Rural round-up

April 8, 2018

School farm visits to encourage agricultural careers – Hunter Calder:

Benneydale School children watched eagerly as wool came off sheep on Storth Oaks Farm.

For some of the pupils it was the first time they’d ever been on a farm, not to mention seeing a sheep in the flesh.

“It’s very soft and mushy,” one pupil said as he felt the wool.

“It’s nice, it smells like cotton candy,” another student said. . . 

Both lamb and beef exports expected to break $3 billion for the first time and forecast farm profits rise:

Both beef and lamb exports are expected to break the $3 billion mark for the first time as high lamb, mutton and beef prices bump up this season’s forecast profit for sheep and beef farmers, according to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Mid-Season Update.

The milestone for lamb exports is predicted to be reached on the back of a forecast 14 per cent increase in average export value. Meanwhile, total beef export receipts, which passed the $3 billion mark in 2014 15, are expected to be $3.2 billion in 2017 18 – down 1.1 per cent. . . 

Iwi leader swaps corporate job to pick apples:

One of Hawke’s Bay’s most influential Iwi leaders has swapped his corporate job to pick apples this week as the industry faces one of the worst labour shortages in recent years.

In an attempt to get more locals picking apples, Chairman of Ngati Kahungunu, Ngahiwi Tomoana and his wife Mere are picking apples for three days for Bostock New Zealand and are calling on other members of their Iwi to join them.

“I just can’t sleep at night knowing that our delicious Hawke’s Bay apples could go to waste. The apple industry drives our economy and creates thousands of jobs for our Iwi. So we need to support our local growers, so the apples don’t rot on the trees. . . 

Govt deals body-blow to farmers and growers:

The Ardern-Peters Government has dealt a body-blow to farmers and growers in pandering to its mates in the Green Party and axing funding to irrigation projects, National Party spokesperson for Agriculture Nathan Guy says.

“Not only that, but it looks to me like it isn’t honouring its commitments to industries relying on these projects,” Mr Guy says.

“When they were first sworn in late last year, the new ministers received a briefing from Crown Irrigation outlining several projects that it had financial commitments to. . . 

Hurunui Water Project continues despite government funding ‘kick in thetTeeth’:

The Board and farmer-shareholders behind an on-plains storage based regional irrigation scheme are determined it will go ahead, despite the Government announcing that it will not provide further funding.

“Water is fundamental for our community – it’s the lifeblood of our region. As recent extended droughts have painfully shown, our livelihoods are tied to climate and the reliability of water supply,” said Hurunui Water Project (HWP) Chief Executive Chris Pile. . .

Govt’s irrigation cutback a blow but schemes to press on – Eric Frykberg:

A government move to cut back on irrigation has been called a kick in the teeth by a South Island water company fighting drought in an arid region.

The Hurunui Water Project is vowing to press on anyway, having already invested $10 million in a scheme to improve the water supply.

The government announced yesterday that it had begun winding down public funding for large-scale irrigation through the state agency, Crown Irrigation Investments Limited.

It said that was in line with its coalition and confidence and supply agreements. . . 

Silver Fern Farms’ result shows benefit of capital injection – Allan Barber:

Silver Fern Farms Limited has posted an improved annual result for its first year with its new Chinese partner, Shanghai Maling, which invested $260 million to acquire a 50% share of the meat processor and exporter. Revenue for the 2017 financial and calendar year, following the change in balance date from the traditional meat industry year to September, was on a par with 2016, but the NPAT of $15.4 million was a huge increase on the previous year’s $30.6 million loss, although not as good as the 2015 result of $24.6 million.

The declared result for Silver Fern Farms Cooperative was not nearly as good as it was for the operating company in which the cooperative now holds a 50% shareholding.  .  .

Meatco had planned note issue to raise $2.5M; liquidator left with 1.3 tons of frozen halal meat – Jonathan Underhill:

 (BusinessDesk) – Meatco, a New Zealand processor and exporter of halal sheep meat put into liquidation last month, had planned to raise capital through a convertible note issue to build a processing plant in Shannon in the lower North Island, the first of many, a strategy that was touted to boost earnings by 50 percent.

Instead, the three-year-old business was put into liquidation by a disgruntled creditor, Beirut-based Widriss Holding, a diversified food and commodity trader, “following a non-supply or refund of prepaid stock.” Meatco shareholder Michael Stacker and director and former shareholder Robin Bautista couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. . . 

Turning dirt into climate goals via carbon farming – Miriam Swaffer:

Having just returned from VERGE Hawaii: Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit, I confidently can say Hawaii is awesome. Yes, the beaches are gorgeous. But what really got me excited is Hawaii’s climate leadership and the opportunity this creates for business.  

Hawaii’s lawmakers recognize both the grave threat of climate change and the economic opportunity to generate local clean power, as opposed to shipping oil thousands of miles to meet their needs.

Indeed, days after the U.S. government announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, Hawaii was the first state to say “We Are Still In.” Within days, Hawaii Gov. David Ige went event further than the state’s 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by signing bills expanding the policy strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   . . 


Rural round-up

January 30, 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

January 25, 2014

Farm sales up, confidence strong – Laura Walters:

The number of farm sales rose by more than 20 per cent last year, reflecting strong confidence in the rural sector, the Real Estate Institute says.

More than 1700 farms were sold in 2013, the largest number of sales a year since 2009.

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) today showed 292 more farms were sold in the three months to December compared to the same period the previous year, an increase of 20.1 per cent.

Overall, there were 554 farm sales in the three months to the end of December 2013, compared to 414 farm sales for the three months ended November 2013, an increase of 33.8 per cent. . .

Good, not spectacular, arable harvest ahead – Annette Scott:

Crops are looking good but the harvest is not going to be a “bin buster”, industry leaders say.

As the combines roll out many farmers, particularly in Mid Canterbury, are counting the losses after wind and hail played havoc with crops in recent months.

All on top of a wet winter that has created more disease than usual.

“We are really just getting started with the harvest,” Mid Canterbury arable farmer and Federated Farmers South Island grain and seed vice-chairman David Clark said.

“So far the vining peas have been quite disappointing. Autumn cereals, having endured some very wet weather, are not expected to be too exciting. Some ryegrasses have been good and some, due to a variety of ills, quite disappointing. . .

Farmers act as water guardians

Farmers have been helping Environment Canterbury by providing practical onfarm knowledge and expertise on water quality.

They are members of the Guardians of Fork/Hakatere Stream.

The group was in the process of completing a funding application to help develop and restore an area of land adjacent to the stream.

This would include an educational amenity with green space and interpretive panels next to the stream on Braemar Road. . .

Apple exports a sweet success – Esther Ashby-Coventry:

The growing American demand for the honeycrisp apple has prompted Waipopo Orchards to encourage other local growers to join its export market.

Honeycrisp out-earns any other export apple grown in New Zealand. In the US it sells for about US$50 (NZ$61) a box, compared with other varieties, which are about US$20 a box.

Honeycrisp is the most popular apple in the US, with demand increasing 20 to 30 per cent each year since Waipopo’s first export of 50 tonnes in 2011.

Waipopo co-director Peter Bennett said that along with growers in Central Otago a total of 1300 tonnes, which was double the volume shipped in 2013, would be exported this year. Waipopo will produce about 1100 tonnes, which is 85 per cent of the market. . . .

Missing foal feared stolen – Nicole Mathewson:

A Central Otago couple are baffled after their foal disappeared. 

Horse trainers Bill and Rosanne Keeler were shocked to find their three-week striking black colt was missing from its paddock on January 15.

Bill Keeler said he believed the male foal went missing about two days earlier, because his mother’s milk had already dried up.

The paddock – located in Millers Flat, just south of Roxburgh – was surrounded by high fencing and there were no holes it could have escaped through. None of the other horses in the paddock had disappeared. 

”I find the chances of it being stolen are pretty minimal, but the chances are even more minimal of it disappearing by itself through two paddocks surrounded by deer fencing,” Keeler said. . . .

Hawke’s Bay iwi want Mayor’s resignation – Adam Ray:

A Hawke’s Bay Iwi says local Mayor Peter Butler should resign after suggesting their opposition to a proposed dam means they should be banned from any jobs it creates.

Mr Butler singled out the chair of Ngati Kahungunu for criticism in an email to other councillors.

He says parched pastures will be transformed with irrigation from the proposed Ruataniwha Dam.

“We’re sick of the negativity of the people trying to stop the dam,” he says.  

Among those in his sights are local iwi Ngati Kahungunu and its chair Ngahiwi Tomoana. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 19, 2013

Gisborne throws support behind MIE – Anne Calcinai:

The Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group departed Gisborne this week with overwhelming support for change.

More than 150 farmers attended the meeting on Wednesday and became the fourth group to support the MIE group.

Farmers in Gisborne voted unanimously to support a mandate for change, based on the six principles outlined by MIE.

MIE executive chairman Richard Young said it was clear from the meeting farmers understood they needed to change their behaviour and that commitment to meat companies on a longer-term basis was essential. . .

Kahungunu takes giant step into farming:

 Chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says, “Ngāti Kahungunu have taken the first step to diversify its interests from Fisheries to Farming.”

 The Kahungunu Asset Holding Company on behalf of its shareholder Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated has completed a Sale and Purchase Agreement for the Tautane Station, owned by the Herrick family for over 120 years. The iwi is pleased to have been the successful bidder of this historic farm located south of Porangahau.

It is the first major real estate investment that the iwi has made and is a template for further land acquisitions. This is part of the iwi’s ‘gate to plate’ strategy to build on relationshps in the high end growing Asian market that’s demanding high quality food product direct from the producer to the supplier. Over two years the iwi has investigated orchards, dairy farms and other commercial properties, but Tautane meets all the iwi’s economic indicators covering environmental, social, educational, historical and cultural objectives. . .

Steak of Origin champions do it again:

Chris and Karren Biddles from Northland have been named Grand Champions in the 2013 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition.

After winning in 2007 and taking the Producer of the Decade title in 2012, the Te Kopuru couple have now taken out the 2013 grand prize with their Angus/Jersey beef sirloin entry.

The competition to find the country’s most tender and tasty steak, sponsored by Zoetis, culminated in the Grand Final at the Beef Expo in Feilding last night.

The 20 finalists were tasted by a panel of judges, comprising three leading chefs. Head judge and chef Graham Hawkes says the quality of the steak on show was exceptional. . .

New hope for new farmers:

FARMERS WHO have joined the Scottish industry in the 10 years since subsidy entitlements were set in historical stone can now claim a share of £2 million worth of extra funding from the Scottish Goverment.

Rural Affairs CabSec Richard Lochhead said this week: “It is crucial that we do all we can to help introduce new entrants to farming – they are fresh blood to the rural economy.”

But new entrants themselves, at risk of seeming ungrateful, pointed out that £2m, shared between the 1000-plus Scottish farmers currently excluded from the historical subsidy system, paled into insignificance next to the average SFP payment their neighbours received annually. . .

Dairy Boards don’t have standing to challenge pizza kits

Canada’s watchdog on cross-border trade says it can’t rule on a company importing pizza topping kits made with cheaper U.S. mozzarella, if the request for a ruling doesn’t come from another importer.

Canada’s 10 provincial dairy marketing boards, under the not-for-profit name BalanceCo, had sought a ruling from the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) during a appeal hearing last month in Ottawa, against imports of pre-packaged pizza toppings combining shredded mozzarella and sliced pepperoni from the U.S.

The packs were recently developed for import into Canada from the U.S. by J. Cheese Inc., an Ontario distributor, for a “particular customer” — namely the Toronto-based Pizza Pizza chain, which operates almost 700 Pizza Pizza and Pizza 73 outlets across Canada.

The packs are now classified for tariff purposes as a “food preparation” and thus aren’t subject to the tariff rate quotas (TRQs) imposed on dairy imports under Canada’s supply-managed dairy marketing system. . .

Canada prepares to target U.S. goods in COOL spat:

Canada will put forward a list of U.S. products it wants to target in retaliation for U.S. country-of-origin meat labels if last-minute changes to U.S. label regulations don’t prove satisfactory, Canadian officials said on Friday.

The dispute stems from a 2009 U.S. requirement that retail outlets put the country of origin on labels on meat and other products, a move the government said was in an effort to give U.S. consumers more information about their food.

Canada and Mexico complained that the mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rule caused a decline in U.S. imports of their cattle and pigs, and the World Trade Organization has ordered the United States to make changes by May 23. . .

Farmhouse succession – Paul Spackman:

It is a significant and symbolic step in the handing over of responsibility of any family farm business when a son or daughter takes over occupancy of the main farmhouse from their parents.

All too often, however, it is a process that hasn’t been planned well enough and is perhaps done hastily out of necessity, rather than as part of a considered succession plan.

This can strain family relationships and in some cases jeopardise the future viability of the business, especially if non-farming relatives have to be paid off and parts of the farm broken up or sold, says farm consultant Siân Bushell. . .

 

 

 


Focus on improving productivity of Maori land

November 21, 2012

Fonterra, ZESPRI, Massey University,  DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ and  Landcare Research have joined forces with the Federation of Māori Authorities and the Māori Trustee to focus on increasing the productivity of Māori-owned farm land.

The new Māori Land Productivity Initiative, Te Kokiri mo te Whainga Hua o Nga Whenua Māori, is the private sector’s response to the Māori Economic Development Panel’s recommendation 17 to raise the productivity of Māori land . . .

The Chairman of the Māori Economic Development Panel, Ngahiwi Tomoana, said an estimated 1.5 million hectares of New Zealand land was owned collectively or individually by Māori, but a 2011 Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Te Puni Kokiri report suggested that 80% of Māori freehold farming land was either underperforming or underutilised and not even close to reaching the land’s productivity potential.

“Getting the productivity of all Māori-owned land up to the world’s best standards is perhaps the most important contribution Māori can make to improving New Zealand’s exports and driving economic growth,” Mr Tomoana said.

Te Horipo Karaitiana, Chief Executive of the Federation of Māori Authorities, said the Initiative would act quickly and efficiently to get in place specific programmes to assist Maori landowners to upgrade the productivity of their land.

“This is an issue we’ve been working on for some time, and to get so many of the key players invested will be of enormous value. The group is Maori-led, industry and university facilitated, and will involve no cost to the taxpayer, while unlocking huge returns for Maori and all of New Zealand.” . . .

Having so much land under performing is a waste or resources and opportunities, especially when a lot of it is in areas of high unemployment.

Increasing the productivity of Maori land will provide more work on farms and the businesses which service and support them and earn more export income.


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