Rural round-up

September 6, 2013

Record number of Rural Women members step up as candidates in local elections 2013:

A record number of Rural Women NZ members are standing in this year’s local elections, motivated by the need for better understanding by councils and District Health Boards of the challenges facing rural communities.

At least 14 Rural Women NZ members are standing around the country, with three already certain of their seats, being unopposed.

Rural rates are a hot issue, particularly the disproportionate share of rates being shouldered by farmers, which is a top priority for many.

Sharyn Price, a Kauru Hill Rural Women member standing for the Corriedale Ward of Waitaki District Council, says, “Rates fairness and value for money are utterly essential. Rural ratepayers have seen much larger percentage increases in rates than council’s averages, thanks to farm development increasing capital values, while town values fail to keep pace. Paying ever more for a shrinking share of services is not reasonable.” . .

$25m invested in new forestry technologies:

The Government is investing $2.5 million over a maximum of five years to support research that will increase the productivity of the forestry industry, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The funding will support the development of new technologies that can be used by pine tree breeders to reduce the time it takes to breed and plant new improved trees by 15 years.

The Radiata Pine Breeding Company, which has formed a partnership between 16 forestry organisations, Scion and the University of Canterbury, is researching and developing the new technologies. . .

RMA reform bill third reading ‘a reform entrée’:

 Federated Farmers is welcoming some parts of the Resource Management Reform Bill 2012, which recently passed its third reading in the Parliament. 

 “While some parts of the Bill relate to Auckland, other parts are an economic and environmental appetizer for farmers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment Spokesperson.

 “There are some aspects we welcome, some we have reservations about and some we do not think go far enough.

 “A few environmental activists have irrationally fought tooth and nail against having a robust cost benefit analysis in the RMA.  Without one, however, the RMA was increasingly trending towards perfection as a benchmark and that is as unaffordable as it is unobtainable. . .

Hoorah for Rotorua lake water quality!:

Federated Farmers applauds a recent Bay of Plenty Regional Council report showing water quality improvement in the Rotorua Lakes catchment has improved significantly.

“This gives a good, accurate illustration on the state of water quality within Rotorua Lakes,” says Neil Heather, past provincial president Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo.

“It highlights all the good work done through collaborative partnerships with landowners and the community undertaken to improve the lakes’ water quality. Federated Farmers supports the regional council’s use of the Trophic Level Index (TLI), which has undoubtedly led to an overall increase in water quality of the lakes catchment.

“A major impact on these results was the decision to apply alum dosing, which is key for algal growth meaning there are now less favourable conditions for weed growth and algal blooms. . .

New Zealand Young Farmers Appoints New CEO, Terry Copeland:

New Zealand Young Farmers is pleased to announce the appointment of the new CEO, Terry Copeland. After twelve years of service to NZYF as CEO, Richard Fitzgerald is stepping down.

Mr Copeland, comes to Young Farmers with an arsenal of experience from management, sales and marketing and supply chain management to tertiary teaching, journalism and being a brand ambassador.

His latest post was with Treasury Wine Estates, the second largest wine company globally. He led the export strategy and the supply chain team for four years. . .

MPI To Work with Farmers On Blackgrass Biosecurity Response:

Federated Farmers is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and other stakeholders to ensure that blackgrass is not established in New Zealand, following the news of a potential blackgrass incursion in mid-Canterbury.

“The seed was spilt between Ashburton and a seed dressing plant in the Methven area and is a serious threat to arable farming in New Zealand,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers mid-Canterbury Grains Chairperson.

“We have just one chance to get this right and we commend MPI for identifying and informing us of this restricted weeds presence.

“Federated Farmers is firmly committed to working collaboratively with MPI and the Foundation of Arable Research to mount a credible response. . .

Synlait joins the ‘Good News Club’

Federated Farmers is thrilled that Synlait has increased their forecast milk price of $8 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Synlait has joined the ‘Good News Club’ at a time when dairy farmers needed some reassurance in the strength of the market,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair.

“It has been a tumultuous time for the dairy industry this past month, but it is clear from Fonterra, Westland and Synlait that the demand for New Zealand milk is stronger than ever. . .

Wool Prices Continue to Rise:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the 9,400 bales of North Island wool on offer this week saw a 98 percent clearance and significant price lifts in some sectors compared to the last sale in the South Island on 29th August.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies lifted by 1.05 percent, however resurgence in wool prices in other markets coupled with limited supply locally, bypassed any currency impact with the market lifting between 3 and 10 percent.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were 3 to 6 percent dearer. Good Style Coarse Full Fleece were 5 to 6 percent stronger with poorer styles lifting by 7 to 10 percent. . .

Rural Equities annual profit slides 31% on property revaluations, drought; lifts dividend:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, reported a 31 percent drop in annual profit as property revaluations lagged behind those from a year earlier, and as the North Island’s worst drought in seven years ate into operating earnings.

Net profit fell to $10.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $15.8 million a year earlier, the Hastings-based company said in a statement. Profit included a gain in the 27-farm property portfolio of $4.9 million, smaller than the $14.3 million revaluation in 2012. Operating earnings declined to $2.1 million from $2.9 million as the drought increased the cost of feed, and the farms received lower prices for milk, sheep and wool. . .

 Eastpack Celebrates 30 Years of Packing Kiwifruit:

Leading kiwifruit post harvest supplier, EastPack has celebrated 30 seasons of packing kiwifruit. EastPack, which began in Edgecumbe and was originally called Rangitaiki Fruitpackers Co-operative, is now New Zealand’s largest post harvest kiwifruit operator, following its merger earlier this year with Satara.

Chief Executive Tony Hawken has led the company through 30 years of continuous growth.

“From day one, we have always had, and continue to have, a reputation for looking after our growers no matter how challenging the circumstances,” Mr Hawken said.

“As a grower-owned company, EastPack growers share in the company’s financial success. We consistently deliver industry-leading orchard gate returns (OGR) through our operational efficiencies, inventory management and our grower-owned structure.” . . .

Sacred Hill scores high in Gimblett Gravels Vintage Selection:

Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels has selected its top wines from an outstanding 2011 line up and Sacred Hill Vineyards is the only producer to have two wines make the grade in the prestigious Annual Vintage Selection (AVS), recording the highest scoring wines in two categories.

The selection of wines from the 2011 vintage was made this week following a tasting by one of the world’s most highly respected Masters of Wine, Andrew Caillard of Australia.

Gimblett Gravels producers were allowed to put forward no more than three wines each for the tasting with a maximum of two from any winery eligible for the final selection of 12 wines. Only wines scoring 93 points out of 100 or more were selected. . .


Rural round-up

May 24, 2013

Agribusiness Innovation and Growth 2013:

New Zealand’s agritech sector is a $3 billion industry, generating export sales in excess of $700 million a year. Top players in the sector are gathering in Hamilton on the night before Fieldays for a mini-symposium on agribusiness and innovation. It’s a Universities New Zealand event, hosted by the University of Waikato on behalf of the University Commercialisation Offices of NZ (UCONZ), and it’s open to the public by online registration.

The keynote speakers will be the Minister for Economic Development Hon Steven Joyce, Wayne McNee, Director-General of the Ministry for Primary Industries, and Fonterra Nutrition’s Managing Director Sarah Kennedy. . .

Fieldays Innovations Centre brings to life Kiwi can-do attitude:

The Fieldays Innovation Centre Competition is the perfect forum for inventors to introduce their primary industry themed, ‘homegrown’ designs to a local and global audience.

By creating an opportunity for inventors to showcase their designs and prototypes, which are then critiqued by key industry leaders, it’s the ideal way for Kiwis to get past the first, crucial step to gaining commercial success in New Zealand and beyond.

With a serious prize pool available for inventors in the following categories; Grassroots, Launch NZ and International (covering local and global, individual and company entrants), they must wow judges to be in with a chance of winning financial and mentoring support. The goal: to establish their invention across local and global territories and gain commercial success. . . .

Fertiliser Company Helps Curb Pollution in Rural Red Zone:

A group of South Island farmers have rallied together to improve their environmental practises and protect their land and waterways.

Environment Canterbury (ECAN) has declared the Upper Waitaki region a red zone because the nutrient levels in the Ahuriri River are too high.

At a farm field day organised by fertiliser and lime company,Hatuma Dicalcic Phosphate Ltd, ECAN told farmers in the Ahuriri Valley that the community wants to see clean water in local rivers and streams and farmers need to better manage their nutrient application. . .

‘Farmy Army’s’ John Hartnell Honoured:

John Hartnell, the driving force behind Federated Farmers’ ‘Farmy Army’, received the New Zealand Order of Merit today.

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, John organised farmers from around the region, now coined the ‘Farmy Army’, to assist in clearing liquefaction, delivering food parcels and providing general assistance to vulnerable families.

“It is a real honour to be recognised in this way by the Governor General, I am truly humbled,” says John. . .

Exports to China back on track:

Federated Farmers is hugely relieved the meat export impasse in China has been resolved, but believes New Zealand and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) need to take a hard look in the mirror.

“Can we say thank you to the Minister, our trade officials and the Chinese authorities for solving a big problem,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President and its trade spokesperson.

“China is our largest market for lamb by volume and in the first quarter of 2013, surpassed Britain in terms of value for the first time ever. This is what was at stake so it is embarrassing to discover the fault lay here in New Zealand.

“It feels as if we have been ankle-tapped by a member of our own team. . .

MIE secures farmer mandate for meat industry reform:

A week after meetings in Te Kuiti and Gisborne, Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) has secured a farmer mandate to pursue a value and growing meat industry.

“Having concluded a series of meetings from Gore to Gisborne, MIE now has the confidence to push forward with red meat industry reform,” says Richard Young, Meat Industry Excellence chairman.

“Farmers realise there must be change in our industry if we are to arrest the loss of farms and farmers to other land uses, like dairying and these days, forestry. The only way you achieve this is to make red meat an attractive commercial proposition.

“That is why all industry stakeholders need to be part of the positive change our industry is desperately crying out for. Something MIE is here to champion. . .

New president for Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo:

Following Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo Annual General Meeting, Alan Wills has been elected provincial president following the retirement of Neil Heather.

“What Neil has done over the past few years will be a hard act to follow but I shall give it my best,” says Alan Wills, Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo provincial president.

“The positive contribution made by Federated Farmers and Neil is exemplified by the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective. Known as the Otorua Accord, this was signed in February between Federated Farmers, DairyNZ, Te Arawa and our councils. . .

New Technology to Boost Sustainable Fisheries Research:

 Deep sea technology that will provide some of the world’s most accurate and useful marine sustainability research is being launched today.

In a world-first, New Zealand fishing company Sealord has invested more than $750,000 in a new multi-frequency Acoustic Optical System (AOS).

At an event on-board Thomas Harrison, prior to the vessel taking the new equipment on its first sea-trial, Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy launched the new AOS which will provide a boost to the science that contributes to New Zealand’s world recognised Quota Management System. . .

Dollar Pushes up Local Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the local market lifted significantly for the 10,400 bales on offer at the South Island sale this week. The weakening NZ dollar, particularly against the US dollar which was down 4.97 percent compared to the last sale on 9th May and the weighted currency indicator down 3.91 percent was the principal market influence. This was supported by recent strong purchasing interest and a seasonal limited wool supply.

Mr Dawson advises that a nominal offering of Mid Micron Fleece were firm to 3 percent dearer. . .


Rural round-up

February 19, 2013

Better Lake Rotorua = Farmers + Community + Councils:

A “third way” to better water quality is the promise of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective signed between Federated Farmers, Te Arawa and councils.
“The positive reaction has been pretty amazing,” says Neil Heather, Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president.

“This is the application of a Land and Water Partnership type approach at a local level.

“Despite one academic taking a pot shot, most Kiwis will see farmers and landowners working hard with regulators to improve what is our lake too. . .

A telling quote about co-ops – Milking on the Moove:

“There seemed little room for entrepreneurial creativity; virtually every decision was politicized.  The most politically active members controlled the co-op with the own personal agendas, and much more energy was focused on deciding which companies to boycott than on how to improve the quality of products and services for customers.  I thought I could create a better store than any of the co-ops I belonged to, and decided to become an entrepreneur to prove it.”

This  quote is from Whole Foods CEO John Mckey. The quote is from his recent book Conscious Capitalism and Forbes has run an article about John and his book, which I found interesting.

John was a hippy in the 60s and 70s and was involved in a commune and various food co-ops.

It appears he became disillusioned with the co-ops and started his own natural food store which grew to be the now famous Whole Foods Market. . .

Failure a huge spur as record-breaking shearer faces biggest challenge

Tackling the biggest job of your life might not be the best time to talk about failures.

But that’s not the way for Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia who on Tuesday tackles possibly the greatest shearing record of them all, hoping to shear more than 721 strongwool ewes in nine hours in a remote a King Country woolshed.

The record has not been tried by any other shearer in the six years since it was set by Southern Hawke’s Bay shearing ironman Rodney Sutton.

Tuesday’s bid will be a at Te Hape B, east of Benneydale on SH30 between Te Kuiti and Taupo, and will start at 5am and end at 5pm, including meal and smoko breaks). . .

Gang of four rips through record – Terri Russell:

A lively crowd of about 800 people cheered as four shearers, two from Southland, set a world shearing record near Mossburn yesterday.

Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, Ohai’s Eru Weeds – who battled on despite being injured – and North Island shearers John Kirkpatrick and James Mack, shore 2556 sheep in eight hours.

The gang set the record in the previously unattempted Heiniger four-stand crossbred lamb eight-hour event. They shore the sheep in four two-hour runs.

The final countdown was heated, as the crowd screamed and shearers sweated it out. Some members of the crowd also performed a surprise haka to the shearers when they finished shearing. . . .

‘Wiggy’ working to better his skills – Sally Rae:

Meet Wiggy from Wales.

Paul ”Wiggy” Davies has been in North Otago working for shearing contractor Owen Rowland, having met Mr Rowland when he was over shearing in Wales.

Mr Davies (27), who had been shearing with former Oamaru man Grant Rowland, now living in Wales, wanted to improve his shearing. . .

Downright ‘grumpy’ over schedule – Rob Tipa:

NEW Zealand meat companies really should listen to their suppliers, because there are some very frustrated, disillusioned and downright grumpy sheep farmers out there.

And with good reason. Those who have withstood the financial pressures experienced by the meat industry in recent years are survivors who deserve a medal for their enduring loyalty to their respective meat processors.

They have listened patiently to promises of greater co-operation between meat companies in one meat industry review after another going back decades.

When the tide turned on low sheepmeat prices in the last couple of seasons, farmers were rewarded for their loyalty with record returns of an average $117 a head for lambs in 2010/11 and $113 a head in 2011/12. . .

Rabobank strengthens NZ research division – new animal proteins analyst appointed:

Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division has announced the appointment of its new animal proteins analyst for New Zealand, Matt Costello.

Rabobank’s head of Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory Luke Chandler said Mr Costello – who has strong experience as a researcher in the meat industry – was an excellent addition to the bank’s New Zealand food and agribusiness research team, joining senior analyst Hayley Moynihan, who specialises in the dairy sector.

“We’re pleased to welcome Matt into our team here at Rabobank and I am confident his strong background in the animal proteins sector will be a great asset to help further support our clients in this industry in New Zealand,” Mr Chandler said. . .


Combined effort cleans up Lake Rotorua

October 4, 2012

A combined effort by the council, farmers and community has cleaned up Lake Rotorua:

Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo is applauding the work of farmers and the wider community, which has seen Lake Rotorua improve beyond the target set by Bay of Plenty Regional Council in its regional water and land plan.

“We are not going to take all of the credit here because farming was never the entire problem.  It is however a triumph for the whole community,” says Neil Heather, Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo provincial president.

“The latest water testing of Lake Rotorua shows the Trophic Level Index (TLI), which measures the amount of nutrients in the lake, has fallen to 4.1.  This means Lake Rotorua has average water quality but in the time it has taken, average, is in fact, excellent.

“We started out with a lake that had poor water quality so we are trending in the right direction.  The lake is now below the 4.2 target the regional council had set for it.

“The regional council’s original modelling said things were going to get worse before they got better.  That’s the concern I have for other areas going down this track.  Despite what the model said we knew things were improving but farmers still caught flack in the media.

Poor farming practices can be partly blamed for poor water quality, but they are not usually the only culprits:

“As part of the learnings, we now know gorse leaches some 50 kilograms of nitrogen per hectare and that is more than a dairy farm.  Even pine plantations generate four kilograms per hectare each year and these show how varied the effects on water can be.

“It is why we must celebrate what the community, council and farmers have achieved together.  This is not down to one good year, but is part of an improving trend since we are all doing things better.

“There’s the land based treatment of the District’s human and industrial sewage as well as farmers fencing off stock and capturing nutrients, later recycled as liquid fertiliser.

“Being a Rotorua farmer, I am really proud of my community and we should all take a bow, town and country together. . .

Collaboration between councils, farmers and the community is the best way to achieve cleaner water.

Farmers have a responsiblity to minimise nutrient run-off, keep stock from water ways, manage effluent and do whatever else they can to keep water clean.

But improving water quality requires a team effort and the improved state of Lake Rotorua shows what can be achieved when people work together.


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