Rural round-up

12/05/2020

Accidental farmer now a winner–  Gerald Piddock :

Dairy farmer Ash-Leigh Campbell has come a long way in a short time and now wants to encourage young people into the dairy sector and do what she can locally while travel restrictions limit what she can do with the $20,000 prize she took home as the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year.

Ash-leigh Campbell didn’t set out to have a career in dairying.

Instead, she stumbled into the industry, starting out relief milking for a local farmer to earn extra cash for her first car while still at high school in Canterbury.

She was an accidental dairy farmer, she says.

Ten years on the 29-year-old has had a meteoritic rise, capped off by being the youngest person to become Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year at the Dairy Women’s Network Awards. . .

Rural fok rally round – Colin Williscroft:

Rural communities are banding together to help Hawke’s Bay farmers dealing with drought and a feed shortage.

Wairarapa farmers Daniel and Sophie Hansen are gathering feed in their region to send to their northern neighbours.

They hoope if farmers there have a bale or two of hay or balage they can do without then, despite it being a small amount individually, combined it could provide a real lifeline to Hawke’s Bay farmers.

Initially, the Hansens aimed to get every farmer on their road to either give or sell one or two bales to make a unit load but the idea has grown. . . 

Red meat exports pass $1b – Sally Rae:

Exports of New Zealand red meat and co-products in March passed the $1billion mark, a first for monthly exports.

Analysis by the Meat Industry Association showed total exports reached $1.1billion, an increase of 12% on March 2019.

While overall exports to China in March were down 9% on the corresponding month last year, due to Covid-19, exports to all other major markets increased, a statement from MIA said.

Sheepmeat export volumes were up 4% and value up 13% compared with last March. And while sheepmeat exports to China were down 11% by volume compared with last March, they still recovered significantly from February, doubling to nearly 25,000 tonnes. . . 

Keytone Dairy a secret Kiwi success – Rebecca Howard:

Keytone Dairy may not be listed on the NZX but it’s one to watch as it inks new orders and ramps up production.

The ASX-listed stock took a tumble on global panic hitting 20.5 Australian cents on March 19.

Since then it’s more than doubled to 43 cents as investors buy into its growth story that Covid-19 triggered “significant” global demand for its products. Appetite for its formulated milk powders is four times greater than before the crisis, it said.

The company was incorporated in September 2017 to buy and run New Zealand’s Keytone Enterprises. It wrapped the deal up in July 2018 and listed on the Australian stock exchange at the same time, choosing Australia because of its proximity to a larger pool of funds. . .

Current grower meeting challenges – George Clark:

Hamish McFarlane is a third-generation blackcurrant grower with a farm 10 minutes north of Temuka.

He grows the superfood, with a mix of cattle and the odd vegetable, for Barkers of Geraldine.

Covid-19 Alert Level 4 allowed business to continue for the McFarlane family but there were challenges.

‘‘We were pretty uncertain what the future was going to hold for us. Once we went into lockdown we were unsure with what government levels immediately meant,’’ he said. . . 

View form the Paddock: don’t fall for plant-based meat hype – Trent Thorne:

In 1787, Catherine the Great toured the recently annexed Crimean Peninsula with her conquering Commander-in-chief, Grigory Potemkin.

In an effort to thoroughly impress the Tsarina with the work he had done in the south of Russia (which for many years had been a desolate area ravaged by constant warfare) following the annexation, Potemkin constructed pasteboard facades of fake village.

As a result of his artifice, the term ‘Potemkin village’ is now used to refer to an impressive show designed to hide an undesirable fact or condition.

You may well ask what does modern Russian history and the COVID-19 pandemic have in common? . . 


Rural round-up

27/11/2019

Australian pair are here to learn – Sally Rae:

When 2019 Zanda McDonald Award joint winners Shannon Landmark and Luke Evans visited Omarama last week, it truly was a flying visit.

The Australian pair flew into the Waitaki Valley township on a Pilatus aircraft that had been chauffeuring them around the country on a mentoring trip, as part of their prize package.

The Australasian agribusiness award was launched by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group in 2014, in memory of Australian beef industry leader and PPP foundation member Zanda McDonald, who died in 2013 after an accident at his Queensland property. . .

Seaweed products pioneer named supreme winner in rural women business awards – Angie Skerrett:

A company that has pioneered the use of seaweed products has won the supreme award in this year’s NZI Rural Women NZ Business Awards. 

The annual awards celebrate and showcase entrepreneurship and innovation by rural women.

At a function in the Banquet Hall at Parliament, AgriSea Business Development Manager Clare Bradley accepted the supreme award for the Paeroa-based family business.  . . 

AgriSea specialises in the manufacture of macro-algae concentrates and bioactive extractions to add high-value nutrition for soil, plant, animal and human health.  . . 

Seeking sustainability at scale – Neal Wallace:

Ross and Jo Hay are typical of thousands of young farming couples who work hard and continually search for a chance to grow and get ahead. Neal Wallace met the North Otago couple to find out how they are establishing their careers. 

Ross and Jo Hay are not oblivious to the uncertainty associated with the clouds of rules looming on the farming horizon but they have decided to take a glass half full approach.

Fuelled with enthusiasm and determination to pursue a farming career the Hays are confident there will be opportunity among the plethora of Government rules bearing down on the sector.

“People got through the 1980s,” Ross says. . .

Blueberry picking looms – Abbey Palmer:

As leaves fall and berries begin to change from green to blue, Southland’s only blueberry farm is gearing up for another season of hand-picked fun.

With 220 hectares of land planted in bushes, Otautau’s Blueberry Country will be opening its gates to the public this summer for the eight-week season.

Blueberry Country general manager Simon Bardon said the 10 staff members were hoping to be able to welcome visiting pickers from early January through till the end of February.

“One of the best parts of blueberry picking season is seeing all of the families out and kids knackered from running up and down the orchards,” Mr Bardon said. . .

 

Happy Cow Diaries part 4: We’re back, and ready to take on industrial dairying – Glen Herud:

Happy Cow Milk is poised to relaunch with a new business model and an invention that could revolutionise dairy production, explains founder Glen Herud, in the latest instalment of his Spinoff series documenting the company’s fall and rise again.

Just as we were chilling the beers for our equity crowdfunding launch last Thursday we crossed the line. We cracked those beers instead, because by the time I got home we had fulfilled our target of raising $400,000. After months of work it was a huge relief to reach our goal, and we did it in just 8 hours and 8 minutes.

It was a rare day of success in what sometimes feels like an endless start-up slog. The best part for me is the confirmation that New Zealanders are ready for change. They want solutions that reduce emissions, look after animals, protect waterways and reduce plastics. And they want to connect with farmers and food production in a more positive way . .

Staring into oblivion: People of the drought lands watch their world disappear – Rob Harris:

It’s 5.45am in Casino, just over an hour’s drive inland from Byron Bay in northern NSW, and the smoke from weeks of bushfires lingers, casting a gloomy haze over the sunrise.

The early shift at the town’s meat works has filed in and the piercing noise of an electric hand saw cutting its way through carcass after carcass drowns out the Monday morning chatter.

The Northern Co-operative Meat Company is the town’s biggest private employer with 1000 people – 10 per cent of Casino’s population – relying on a constant flow of cattle to make ends meet. . .


2020 Zanda McDonald Award entries open

03/08/2019

Applications for the 2020 Zanda McDonald Award have opened:

Flying around Australia and New Zealand in a private jet, and being mentored by some of the greatest leaders in the agriculture industry might sound like a bit of a pipe dream, but it will be a dream come true for one young Kiwi or Aussie again next year.

Applications for the prestigious 2020 Zanda McDonald Award open today, and the search is on to find talented and passionate young individuals working in the ag sector to apply.

Now in its sixth year, the award provides the winner with an impressive personal development package that includes an all-expenses paid trans-Tasman mentoring trip, $2000 cash, and the ability to get up close and personal with leaders in the Australasian ag sector through the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group. Some travel takes place in a privately chartered Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, enabling the winner to reach diverse and remote farming operations.

Richard Rains, Chairman of the Zanda McDonald Award, says the award is widely seen as a career and life-changing experience, that can really help take them to the next level.

“We’ve been lucky to discover some inspiring young people since the award began, with quite diverse backgrounds. But the one thing they all have in common is a real passion for the industry, and a hunger to make a difference. I’m really excited to see who will be uncovered this year. The prize is quite something, but even if you don’t win, there are still some wonderful opportunities if you make it into the top three, so I’d encourage anyone considering it to throw their hat in the ring.”

Previous winners have included a dairy farmer, a sheep and beef farmer, a business manager of a sheep milk company, and a beef extension officer. Earlier this year, for the first time, two people were crowned with the title – Queenslander Shannon Landmark, 28, and Luke Evans, also 28, from the Northern Territory.

Landmark is a trained vet and the coordinator of the Northern Genomics Project at the University of Queensland, where she focusses on improving genetic selection and reproductive technology. Evans, 28, is the Station Manager at Rockhampton Downs Station, a 450,000-hectare beef property in Tennant Creek. For Evans, it came as a huge surprise.

“I’m just a bush kid, and I wasn’t that comfortable putting myself out there, but my boss encouraged me to put an application in. And I can honestly say it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve already met some really great people, everyone has been so welcoming. I can’t wait to spend some time with them on my mentoring trip later this year, to find out how they’ve succeeded in business, and how I can further develop my skills.”

Applications are open to individuals aged 18 – 35 years, who live and work in the agriculture sector in Australia or New Zealand. Entries close on Friday 30th August 2019.

Further details and an online application form can be found on the PPP Group website – www.pppgroup.org


365 days of gratitude

21/03/2018

We were invited to the annual PPP Group conference but having spent 12 of the last 14 days on farm tours or getting to and from them we declined with regret.

Jamie Mackay on The Country has interviewed several of the presenters and attendees.

Among them was Zanda McDonald winner Thomas MacDonald whose accomplishments and enthusiasm are inspiring and I’m grateful for that.


Thomas Macdonald wins Zanda McDonald Award

21/03/2018

Thomas Macdonald is the 1918 winner of the Zanda McDonald Award:

Thomas Macdonald, 24 year old Business Manager of Waikato-based Spring Sheep Milk Company, and Sir Don Llewellyn scholar, has scooped the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award.

The award, regarded as a prestigious badge of honour by the agribusiness industry, recognises agriculture’s most innovative young professionals from Australia and New Zealand. It was launched in 2014 in memory of Australian beef industry leader Zanda McDonald, who died aged 41 after an accident at his Queensland property in 2013.

Now in its fourth year, the award is run by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group – a network of over 150 of Australasia’s influential agri-business men and women, of which Zanda McDonald was a foundation member.

Thomas Macdonald was initially shortlisted with six other candidates, after the award attracted the largest number of applicants received so far.

Following interviews in Auckland in November, Macdonald was named as a finalist alongside fellow kiwi Lisa Kendall, 25 year old owner/operator of Nuture Farming Ltd and vice-chair of the Franklin Young Farmers Club, and Australian Janet Reddan 33, former agronomist now cattle producer from Roma, Queensland.

The award, sponsored by Allflex, Rabobank and Pilatus, was presented last night in Taupo at the annual PPP Conference. Macdonald receives a prize package valued at $50,000, which includes a trans-Tasman mentoring trip to farming operations and businesses, a place on one of Rabobank’s Business Management Programs and $1,000 cash prize. Macdonald will travel by a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft to parts of his Australian mentoring trip, enabling him to reach diverse and remote farming operations.

Mr Macdonald said he was thrilled to have been chosen, and is particularly excited about the opportunity to get direct access to the wealth of knowledge that exists within the PPP group’s membership.

“It’s a real privilege to win the 2018 award, and I’m humbled to be associated with Zanda’s name. I’m looking forward to spending time with some of agriculture’s top business professionals, and expanding my horizons and networks.

Shane McManaway, Chairman of the PPP Group, says: “Thomas is a remarkable young man. To have achieved as much as he has in 24 years is quite something, and a great credit to him. His intelligence, understanding of agriculture and big-picture thinking make him well placed as a future leader in our industry. I feel confident that Thomas will embrace the mentoring opportunities provided by winning the Zanda McDonald Award, and look forward to seeing his career progress”.

The award is named after Zanda MacDonald, a Queensland Farmer and founding member of the PPP Group who died in 2013.

In his honour the PPP group launched the Zanda McDonald Award. This award aims to recognise young people working in the primary industry sectors in New Zealand and Australia, and support their future career development. The total prize package is valued at $50,000.

Zanda was proud to be a farmer and worked tirelessly to encourage young people to work in the industry that he loved. As part of his role in the PPP group he led a number of initiatives to promote his industry to the next generation.

The inaugural was won by Emma Black from Queensland in 2015. Dean Rabbidge from Southland was the 2016 winner and Morgan Easton from North Otago won last year.


Zanda McDonald Award applications open

04/07/2017

Applications for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award have opened:

The search is on for talented young agri-leaders from New Zealand and Australia to apply for the 2018 Zanda McDonald Award. The award is regarded as one of Australasia’s most prestigious badges of honour for young leaders within the primary industry, and comes with a prize package of over $50,000.

Now in its fourth year, the award is run by the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group – a network of over 130 of Australasia’s most influential agri-business men and women.

It provides the winner direct access to the wealth of knowledge that exists within the group’s membership. In addition, they receive an all-expenses paid overseas mentoring trip, a place on Rabobank’s Farm Manager’s or Executive Programme and $1,000 cash prize.

Shane McManaway, Chairman of the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP), says the award provides a fantastic opportunity for young agricultural leaders to further their career and their personal development.

“A key attraction for this award is the tailored mentoring package that the winner receives. The PPP members have an extraordinary amount of respect within the industry, and previous award winners have loved the fact that they can call on them for help, advice and guidance at any time.”

Applications for next years’ award are open to individuals 35 years or younger from Monday 3rd July. Entries close on Friday 1st September 2017.

The 2017 winner, announced earlier this year at the annual PPP conference in Melbourne, was Morgan Easton from the Waitaki Valley, NZ. Mr Easton and his wife Hayley, who have three young children, are sharemilking two properties in North Otago, milking a total of 1750 cows.

“Winning the award has been both a humbling and rewarding experience for me. The ability to tap into the expertise of PPP members has been invaluable. I now have a great network through the PPP members that I can call on for advice when I need it,” he said.

Morgan is using the opportunity to tap into PPP members’ expertise on how best to continue growing and thriving in his family business. He will soon embark on the Australian leg of his mentoring tour, where he will visit PPP members including the McDonald beef farming operation in North Queensland, which is run by the late Zanda McDonald’s parents and wife Julie, and encompasses about 180,000 head of cattle.

Application forms for the award can be downloaded from the PPP Group website.

The PPP group founded the ward in memory of Zanda McDonald, a founding member of the group.

He was a farmer, prominent in the Australian beef and livestock industry, who died in an accident on his farm when he was only 41.

Emma Black from Queensland won the inaugural award. Dean Rabbidge from Southland won it last year.

 


Rural round-up

21/06/2015

World’s largest robotic dairy barn leads technology – Pat Deavoll:

 Fitting 1500 cows under one roof seems impossible, but that’s just what Wilma and Aad van Leeuwen of the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group did, by building the world’s largest robotic dairy barn at Makikihi in South Canterbury. 

The 23,000 square metre barn, completed last September at a cost of $22 million, was the third of its kind built by the van Leeuwens, but the first of its scale.

Behind the drive to install the barn was the premium price paid for winter milking, which a robotic system enabled, and a shortage of skilled staff. . .

 Hayley’s star rises at Rabobank:

The market downturn in dairy is among foremost concerns for Rabobank dairy research director Hayley Moynihan as she steps into the newly created role of the bank’s general manager Country Banking.

She is sure the bank has the right support systems in place for dairy farmers in its 33 branches, but a first priority will be to ensure the bank stay aligned to farmers needs in all sectors.

Moynihan told Rural News the new role of general manager Country Banking had been created in recognition of the size of the New Zealand business now. . .

Are the Mexico-bound sheep for breeding or barbeque? – Keith Woodford:

Prior to this week, I had no particular knowledge about the current shipment of 50,000 ewe lambs that are heading to Mexico. So when I was approached by Jamie Ball from the NBR for comment, my immediate thought was to say nothing. I simply assumed that this was indeed a very large shipment of future breeding stock.

However, once my attention was focused, and I started scratching around, all sorts of warning bells started to ring. It seemed a very large number of breeding animals to be sending there. And surely, if this was a genuine shipment, then at the other end there had to be either a huge rural development project, or alternatively a very large agribusiness.

So I started to dig a little deeper. As I dug through the layers, a fascinating story began to emerge. I am sure there is still more to uncover. . .

Mexico-bound livestock get cared for in shipment – Tim Cronshaw:

Until now exporters of a massive shipment of young stock going to Mexico have kept out of the limelight. They tell their side of the story to Tim Cronshaw.

Exporters sending 45,000 ewe hoggets and 3200 beef heifers to Mexico say they will continue to receive top care after their two-week voyage to their new home ends on June 26.

Contrary to concerns by animal right groups the group has confirmed livestock will not go to Mexican regions with temperatures of 40 degrees celsius, have not breached minimum age requirements, will be used only for breeding and the farms have been ratified by state governments who have bought most of the animals. . .

Prestigious, International Agri Conference grows from NZ BBQ:

PPP celebrates 10 years with announcement of inaugural agri award winner

This week, agricultural networking fraternity, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group, will head to Darwin, Northern Australia, to celebrate its 10th anniversary conference – and announce the winner of a new agri award.

Founded in New Zealand by head of Allflex Australasia and Wairarapa farmer, Shane McManaway, the Group started with a handful of producers at an informal BBQ in 2005. It now comprises over 130 of Australasia’s most influential agri-businessmen and women. . .

 

Hawkes Bay horticulture contractors fined:

The Employment Relations Authority has fined three Hawke’s Bay horticulture contracting companies a total of $22,500 for failing to provide employment records.

The Labour Inspectorate launched an investigation into Kiwi Labour Solution, OOMDA New Zealand and Positive Force after an audit last year to check for compliance with employment, immigration and tax laws. . .

 US going nuts about milk prices:

From Kentucky family farms to Californian ‘mega dairies’, there is one thing on the mind of US dairy farmers – milk price. In California this is driving many to nuts.

The dairy farmers are not making money right now. The Californian price is $13-$16/cwt (cwt = 0.045 tonne), about $2/cwt below cost – and well below the $20/cwt they were getting last year. Kentucky is on a similar price: one farmer told Rural News they were getting $27/cwt last year. . .


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