Rural round-up

November 23, 2017

Prize Jersey herd set for the aucitoneer’s hammer – Brad Markham:

Ill-health has forced a gut-wrenching decision on Taranaki dairy farmer Malcolm Revell and his family.

They’re preparing to sell their purebred Jersey herd. Next April, Beledene Stud in Mangatoki will hold a complete dispersal sale.

It will be the end of an era.

Decades of breeding will go under the hammer. In a few heart-racing hours, their lifetime’s work will be sold.

It’s every farmer’s worst nightmare; no longer being able to do what they love. . . 

Hogget trial trying to add value to older lambs – Brittany Pickett:

Meat processors Alliance Group is trying to add value to hogget by marketing it as a premium product.

The co-operative, with headquarters in Invercargill, has been running a trial programme in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand aimed at the food service sector.

Alliance marketing manager premium products Wayne Cameron said the trial was part of the co-operative’s strategy to create a portfolio of brands with different flavour profiles.

Lambs are traditionally distinguished from mutton when their first adult teeth come through. However, it was an outdated way of determining the value of an animal’s meat, Cameron said. . . 

Farmers ‘fed up’ with environmental commotion:

Dairy farmers are facing mixed environmental advice coming from all quarters, and some of it is not terribly helpful, a sharemilker says.

Matamata farmer Matthew Zonderop said farmers know the impact their business can create.

He said most farmers were doing their level-best to improve their environmental footprint and mitigate situations that are arising.

“Yes, we understand [the issues] but we don’t need to be told how to farm in every situation now.” . . 

Fonterra launches charm offensive on water quality – Jamie Gray:

Fonterra has stepped up its efforts to improve water quality while launching a charm offensive and television campaign to showcase how farmers have upped their game.

The moves follow the emergence of water quality as a key issue at September’s general election, and a string a reports highlighting the degradation of water quality in New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and streams.

Miles Hurrell, chief operating officer of Fonterra Farm Source, said there was now greater focus on water quality by the public and he acknowledged the part that dairying had played in its decline. . . 

Arable farmers have fingers crossed after wet start to spring:

A healthy supply of grain with prices holding firm, has Arable farmers crossing their fingers after a damp start to spring.

The latest industry survey (AIMI), for the nation’s cereal growers, reveals a resurgence in feed barley with planting returning to regular, historical levels.

Federated Farmers Grains Vice Chair Brian Leadley, says signs are better for the industry as a whole after the previous two seasons which were indifferent. . . 

Aussie farm life captured to celebrate Ag Day – Kim Chappell:

From dawn and til dusk farmers are up working – regardless of what commodity they are involved in.

Be it milking the dairy cows as the sun rises, to heading to town for the local cattle sale later in the day, and finishing up in the back paddock checking on the cattle at sunset.

To celebrate National Agriculture Day, we bring you this gallery of some of the country’s farmers going about their normal days. . . 

Technology and consumers changing the agricultural industry – Hayley Skelly-Kennedy:

Industry 4.0 and the customer revolution are significantly changing the functions of the agriculture industry. 

Huge technological advances in recent years and an increasingly demanding consumer base has meant Australian agriculture has needed to embrace technology. 

Attendees at the Young Beef Producers Forum in Roma heard from Compass West owner Carmen Roberts about how agriculture has been driving the fourth industrial revolution, known as Industry 4.0, and the impact of the latest customer revolution on agricultural businesses.  . . 

 


National Ag Day needed here too

November 21, 2017

It’s National Agriculture Day in Australia where the rural urban divide is widening:

The traditional divide between city slickers and their country cousins has turned into a yawning chasm, with 83 per cent of Australians convinced agriculture and farming have no or little relevance to their lives.

A new survey commissioned for the first National Agriculture Day tomorrow also found only 4 per cent of Australians correctly identified agriculture as the fastest-growing sector of the Australian economy, while fewer than half had met or talked to a farmer in the past year.

The National Farmers Federation, which commissioned the survey, believes it proves an urgent need for agriculture to promoted nationally as an exciting, hi-tech industry vital to Australia’s economic future, to reverse the misperception it is a dull, outdated sector of the past.

NFF president Fiona Simson said few Australians are aware that the nation’s once-quiet agricultural sector is now producing more than $64 billion of food and fibre products annually, provides 1.6 million Australians with jobs, grew at a phenomenal rate of 23 per cent last year and single-handedly prevented the economy from reversing into recession over the previous two quarters.

“This is an industry that is powering ahead and which was the largest contributor to national economic (GDP) growth in the last two quarters, but no one in the cities knows that any more,” Ms Simson lamented yesterday.

“In the old days, everyone knew a farmer and understood what farmers did and where their food came from, but city people are now so geographically distant and disconnected from the broader agriculture and food industries, that all that understanding and interest has been lost.”

It doesn’t help that increasing urbanisation means fewer people in the media understand farming and wider rural issues, nor that this has allowed the radical green movement to dominate the debate with arguments based on emotion rather than science.

The 2016 census revealed that 49 per cent of Australians today were either born overseas or have foreign-born parents, while 70 per cent live in the eight capital cities.

The number of farmers has also shrunk from 320,000 to fewer than 90,000 in the past 35 years according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the country-to-city population drift and the nation’s urbanisation has continued unabated. . . 

Federal Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said there was no more important industry than agriculture, and National Agriculture Day was a time for all Australians to acknowledge and thank generations of farming families.

“Our nation’s farmers, and agricultural and food sector workers and businesses, do so much more than simply keeping us fed; they are international leaders, stewards of Australia’s landscape and environment and produce some of the best food on the planet that feeds 60 million people around the world,” Senator Ruston said.

“The Aussie farmer has made Australia the lucky country.”

The importance of agriculture to New Zealand’s economy is very unusual in a developed country but the contribution is often undervalued.

Is it time we had a National Agriculture Day too?


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