Rural round-up

May 3, 2014

 Govt reallocates $24 million for Rotorua water clean-up:

The Government will reallocate $24 million to a new project that encourages land owners in the Lake Rotorua catchment to switch to low nitrogen land uses or find other ways to reduce the amount of nitrogen polluting the lake water, Environment Minister Amy Adams has announced.

“The Rotorua community has asked us to shift existing funding commitments to a land use management and change project, as part of the Rotorua Te Arawa lakes water quality improvements programme,” Ms Adams says.

“The original plan was to use the money for diverting nutrient-rich streams flowing into the lake and capping sediments to stop nutrients flowing up from the lake bed. Cabinet agreed with the lake stakeholder advisory group that these short term initiatives really just shifted the problem somewhere else. . .

Rotorua farmers pleased with Government contribution to nitrogen reduction:

Farmers in the Lake Rotorua catchment were relieved to hear confirmation on Monday that the Government will fund half of a $48 million scheme to reduce nitrogen losses from pastoral land around the lake.

This money had been budgeted for “in-lake” actions so there is no additional cost to taxpayers and ratepayers who share the cost equally. The scheme is part of a wider effort to improve water quality in Lake Rotorua by reducing nutrient inputs – both nitrogen and phosphorus – from urban, rural and natural sources.

Rotorua farmers are working with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and other stakeholders to develop draft rural land use rules around nitrogen. Those rules will target a 140 tonne nitrogen reduction by 2032, in addition to an incentive scheme target of 100 tonnes.  . .

Australia and New Zealand partner to fight animal disease threat:

Australia and New Zealand have agreed to work together to prepare for the unlikely event of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in either country.

Australian Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, met today in Melbourne and welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to stress the importance of collaboration in combating the disease and its devastating impacts.

“Our number one plan and focus of much of our biosecurity efforts is to keep FMD out of Australia and New Zealand—but you can’t stick your head in the sand about something this significant —you have to plan for the worst,” Minister Joyce said. . .

Vets work on drug resistance:

Vets and doctors have an obligation to work together to face the threat of resistance to anti-microbial drugs, New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) president Dr Steve Merchant says.

“The threat of anti-microbial resistance is recognised as one of the greatest risks to human and animal health and is a high priority for the veterinary profession,” he said.

“After more than 70 years since the first use of penicillin in human medicine there are a number of bacteria in circulation across the world that are resistant to one or more anti-microbials. . .

 

 Abuzz about chainsaw safety – Rebecca Malcolm:

She’s come straight from big-city beauty salons to farming, so it’s fair to say Jodie Vaughan has had a few things to learn.

The former Aucklander has been on an Atiamuri farm for only a matter of weeks after she and partner Rhys Williams moved down to take over farm management roles on the family property.

On Thursday Miss Vaughan was one of more than a dozen women who took part in a chainsaw safety workshop run by Stihl New Zealand as part of Chainsaw Safety Awareness Week, which finishes tomorrow. . .

Farmers urged to attend Ruataniwha public meetings:

With Federated Farmers’ Hawke’s Bay annual general meeting taking place next Wednesday, the Federation is urging its members to find out all they can from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

“It is true members are now putting Ruataniwha under a microscope, especially following the recent Board of Inquiry draft decision,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“I genuinely imagine Ruataniwha will be a talking point at our provincial annual general meeting, next Wednesday at Vidal’s Restaurant in Hastings. . .

 


Bonding works well for rural vets

April 21, 2013

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed 30 new vets onto the 2013 intake of the Rural Veterinary Bonding Scheme.

“The scheme is now in its fifth year and is making real headway in tackling the rural vet shortage,” says Mr Guy. . . 

“The scheme is a solid incentive, helping to make rural practices more attractive to junior vets who might otherwise end up in city clinics or heading overseas. . .

The Veterinary Association says  the scheme is working well.

The rural veterinary bonding scheme for Massey graduates is fully subscribed with 102 veterinary graduates working in rural veterinary practices around New Zealand according to official figures released today.

“Even better, 96% of those entering the scheme from the time it commenced in have stayed in it,” Gavin Sinclair, president of the NZVA said.

“While it is still early days, and there still seem to be some stubborn (hard to recruit) rural regions, this result is encouraging. The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) lobbied hard for the introduction of the scheme at a time when there were gaps appearing in the thin green line that is the veterinary rural workforce in New Zealand.

“The first tranche of graduates received their first payment of $33,000 before tax ($11,000 per year) just prior to Christmas. At that point, four had left the scheme, and ten had moved to other rural practices. This is just what we wanted; young veterinarians settling into rural practice and hopefully remaining there. They are sorely needed,” Dr Sinclair said.

Government has significant responsibilities for food safety, animal welfare, and biosecurity and it relies on the thin green line of veterinarians to monitor livestock to ensure these responsibilities are met.  The risks arising from late recognition of an exotic disease outbreak, food safety concerns, and animal welfare disasters, on our international markets are serious. Veterinary involvement in managing all these risks has been recognised in part by government support of the scheme.

For farmers, it also means a viable, sustainable, cost effective and responsive rural veterinary workforce for the ongoing day-to-day, 24/7 demands of both routine and emergency clinical services.

“A rural veterinary practice faces many risks and challenges, not the least being able to sustain the 24/7 on call requirement.  These practices have a high workload and a surprisingly low level of remuneration which can make the work unattractive to young graduates,” Dr Gavin Sinclair explained.

National introduced bonding for graduates in human and animal health professions who were prepared to work in hard to staff rural areas soon after coming into government.

It’s one of the best ways of student support. It keeps graduates in sought-after disciplines in New Zealand, directs them where they’re most needed and provides them with a financial incentive for going there.

He commented there are also demographic trends, most notably the increasing numbers of female graduates (85% of new graduates from Massey are female) who are wanting flexible working arrangements, often part time over time, and increasingly in companion animal (pet) practices in urban areas. . .

That demographic trend isn’t confined to vet practices.

As more women combine work with raising families the demand for flexible working arrangements increases.


Nat’s ag policy announced

October 23, 2008

National’s policy of voluntary bonding of doctors, nurses and midwives will be extended to rural vets.

This is one of the initiatives announced by agriculture spokesman David Carter  when he released the party’s agriculture policy today.

 

 It is envisaged that the cost of such a scheme would be in the order of $1.5 million in the first year, rising to $3 million in the second, and $4.5 million in the third year. The costs will be met by achieving savings within the existing funding for the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry.

Related initiatives include:

 

 * Consider the establishment of rural scholarships to encourage more students from rural backgrounds to study veterinary science.

* Work with Massey University, NZVA, veterinary professionals, and the wider rural sector to address the structural problems contributing to the rural veterinary shortage.

 

National will also take a less less bureaucratic approach to the funding of research & development.

 

Unlike Labour’s Fast Forward Fund, National’s policy locks in a consistent funding regime that doesn’t have the uncertainty attached to it that Labour’s model does.

National is committing $210 million to R&D over the next three years, while Labour is projecting a spend of about $135 million. National will wind up the Fast Forward Fund and:

* Establish an international centre for research into greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, at the cost of $20 million a year.

* Increase funding within Vote RS&T for primary sector and food research of $25 million a year.

* Increase funding for research consortia in the primary and food sectors of $25 million a year.

 

Tenure review has been a source of growing anger among pastoral lessees so National’s more balanced approach is welcome:

 

National is also supporting the principal of Tenure Review, but believes a new approach is needed to restore confidence in the process and ensure that the intent of the Crown Pastoral Land Act is fulfilled. National will:

 

* Implement voluntary, good-faith negotiations between run-holders and government.

* Ensure that the setting of high-country rentals is tied into the earning capacity of the farm property and is such that run-holders can continue to maintain properties at an acceptable level.

* Recognise that high-country run-holders can be as effective in their stewardship of the land as the Crown

The full policy is here.


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