family’s business empire. He bought Lochinver Station 60 years ago, turning it from a vast wasteland into thriving farmland with 100,000 sheep.

Now, the family’s attempt to sell could be blocked by politics. Sir William’s friend Morrin Cooper says he wouldn’t like that.

“The Stevenson family deserve better than this: to be used as a chopping block just because there happens to be an election around the corner.” . . .

Trade talks failure may cost NZ in Korea:

The Agricultural Trade Envoy, Mike Petersen, is warning that farmers are in danger of losing out in the lucrative South Korean markets if trade talks fail.

The latest round of negotiations have been taking place in Seoul this week.

Last week the Minister for Trade, Tim Groser said he had given his final offer to the Koreans to resolve issues such as easing tariffs for New Zealand’s farmers, which cost exporters $195 million a year. . .

In lean times, it’s still vital to look after your workers – Chris Lewis:

The buzz about town is the revised pay-outs announced by Fonterra and Westland, which have both dropped significantly. So the pressure will be mounting this spring as farmers try to keep their heads above water. In times like these it is important to run a tight ship, not only financially but with your staff.

Stress has a way of brushing off onto those near you so look after yourself and bear a thought for your staff and your family who will not be immune to the pressure. A farm has many different aspects to it and a well cared for and oiled machine will ride out the tough times a lot smoother than one that has been roughing it or neglecting it. . .

Farmers take over yarn mill – Alan Wood:

Wool farmers have an agreement in place to buy a Christchurch yarn mill, describing the deal as a “significant” industry event to supply the carpet manufacturing industry.

Christchurch Yarns NZ went into receivership in April with the high kiwi dollar one of the challenges the business was up against at that time.

The dollar has remained stubbornly high since then and yesterday was trading around US84 cents and A90 cents.

The business was originally Christchurch Carpet Yarns and has its production facility based at a leased Sheffield Cres, Harewood property near Canterbury Technology park. . .

$3m grant boosts agri chemical research – Sue O’Dowd:

Research funding will help a Taranaki chemical-manufacturing company develop products its customers want.

Zelam is one of 52 Taranaki businesses to have received government research grants in the past three years to help them take their ideas for products and services to market.

For the next five years 20 per cent of Zelam’s eligible research costs will be refunded by Callaghan Innovation, a government agency that provides money to businesses that invest in research and development. Each year Zelam invests up to $3 million in chemistry and field trials. . .

"LA PRODUCCIÓN AGROPECUARIA EMPUJA TODA LA ECONOMÍA" Pepe Mujica – Presidente de Uruguay “No estoy de acuerdo con el dejo peyorativo, muy urbanizado, de creer que el campo es estático, que no hay progreso tecnológico ni inversión técnica. Eso es no conocer al país y, quien no lo conoce, no puede quererlo. Y es lo que más me duele”. “La producción agropecuaria empuja a toda la economía y encadena una masa laboral y de energía por los insumos que consume, los apoyos que necesita y el transporte” que requiere, aseguró el presidente oriental. Mujica explicó que las naciones avanzadas son aquellas que producen un bien al menor costo posible para venderlo al mayor valor posible. “ En cuanto al concepto de “valor agregado”, Mujica dijo que, más que la naturaleza del producto en cuestión, es necesario “tener claro cuál es el conjunto tecnológico que hay atrás para llegar a ese producto: es mucho más complejo el (mero) concepto de industrializar”. COMPARTÍ si estás de acuerdo con Pepe Mujica sobre su opinión del sector agropecuario.

The future is in the country.


Rural round-up

30/01/2014

Major forest industry safety review launched:

An independent panel is to conduct a major review into the high number of serious and fatal injuries in the forest industry.

The panel members are business leader George Adams, employment health and safety lawyer Hazel Armstrong and business safety specialist Mike Cosman. Their appointment and their terms of reference have been endorsed by forest industry organisations, ACC, relevant government agencies, the NZ Council of Trade Unions and the Business Leaders’ Health and Safety Forum.

The review, which is expected to take up to six months to complete, is being funded by the Forest Owners, Forest Industry Contractors and Farm Forestry Associations, with administrative support and other resources provided by the government’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe New Zealand.

Forest Owners past-president Bill McCallum says the forest industry makes an important contribution to New Zealand, providing jobs, export earnings and helping to lift economic growth. . .

Forest Contractors Welcome Expert Review Team:

Following the announcement earlier today of the start of the Forest Industry Workplace Safety Review process, the original architects of the review say they are pleased with the makeup of the review team.

“It was our executive board that first raised concerns with the corporate forest managers back in March 2013” says Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) spokesman John Stulen, “so we are pleased to see that a very strong and completely independent team of experienced safety professionals has been engaged to carry out the work.”

“We’ve worked closely with the Forest Owners Association and union leaders to ensure that a robust process was put in place.

The time we have taken to set up this up and ensure the review is impartial will give piece of mind to everyone.

All workers in our industry and their families can be assured they can speak frankly and openly and expect to have their concerns heard.” . . .

Industry-led forestry inquiry welcome:

Labour Minister Simon Bridges today welcomed the announcement of an industry-led inquiry into forestry safety, which will commence next month.

“I am pleased the forestry industry has taken ownership of the inquiry as enduring safety solutions in our forests cannot be made by government enforcement alone,” Mr Bridges says.

“The number of workplace deaths and injuries in forestry is too high and any action to reduce that toll deserves support.

“The Government’s health and safety regulator, WorkSafe NZ, will make a significant contribution to the inquiry. It will provide secretariat and other support, and will also make a substantial submission. . .

Iwi seeks dam benefits:

Hawke’s Bay iwi Ngati Kahungunu wants to know how it might benefit financially from a proposed dam, without becoming an investor.

It’s one of three iwi who have made an agreement with the regional council to talk about making changes to the Ruataniwha Dam plans.

Ngati Kahungunu runanga chair Ngahiwi Tomoana says discussions will take in to account the interest of the tribal people along the river.

The tribe has asked for all information on the dam so it can examine the data and reach its own conclusion on the benefits of any water storage scheme, he says. . . .

Maori trust to build East Coast dam:

A Maori organisation has won the right to build a dam on the East Coast.

Wi Pere Trust has got the tick of approval from Gisborne District Council to store water at Whatatutu.

Supplies will be taken from Waipaoa River and the dam will hold enough water to service tribal farmland, vineyards and orchards for 20 days during any drought. . . .

Contest to set speed fencing world record:

Speed and skill will be the key combination needed in Waikato this week to establish a world record for speed fencing.

The challenge, which involves putting battens on a fence, will be a feature of the Grasslandz Agricultural Machinery Expo, taking place at Ereka, between Morrinsville and Hamilton tomorrow and Friday.

It’s organised by Fairbrother Industries, a New Zealand company that makes post drivers and other fencing equipment for the local and export markets. . .   .

Sheep And Beef Sector Boost With Genetics Investment:

The announcement today that the Government will invest $15 million into sheep and beef genetics research over next five years has been welcomed by Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen.

The Government has said it will contribute funding for genetic research to allow the sheep and beef sector to further improve genetic gain and the development of new traits that can be farmed on hill country.

Petersen said the Government’s funding commitment was a pleasing show of confidence in the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, with the potential to significantly boost farmer profitability and that of the New Zealand economy.

“This investment supports a whole range of research, identifying new breeding traits that will produce more efficient animals and those that meet consumer preferences in our valuable export markets. . .

Following the announcement earlier today of the start of the Forest Industry Workplace Safety Review process, the original architects of the review say they are pleased with the makeup of the review team.

“It was our executive board that first raised concerns with the corporate forest managers back in March 2013” says Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) spokesman John Stulen, “so we are pleased to see that a very strong and completely independent team of experienced safety professionals has been engaged to carry out the work.”

“We’ve worked closely with the Forest Owners Association and union leaders to ensure that a robust process was put in place.

The time we have taken to set up this up and ensure the review is impartial will give piece of mind to everyone.

All workers in our industry and their families can be assured they can speak frankly and openly and expect to have their concerns heard.”


Rural round-up

12/01/2014

Getting red meat sector ‘back on its feet’ – Sally Rae:

Over the fence and across the kitchen table, the state of the red meat sector and calls for restructuring dominated farmer discussions last year, as sheep numbers continued to shrink and dairy conversions and moves to dairy grazing continued.

Back in March, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen told farmers attending the organisation’s annual meeting in Wanaka that the sector was at a ”critical junction”.

While he spoke of how volatile returns were a threat to the industry’s future and farmers were questioning whether the industry had a future, the organisation’s economic service estimated farm profit before tax for the 2012-13 season would fall 54% on the previous season because of sharply lower lamb prices and widespread drought. . . .

World food prices dropped last year – Neena Rai:

World food prices fell by 1.6% in 2013, down 8.8% from their all-time peak in 2011, driven by falling international prices for grains, sugar and palm oil, according to the United Nations’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization Thursday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s monthly index measures the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities and is the global leading economic indicator for food prices.

While the most recent food price spike in 2011 was triggered by a lack of cereal supply, the recent fall in food prices is mainly due to higher expected supplies of corn and wheat this year. . .

Shelter from the storm – Sally Rae:

Mustering huts still play an important role on some high country properties, like the Hore family’s Stonehenge, in Maniototo, but hut life is a little more comfortable these days, as Sally Rae reports.

It was April, 1959 when Dave McAtamney first slept in Deep Creek Hut.

At only 15, it was his first mustering trip in the area and he was ”dead keen” to take part.

Riding an old part-draught mare called Ginger, he was part of a much more experienced mustering crew that included his father and two uncles, and it was the start of a long association with the hut.

”I had quite a bad cold, if I remember rightly. I was coughing a bit in the night and Dad got out of bed, went over to the whisky bottle and poured a big whisky into me. It was the first time I’d ever drunk a whisky.” . . .

Good times ahead – Stephen Bell:

Sentiment in the primary industries is at an all-time high and commentators say the optimism is backed up by reality.

Business confidence across the economy is booming, say bank analysts, who add the caveat a surge in activity means a tight lid will have to be kept on inflation.

However, companies are upbeat and their profit expectations and employment intentions are the highest in two decades, confidence surveys show.

Agrifax senior analyst Nick Handley said there was good cause for optimism in agriculture.

“The outlook is good across all the major sectors, with none of them really staring down the barrel of a below-par year,” he said. . .

Beaumont rising: developments look set to turn fortunes – John Gibb:

Once a fading rural backwater, the township of Beaumont now seems destined for a much brighter future.

People who have lived near the inland Otago township, on the Clutha River/Mata-au, for 20 years or more will remember earlier sometimes divisive and frustrating conflicts over proposed big hydro-electric dams, which would have flooded the area.

One proposal, by the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand (ECNZ) in 1992, was to build a dam at Tuapeka Mouth that would have flooded 3000ha, including all of Beaumont. But among a series of more promising developments the long-delayed replacement work involving the nearby 19th century Beaumont Bridge is at last due to start next year. . .

Positive results at Point Pearce – Gregor Heard:

A JOINT venture between the Point Pearce indigenous community on the Yorke Peninsula in SA and a local farming family continues to go from strength to strength and provide strong training and employment opportunities for the community.The project, in which the Wundersitz family leases the Point Pearce farm, has been running since 2010.The Wundersitzes, based at nearby Maitland, were looking to expand their farming business, Anna Binna, when the Aboriginal Lands Trust advertised for a new tenant for the Point Pearce farm. . . .

Farmers need more for flat milk supply:

The Western Australian dairy industry is calling for reform to the state’s milk pricing structure in 2014.

Representative body WA Farmers argues that if the state’s dairy processors require a year-round flat supply of milk from producers, they should be expected to pay accordingly.

“Ideally, the processors would like about the same amount of milk rolling in each day. Because we are basically a drinking milk state, the daily requirement for WA is pretty even,” says WA Farmers dairy section president, Phil Depiazzi.

“If they do want flat supply, that means they’re going to have to pay a higher price to achieve that.” . . .

Where will you build your next dairy? – Catherine Merlo:

Milk prices aren’t the prime attraction for moving to a new area

The heartland between the Rockies and the Mississippi River appears to offer the most dairy-friendly resources and long-term future for those looking to build new or satellite dairies.

That was not only the professional assessment of a dairy relocation consultant but the personal experience of three dairy producers who spoke at the Dairy Today Elite Producer Business Conference in Las Vegas this past November.

Dairy relocation consultant Tom Haren and dairy producers Linda Hodorff, Rein Landman and Mike McCarty comprised a panel that discussed, “Where Will You Build Your Next Dairy?” . . .


Rural round-up

13/12/2013

How we manage incidents still needs fixing:

While it is good news that the inquiry into the whey protein incident concludes there was no failure with New Zealand’s dairy regulatory system it simply confirms what we already knew, said Michael Barnett, chairman of the NZ Infant Formula Exporters Association.

“We do have world best regulations. We are world leaders in whey production. Within the terms of reference of the inquiry to look into our dairy food safety system the report is a good outcome.”

However in our view the incident was never a failure of our dairy regulations. “It was a failure to manage the situation and the reputational damage it caused New Zealand. This report will not fix that failure,” said Mr Barnett. . .

Red Meat Profit Partnership underway:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has welcomed the announcement that the Red Meat Profit Partnership is underway, acknowledging the significant opportunities it will provide farmers.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, Mike Petersen says: “The significance of this collaboration cannot be underestimated as it draws together a big part of the red meat processing industry along with farmers and two banks, with the common goal of improving the profitability of sheep and beef farms. Profitability has been too variable and insufficient in recent years, but through this collaboration there is a significant opportunity to improve it.” . . .

Rabobank welcomes signing of Red Meat Profit Partnership:

Agricultural banking specialist Rabobank has welcomed the recent signing and successful contracting of the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP).

The finalisation of the $64 million dollar partnership has been announced with the Crown officially contracting its support of the initiative.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank was pleased to confirm its support as a partner of the RMPP alongside the other co-investors. . . .

Week one in a revolutionary fortnight for red meat  – Jeanette Maxwell:

With red meat industry reform a big topic for farmers, Federated Farmers is welcoming the most comprehensive collaboration ever seen in the sector.  With the Federation going out to its members next week on meat industry reform options, this becomes the first week in a revolutionary fortnight for New Zealand’s number two export industry.

“It seems ironic that I am going to welcome 1.3 million fewer lambs being tailed in 2013 over 2012, but the second smallest lamb crop in nearly 60 years is a good outcome following the 2013 drought,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“To be brutally honest, that 4.7 percent decline to a 2013/14 crop of 25.5 million lambs, underscores how vital this week’s announcement of the Red Meat Profit Partnership is. . .

Government Industry Agreements to strengthen biosecurity:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed Cabinet’s approval of the GIA (Government Industry Agreement) Deed as an important tool in strengthening New Zealand’s biosecurity.

“Under the GIA, industry organisations and the Ministry for Primary Industries can sign a Deed that formally establishes the biosecurity partnership. Partners will share decision making, costs, and responsibility in preparing for and responding to biosecurity incursions.

“The GIA is important because it will give industries a direct say in managing biosecurity risk. Joint decision making and co-investment will mean that everyone is working together on the most important priorities.

“Biosecurity is my number one priority as Minister because it is so important in protecting our economy. We know that unwanted pests and diseases can have devastating effects on our farmers and growers,” says Mr Guy . . .

Biosecurity Government Industry Agreements a major boost

Winning Cabinet approval for any policy initiative is never easy so the efforts of Primary Industries Minster, the Hon Nathan Guy with Government Industry Agreements (GIA), must be acknowledged for the way it will boost biosecurity readiness and response.

“GIA’s are a positive development for biosecurity,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson.

“Cabinet approval is the roadmap forward and follows Federated Farmers leadership last year, which successfully unblocked five years of stalled talks by bringing together key industry players.

“For the general public, GIA’s are about ‘Readiness and Response,’ which are the two key planks to our biosecurity system.  . .

Forest owners welcome biosecurity deed:

Cabinet approval of the deed that will govern how the government and primary industries respond to biosecurity threats has been welcomed by forest owners.

“The biological industries need secure borders, effective monitoring for possible incursions and a rapid response if an exotic pest arrives here. It is essential that we all know who does what and who picks up the tab,” says Forest Owners Association biosecurity chair Dave Cormack.

“The forest industry, through the FOA, has partnered with government in forest biosecurity surveillance for more than 50 years and has funded its own scheme for the last 25 of those years. We look forward to formalising this relationship in a Government Industry Agreement. . . .

Warwick Roberts elected President NZ National Fieldays Society:

The Annual General Meeting for the National Fieldays Society was held last Thursday night at Mystery Creek Events Centre.

Experienced dairy farmer and local resident, Warwick Roberts, was elected President of the NZ National Fieldays Society and starts his term immediately.

Mr Roberts had held the position of Vice President of the Society since 2012 and takes over the presidency from Lloyd Downing, whose term ran 2010-2013.

In speaking about his appointment, Mr Roberts said he was very proud to be leading such a prestigious organisation. . .

Start date for farm training scheme – Annette Scott:

The farm cadet training scheme proposed for the upper South Island has a start date.

Mendip Hills Station, in North Canterbury, will host the new farm cadet training scheme aimed at the sheep, beef, and deer industries.

Scheme co-ordinator Sarah Barr signed a statement of intent agreement last week with Lincoln University, incorporating the Telford division of the tertiary institution, for the scheme to start in 2015. . .

Amendments to layer hens code of welfare:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced amendments to the Layer Hens Code of Welfare 2012, in a move to avoid a large increase in the price of eggs.

“The final date of 2022 for all layer hens to be out of battery cages remains unchanged. However, the amendment alters the transition dates by two years:
• Cages installed before 31 December 1999 must now be replaced by 31 December 2018 (previously 2016);
• Cages installed before 31 December 2001 must now be replaced by 31 December 2020 (previously 2018).

The amendments have been made after advice from the independent National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). . . .

The long and the short of it is  . . . – Mad Bush Farm:

I got what I always wanted. I can wake up each morning, have breakfast and get a friendly greeting at the door. He got my toast,  I got my coffee and the company of an equine friend. Animals can do so much for healing a hurt, and helping us forget our troubles. And in turn we can help them get through their troubles. Most of the horses I have on the farm have had sad backgrounds. Ed too had a hard life before he came to me nearly ten years ago. His days are coming slowly to an end. Soon I’ll have to make a decision about his future. . .

New Zealand Young Farmers raises over $1400 for men’s health:

New Zealand Young Farmers was a proud participant in this year’s Movember campaign – and it was a wild and hairy 30 days.

For the month of November the Young Farmers Movember ambassadors Terry Copeland NZYF CEO, Ashley Cassin ANZ Young Farmer Contest Events Leader, and Nigel Woodhead Pendarves Young Farmers Club member, cultivated impressive moustaches all in the name of men’s health.

A charity quiz night was held on the last Friday (29th) of November at the Blue Pub in Methven as a final drive for donations. It was well attended with 13 teams and over 60 people participating. There were top prizes from Silver Fern Farms, Husqvarna and a sell-out raffle for a Vodafone Samsung Galaxy mobile phone.   . .  .


Rural round-up

21/11/2013

Canterbury dairy farms under fire – Annabelle Tukia:

Canterbury dairy farmers are under fire after a new report found almost a third of farms in the region weren’t complying with consenting rules.

Environment Canterbury’s regional dairy report identified 68 farms with major issues – a discovery environmental group Fish and Game is calling a disgrace.

Canterbury farmer Vaughan Beazer runs one of the region’s 717 fully compliant dairy farms. He says he prides himself on having a farm that’s clean and green.

“We live on the land, we don’t just bypass it and go look at this pretty little paddock […] We look at and that is our livelihood, that is our environment, it’s our inheritance and what we’ll bequeath to our children… it is everything to us.”

But Environment Canterbury’s latest dairying report proves not every farmer shares Mr Beazer’s view.

It monitored almost 1,000 farms, and more than 70 percent were fully compliant. But one third of them didn’t meet the grade, and 68 farms had major non-compliance issues. . .

Lost in translation – Willy Leferink:

Being a Dutch-Kiwi I have come to accept that things don’t always come out as expected.  Some things can get lost in translation between what you say and what people think you said.

I put reports I got of a speech made to a business audience in Auckland by Fonterra CEO, Theo Spierings, into that category.  Being a compatriot of mine, I know Theo holds the Kiwi dairy industry in high esteem and not just for our productivity, but for the way we manage environmental matters inside the farm gate.

What has been lost in translation is the conversation relating to Fonterra’s environmental performance as a company and not the whole cooperative.  What was reported is that Fonterra isn’t doing anything about the environment when Theo said that Fonterra did not have the environment as an overall part of its strategy. Theo pointed out that our European competitors had upwards of a decade’s march on Fonterra.  What was lost in translation is that the European processors were forced to do this because of draconian regulation in order to help their shareholders out.  As companies, they have moved to get a lot closer to their consumers and we can learn from that. . . .

Vege growers concerned about co-op – Alan Wood,

Some shareholders in large vegetable distribution co-operative MG Marketing are upset the co-op has started to grow vegetables in competition with them.

The “producer in its own right” role taken on by MG Marketing could financially harm the growers it represents, growers representatives said.

MG Marketing is the trading name of Market Gardeners Ltd, one of New Zealand’s biggest co-operative companies specialising in growing and distributing fresh produce. It has run for more than 90 years and competes against the likes of Turners & Growers.

Max Lilley, former chairman and president of the NZ Vegetable and Produce Growers’ Federation and now retired, said the co-operative was making the wrong decision by apparently buying into some vegetable and produce operations. . .

Keep it clean to keep New Zealand clean:

Federated Farmers has joined with the National Pest Control Agencies to promote farmgate biosecurity with a hygiene guideline and logbook for farm machinery called “Keep it Clean.”

“Machinery movements pose a persistent high risk in pest spread,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“Soil on a bulldozer in Canterbury was found to contain seeds from at least 73 different species and there are at least 80 pest species known to be typically moved by machinery.

“The pastoral sector is facing the spread of pest plants like Chilean needle grass while trying to contain pest insects, like the Great White Cabbage Butterfly. . .

Federated Farmers’ simplify hiring migrants:

Federated Farmers has produced a practical all in one electronic document to help dairy farmers to navigate and simplify the process for dairy farmers to hire migrant workers.

“While we would love to hire capable kiwi workers, there is a shortage of kiwis willing to do the work because there is a common misperception that agriculture is a low paid and low skilled career,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“To help farmers fill this gap with capable and available migrant workers, we have put together one simple document so that employers can follow the immigration process without the headache. . .

Hunters get voice with new Game Animal Council:

Hunters of deer, tahr, chamois and wild pigs will now have a say in their recreation with today’s passage by Parliament of the Game Animal Council Act 69 votes to 51.

“The establishment of the Game Animal Council Act is great news for tens of thousands of New Zealanders who hunt. It enables them to join mountaineers, trampers, game bird hunters, and trout and salmon fishers in having a statutory voice into the management of their recreation on public conservation land,” Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

The Game Animal Council Act establishes an independent statutory body to give greater representation to the interests of recreational hunters. Key functions of the council include advising and making recommendations to the Minister on hunting issues, providing information and education to the sector, promoting safety initiatives, conducting game animal research, and undertaking management functions for designated herds of special interest.  . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Calls For Director Nominations:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd (B+LNZ) is calling for nominations to fill two farmer-elected director positions on its board.

They are for the Eastern North Island and Southern South Island, where both positions will be vacant due to the current directors not seeking re-election.

B+LNZ Chairman and Eastern North Island Director, Mike Petersen has served on the B+LNZ board since 2004. Southern South Island Director, Leon Black is also standing down, having served on the board since 2008.

Nominations to fill these vacancies need to be made to the B+LNZ Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp by 5pm on Friday 20 December. Farmers can call him on 0508 666 336 to get information on how to make a nomination. . .

North Island rural consultants win Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards:

A “rock star” of farm consulting who shares his success with his clients has taken one of two top prizes at the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

John Cannon, of Hastings, won the Farmax Consultant of the Year for the North Island. While AgFirst Hawkes Bay consultant Ben Harker was named Farmax Emerging Consultant of the Year for all of New Zealand.

They each were awarded their titles at the Farmax Consultants’ Conference in Rotorua on November 19. . .


B+LNZ funding at risk in AgResearch changes

12/11/2013

Most of the publicity and lobbying over AgResearch’s proposal to move most of its staff from Invermay to Lincoln has been directed at the government because it’s a crown entity.

However, it has an independent board and around half its funding comes from the industry and one of those funders is now raising concerns:

If there are not the skills to conduct key research AgResearch may lose beef and lamb industry funding, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Peterson says.

B+LNZ had been up front all the way over proposals to downsize AgResearch’s Invermay campus near Dunedin under the Crown research institute’s Future Footprint (FFP) plan, Petersen said.

However, the reality was if the skills were lacking there would be nothing to fund and that would put future research funding at risk.

“It’s the reality. If there are no researchers to do the work we need done then there will be nothing to fund (at AgResearch),” Petersen said. . .

Most staff at Invermay aren’t just saying they don’t want to move to Lincoln, they’re saying they won’t move.

B+LNZ spent $5 million annually funding research at AgResearch and that was boosted a further $20m by partnership funding, including the Government.

“We (B+LNZ) generate $25m worth of research activity each year,” Petersen said.

To continue to do that, access to key skills remained crucial.

“But we are not going to use that as a stick on AgResearch over where and how it locates staff.

“But if we can’t get access to key capability then one option is the funding will not be available.”

Losing key staff would have a huge impact on AgResearch capability.

. . . He acknowledged there was pressure from southern farmers for B+LNZ to oppose AgResearch’s FFP.

“I am aware that there are farmers, particularly down south, that think we should be up in arms but at the end of the day this is an AgResearch board decision and we have been given the assurances we have been looking for at this stage,” he said.

Farmer concerns were being taken seriously and B+LNZ would look into remits issued by the Southern South Island and Central South Island sheep councils opposing the shift of staff from Invermay to Lincoln.

Where the scientists were located was not necessarily the issue for B+LNZ, Petersen said.

“Our issue is will the (key skilled) scientists in fact be there to do our research?

“It could be that scientists decide not to move and then AgResearch might then decide to retain them at Invermay. Invermay, or Lincoln, is not the big deal for us – it’s the access to the capability.”

The  concern for B+LNZ isn’t about the location, it’s about capability and there are serious questions about whether AgResearch would retain that if AgResearch goes ahead with its plan to gut Invermay.


Rural round-up

10/10/2013

TPP a matter of when not if says farming leader:

Having returned from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Federated Farmers believes the logic for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is so strong and its advantages so apparent, that the absence of President Obama from negotiations will not unduly dent its progress.

“The talk at the WTO in Geneva was when the TPP will happen and not if,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, who attended the WTO’s 2013 Public Forum where he co-presented the World Farmers Organisation’s new trade policy.

“Naturally, there was much talk about the United States Government shutdown and what that may mean if a default does take place in just nine-day’s time.

“I sense the Obama Administration is frustrated that domestic political brinkmanship means the President had to stay in Washington. The focus of his administration is building the U.S. economy by exports and that’s the focus of both Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and TPP negotiations. I must say that U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, is a handy substitute. . .

Special agricultural trade envoy hails TPP progress:

New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoy is hailing what he sees as the progress made at the latest Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks in Bali.

But Mike Petersen agrees with the prime minister that the target of getting an agreement by the the end of the year is still going to be hard work.

John Key chaired Tuesday’s TPP meeting in the absence of the American president, says there’s plenty of political momentum among the 12 countries to get a deal.

The Agricultural Trade envoy, Hawke’s Bay farmer Mike Petersen, says getting trade reforms for agriculture was always going to be challenging, because it will take a political will in countries where there are still high levels of subsidy and tariff protection. . .

First registration of a sustainable agrichemical for the SFF minor crops project:

A new sustainable agrichemical that controls the leafroller pest on New Zealand’s blueberry crops is the first of many registered products to be released as part of the Government lead Sustainable Farming Fund.

The Minor Crops project team coordinated by Horticulture NZ announced the recent release of the insecticide ‘Prodigy™’ Trademark of the Dow Chemical Company (Dow) or an affiliated company of Dow for use on blueberries.

This is the first product to be registered as a result of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) project ‘Registration of sustainable agrichemicals for minor crops’. . .

Mental health courses for rural professionals:

The Nelson and Marlborough Public Health Service, in association with Federated Farmers, Like Minds and Rural Support Trust are hosting a seminar to help participants recognise the signs of depression.

“We are targeting rural professionals that work with farmers, so they are able to identify if a farmer is stressed, anxious, angry or sad, which are all sign signs of depression. This way they will be better placed to know how to help the farmer in question,” says Gavin O’Donnell, Federated Farmers Nelson provincial president.

“Rural professionals such as rural bankers, vets, contractors and so on are far more likely to be in a position to identify if there is a problem because they encounter farmers more frequently and in their natural environment. . .

Rural Women NZ Leads on International Year of Family Farming 2014:

Rural Women New Zealand is excited to play a key role in organising a programme of events to celebrate the UN International Year of Family Farming in 2014.

As a member of the steering committee that will liaise directly with the UN, Rural Women NZ has hosted the first meeting in Wellington to start the planning process.

Convened by Organic Systems and Adams Harman, others taking part in the meeting included DairyNZ, Horticulture New Zealand, the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, Young Farmers, Beef+Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“Family farming has been the backbone of New Zealand’s rural economy for more than a century, and Rural Women New Zealand has led advocacy and growth for farming families and rural communities since 1925,” says Rural Women NZ’s national president, Liz Evans. . .

NZB Caulfield Championship Finale:

The New Zealand Bloodstock Spring WFA Championship at Caulfield is set to conclude this weekend with the running of the Group 1 A$400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes over 2000m.

With (It’s a) Dundeel (NZ) now out of contention, the Championship winner is a forgone conclusion with Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock) holding an unassailable lead having won Race 2 in the Championship Series – the New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes – and placing second in the Group 1 Underwood.

The champion mare may have scared many away with Saturday’s feature race only attracting a small field of six runners, but it carries plenty of quality with the field winning a total of eight Group 1 races between them. . .


Rural round-up

06/10/2013

Moves to keep sheep and beef in the frame – Annette Scott:

One of the most important aspects of the AgResearch Future Footprint (FFP) proposal is the need to ramp up New Zealand efforts to confront new challenges faced by agriculture, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen says.

In his chairman’s update last week Petersen assured farmers B+LNZ was consulting AgResearch over its FFP restructure to ensure the needs of sheep and beef farmers were met.  

“B+LNZ has been working closely with AgResearch to ensure the needs of our sector are not compromised by these plans. . .

Advocate for improved farming – Annette Scott:

Lynda Murchison was born with farming in her blood but she grew up in Christchurch. Now a farmer and environmental planning consultant, she talks to Annette Scott for this first in the series of Women Stepping Up.

Lynda Murchison joined the Federated Farmers executive because she wanted to advocate for improved farming outcomes, in particular around land and water management and red meat and wool opportunities.

She identified a gap, she had the skills and she put her hand up for the challenge. . .

New proposal for screening PKE:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy is welcoming a proposal to bring in compulsory screening of palm kernel expeller (PKE) imported into New Zealand.

PKE is imported mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia and is used by the dairy industry as supplementary stock feed.

“The proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries is that all PKE must be passed through a 4-6mm size screen on entry to New Zealand and before going on sale. There will also be added requirements for record keeping and traceability.

“It’s important to note there are already tough conditions in place for imports, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection. On top of this new standards were introduced in June ensuring that in-market facilities are Government approved. . .

Chinese charm offence needed – exporter:

HIGH PROFILE media coverage is needed in China to get the message out that infant formula products are safe, says Chris Claridge from the NZ Infant Formula Exporters Association.

The New Zealand Government needs to take the lead and Prime Minister John Key should visit soon, with industry people, he says.

Claridge is highly frustrated that he cannot seem to get his message heard in New Zealand: our products are still at high risk because the Chinese consumer still thinks New Zealand infant formula is poisoned.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s competitors are cashing in. . .

Two more awards for Tru-Test – Hugh Stringleman:

Agri-technology manufacturer and exporter Tru-Test Group has added two prestigious awards to others won earlier this year, along with a major acquisition.

Tru-Test was named supreme winner in the New Zealand International Business Awards after winning the ANZ Best Business operating internationally, more than $50 million category.

Peter Chrisp, chief executive of award manager NZ Trade and Enterprise, said Tru-Test had forged strong relationships with its partners and developed a well-thought-out market entry strategy. . .

Looming large – Mark C O’Flaherty:

Hermès and Chanel have long chosen Scottish over Italian mills. Now a new generation of designers is following suit, inspired as much by technological innovation as matchless quality. Mark C O’Flaherty reports on a Scottish textile renaissance.

 

The archive library at Johnstons of Elgin in the Scottish Highlands resembles a lavishly produced fantasy film set. There are shelves full of bulging red-leather books with weathered pages, each tome greater in size than the Domesday Book. Collectively, they house the mill’s estate tweeds, each swatch exclusive to a single landowner, and each book marked in gilt across its giant spine with the year of production. The earliest is 1865. In the corner sits a roll of recently woven fabric, an intricately detailed marbled-grey cloth with flecks of red in it. “That’s Albert Tweed,” says James Sugden, a director at the company. “Prince Charles commissioned it from a sample he found in his archive. It was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever worked on. It took months to reproduce and to get precisely the right kind of red, reminiscent of the granite of Aberdeenshire and Balmoral. But that’s why people come to us, because we create things that are too difficult for anyone else to do.” . . .


5 Nations beef producers back TPP

27/09/2013

Free trade has got a boost with Five Nations beef producers agreeing to core principles in support of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

An alliance of cattle producers representing Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States have signed a letter announcing their support for a comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

“Beef + Lamb New Zealand is delighted to be a signatory to this Five Nations Beef Alliance Joint Communique that outlines core principles to ensure the TPP negotiations fulfill the promise of a high-quality agreement that can serve as a standard for future trade agreements,” said Mike Petersen, chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

“The TPP needs to be an ambitious, high quality, comprehensive agreement, with no product or sector exclusions, address non-tariff barriers, and be enforceable. The more we can work together with our international counterpart organizations on these trade issues the more likely it is to result in a win-win for all.”

“As a collective global beef industry, if we are going to feed a growing world population we need to facilitate the open and unrestricted trade of food around the world,” said Cattle Council president Andrew Ogilvie, from Kingston SE in South Australia.

“By removing trade barriers and tariffs to create fair and open access for all nations, the world’s population will have equal opportunity to a reliable and safe food supply without trade barriers inflating the cost of that food.”

The agreement is based on 10 core principles, ensuring any agreement must be comprehensive and must eliminate all tariffs and market access barriers while emphasizing the importance of unfettered trade.

“Working to achieve a TPP without product exclusions, especially in agriculture, that also eliminates tariffs and other market access barriers in the TPP region, is a goal worth striving for,” said Canadian Cattlemen’s Association president Martin Unrau, a cow-calf producer from MacGregor, Manitoba.

“I am pleased to see momentum building in the TPP negotiations and am hopeful we can achieve a comprehensive result soon.”

The agreement also relies on risk based scientific decision making, based on international science-based standards.

“We are a strong supporter of this agreement and others like it, on the grounds that they increase market access and provide stable export markets based in internationally recognized scientific standards,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president Scott George, a cattle and dairy producer from Cody, Wyo.

“With 96 per cent of the global population living outside of the United States, it is essential that we take measures to enable trade and expand market access, both to stimulate the economy and more importantly, to feed a growing global population.”

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is also asking the negotiating countries to push for arrangements where beef producers are all treated the same.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance comprises Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Cattle Council of Australia, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederacion Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Together, the alliance represents producers from countries that account for one-third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports.

This is significant progress towards freer trade that will benefit producers and consumers.

New Zealanders have been farming without subsidies and tariff protection since for nearly 30 years.

The transition was abrupt and painful but I know no-one who wants to go back to the bad old days when we were answerable to politicians and bureaucrats rather than markets.

Farmers in many other countries have been slow to realise the benefits of free trade and those in North America have, unitl now,  been particularly reluctant to lose the protections they have.

The agreement to the principles by Canadian, Mexican and USA producers is a huge break through.The FNBA’s overriding principle is to exceed global consumers’ expectations in respect of beef, while eliminating non-scientific and political trade restrictions.fnba


Rural round-up

23/09/2013

Rural contractors ready to help:

Farmers around the country hit by devastating storms last week are being reminded that rural contractors are available to help them with any clean-up work.

“Canterbury was hit by its worst wind storm in 40 years, which has caused major damage on farms throughout the province,” says Steve Levet, president of Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ). “There are also reports of a fair bit of destruction in the North Island as well.

“This has been a tough time for landowners with many needing to carry out big clean-up jobs on their properties. If the farmers don’t have the time or the resources to clear up storm damage; they should contact their local rural contractor and ask for help.” . . .

Northland farmer Parsons named B+LNZ chair-elect – Hugh Stringleman:

New Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair-elect James Parsons, of Northland, has left on his first market access and trade relations trip to Southeast Asia and Europe.

He has accompanied chairman Mike Petersen to Japan, South Korea, and Europe for a meeting of the sheep-meat forum.

Parsons has been appointed by fellow directors for six months as chair-elect before Petersen retires in March.

Rather than have deputy chairmen, in recent times primary sector organisations like Fonterra, Alliance, Ballance, and now B+LNZ, have used a nominated heir approach to transition. . .

New chair for Awards trust:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust has a new chair- Mid-Canterbury dairy farmer and DairyNZ director Alister Body.

Body says a key focus of the Trust under his leadership will be to ensure the awards and its three contests – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – retain relevancy and competitor interest.

“The competitions are improving and evolving and that’s really important. They also provide a great showcase of the dairy industry and give tremendous promotion of the value and benefits to be gained by participating in the dairy industry,” he says. . .

End of drought boosts prospects of NZ land prices – Agrimoney:

The ending of New Zealand’s drought has handed the country’s farmland market a “strong platform” for the important spring season, real estate professionals said, amid bright hopes for the important dairy sector too.

Economic data on Thursday highlighted the impact to New Zealand agriculture from one of the worst droughts on record, with the sector seen shrinking 4.8% in the April-to-June period from the previous quarter, thanks largely to the impact on dairy farms of poor pasture conditions.

“Dairy production was the biggest contributor to the fall, while sheep and cattle farming also fell,” the official statistics office in New Zealand, the top milk exporting country, said. . .

Golden harvest puts industry back on track:

THE WINE industry is seeing the first signs of renewed interest in new vineyard development, showing there is new optimism in the industry, says New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steven Green.

Five years ago the New Zealand wine industry suffered a supply imbalance as producers made more wine than they could sell. Grape prices slumped and vines were ripped out.

But a record 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested this year producing 250 million litres of wine. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small 2012 harvest but up only 5% on 2011. . .

My father’s succession strategy worked a treat – Stephen Carr:

My great farming hero, the late Hampshire farmer writer and broadcaster John Cherrington, used to maintain that if you wished your son or daughter to follow you into dairying you should “break them in” before they knew any better.

To delay an introduction to the mind-numbing routine of the milking parlour beyond the age of 12 was to run the risk that the adolescent will discover there are easier ways of earning a living than being tied to the tail of a dairy cow 365 days a year from 4am each morning.

My own father inducted me into farming with ruthless single-mindedness. We didn’t have dairy cows, but he introduced me to the delights of beef, sheep and arable farming without me realising that a subtle brainwashing was in progress. . .


%d bloggers like this: