Rural round-up

25/08/2019

Powering up well-beings could power up costs :

Federated Farmers is concerned the call on councils to “power up” the four well-beings re-introduced into local government legislation will pile on more costs for ratepayers.

“Councils up and down the country have lost the battle to keep rates increases in touch with inflation, and debt levels are soaring.  Many can’t keep up with the costs of activities and infrastructure maintenance/replacement that most residents would count as core – water, stormwater, flood protection, local roads, rubbish and recycling collection,” Feds President and local government spokesperson Katie Milne says.

“Yet Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has just exhorted councils to power up ways communities can realise their ambitions for social, economic, environmental and cultural priorities.”  . . 

Food giant Danone signs deal to grow Waikato sheep milk industry – Andrea Fox:

New Zealand’s emerging sheep dairy industry has graduated to the big league with the launch of a sheep milk toddler formula by global food giant Danone.

Nutricia Karicare toddler sheep milk powder will be 100 per cent New Zealand sheep milk from Maui Milk, which operates two farms on the western shores of Lake Taupo.

And Danone plans to launch a full sheep milk formula range next year under the Nutricia brand. . . 

‘Learn so much about yourself’ at dairy awards – Yvonne O’Hara:

One of Bridget Bell’s goals was to place in the top five of this year’s Southland Otago Dairy Industry awards.

She first entered the farm manager of the year section in 2018 and did not place, but she tried again this year and came second, which she was thrilled with.

Mrs Bell also won three merit awards: The Shand Thomson leadership award; the AWS legal employee engagement award and the Fonterra dairy management award.

”I really wanted the Fonterra award,” Mrs Bell said. . . 

Master farrier keeps his foot in the industry after 51 years – Gordon Findlater:

Brian Wilson (85) is a name anyone in the horse racing industry will recognise. The former farrier can still be found at Riccarton as the club’s plating inspector. On Saturday, August 10, race three in the Grand National Festival of Racing’s first event was named ‘Brian Wilson 51 years a farrier’ in his honour. Gordon Findlater catches up with him

Can you remember the first time you shoed a horse?

I would have been 14 or 15 on the West Coast and one of the guys that did have a horse was Jock Butterfield, who played for the Kiwis, and he wanted to put some shoes on this horse, so they gave me some tools and to this day I feel sorry for the horse. That was my first experience of shoeing a horse.

What was it like growing up on the West Coast back then?

I quite enjoyed it, but there wasn’t a great future. You worked in the forestry or the bush as we called it, or the mines. I came over here in 1951 and that’s when I really got involved in the horses. My brother was an apprentice jockey, so I thought, well, I’ll see how I go, but it wasn’t to be. . . 

IHC hopes for sheep farmers’ support:

This spring, IHC is launching its new Lamb Programme, urging sheep farmers to join with dairy farmers to support people with intellectual disabilities and their families in rural communities.

IHC’s Calf & Rural Scheme was hit hard last year by Mycoplasma bovis, losing half its usual income, in what was an incredibly difficult year for many dairy farmers.

IHC National Fundraising Manager Greg Millar is hoping farmers will now pledge a lamb or sheep to support children and adults with an intellectual disability in rural communities. . . 

The average US farm is $1.3 Million in debt, and now the worse farming crisis in modern history is upon us – Michael Snyder:

We haven’t seen anything like this since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  Leading up to this year, farm incomes had been trending lower for most of the past decade, and meanwhile farm debt levels have been absolutely exploding.  So U.S. farmers were desperate for a really good year, but instead 2019 has been a total disaster.  As I have been carefully documenting, due to endless rain and catastrophic flooding millions of acres of prime farmland didn’t get planted at all this year, and the yields on tens of millions of other acres are expected to be way, way below normal.  As a result, we are facing the worst farming crisis in modern American history, and this comes at a time when U.S. farms are drowning in more debt than ever before.  In fact, the latest numbers that we have show that the average U.S. farm is 1.3 million dollars in debt

Debt-to-asset ratios are seeing the same squeeze, with more farms moving into a ratio exceeding 80%. Barrett notes each year since 2009 has seen an increase in the average amount of total debt among farmers, and 2017 was no exception. Average debt rose 10% to $1.3 million. The biggest increase was in long-term debt, such as land.

Farming in the 21st century has become an extraordinarily risky business, and countless U.S. farmers were already on the verge of going under even before we got to 2019.

Now that this year has been such a complete and utter disaster, many farms will not be able to operate once we get to 2020.

Minnesota farmers Liz and Bob Krocak were hoping for better days ahead as this year began, but things have been really tough and their debts have become overwhelming.  During a recent meeting with their creditors, Liz was so distraught that she literally burst into tears


Why did it take so long?

04/08/2013

The Ministry of Primary Industries is advising people to avoid Nutricia Karicare follow on formula products from 6 months.

The Ministry for Primary Industries today announced the details of one product in New Zealand potentially containing contaminated whey protein from Fonterra’s Hautapu manufacturing facility.

“Since we were informed by Fonterra yesterday afternoon that three batches of concentrated whey protein contain Clostridium botulinum, MPI has been working intensively to identify what, if any, products on the New Zealand market may be contaminated,” Acting Director General Scott Gallacher said.

“The batches of whey product have been on sold and mixed with other ingredients to form 870 tonnes of consumer products sold in a variety of markets. I am now publishing a statement under the Animal Products Act 1999 and Food Act 1981 identifying the following products in New Zealand:

  • Nutricia Karicare follow-on formula products for children from 6 months old.

“MPI has been advised that in the case of the Nutricia Karicare, five batches of follow-on formula were manufactured using the contaminated whey protein,” Mr Gallacher said.

“Nutricia has advised that three of those batches are in a warehouse in Auckland, one is on a ship, and the other is in storage in Australia. Nutricia has advised it has locked down those batches, and they will not be sold on the market.

“MPI is still in the process of verifying this information, and today sent a team to Nutricia’s Auckland warehouses” Mr Gallacher said.

“Until this process is completed, I advise parents and caregivers with infants consuming Nutricia Karicare follow on formula products from 6 months, to use infant formula for children aged 0-6 months, ready-made formulas or alternative brands.”

Mr Gallacher said the government had last night advised regulatory authorities in markets where affected product had gone.

“MPI and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are continuing to work with overseas regulators to provide information as it becomes available. Clearly, a number of markets are very concerned about this situation.”

MPI Acting Director General, Scott Gallacher, says he’s been informed that no batches of formula which may contain the contaminated whey are in New Zealand retail stores. MPI is still verifying where the batches are and he is taking a cautionary approach.

That is sensible.

The government is being similarly cautious.

Trade Minister Tim Groser has today confirmed New Zealand is working closely with our trading partners to keep them informed of the potential contamination of some products, including follow-on infant formula, made from whey protein concentrate contaminated with the bacteria that causes botulism.

 “As soon as New Zealand authorities were notified of this risk, we immediately acted to inform relevant authorities around the world,” says Mr Groser.

 “This has included formally notifying Infosan, the World Health Organisation’s international food safety regulators network. As more information on this issue is confirmed we will provide our trading partners with further updates.

 “We understand that the markets to which contaminated whey protein concentrate, or products using this ingredient, has been exported are Australia, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Viet Nam.

 “New Zealand authorities are working with Fonterra to identify and trace all potentially affected products and then inform regulators around the world,” says Mr Groser.

Fonterra says none of its branded products are affected.

That will be reassuring to people who use these products but of no comfort to companies which use ingredients which might have been contaminated, or to the people who consume products using these ingredients.

. . . The whey protein is used to make a range of products, including infant formula and sports drinks.

A dirty pipe at Fonterra’s Hautapu plant has been blamed for the contamination.

The dirty pipe suggests a failure of process which has now been addressed.

But I’m still left with a question – why did it take so long to act on the risk?

Fonterra’s first media release and an email to shareholders said,  the affected batches were produced in May last year and the potential issue was identified in March this year,.

Shouldn’t there have been some action before now?

Even though there are hundreds of different strains of Clostridium, the majority of which are harmless, wouldn’t recalling such a small amount of product as a precaution have been better than waiting until the contamination was confirmed?


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