Rural round-up

March 15, 2018

Medical marijuana a ‘billion-dollar industry’, says exporter who employs staff with a past – Madison Reidy:

Growing marijuana has turned from a cause for conviction to a well-paid job for locals of a destitute town north of Gisborne.

In a rundown woolshed in Ruatoria, 17 of them laugh over reggae music.

Some are as young as 18. Some have been to prison. Soon, they could be earning about $80,000 each.

It’s white bread sandwiches and sausage rolls for lunch, washed down with a chilled Steinlager. They will swim in the Waiapu River afterward. . .

A2 herd conversion strategies – Keith Woodford:

The decision by Fonterra to work jointly with The a2 Milk Company (ATM) to produce A2 dairy products will have come as a shock to everyone outside the direct negotiation process. This change now throws into sharp relief the challenges for New Zealand dairy farmers in converting their dairy herds so as to produce A2 milk, this being milk free of A1 beta-casein.

The first decision farmers have to make is whether or not they do wish to start on the herd conversion journey. On the one hand, the Fonterra co-operative has been telling its farmer members for all of its 17-year existence that A2 is simply a marketing gimmick. So, for many farmers, the idea that Fonterra is now going to pay premiums for A2 milk will cause bewilderment. . 

Emerging food and beverage growth opportunities in New Zealand

New opportunities in the food and beverage industries are the focus of the Emerging Growth Opportunities in New Zealand Food & Beverage Report 2018, which will be launched at FoodHQ as part of the New Zealand Agrifood Week.

The report will be officially launched by the Hon. David Parker, Minister for Economic Development, on Wednesday 14 March. Key findings and the state of the food and beverage industry will be presented by Tim Morris, Director of consulting company Coriolis, which authored the report. . . 

Award winners swapped office jobs for farms :

The Northland Dairy Industry Awards Share Farmer of the Year winners swapped office jobs for dairy farming six years ago and now appreciate the opportunities to grow and be self-employed.

Dan and Gina Duncan were rural valuers and knew the rural lifestyle was one they wanted for their family. “I grew up on a dairy farm, and the importance of common sense and consequences are still able to be learnt by children from a young age,” says Dan. “The freedom for children has changed though with a definite focus on health and safety.”

The won $7000 in prizes. The other major winners were the Dairy Manager of the Year, Sam Moscrip, and the Dairy Trainee of the Year, Eden Ritchie. . . 

Release of jewelled gheckos ‘momentous occasion’ – Rebecca Nadge:

The Central Otago Ecological Trust celebrated a ”momentous occasion” at the Mokomoko Dryland Sanctuary recently as 14 jewelled geckos were released as part of the sanctuary’s first translocation programme.

Eight pregnant females, three males, two sub-adult males and one sub-adult female were taken from the Lammermoor Range by trust volunteers and Wildlands herpetologist Carey Knox before they were transported to their new home.

Mr Knox said the species was found across Otago and Canterbury, although human influence, land clearing and introduced predators had restricted their range to small pockets. . .

Fonterra NZMP cheese and butter win international honours at 2018  World Championship Cheese Contest:

New Zealand cheese continues to turn heads on the international stage, with Fonterra named category runner-up for its NZMP three-to-six month Cheddar Cheese in the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest. NZMP Unsalted Butter was also runner up in its category in the prestigious competition held in the United States over the last week.

The bi-annual competition features the cream of the cheese and butter world, with products from 26 countries vying for top honours. This year’s competition attracted a record-breaking 3,402 entries in over 120 categories. . .


Rural round-up

October 21, 2016

The causes of the great cheese glut –  Mitch McCann:

There’s a big problem in United States right now. No, not that – America’s got too much cheese.

According to Vox, 453 million kilograms sits in cold storage warehouses across the country.

There’s a few reasons for what’s being labelled “America’s cheese glut”.

Around 2014, China’s economy was growing fast.

They were buying up heaps of US dairy products, like milk powder and cheese.

American farmers stepped up to meet demand, then China’s economy slowed, and with it – cheese sales. . . 

Forestry Industry Helps Grow Kiwi Population:

A new set of guidelines to help forest owners protect kiwi will help increase kiwi population numbers across New Zealand.

The guidelines, created by Kiwis for kiwi’s National Mentor for Advocacy, Wendy Sporle, have also been developed into a short training module to educate forestry crews about on-the-ground kiwi management.

Wendy Sporle has been a Northland farm forester for 40 years and has decades of forestry and kiwi management experience. . . 

Tirau’s iconic sheep, ram, and dog buildings for sale:

After 23 years, the creators and owners of the iconic Sheep, Ram and Dog buildings in Tirau are putting them up for sale.

Sitting on a prime corner on State Highway 1, the buildings have been much-loved  and photographed by locals, tourists and people passing through the town since their creation. 

John and Nancy Drake, the creators and current owners of the buildings, built the sheep back in 1994. . . 

Fonterra Showcases Clean Water Commitments at Global Summit:

All Fonterra manufacturing sites are aiming for globally-leading industry standards for wastewater treatment within 10 years according to COO Global Consumer & Foodservice Jacqueline Chow.

The Co-operative, which uses some 45 million cubic metres of water in processing in New Zealand, currently recycles close to six per cent or an average 2.5 million cubic metres annually.

“As new capacity is built, Fonterra is investing in resource-efficient plants such as our upgraded Pahiatua site which recovers and recycles 90 per cent of condensate from powder processing for irrigation to nearby farmland.” . . .

Extra 3825km2 of cell coverage delivered to rural areas:

An area the size of 450,000 rugby fields has been added to the country’s cell network in just two years, says Communications Minister Amy Adams

Thirty-four new cell towers have expanded coverage by an extra 3825 square kilometres to rural areas previously without coverage.

The new towers are a result of requirements set in the auction of the 700 MHz band of radio spectrum, won by Spark and Vodafone in 2014. Under the auction agreement Spark and Vodafone were required to build new towers in new rural areas in the first five years after the purchase.

“Thirty four towers were completed by the end of the second year, which is four sites more than required by the auction agreement. Seventeen have come online in the last year,” says Ms Adams. . .  

CropLogic Recognised At Annual TIN100 Awards:

Precision agriculture firm, CropLogic, has been named one of the most promising early stage companies at the annual TIN100 Awards announced in Auckland last night.

The TIN100 Awards recognise the leading technology exporters in New Zealand following the release of the annual TIN100 Report. The Report analyses the performance of the country’s largest exporters in the areas of ICT, High-tech Manufacturing and Biotechnology.

CropLogic was amongst ten shortlisted companies including 8i, BioLumic, Engender Technologies, Footfalls & Heartbeats, Hydroxsys, Invert Robotics, Mars Bio-imaging Ltd, Parrot Analytics and Timely. . . 

Entries open for the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Awards:

The window of opportunity to make a difference to your farming career has arrived! Entries will be accepted for the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards from today, Thursday 20th October, until midnight 30th November. Competitions categories include the New Zealand Share Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

All entries are received online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz. The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, DeLaval, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra Farm Source, Honda Motorcycles, LIC, Meridian Energy and Ravensdown, along with industry partner Primary ITO. . . 

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Those who say you shouldn’t take your work home with you don’t know lambing season.


Rural round-up

November 8, 2013

‘Farmers understand need to improve water quality’:

PRIMARY INDUSTRIES Minister Nathan Guy believes most farmers are environmentalists and understand the need to improve our water quality.

Speaking at the launch of freshwater proposals yesterday, he said farmers want to leave the environment in a better state than they found they found it.

“Farmers recognise the importance of our freshwater resource and understand there will be costs; and they have shown they want to work constructively,” he says. . .

China helps lifts co-op’s returns:

Meat co-op Alliance Group has reported a net profit before restructuring costs and tax of $10.9 million for the year ending 30 September 2013. The co-op’s turnover for the year topped $1.4 billion

After providing for restructuring costs of $2.5 million and tax of $2.8 million, the company recorded a net profit after tax of $5.6 million.

The company’s balance sheet is also strengthening with an equity ratio of 61% and an operating cash flow surplus of $89 million.

In announcing the result, Alliance Group chairman, Murray Taggart, said the return to profitability was a positive result, albeit at an unsatisfactory level, and follows a year with widespread drought conditions and lingering economic weakness in key export markets. . .

Wild pigs a potential TB risk in Waikato:

Reports of wild pigs being illegally released and the risky disposal of their remains has prompted a Waikato farmer to speak out about the bovine tuberculosis (TB) threat it potentially poses to domestic cattle and deer.

Pigs can carry TB and spread the disease when infected carcasses are scavenged by wild animals, mainly possums and ferrets. Bovine TB-infected possums are responsible for the majority of new herd infections in TB risk areas.

Local farmer and Waikato TBfree Committee Chairman John Bubb expressed concern over the reported practices on behalf of herdowners in the region.

“People need to consider the possible consequences of dumping wild pig remains that could be infected with TB,” said Mr Bubb. . .

Public perception vital in a crisis – Hugh Stringleman:

Rescuing Fonterra’s reputation after its botulism scare is problematic, crisis communications researcher and adviser Professor William Hallman says.

“The first thing they taught me as a psychologist is that perception is reality,” Hallman said.

“The fact that it was a false alarm is important, but reputation isn’t entirely based on facts.”

Hallman is head of the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers, the New Jersey state university.

He was contracted to provide information to the Fonterra independent inquiry into the whey protein concentrate recall on best practise in crisis communications, his principal area of expertise. . .

Southern land producing quality wool – Alan Williams:

Good, clean Southland pasture through spring and early summer helps Jeff Farm produce lambs’ wool to the standard required by United Kingdom fabric manufacturer Camira.

“We put the wool in from 10,000-12,000 lambs and most of it gets accepted,” farm manager John Chittock said.

The wool has to have 0% vegetable matter (VM) and be pesticide-free to meet Camira’s exacting standards under the Wools of New Zealand (WNZ) contract.

“At this time of year we don’t have any problem with the VM. The country here is pretty clean and we don’t have to do anything special with them,” Chittock said.

Mixed response to buffer zone compromise – Richard Rennie:

Western Bay of Plenty landowners have gained a compromise on proposed buffer zones sought by Transpower around electricity lines on their land.

The State-owned enterprise had wanted zones on existing lines inluded in a district plan change, which put it offside with horticulturalists, farmers, and even Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

The dispute was destined to be heard in the Environment Court after Transpower appealed the council decision to follow the recommendation of a commissioner, which was to note the buffer areas in planning documents.

Federated Farmers has arrived at a compromise on the changes being sought by Transpower, with the proposed buffer zones significantly reduced. . .

Great Start for 2014 Dairy Awards:

Nearly 100 people have entered the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards since entries opened a week ago, up 10 on the same time last year.

“The signs are promising that the 2014 awards are going to be a boomer,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“What is really satisfying is the number of people who are entering for a second or successive time. We work really hard to make sure all entrants – not just the winners – gain real value and benefits from their experience and so it is heartening to see that about half the entries so far are from those that have entered in the past.” . . .

#gigatownoamaru has had a great start too.

 


Rural round-up

November 7, 2012

Fonterra man’s new international post – Caleb Allison:

Fonterra’s director of research, science and technology  has been elected president of the International Dairy Federation.

Dr Jeremy Hill, who replaces Richard Doyle, was elected yesterday at the IDF’s World Dairy Summit in South Africa.

The IDF bills itself as a “non-profit private sector organisation representing the interests of various stakeholders in dairying at the international level”. . .

Nugget from the Cavalcades:

Otago Daily Times agri-business editor Sally Rae and illustrations editor Stephen Jaquiery teamed up to add a book to the already groaning New Zealand bookseller’s shelves. This is their story of how that happened.

One a writer, the other a photographer, and between us we have been on more than half of the 20 cavalcades, so co-producing a book on the Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust’s horse and cart pilgrimages seemed to make sense.

We had an idea, a vision, a collection of many thousands of photographs and loads of potential subjects for compelling, highly entertaining stories. But before getting too serious, we had to find a publisher. . .

Make no excuses, just enter – Sally Rae:

Lorraine Johnson is ready to counter any excuses people may have for not entering the 2013 Otago regional competition of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

The awards will be launched at a function at the Cross Recreation Centre in Balclutha tomorrow at 7.30pm.

Mrs Johnson, who is regional convener, urged people to “come along and launch yourself and your career”. . .

Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation scheme gets piping mandate:

A decision to pipe the Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation scheme will result in significant energy savings and improved water use efficiency.

The 234 shareholders in the Ashburton Lyndhurst Irrigation Limited (ALIL) have voted 82% in favour of piping over 200km of the scheme’s open water races.

ALIL’s chairman, John van Polanen, says the energy saved by piping the scheme is equivalent to the energy used by 2000 homes. . .

Sky farms are here – Misc-Science:

I’ve blogged before about sky farms, and how I think they’re a truly excellent idea. When last I wrote about it in 2009, it was a mad (yet extremely rational), science fictional solution to agriculture.

Now, as with so much of its ilk, it’s HERE.

I literally just threw my hands up in the air and shouted ‘F**k yeah!’ 🙂

Singapore has built the world’s first sky farm: it opened this year. And now, it’s begun selling its produce. . .

Global wine meetings in Auckland:

Two international wine meetings are being held in Auckland this week – the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Wine Regulatory Forum (November 5-6) and the World Wine Trade Group meeting (November 7-9).

The two-day APEC Wine Regulatory Forum will bring together 67 wine regulators and industry representatives from 15 APEC economies to discuss wine trade risk assessment and management as well as coordinating approaches to wine certification. Participants will also develop a set of recommendations for future APEC activities aimed at tackling unnecessary wine-related non-tariff barriers in the region. . .


Rural round-up

May 5, 2012

Salmon farm expansion plans:

Nelson leaders predict major growth for region

Nelson businesses, the Seafood processing union and the city’s mayor are firmly behind NZ King Salmon’s expansion plans saying they will result in increased downstream employment at a time when young people are leaving in droves.

Business owners also say the company is a responsible producer of high quality products wanted by the world and it is “not going to bastardise their own environment”.

City Mayor Aldo Miccio says Nelson backs winners and aquaculture is a new and exciting industry the region needs and wants. . .

More university science funding positve for rural sector:

The Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science says the Government’s new focus on science and technology at the tertiary level is long overdue.

The Government is asking universities and polytechnics to increase their enrolments in science, technology, engineering and maths.

It is to increase funding for those subjects in the Budget this month. . .

Good news for high country with Pastoral Lease ammendment:

After a prolonged battle, including the Minaret case in the Land Valuation Court, New Zealand’s High Country farmers welcome the passing of Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Act in Parliament, clarifying that pastoral lease farm rents are to be based on pastoral rather than landscape values.

“Federated Farmers asked the government to make the Pastoral Land Act workable and to give certainty around how rents would be calculated. We are grateful they listened,”Federated Farmers High Country chairperson, Graham Reed says.

“This is not a hand out; it simply means rents are set to reflect High Country farming businesses’ real earning capacity. This amendment allows us to live and work without the spectre of unfair rises simply because of our farms’ locations. That was certainly the intention behind the use of the word “pastoral” in the Crown Pastoral Land Act 1998, describing the restricted land use on which valuations should be based. . .

License to operate: A regulatory barrier or market opportunity?

The AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast provides an annual forum to discuss issues of national interest to the rural community. This year’s theme is‘License to Operate: a regulatory barrier or market opportunity?’ and includes presentations by Dr Andrew West, Bryce Johnson, Willy Leferink and Graham Stuart.

The AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast will be held on Friday the 25th of May on Level 4 of the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, commencing at 7.30am sharp and will be hosted by AGMARDT’s Chairman Jeff Grant.

“In setting the theme for this year’s AGMARDT Agribusiness Breakfast, we wanted to raise awareness within the farming community of an issue that is going attract increasing attention in the years ahead,”said Mr Grant. . .

Dairy Awards final sells-out:

Nearly 700 people will attend the 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner, where the winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced.

National convenor Chris Keeping says final judging is underway for the 36 finalists representing 12 regions across the country. The finalists converge on Auckland next week for a series of activities and to participate in the final judging component, an interview.

“It’s a really exciting time for the finalists, especially once the pressure of final judging is off. They really enjoy the opportunity to meet each other and spend time together while doing activities out of their comfort zone. It’ll be a time they cherish for years to come.” . . .


Awards aim to change perception

September 27, 2011

The 2012 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards aim to change some urban perceptions of the country’s dairy farmers and the dairy industry.

Awards executive committee chair Matthew Richards says the 2012 awards will culminate with a series of activities in Auckland that leads into the national awards dinner, where the winners of the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced.

“We want Auckland and the rest of the country to witness the bright, talented and well presented individuals that are working hard on this country’s dairy farms to drive the dairy industry forward as the global leader that it is .

“Many of our past winners have gone on to leadership roles within the industry and we expect many of our current winners will be the industry’s future leaders,” Mr Richards, a Southland dairy farmer, says.

The 2011 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year Jason and Lisa Suisted said they initially entered the awards to“stand out from the pack” when applying for sharemilking positions. They have gained considerably more.

“What we did not know at the time was how much we were going to learn both about ourselves and our business. We’ve been able to fine tune some of our farm systems and the awards had also allowed us to work side by side, highlighting the strengths we both bring to the business.”

Mr Suisted says the awards challenged them and forced them to take a brutal and critical look at their business.

“The benefits from this have paid off immensely.”

Like the Young Farmer of the Year and other industry competitions, the Dairy Industry Awards provide wonderful opportunities for participants to look at and improve  their own businesses, learn from other entrants and showcase farming.


Rural round-up

September 5, 2011

Pipfruit NZ CEO says industry needs to accept govt’s position on currency ‘is what it is’ and focus is on areas it can change – Alex Tarrant:

Exporters need to focus their attentions on areas they can change, and accept the government will not shift in its position on exchange rate management, the head of an industry group says.

Pipfruit New Zealand CEO Peter Beaven, who represents apple and pear growers nation-wide exporting half a million billion dollars worth of product a year, also said he would like to see the industry use more of an overarching national branding strategy to help sell New Zealand pipfruit, similar to the approach taken by the wine industry . . .

Universities to collaborate on precision research:

Massey and Lincoln Universities have agreed to work together on precision agriculture research and education.

Precision agriculture is based around creating practical land management solutions, through the use of tools such as sensors which capture the rate of pasture growth and measure soil moisture . . .

 Award-Winning Hawke’s Bay Dairy Farmers Stand Up For Their Industry:

Patoka dairy farmers Nick and Nicky Dawson saw entering the 2011 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards as a good way to gain knowledge and “break down a few barriers”.

The Dawsons, who farm 480 cows in an equity partnership on 186ha of rolling contour northwest of Napier, were encouraged to enter the inaugural East Coast awards by a representative from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

They were proud to win the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

Suisteds Enjoy Spin-Offs From Dairy Awards Success:

Success at the 2011 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards has broadened Jason and Lisa Suisted’s perspective of the country’s dairy industry and propelled their sharemilking business forward.

The Waikato couple won the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title at the national awards dinner in May and has since embraced the opportunities they have received to be exposed to other facets of the industry, and the people involved.

Lisa Suisted says winning the title on their third time entering was a dream. “Once you get involved in the dairy awards and start the process, it’s addictive. You can see your systems becoming more refined, your business improving and the financials flowing from that.” . . .

New dairy scholarship encourages student travel and adventure:

DairyNZ today announced the launch of its new Gap Year Scholarship programme in partnership with Communicating for Agriculture Education Programme (CAEP) New Zealand. The scholarships will provide support for school leavers looking for experience overseas prior to beginning their tertiary studies. They consist of funding ($5750 including GST) as well as expert assistance with overseas placement and travel arrangements.

Up to three Gap Year Scholarships will be available to New Zealand school leavers from 2012 and applications for the first round close on November 15 this year . . .

Christchurch woman receives deserved Land Girl medal after 70 years – Nicky Wagner:

It’s always humbling to present awards and medals to thoroughly deserving recipients. And Molly Anderson is no exception.

After seventy years, Molly has been honoured for her services to the New Zealand Women’s Land Service as a land girl on a dairy farm at Halswell. Molly’s duties on the Van Asch town supply farm, were milking, feeding out and looking after some of the calves. She also worked on the Browns’ farm in the area . . .

Could a small New Zealand company solve the world’s carbon crisis?

According to an article in Australia’s foremost business newspaper, The Australian Financial Review, the world will need to produce twice as much food by 2050 as it does now, using the same amount of land and water (or probably less). It’s a disturbing proposition, but a large part of the solution could be found in a small, unassuming factory west of Auckland.

To meet growing demand for food, most of today’s farming and agricultural practices lean towards clearing and irrigating more land and increasing use of fertilizers. These methods are unsustainable, and if they continue the world will experience major food shortage in the coming years. All is not gloom and doom, however. The Australian Financial Review article suggests that the single key to meeting our increased demand for food lies in better soil management. Well-managed soils produce better harvests even during poor seasons, and can recover more quickly from drought or flood. . .

The last extract is a media release from EcoCover about which you can read more here.


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