Rural round-up

June 29, 2019

Success from the ground up – Luke Chivers:

Future Post is leading change in on-farm sustainability with its new environmentally friendly fence post that won the top Agricultural Innovation award at this year’s Fieldays.

“It came as a huge surprise,” Future Post founder Jerome Wenzlick said.

“We weren’t expecting to win, that’s for sure.” . .

Here’s my beef with the entitled and pampered fat cats – Phil Quin:

Whereas I’m not exactly persuaded by James Cameron and Sir Peter Jackson that New Zealand can or should go meat-free, I’m pretty sure we could manage without three more Avatar films.

“What we need,” Cameron told us last week, “is a nice transition to a meatless or relatively meatless world in 20 or 30 years.”

Even for a filmmaker better known for special effects than human-seeming dialogue, this is a clunker. 

To be fair, though, when you’ve made a couple of billion dollars from blue aliens on a fictitious planet, and when you have come to regard New Zealand as your personal movie set, what’s so hard about replacing dairy and meat with plant-based alternatives?   . . .

Grain sector sees bold future – Annette Scott:

New Zealand is behind other countries in developing and investing in plant-based food ingredients and it’s time to bite the bullet, Plant Research managing director Adrian Russell says.

Agriculture and the world food supply are in the biggest revolution in history, Russell told the Grain and Seed Industry Forum at Lincoln.

“There’s incredibly exciting times to get into as an industry, things are changing and we need to change with it.

“The rise of the flexitarian consuming less meat is predicted to quadruple global pea protein demand by 2025.  . .

Rural boards changing – Brent Melville:

Rural New Zealand boardrooms, once the exclusive enclave of the old boys’ club, are becoming more diversified.

It is not happening quickly. But it is happening.

Women account for only about one in four board members of the large primary sector co-operatives. Two are on the 11-strong Fonterra board and they comprise two of seven on the Silver Fern Farms board, two of nine on the Board of Alliance Farmers Produce and three of 10 on the Farmlands board. . . 

New job helps with title aspirations – Sally Brooker:

Alan Harvey’s new job is proving great preparation for his tilt at the Young Farmer of the Year title.

The Aorangi region representative in the grand final has moved from being an agricultural consultant for Agri Planz to operations manager for North Otago dairy farming company Borst Holdings Ltd.

After winning the Aorangi competition in February, Mr Harvey said he would have to work on his knowledge of the dairy sector before the national final in Hawke’s Bay on July 4 to 6. So he is filling the gaps in his knowledge while enjoying the variety his job brings. . . 

Egg Industry introduces first industry-led trace programme:

A locally developed, industry-led source assurance programme will set the bar for consumers by enabling them to trace their eggs back to the farm they came from to verify that the eggs they want to buy are the eggs in the carton, says New Zealand’s Egg Producers Federation (EPF).

“True source assurance comes from authenticity across multiple platforms, and for that reason, we see this as the most ambitious primary industry-led programme available,” says EPF Executive Director, Michael Brooks. . . 

The slow welcome death of GMO panic – Abe Greenwald:

In the United States, the public panic about the dangers of genetically modified foods is fading fast. This is an amazing—and rare—triumph of reason and science over public hysteria and political posturing.

On Monday, for example, the New York Times published an article by Knuvul Sheikh detailing recent advances in genetically modified crops without offering a single word about potential health dangers or environmental concerns. In fact, it seems there’s a rebranding effort on the left to hype GMO foods as a vital response to climate change.


Rural round-up

October 24, 2017

Miraka farmers lift milk quality – Peter Burke:

An incentive scheme to get suppliers to the Taupo-based Miraka dairy company to produce better quality milk and adopt best-practice systems is producing stunning results.

That’s the view of Miraka’s milk supply manager, Grant Jackson, who says only four of the company’s suppliers are not in the scheme, though they will be when they sign up to new supply contracts by the end of the year. . .

Could NZ ag be the Intel of clean meat? – St John Craner:

At its peak Intel was in the top 6 of the world’s most valued brands and installed in over 90% of PCs. It became so strong IBM saw it as a threat to its own brand but then came back only a year later after it lost significant sales to competitors Compaq and Dell.

When clean meat is getting a lot of press and billionaire directors James Cameron and Peter Jackson are getting into plant protein as well, NZ Ag would be foolish to ignore it. So could NZ Ag be the Intel inside, or ingredient brand, of clean meat?

Ingredient branding is defined as: “A symbiotic relationship that provides tangible benefits for both host brand and ingredient brand”. We don’t need to look far for proof of concept: Gore-tex, Lycra, Teflon, Bose, Visa, Dolby, Technicolor, Shimano, Pininfarina and of course Intel have been successfully deployed as ingredient brands helping host brands command a greater premium. . .

Riparian planting wisdom to be scientifically tested – Charlie Dreaver:

For decades farmers and community groups have planted trees and other plants alongside rivers to improve waterways, but the extent of riparian buffers and whether they’re working is still not known.

NIWA and Dairy NZ now want anyone who has planted along stream banks to formally record their work, to form a new national riparian database.

Riparian buffers are made up of plants which filter out sediment and faecal pathogens from waterways, stabilise stream banks and enhance biodiversity. . . 

Venison products win award – Sally Rae:

When Chris Thorn headed to Europe on his OE in his teens, he fell in love – with meat.

Despite not being a butcher, he has turned that passion into a business that has received national recognition.

Based in the small northern Southland town of Lumsden, Mr Thorn and his wife, Sally, run a small factory, churning out wild venison salami that is dispatched throughout the country.

Recently, their business, Gathered Game, won the artisan award for its premium wild venison salami and deer sticks in the New Zealand Food Awards. . . 

NZ wool yoga mat ready for launch – Sally Rae:

Dana McKenzie always felt it was somewhat of an oxymoron to be practising yoga on a ”stinky” PVC mat.

So, armed with a passion for wool – and a desire to find a use for it – the Romanian-born entrepreneur decided to do something about it.

This weekend, Mrs McKenzie has been at OM Yoga in London, the biggest yoga gathering in Europe, to launch wool mats to thousands of yoga enthusiasts.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times, having just set up her stall, Mrs McKenzie said it had been a ”big dream in the making” and she was thrilled to be there. . . 

Loss of fertile land fuels ‘looming crisis’ in Africa – Jeffrey Gettleman:

LAIKIPIA, Kenya — The two elders, wearing weather-beaten cowboy hats with the strings cinched under their chins, stood at the edge of an empty farm, covering their mouths in disbelief.

Their homes — neat wooden cabins — had been smashed open. All their cattle had been stolen. So had their chickens. House after house stood vacant, without another soul around. It was as if some huge force had barreled into the village and swept away all the life.

Sioyia Lesinko Lekisio, one of the elders, had no doubts who did this. Swarms of herders from another county had invaded, attacking any farm or cattle ranch in their path, big or small, stealing livestock, ransacking homes and shooting people with high-powered assault rifles. . . 

 


Rural round-up

September 14, 2017

Politicians blame dairy farm ‘villains’ for water pollution – Peter Jackson:

One of the more disturbing aspects of this election campaign is that we are being invited to vote for, or against, future taxes that will not be quantified until some time after the next government has been formed.

Casting a vote always involves an element of trust, especially under MMP, where proposed policies come up for negotiation in the process of forming a government.

This is wonderful for politicians, who know full well that come September 24 they will be able to trade away what they promised 24 hours earlier. . . 

Composting barns can be a dairy solution – Keith Woodford:

There is increasing recognition that 24/7 paddock wintering of cows is not the way forward for New Zealand dairy. The challenge is to find solutions. These solutions need to achieve good environmental management, they need to be animal friendly, and they also need to make economic sense.

Over recent months I have been on a personal journey of learning about composting barns. That journey is ongoing and I have more to learn. But I am now at a point where I am confident that composting barns can be a major part of the strategic solution for New Zealand dairy. They can be win-win-win for the environment, for animals, and for profitability.

There is one important qualification to the above statement. It is that none of us yet have all of the answers for New Zealand conditions. Also, there is evidence that some farmers are going into composting barns with a poor understanding of the critical factors for success. . . 

The Resilient Farmer – Beatties’ Book Blog:

The Resilient Farmer

Doug Avery

Penguin

RRP $40.00

‘I am filled with rage. So much rage. I raise my fists to that impassive sky and I bellow like a bull. And those clouds, those beautiful, dark, moisture-filled clouds, vanish out to sea. And my wife, who has also felt the lash of my anger and my nasty,

drunken misery, watches me through the windows of our front room, and is afraid and helpless.’

By turning his thinking around not only did it save his farm from ruin, it also saved his marriage and probably his life. . . 

DairyNZ election draws in farming expertise:

Two positions on DairyNZ’s board have attracted six dairy farmer candidates for this year’s director election.

From September 25, levy-paying dairy farmers will vote for their preferred candidates – farmer colleagues whose experience and leadership could help shape DairyNZ priorities and objectives.

Electionz.com returning officer Anthony Morton says levy-paying farmers will have a month to vote. . . 

The most dangerous phrase in the English language? We’ve always done it this way.

Kiwi Ingenuity of “Black Water Rafting” Continues to Thrill – 30 Years On:

The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company Celebrates 30 Years

One of New Zealand’s most iconic adventure tourism offerings – Black Water Rafting – celebrates 30 years this month. Pioneers within New Zealand’s adventure tourism industry, Waitomo’s Legendary Black Water Rafting Company was born in 1987 – taking visitors through Waitomo’s glowworm studded underground world in inner tubes. Thirty years later, today hundreds of thousands of adventure seekers have taken part – including Peter Jackson, Chelsea Clinton and Katy Perry.

The idea for Black Water Rafting came from Waitomo local Pete Chandler – who developed the business along with partner John Ash – and New Zealand’s first professional adventure cave guide Angus Stubbs – who is still with the company and also celebrates 30 years service this month. In 1987 Pete enticed adventurous backpackers to experience Black Water Rafting for $10, the team drove their branded ute around encouraging adventure seekers to enjoy the underground thrill. . .

 


Rural round-up

November 16, 2016

Stranded cows surfed to survival – Charlotte Shipman:

 

A geologist says the cows stranded on a quake island likely “surfed” the land as it crumbled around them.

Their image went around the world; two Hereford cows and a calf stranded on a tiny piece of pasture thrust two-and-a-half metres above the ground.

GNS engineering geologist Sally Dellow flew over the cows yesterday with Newshub, and she says they likely surfed the land as it crumbled. . . 

Quake cows won’t be slaughtered – farmer – Simon Wong:

Kaikoura’s three world-famous cows were never destined for the slaughterhouse, says the farmer who owns them.

The two Hereford beef cows and a four-month-old calf made headlines when they were stranded on a small, elevated patch of pasture following Monday’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, and Newshub’s footage of them was broadcast around the world.

The animals were rescued from their precarious location on Tuesday morning after owner Derrick Millton and a group of five others dug out a track to get them down.

“Once they got off, they drank the water which was in the pond at the end of the block, they’ve got plenty of feed there, and they just needed to rest because like anyone in the earthquake they had a pretty horrific time.” . . 

Farmer flies in to help quake-trapped family in Kaikoura – Glen Scanlon:

Andrew Bowmar sums it up pretty simply: “It’s just what you do when you need to help.”

When the magnitude 7.5 quake struck yesterday he was at home near Gore with partner Lucy Millton. The problem was Lucy’s mum and family were on their farm in Waipapa, on the southern bank of the Clarence River outside Kaikoura.

View RNZ’s full coverage of the earthquakes

Mr Bowmar, a farmer, said he needed no convincing – the choice was easy. He and Ms Millton got his Cessna 185 out and were in the air by 8am on their way to find out what was happening. . . 

 

This is becoming sabotage – Peter Jackson:

It’s all very well for the likes of SAFE and Farmwatch to lobby for animal rights and the prevention of cruelty, but SAFE went too far with its ‘Drop Dairy’ billboard in Auckland’s Hobson St.

The billboard, showing a bobby calf carcass draped over a map of the North Island, was part of an on-going campaign aimed at raising awareness of the fact that approximately two million unwanted dairy calves are killed at a few days’ old every year. . .

Cycle trail ruling frustrates local council

An Environment Court ruling against the planned Oreti River section of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail is a blow for communities in the area, Southland District Council says.

Mayor Gary Tong says he’s deeply disappointed by the court’s decision to uphold an appeal by Fish and Game Southland.

He says areas like Lumsden, Mossburn, Five Rivers, Garston and Athol are reporting significant benefits attributed to increased visitor numbers as a result of the cycle trail development. . . 

Syrian food production at all-time low:

Food production has dropped to an all-time low in Syria where millions of hungry civilians are struggling through their sixth winter in a war zone, UN agencies are warning.

Many farmers have had to abandon their land, unable to afford the soaring cost of seeds, fertilisers and tractor fuel, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme said on Tuesday.

Wheat output – vital for making flat loaves of bread which are a staple of the Syrian diet – dropped from an average 3.4 million metric tonnes harvested before the war began in 2011 to 1.5 million this year, they said in a joint report. . . 


Hobbit film to be NZ made

October 27, 2010

The Hobbit film will be made in New Zealand.

A media release from Prime Minister John Key says:

Prime Minister John Key this evening announced an agreement has been reached between the New Zealand Government and Warner Bros that will enable the two Hobbit movies to be directed by Sir Peter Jackson to be made in New Zealand.

“I am delighted we have achieved this result,” Mr Key says. “Making the two Hobbit movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but it will also follow the success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy in once again promoting NZ on the world stage.”

As part of the arrangement the Government will introduce legislation in Parliament tomorrow to clarify the distinction between independent contractors and employees as it relates to the film production industry. It is this clarification that will guarantee the movies are made in New Zealand.

“The industrial issues that have arisen in the past several weeks have highlighted a significant set of concerns for the way in which the international film industry operates,” Mr Key says.

“We will be moving to ensure that New Zealand law in this area is settled to give film producers like Warner Bros the confidence they need to produce their movies in this country.”

Mr Key confirmed the Government has also moved to widen the qualifying criteria for the Large Budget Screen Production Fund to improve New Zealand’s competitiveness as a film destination for large budget films like The Hobbit.

The impact of this will mean an additional rebate for The Hobbit movies of up to US$7.5 million per picture, subject to the success of those movies.

The Government and Warner Bros have agreed to work together in a long-term strategic partnership to promote New Zealand as both a film production and tourism destination.

“My Government is determined to use the opportunity that the Hobbit movies present to highlight New Zealand as a great place to visit, as well as a great place to do business,” Mr Key says.

The strategic marketing opportunities for New Zealand from the movies will be worth tens of millions of dollars. The Government will offset US$10 million of Warner Bros marketing costs as part of the strategic partnership.

New Zealand will also host one of the world premieres of the Hobbit movies.

“I’m very pleased that we have been able to ensure that the winning combination of Sir Peter Jackson, New Line, Warner Bros, MGM and New Zealand as a whole will have the opportunity to produce these movies together,” Mr Key says.

“It’s good to have the uncertainty over, and to have everyone now full steam ahead on this project.”

Before anyone gets upset about the government giving money to foreign film makers, read not taking isn’t the same as giving at Lindsay Mitchell and “Subsidising”  Hobbit enterprise? Sounds like a good deal at Not PC.

Union stupidity put the filming at risk and provided Warners with an opportunity to pressure the government.  But any tax forgone will be negligible in comparison to the tens of millions of dollars which will now be spent in New Zealand because the film will be made here.

Kiwiblog reports that the $10 million the government is putting towards marketing is in exchange for NZ tourism information being included in materials such as DVDs. That’s a smart deal.


Not a good week for unions

October 22, 2010

It should have been a good week for unions.

The CTU and EPMU got plenty of publicity at the Labour Party conference last weekend and they tried to capitalise on that with marches against the government on Wednesday.

But that was all overshadowed by stories which put them on the wrong side of public opinion.

Few question the difficulties teachers face in their job. But demands for a 4% pay rise are out of step with the generally accepted need for frugality, and refusing to teach some classes when pupils are close to exams isn’t winning them any sympathy.

Nor is there much sympathy for claims by health workers when doctors say  strikes are putting patients at risk.

But the most damage to unions is that by the actors whose actions have put the filming of The Hobbit at risk.

Weta Workshop’s boss Sir Richard Taylor last night said the New Zealand film industry was “at some level of peril”.

He said a $670 million US-backed production of Tolkien classic The Hobbit could be produced elsewhere if a union boycott of the project was not lifted.

“We are deeply concerned it may [go overseas].

“Our industry is being put in a very dire place by very few people who have nothing to do with the film industry in New Zealand.”

A poll on the New Zealand Herald website last night showed 88% of respondents blamed the union for the Hobbit debacle and only 16% blamed Peter Jackson.

Phil Goff and his MPs have been notable for their silence on this issue.

That’s probably because it’s difficult for outsiders to discern much difference between unions and Labour so a bad week for one is a bad week for the other.


Key tops Listener power list

December 1, 2009

It’s no surprise that Prime Minister John Key tops the Listener’s top 10 in its 2009 Power List.

The panel says he is:

being identified by leadership scholars as pioneering an entirely new style of political leadership in this country. Sceptics may cite his pragmatism as evidence of overt risk-aversion, but so far his reasonable, moderate demeanour and light-handed management has worked magic for the Government’s standing. He has been the polar opposite of Helen Clark, resisting both the micromanagement of others’ portfolios and playing favourites in the caucus. His cheerful tolerance of coalition partners’ ructions – “The bulk of people who come into politics have type-A personalities!” – has saved National from being embroiled in their crises.

Bill English is second followed by Alan Bollard, Rodney Hide, Steven Joyce and Rob Fyfe.

Then comes Michael Stiassny, the country’s senior receiver. The introduction to the list explains:

Perhaps the most telling detail about this year’s Power List . . .  is that a receiver (Micahel Stiassny) comes in at No 7. Yes, it has been a tough year; a year when debt became a dirty word, when old power bases were weakened by the recession. . .

Tariana Turia is ninth then John Whitehead and Peter Jackson. The top 10 has an 11th place – it’s filled by Phil Goff.

Then there’s those who have been delisted:

Craig Norgate who was 4th in the Business and economy section last year; Andrew West who was 3rd in agriculture  and Pat Snedden who was 4th in health and medicine.

The panel that selected the 2009 almanac of influence was chaired by Listener senior write Rebecca Macfie. Members were Lynn Freeman who hosts Radio NZ’s arts programme; Karl Du Fresne, Chris Wikaira, director of PR firm Busby Ramshaw Grice; Jane Clifton; Jacqueline Rowarth, Director of Agriculture at Massey; Bernard Hickey, Alan Isaac who chairs NZ Cricket, is a director of Wakefield Health, trsutee of NZ COmmunity Trust, chair of McGrathNicol & Co and advisor to Opus International; and Stephen Franks.

The full list and commentary won’t be online until Boxing Day. I subscribe to the magazine and if I didn’t I’d fork out the $3.90 for this issue.


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