9.7% to go

October 17, 2011

Federated Farmers is celebrating the news that 90.3% of Canterbury dairy farms aren’t harming the environment and the improved working relationship with Environment Canterbury which contributed to that.

Robin Barkla, Federated Farmers Vice-President and a Whakatane dairy farmer. said:

“It says a lot that yesterday well over 200 dairy farmers were at the Lincoln dairy fielday. Environment Canterbury not only announced the 2010/11 results but were openly discussing with farmers how to better manage effluent.

“The large numbers attending tell me these are farmers looking for a better way. The three Canterbury dairy chairs all feel that the days of ‘them’ and ‘us’ are gone and on that score, Federated Farmers couldn’t be happier.

“With 99.56 percent of Canterbury’s 921 dairy farms being randomly inspected last season, this is a comprehensive environmental picture. Not only that, but these inspections are carried out under user-pays principals.

“I’d like to think that environmental transparency is a good thing. What these results tells me is that 90.3 percent of Canterbury’s dairy farms did not pose a threat to the environment last season. . . “

The goal is 100% compliance and the good news of high compliance doesn’t make the 9.7% of non-compliant farms acceptable.

“Federated Farmers main focus has always been on the rate of significant non-compliance. That is where environmental harm comes from. While the rate has crept up slightly, the fact is our Canterbury members are light years away from the season when one in five were significantly non-compliant. Those days are gone.

“Modern dairy farming is hugely complex and Canterbury’s 921 dairy farms operate under 10,137 consent conditions. The sterling result is that 9,630 consent conditions are fully complied with,” Mr Barkla concluded.  

Mention dairying and too often someone will preface it with the word dirty.

Any pollution is unacceptable but the 90.3% of farmers who do all they should and more to look after the environment shouldn’t be damned because of the minority who cause the problems.


Fay led local team ups offer for Crafar farms

September 21, 2011

A group of North Island farmers, led by Sir Michael Fay has increased its offer for the Crafar farms.

The original offer was for only nine of the 16 farms, the new offer is to pay $171.5 million for all 16 farms.

The Overseas Investment Commission is appraising an offer for the farms from a Chinese based group.

“Our group of farmers is the only other buyer for all the farms in this sales process and following satisfactory due diligence we are ready to go,” said Sir Michael. “As soon as we have a signed deal with the receivers they can hand over the keys and we’re ready to walk onto the land. Obviously that’s subject to the Overseas Investment Office rejecting the current Chinese contract.”

Sir Michael said the group was a mix of Iwi and local farmers who already own dairy farms in the Central North Island and who don’t have the complication of needing OIO approval.

“We’d like to be on the farms before Christmas to get them up to full production for the new season starting in mid 2012.”

Sir Michael said the average per hectare price was an accurate reflection of current land, asset and herd values and the opportunity to closely inspect production figures would need to confirm the value of the $171.5 million farmer group offer.

Steve Bignell, of Stretton’s Chartered Accountants in Taupo is the lead negotiator for the group of farmers and says the average $28,500 per hectare offer placed the contract price in the leading bracket for dairy farm sales in the area and across New Zealand.

Federated farmers says the bid is the best option for keeping the farms in New Zealand hands but the Overseas Investment Office should complete its investigation of the Chinese offer without bias.

“As a Kiwi would I like these farms to remain in Kiwi ownership? You bet I would,” says Robin Barkla, Federated Farmers Dairy Vice-President who farms in the Bay of Plenty. . .

“While my heart says one thing my head says that because there’s a live OIO application, we need to let it go through all the necessary hoops.

“The OIO process must be clean for if there’s any hint of favouritism or bias, then we risk becoming a South Seas Venezuela. Anything like that would spook international investors and dangerously drive up interest rates.

“That said, Sir Michael Fay is doing exactly what Federated Farmers has called for. Assembling a group of Kiwi investors to make a sizeable but credible bid for these farms.

“It certainly provides the receiver with a great option should the Pengxin Group bid fall over,” Mr Barkla concluded.

That’s a reasoned response.

The Chinese offer was first on the table is, I think, for a higher price and is part way through the OIO process.

The receivers have a responsibility to get the best price  accept the best offer for the creditors on whose behalf they are working. If the OIO accepts the Pengxin Group bid then it would be difficult for the Fay-led bid to succeed if it is offering a substantially lower price.

If however, the locals increase their offered price so it is close to that of Pengxin then the receivers might have a more difficult choice to make.

UPDATE:

RadioNZ reports the receivers say the Pengxin offer is still the best.


New section chairs for Feds

June 30, 2011

When I saw the headline Dairy and Meat and Fibre groups gain new chair people I thought Federated Farmers was being a bit PC, but  people was correct in this case as one of the new chairs is a man and the other’s a woman.

Mt Hutt farmer Jeanette Maxwell was elected as Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chair,  the first woman to hold this position. She replaces Bruce Wills who also stepped down. Willy Leferink is the new chairy for the dairy section, replacing Lachlan McKenzie who has stepped down.

The Dairy Vice-chairs are Robin Barkla and Andrew Hoggard. Michelle Riley and Kevin Robinson also elected to the executive.

Ciaran Tully continues as Sharemilkers section Chairperson.

Meat and Fibre section’s new vice-chair is Dugald McLean. Tim Mackintosh was re-elected to the executive with new members Will Foley and Lyn Neeson.


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