Rural round-up

August 27, 2019

Has farming lost its ability to influence? – Lindy Nelson:

The Agri-Women’s Development Trust’s Lindy Nelson questions if real is the new fake and fake is the new real when it comes to media coverage of agriculture.

I’ve been thinking about influence lately and how as a sector we seem to be losing the ability to do this effectively with our fellow New Zealanders.

As hard as we try to tell our good stories, others speak louder about all that is wrong with how we produce grass-fed, free-to-range food.

So it was fascinating to listen to Frederic Leroy at the Red Meat Sector Conference recently present “Red meat – facing the challengers in the post-truth area. What’s real, what’s not“. . .

Ag Proud engages urban folk – Neal Wallace:

Southland farmers have formed a group to engage with their urban neighbours on what happens on farms and why.

Ag Proud member Jon Pemberton says stress among farmers from a recent winter grazing media campaign by activists was the catalyst for its formation. It launched last week by hosting a free barbecue in Invercargill to engage with city people.

It does not have an agenda other than to celebrate the rural sector and to share that pride and information about what farmers do and why.

The movement also hopes to highlight the issue of mental health among those in rural NZ. . . 

Government must provide leadership– Allan Barber:

In contrast to its positive social agenda to improve the average person’s lot by lifting the minimum wage, increasing teachers’ pay rates and attempting to increase home ownership, this government seems to have gone missing in action with respect to the farming sector. Apart from Primary Industries Minister Damien O’Connor’s rather lonely efforts as a cheerleader for agriculture, other government ministers only pop their heads above the parapet when there’s some good environmental news or forestry initiative to crow about, or a new, and scientifically flawed, methane reduction target to ask farmers to meet. 

Agriculture contributes about 80% of merchandise exports and employs 15% of the workforce which underlines how critical the sector is to the New Zealand economy. Yet to observe the government’s attitude, one would think agriculture’s contribution to the economy was relatively insignificant or easy to replace. When it comes to addressing climate change and formulating the Carbon Zero strategy, agricultural production, at least red meat and dairy, appears to be an inconvenience which must be discouraged so New Zealand can meet a set of unachievable targets. These targets are being negotiated against a backdrop of dire predictions about the catastrophic effect of global temperature and sea level increase which the world’s economies should have addressed 50 years ago to avoid disaster. . .

Cavalier announces strategic collaboration with NZ Merino Company –  Rebecca Howard:

Cavalier Corp announced a “collaboration” with the New Zealand Merino company as it looks to cash in on a growing consumer trend toward natural fibres and away from synthetics.

Yesterday its shares tumbled after it said it will write-down or impair the value of goodwill and various plant and equipment by as much as $9 million and was in discussions “with a respected industry participant regarding a collaboration that will build on Cavalier’s capabilities and make a transformative change into a design-led, wool focused company.”

Today it identified that company as New Zealand Merino. Chief executive Paul Alston told BusinessDesk that NZ Merino wasn’t buying a stake in Cavalier but would supply them with wool and use their expertise to help market and promote the benefits of wool. . . 

Woolless lamb ‘one of the ugliest lambs I’ve ever seen’:

A Rotorua farmer reckons he is the proud owner of the ugliest lamb he has ever seen.

Javier Browne said the “really shy” newborn was now a family pet.

One of a set of triplets – the lamb is woolless, basically bald – and a genetic rarity.

“When I first saw her I was shocked, didn’t really know, like ‘is that actually a sheep or what’,” Mr Browne said.

5 ways UK farmers are tackling climate change – David Brown:

Farmers are on the front line of climate change – vulnerable to changes in temperature and rainfall, as well as increasingly frequent extreme weather events.

They also face criticism , in particular over greenhouse gas emissions from the meat and dairy industry, with calls for a move to a more plant-based diet.

Agriculture is currently responsible for about 9% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from methane.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which represents 55,000 UK farmers, has set a target of net-zero emissions in British farming by 2040. . . .

Could the Biblical practice of gleaning cut food waste? – Rebecca Wearn:

It is a hot July day in Lancashire and a dozen people are gathering on a dusty farm track two miles outside the market town of Ormskirk. They are gleaners – volunteer harvesters picking what’s left in the ground.

It’s for a good cause: the unwanted kale from this farm will be donated to local food projects and charities. And it is good weather; the broad blue sky is softly streaked with cirrus clouds. Cabbage white butterflies flit between the chamomile blooms and bushy deep green brassica leaves.

Feedback Global is one of a handful of campaign groups organising gleans across Britain. It’s seen its efforts swell – more than doubling the days in the fields between 2014 and 2018, working with four times as many volunteers and harvesting more than a hundred tonnes of unwanted fruit and vegetables from farms – that would otherwise be left to rot. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 22, 2018

Will to live response pleasing -Sally Rae:

“Overwhelming” is how Elle Perriam describes the public response to the rural mental health awareness campaign Will to Live.

Targeting young rural men and women, it was launched following the death of Miss Perriam’s boyfriend, Will Gregory, in December last year.

Her target for a PledgeMe crowdfunding campaign to cover the expenses of a regional Speak Up tour in country pubs next year was $15,000.

But with a bit more than $18,000 raised through that, and more sponsors coming on board, she reckoned the amount  raised was now around $20,000. That meant  the number of events  throughout the country could be extended from 10 to 14. Financial contributions had also been matched by “kind affirmations” about the initiative. . . 

Virtual rural health school plan unaffected by Govt move – Mike Houlahan:

A week-old proposal by the University of Otago and other providers to create a virtual school for rural health remains very much alive despite the Government killing off an alternative school of rural medicine this week.

The lead article in last week’s edition of the New Zealand Medical Journal featured a proposal, driven by the University of Otago, University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT), for a virtual rural health campus.

On Wednesday, Health Minister David Clark announced the Government would not support a Waikato University initiative — which dated from the term of the previous National-led government — to establish a $300 million school of rural medicine. . . 

Shortage of vets cause of concern for rural and urban areas – Matthew Tso:

A national shortage of vets has New Zealand’s multi-billion dollar rural sector on high alert. 

Rural veterinary practices are finding it tough to fill vacant roles – and MPI says this could have an impact on biosecurity surveillance issues.

Miles Anderson, Federated Farmers meat and wool industry group chair, says the dairy, meat, and wool industries are dependent on healthy herds. . . 

Dunne in style:

It was once jokingly said that the next most-important job after the All Blacks coach is the head of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Joking aside, there is some truth in this because MPI plays a largely unsung, yet critical, role in the lives of every New Zealander.

With the prospect of a world war unlikely, the next most-serious threat to NZ is in biosecurity, food safety, trade and people’s perception of how the precious land we live on is farmed. . . 

Cavalier eyes anti-plastic trend :

Cavalier Corp says it is well-placed to take advantage of a growing consumer shift away from plastics.

That trend fits well with the carpet maker’s renewed focus on its high-quality wool products, particularly higher-margin, niche opportunities and the potential of major markets like the United States and United Kingdom, chief executive Paul Alston said.

“Investment in research and development and creating ranges that command a premium is a priority and critical for our success,” he said in notes for the company’s annual meeting. . . 

 

Quality over quantity: climate change affects volume, but not quality of aquaculture – Matt Brown:

Dairy farming would appear to have very little in common with farming mussels.

But now, a Netherlands-born Southland dairy farmer is taking the mussel capital by storm with his enthusiasm for the green-shelled bivalve molluscs.

Much like dairy farming, the Havelock-based business focused on their commodity product “with value add”.

Mills Bay Mussels owner Art Blom said their point of difference was the ‘raw-shuck’.. . 

Feds President spearheads delegation to Uruguay and Argentina:

Farmers, dairy product manufacturers and trade representatives in Uruguay and Argentina are hearing a New Zealand take on current agricultural issues this week.

Federated Farmers of NZ President Katie Milne is engaged in a busy schedule of speaking and meeting engagements in Montevideo and Buenos Aires in a programme put together by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and New Zealand’s Ambassador to Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, Raylene Liufalani. . . 

Two new faces for Farmlands’ board:

Farmlands’ shareholders have voted two new Shareholder Directors on to the Farmlands Board.

Dawn Sangster and Gray Baldwin join re-elected Director Rob Hewett on the rural supplies and services co-operative’s Board of Directors.

Farmlands Chairman, Lachie Johnstone congratulated the new arrivals to the Board of Directors, as well as thanking the other candidates who put themselves forward for election. . .


Rural round-up

August 29, 2016

Farmers enable us to reach our potential. Let’s celebrate that – Federated Farmers:

Farmers get their hands dirty so we can pursue goals and livelihoods beyond growing and harvesting the food we need to survive.

With food plentiful, and lifestyle expectations high, we seem to have forgotten the role of farmers in the modern world.

Why is it farmers in developing countries only farm around a hectare of land each?  It is because that is how much land one person can cultivate in one season by hand.  The food production in many developing countries is not limited by land, but by labour and productivity.  That is why big families are necessary – more hands to till more land.

Have you ever stopped to think how many potentially great doctors, engineers or scientists spend their lives on the end of a hand-hoe in these countries?  Never to see their potential fulfilled.  In many developing countries subsistence farmers make up more than 80 per cent of the population.

Delegating farmers to provide our food gives the rest of us freedom and choice to do what we are good at. . . 

Drought warning – Annette Scott:

Low or no flow in many of Canterbury’s streams and rivers could lead to early water restrictions this season, Environment Canterbury warns.

Canterbury has entered its third successive drought season with 86% of water bores affected and some wells at their lowest in 30 years.  Only significant snow and rain could make a difference now, ECan chief Executive Bill Bayfield said.  

Weather forecasters reported one of the wimpiest winters in recent years and had already announced spring’s early arrival. Significant rain or a decent snow-dump were not on the radar. .  .

Feral cats reaching plague proportions – Robin Martin:

Feral cats are reaching plague proportions in New Zealand’s back country and no-one seems to want to take responsibility for the problem, says a Taranaki beekeeper.

Sarah Hart and her partner Steven Henwood say they often drive through – what they describe as – “herds” of wild cats while out retrieving hives.

The couple live in the remote Okoki valley, about 20 kilometres inland from Urenui in North Taranaki.

Ms Hart said at dusk the rugged beef and sheep country was alive with feline forms – some of the estimated 2.5 million feral cats in New Zealand. . . 

We aren’t that couple – Uptown Farms:

Dear America, 

It struck me this morning, as my husband and I were walking out the door – there is something I need to tell you.  Something I need you to know.  

We aren’t that couple.  In fact, I’m not even sure if we own a pitchfork.  

A lot has changed since the 1930’s.  Our corn yields have increased six times over.  We use computers, GPS, seed technology. We grow more, on less water and land. Our farms are bigger, our equipment is bigger, even our animals are bigger.  We do all of this with fewer people than ever before in history. 

We have college degrees, my husband actually has two. One of us works off the farm full time which is the new norm for farm families – just like non-farm families.  We are professionals.  . . 

Cavalier Corporation returns to profit:

New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Corporation has returned to a profitable position posting a net profit after tax of $3.1 million for the financial year ended 30 June 2016.

This represents a significant turnaround from the company’s write downs and recorded loss of $25.7 million in 2015.

Both net profit and normalised profit of $6.3 million after tax were slightly up on the earnings guidance Cavalier issued in June.

Cavalier Corporation CEO Paul Alston says the company’s performance is encouraging and representative of the transformation it is undertaking with debt reduction and a dual focus on revenue and cost. . . 

Milk production plummets 10.3%:

Australian milk production plummeted 10.3 per cent in July compared with last year, with massive drops in Tasmania, South Australia and northern Victoria, according to the latest figures from Dairy Australia.

Farmers have slashed production in response to the big cut in milk prices, initially by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra in May and then by most processors in July.

Tasmanian production is hardest hit, down 19.6 per compared with July 2015. . . 

Seeka hikes interim dividend as first-half profit almost doubles Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries hiked its interim dividend to shareholders as the first harvest from its recent Australian acquisition and record crops contributed to a first-half profit that almost doubled.

Net profit rose to $7.1 million, or 43 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30 from $3.7 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Revenue climbed 39 percent to $134.2 million, and the board declared an interim dividend of 10 cents per share, payable on Sept. 29 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 22. That’s up from 9 cents a share a year earlier. . . 

Delegat to pay bigger dividend after posting record annual operating profit – Paul McBeth

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat Group will pay a bigger dividend to shareholders after reporting a record operating profit for the 2016 financial year, with North American sales driving revenue growth.

The Auckland-based company’s board declared a dividend of 12 cents per share payable on Oct. 14 to shareholders on the register on Sept. 30, up from 11 cents it’s paid in the past two years. The winemaker reported a record operating profit of $37 million, on a 9 percent increase in global case sales to a record 2.41 million, including 1 million cases sold in North America.

“The directors consider that the underlying operational performance and strong cash flows justify an increase in dividends this year,” executive chairman Jim Delegat said. . . 

Central Otago winery nails Decanter tasting in UK – “Outstanding”:

Central Otago winegrowers Roger and Jean Gibson are elated that a wine from their Lowburn Ferry vineyard has ranked Number One in high profile Decanter magazine in the UK. The in-depth tasting of more than 170 pinot noirs from across New Zealand in Decanter’s September 2016 issue was carried out by a panel of three prominent UK industry wine judges. Lowburn Ferry Home Block Pinot Noir 2014 scored 96 points out of a possible 100, giving it “Outstanding” status in the tasting.

In the covering feature article reviewing the tasting, New Zealand is described as being “the best Pinot-producing country outside of France.” . . 

Dunedin owners of Central Otago winery win their first wine trophy:

Central Otago’s Black Quail Estate vineyard and truffière is victorious after being awarded the Mike Wolter Memorial Trophy and Champion Pinot Noir at the Bragato Wine Awards in Marlborough last night.

Black Quail Estate 2013 Pinot Noir is a true boutique, single vineyard wine. All the Pinot Noir is from this single vineyard on Felton Road, Bannockburn and only 400 cases are made every year.

Sitting on 25 hectares of prime grape growing land on Felton Road, Bannockburn Dunedin’s Keillor family purchased the land in 1999. Owners Rod and Mirani Keillor immediately planted ten hectares with Pinot Noir and now have planted the rest with olives, fruit and hazelnut trees. . . 


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