Rural round-up

September 3, 2015

The great job-creating machine – Not PC:

. . .  In 1980, almost a quarter of the world’s employment was still in agriculture. Now, only around 15% of the world’s workers are engaged in agricultural labour. Yet we are feeding more people, undernourishment is at an all-time low, and food is becoming less expensive.

Technological advances liberated humanity from toiling in fields by mechanizing many processes and boosting productivity, allowing more food to be produced per hectare of land, and freeing hundreds of millions of people to pursue less gruelling work. 

The elimination of so many unsafe jobs in manufacturing and agriculture means fewer worker deaths. According to data from the International Labour Organization, from 2003 to 2013, the number of work fatalities in the world decreased by 61% (i.e., over 20,500 fewer deaths). This occurred even as the world population grew by over 700 million over the same time period. . . 

Update on recovery in storm-affected regions:

Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye says recovery from the severe storm in June is going well, but latest estimates show its economic impact could be around $270 million. Areas hardest hit by the storm included parts of Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu. “Much of the cost of the storm will be met by private insurance, but the Government will also contribute significant support. “We do this in several ways. We make support available to individuals through things like contributions to local relief funds.  . . 

Extra $2.6m support for storm-affected regions:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye have announced an extra $2.6 million of Government support for communities worst affected by the severe storm in June.

“Today’s announcement extends the support we can usually draw on to help communities recover from an emergency such as this,” says Ms Kaye.

“This was an unusual event because certain areas were hit a lot harder than others.

“The new support package includes one-off initiatives that take into account the severity of localised damage that occurred in parts of Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu.”

Today’s announcement adds to previous Government funding and welfare support, and includes: . . .

What’s happening in China – and what does it mean for New Zealand’s agri-food? – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks I have been traveling in Western China. It is just over a year since I was last there, and as with every visit the changes are visible: more fast railways, more four lane highways, and lots more apartment buildings.

This visual perspective contrasts with what we are reading in the media about China’s declining economic growth. Which is correct? Well, both perspectives are valid.

There are many ‘Chinas’ but for simplicity I will divide China into two. There is the eastern seaboard comprising Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Shenzhen and other big seaboard cities. And there is another China west of the seaboard, including Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Wuhan, Kunming, and Xining. . . 

New judging coordinator appointed for Canterbury sustainable farming awards:

Farming journalist Sandra Taylor has recently been appointed Judging Coordinator for the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The award application period is open and Sandra is encouraging farmers to show how important environmental management and enhancement is to the industry.

“Farmers take great pride in their farm environments and the Ballance Farm Environment Awards provides a fantastic opportunity to both benchmark and showcase all the great work that is being done on farms throughout the Canterbury region.” . . .

Ballance holds pricing to help farmers through spring:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has today announced it is holding nitrogen prices to help shelter customers from the significant drop in the dollar and support production on farm this spring.

“We know this is a crucial period for pastoral farmers, and with nitrogen a key feed source in farm budgets we are doing our best to help out where we can and support our customers to plan their feed requirements for spring,” said Ballance CEO Mark Wynne.

Ballance Science Manager Aaron Stafford advised farmers to focus on the nutrient inputs that drive production in the current season or year when planning budgets. . . .

Job Done Wins Idea Pitch at Fonterra Activate to Bring Tech Innovation to Dairy Farms:

Fonterra is pushing on with a business relationship with digital innovation start-up company Job Done after they won an idea pitch yesterday at GridAKL, in Auckland’s innovation precinct.

Seven teams representing Icehouse, Spark Ventures and BBDO spent a month developing prototypes at their own cost with a view to securing future services with the Co-operative to help farmers save time and money.

The seven ideas were pitched to a judging panel made up of Fonterra farmers and staff.

Pitch winner Job Done was mentored by Icehouse and founded by Manawatu farmer Nigel Taylor. . . 

Simcro Limited acquires ISL Animal Health and NJ Phillips PTY

Simcro Limited, a leader in the global animal pharmaceutical delivery device industry, has acquired ISL Animal Health (Hamilton, NZ) and NJ Phillips PTY (Gosford, NSW, Australia) from Forlong & Maisey and the Maisey family of Hamilton, New Zealand.

The agreement is effective from 1 September 2015.

Simcro Executive Chairman, Will Rouse, said, “After the Riverside Company became our majority shareholder in 2013, we began looking for opportunities to exponentially grow Simcro’s international market strength. We’ve been in discussions with ISL Animal Health and NJ Phillips for quite some time.

“Internationally, animal health companies are amalgamating at a rapid pace. These industry changes are creating opportunities for companies like ours. These opportunities, however, create the requirement to meet ever-increasing quality and compliance thresholds for our global customers. . . 


Rural round-up

May 24, 2015

Farming at 17: Cheviot teen raises sheep, cattle – Beck Eleven:

Louisa McClintock is just 17 but with her 80-year-old grandfather by her side, she’s taking on a dry North Canterbury farm. BECK ELEVEN watches two generations work together.

For a teenage girl, she’s got a decent pair of lungs.

It’s another dry day in Cheviot, North Canterbury and Louisa McClintock is driving a couple of hundred sheep through a race, funnelling the corriedales towards the shower dip to stave off lice and fly strike. . .

Rural Broadband extension secured:

The passing of the Telecommunications (Development Levy) Amendment Levy Bill underscores the Government’s commitment to extending enhanced connectivity to regional New Zealand, says Communications Minister Amy Adams

The Bill passed last night with support from all parties, other than Labour.

“The extension of the Telecommunications Development Levy (TDL) will fund the $100 million expansion of fast, reliable broadband to the regions. It will also establish a $50 million fund to extend mobile coverage in black spot areas such as along main highways and in popular tourist destinations,” says Ms Adams. . .

Farming women band together – Rebecca Harper:

A gap in the market for a women’s progress group focusing on sheep and beef has been addressed by the new Wairarapa Rural Women’s Initiative. 

Sheep and beef farmer and Baker & Associates agribusiness consultant Ellie Meadows cottoned on to the need for such a group after speaking to other like-minded farmers, Lynley Wyeth and Lucy Thorneycroft.

Both women had taken part in the Understanding Your Farm Business course run by the Agri Women’s Development Trust and wondered “what next”? . .

 Seeing green – Sandra Taylor:

Seeing a bulk of greenfeed in a scorched landscape was enough to make any farmer salivate this summer and growing bulk is what forage maize does best.

A number of dryland farmers in Canterbury have been growing forage maize and while it generates a bulk of feed at a time of the year when little else grows, as a feed it is not suitable for every class of stock.

Charlotte Westwood, an animal nutritionist and vet with PGG Wrightson Seeds, cautions against feeding it to young stock such as newly weaned beef calves. . .

Budget funding boost welcomed:

A 20 per cent increase in tertiary funding for agriculture announced in today’s budget is being welcomed by Lincoln University Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Business Development Jeremy Baker.

The increase is part of an $85.8 million boost over four years for targeted increases in tuition rates at degree level and above, which also includes a 7.5 per cent increase for science.

Mr Baker described the announcement as recognition of the vital role agriculture plays in the New Zealand economy, and for institutions like Lincoln University, with its specific land-based focus, in providing world-class graduates to meet the growing demand in the sector for highly-trained workers.

It shows the area is a priority for the Government and for New Zealand, he says, as it needs to be. . .

Resilient farmer Doug Avery will lead a tlak on drought in North Canterbury – Kim Nutbrown:

North Canterbury farmers are being urged to heed the advice of Doug Avery who will visit the drought-stricken area next week.

Farmers in the Cheviot area are experiencing record low rainfalls, putting their businesses under extreme stress.

Many are searching for a stress-relief valve. . . .


Rural round-up

May 6, 2015

Animal Welfare Amendment Bill passes final reading:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the unanimous support for the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill during its third and final reading in Parliament today.

“This bill will strengthen the protection of animals in New Zealand by improving the enforceability, clarity, and transparency of the Animal Welfare Act 1999,” says Mr Guy.

“New Zealanders care deeply about how animals are treated. Sixty eight per cent of New Zealand households have at least one pet, and we earn around $25 billion a year by exporting animal products such as meat, milk and wool.

“How we treat animals matters not just to animals, but to ourselves and overseas markets.” . .

Leading light lost – Sandra Taylor:

This country’s beef industry lost one of its leading lights with the sudden death of Lindsay Haugh last month. The North Canterbury farmer’s enthusiasm for cattle breeding was reflected in the measurable progress he made in the commercial Angus beef breeding herd he ran on The Sisters, the Haugh family’s farm at Parnassus.

He bought the first of his Angus breeding cows in 1990 and this ignited his passion for breeding and genetics.

A great proponent of estimated breeding values (EBVs) Haugh showed how well they could work in a commercial breeding herd by incrementally increasing the efficiency and productivity of his cows. Haugh’s focus was on producing steers with superior-quality carcase characteristics for the Five Star Beef feedlot from cows that were able to survive and reproduce off marginal hill country. . .

‘Farming is a fantastic way to bring up a family’  – Kate Taylor:

The best fertiliser for any property is the farmer’s footprints say Sam and Gemma Hain, who own the 1050ha Waikura Station at Pehiri, west of Gisborne, and 135ha block Turiwai at Te Karaka.

The Hains were finalists in this year’s East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

“I’m home for morning tea and lunch most days. Farming is a great lifestyle and financially very rewarding as well. It gives us a lot of pleasure and enjoyment to do it well,” says Sam.

Waikura has large tracts of native bush – about 150ha in total. Sam says their value is in the “health of the land… the wildlife… you can get up in the morning and hear a cacophony of bird sound. This is our slice of paradise,” he says. . .

New quad bike rules ‘heavy-handed’:

Farmers are increasingly frustrated and fearful over upcoming changes to health and safety legislation around quad bikes, a farming industry leader says.

Later this year, changes to the Health and Safety Act will result in tougher penalties for non-compliance, including higher fines for people riding quad bikes with passengers.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons said farmers in the meat and wool industry were concerned.

Farms were workplaces as well as homes, and new harsher penalties for having passengers on quad bikes would change things dramatically for families; what was needed was a code of compliance for for quad bikes rather than “draconian” new rules, he said. . .

Kiwi Sheep And Beef Farmers And French Counterparts Share Common Ground:

New Zealand and French livestock farmers face many similar challenges, says Beef + Lamb New Zealand, following a visit here by French livestock sector leaders.

“Farmers in France have a lot in common with Kiwi farmers – they are dealing with many of the same sorts of issues that sheep and beef farmers come up against here. The more we share perspectives on those issues, the better that we’re able to understand each other,” said B+LNZ chief executive Dr Scott Champion.

Supporting the sheep and beef sector’s market opportunities is a major priority for B+LNZ – including in high-value markets like France, where New Zealand has a stable and long-established trading relationship. New Zealand exported around $135 million of sheepmeat to France in 2014, more than half of which was chilled product. . .

 Wool scouring merger a win for New Zealand:

Christchurch-based wool processor and trader New Zealand Wool Services has welcomed the Commerce Commission’s preliminary endorsement of its merger with Cavalier Wool Holding’s wool scouring operations in New Zealand.

Cavalier’s scouring services will be merged with the scouring assets of New Zealand Wool Services International, owned by Australian-based wool processor and merchant Lempriere, pending final Commerce Commission approval.

Lempriere managing director William Lempriere said the purchase was a positive and overdue result for the New Zealand wool industry. . .

 

Berries and from China refuels Country of Origin labelling debate – Stephanie Melbourne:

New phone scanning technologies could add a new angle to Country of Origin labelling, which traditionally in New Zealand has been a voluntary practice for the food industry to use as a marketing tool, even though it is required in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia.

A recent labelling issue in Australia regarding frozen berries imported from China has further fuelled the ongoing debate surrounding Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) highlighting its relevancy and the value of knowing exactly where the food we eat comes from.

The Australian CoOL standard which commenced in 2006 requires mandatory country of origin labelling on all packaged foods, fish, pork and fresh whole or cut fruit and vegetables. They also have guidelines for the use of the terms “Product of Australia” and “Made in Australia”. Since then, there has been a raft of public reviews, and legislative and regulatory attempts to clarify the laws relating to CoOL in Australia. . . .


Rural Round-up

February 13, 2011

Repeat after me -Farmers are not special – Cactus Kate writes:

Fongterra and Federated Fuckwits are a powerful lobby force in New Zealand. Despite tourism lending more to GDP, everyone in NZ is brainwashed into thinking floating up farmers stupidity is in the best interests of the country. I’ve met several PR people claiming to do PR work for Fongterra. I don’t doubt them for a second as they are all duplicitous lying fuckwit sorts.

If farming is a business, as they say it is, then why should banks treat it any differently to other SME (small medium enterprises)? . .

The story which prompted her post was Loan one Challenge too many  in the NZ Herald:

Janette Walker’s farm was soaring in value and the bank was happy to lend – then everything changed.

Janette Walker has always been the type of person who relishes a challenge.

It was, after all, her feisty nature and can-do spirit that prompted her to give up nursing two decades ago to try to make a living from the land.

 The $47 billion rural hangover :

Think it’s all good down on the farm? Think again. Property values are plunging, and the crisis could yet hit the cities too, reports Karyn Scherer.

On the afternoon of January 17, John Taylor (not his real name) decided to take some time out from the daily grind of managing his family’s farm in the central North Island.

Persuaded it would be worth his while, he filled his car with gas and tootled off to a meeting of fellow farmers fed up with their banks.

While the evening proved a catharsis of sorts, it may have done more harm than good. When another farmer offered her blunt assessment of John’s situation – there was no doubt, she suggested, that he was about to lose his farm – he visibly recoiled, as if slapped in the face. . .

Milk runs in the veins of lifelong farmer – Jon Morgan writes in the Dominion Post:

The South Wairarapa dairy farm of Bryan Weatherstone has grown steadily over the years. When he returned home with an agriculture diploma in 1966 to help his father, Alex, it was 80 hectares and was milking 240 cows. This year, under the management of son Stewart, 2000 cows will be milked on 485ha.

Along with this growth has come a vast improvement in the farm’s capital value, but cashing up is the furthest thing from Mr Weatherstone’s mind.

He does not look at the green irrigated paddocks and herds of peacefully grazing jersey cows and see dollar signs.

“I see an asset for the generations to come,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for, to build the business up and to pass it on to Stewart for him to add to. That’s the satisfaction I get.” . . .

Growers of choice for boutique beer – Sanra Taylor writes in Country Wide:

When beer drinkers crack the top off a bottle of Monteith’s latest boutique offering they will know exactly who grew all the ingredients that went into the pale amber liquid.

They will know, from the information on the distinctive black bottle, the exact longitude and latitude of the paddocks in which the grain and hops were grown, as well as the name and location of the brewer Tony Mercer.

Rakaia farmer Bill Davey grows all the barley used in Single Source lager while Nelson grower Ian Thorn grows all the hops. Both growers have a reputation for their attention to detail in producing top-quality crops.

Selling rams with sandwiches – Jackie Harrigan writes:

At 86, Honor Brown buys teabags to make cups of tea for her son Richard Brown’s Banklea stud ram clients – but she still makes the tea in the teapot, and sets the table with a cloth.

She has her special way of making club sandwiches for the ram buyers, saying the men prefer sandwiches. She also has something sweet to accompany them – sultana cake or a sweet slice.

Corned beef minced with tomato sauce forms the bottom layer, then mashed egg goes on the top. They are always well-received, so popular in fact, that Richard says he is not sure if the clients come to buy the rams or to eat Honor’s sandwiches.

Growing up in Southland as the youngest of nine children in a sheep-farming family prepared Honor well for a lifetime as a stud sheep breeder’s wife in the Manawatu. Even after 60 years she has not quite lost her Southland accent.

The farms within the “super city” – Hugh Stringleman writes:

The regional parks of Auckland, acquired over 45 years, are a superb resource for recreation, conservation, education – and, perhaps surprisingly, primary production.

Auckland is home to 1.46 million people, but it also has 18 working farms within the regional parks now operated by the new “super city” council.

Within the new local government boundary, New Zealand’s largest metropolitan area covers 500sq km urban living in 6000sq km of total land area. It has a huge rural hinterland of farms, orchards, lifestyle blocks, water storage, native and exotic forests, and reserves.

Without livestock and good farming practices, the regional parks would quickly become weed-infested wildernesses unless growth was kept under control by a small army of mowers.


Jon Morgan wins Rural Women ag journalism award

October 21, 2010

Jon Morgan from the Dominion Post has won Rural Women New Zealand’s 2010 award for  journalists who highlight acheivements of rural women.

He was commended for writing stories which shine a spotlight on rural issues for a largely urban readership.

The Runner-up for the award was Liz Brook, who writes for Central Districts Farmer.

“We set up the award with the Guild two years ago to encourage greater balance in rural journalism,” says Rural Women New Zealand National President, Liz Evans. 

 “It is rewarding to see more articles being written about women in rural communities achieving extraordinary things, both in farming and in the general rural environment. 

Morgan’s winning stories were: Sweet smell of lambing success and Unlocking women’s rural skills .

Brooks winning stories were: Beefing up the meat industry and Staying true to the land and to God.

These awards were announced at the Guild of Agricultural Journalist’s annual dinner. Other winners were:

BNZ Partners’ Rongo Award recognising excellence in agricultural journalism: Richard Rennie,  for a portfolio of articles which appeared in NZ Farmers Weekly and NZ Dairy Exporter, focussing on issues around the possible sale of the Crafar farms to overseas interests.

Runner-up: the team from NZX Agri’s Country-Wide monthly newspaper, for a series of 12 articles entitled Prime Movers, largely the work of journalist Sandra Taylor.

 BNZ Partners ‘ Farm Business Writing Award: Sandra Taylor, for two articles in the Prime Mover’s series which appeared in Country-Wide.

 AgResearch Science Writers Award, established to enhance standards of science writing, especially about pastoral agriculture: Jon Morgan.

 Horticulture New Zealand Journalism Award, set up last year to recognise excellence in agricultural journalism focussing on New Zealand’s horticulture industry: Jon Morgan. 

 AGMARDT Agribusiness Award, which recognises high quality information about and effective analysis of national, global and other agribusiness: Herald On Sunday journalist, Maria Slade.

Federated Farmers Rural Photography Award, for a single photo that illustrates a rural event or activity – agricultural, horticultural, industry, human interest, on farm / off farm, or any activity reflecting life or work in rural New Zealand: NZX Agri journalist and photographer, Marie Taylor.

The Guild’s own award, designed to encourage and recognise excellence among journalists with three or fewer years reporting on agricultural issues, The Agricultural Journalism Encouragement Award: Blair Ensor of the Marlborough Express.


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