Rural round-up

16/10/2020

Labour’s health policy doesn’t even include the word rural:

Labour cares so little for rural communities that the word ‘rural’ doesn’t even appear in their health policy, National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“For all of their talk there is no kindness to rural communities or recognition of their special health needs.

“New Zealand’s rural communities are an essential part of New Zealand and face unique health challenges.

“Labour is failing to even acknowledge the rural communities that are so important to New Zealand and their distinct health issues. . .

Importance of listening to farmers highlighted – Yvonne O’Hara:

After two terms on the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, Emma Hammond is stepping down from what she says has been an “interesting journey” and a “unique role”.

She and husband Peter and their three children, Ferguson (10), Nicholas (12) and Annalise (15), have a 164ha dairy farm near Winton and run about 500 cows, with a production of 450kg of milk solids/cow.

Mrs Hammond has served two three-year terms and steps down at the annual meeting next month.

“There has been a lot of change during the past six years and it has been an interesting time to be involved. . . 

Rabbit controls efforts to get a boost – ORC – Kerrie Waterworth:

Improvements made to rabbit control measures by the Otago Regional Council are expected to better meet community expectations.

In an update for the council’s implementation committee meeting tomorrow, manager biosecurity and rural liaison Andrea Howard said its biosecurity activities were undergoing a ‘‘transformation’’.

The biosecurity team was at present resourced to deliver only a ‘‘light touch’’ response to implement the regional pest management plan, which affected the council’s ability to meet community expectations, she said.

A fresh approach was now being made, and improvements included the recruitment of three additional fixed-term positions within the biosecurity team, two of which would focus exclusively on the pest programme, Ms Howard said. . .

Efforts to support farmers :

Rural groups are banding together to support farmers dealing with challenging weather conditions in Otago and Southland.

Parts of Southland received almost triple their normal September rainfall, a heavy fall of snow and a further 70mm of rain last week.

The Southland Rural Support Trust is co-ordinating a range of initiatives to help boost farmer morale.

Trust chairwoman Cathie Cotter said the bad weather had occurred during a busy time of the year and was taking a physical and mental toll. . . 

NZ economy gets a shot in the arm (if all goes well) from Fonterra’s revised milk price forecast – Point of Order:

Dairy giant Fonterra  has  lifted  the mid-point of its forecast farmgate milk price range to $6.80kg/MS, up from $6.40,while retaining its current +/-50c per kgMS range.

It’s  a  shot  in the  arm   not  just  for  the   co-op’s  farmer-suppliers  and the  country’s  rural  regions  but also for  the national  economy  as   it   strives  to  recover  from the impact  of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At  a  $6.80  milk price    more than $10bn  will flow   into regional  NZ. . .

LIC shareholders vote to streamline governance, introduce new shareholder reference group:

Shareholders of Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) today voted to update and streamline the governance of the co-operative, including changes to the Board and the role and structure of the Shareholder Council.

A comprehensive two-year review of LIC’s governance and representation structures and processes was undertaken by a working group of directors and shareholder councillors, which made a number of recommendations including replacing the current 21-member Shareholder Council with a smaller, more focused 12-member Shareholder Reference Group. It also proposed a smaller Board, equal weighting of directors across North and South Islands, and streamlined elections so that all elections are held at the Annual Meeting.

The results of voting on these special resolutions was announced following LIC’s Annual Meeting today which was held virtually in light of the restrictions imposed on New Zealand to date under various alert levels as a result of COVID-19. The changes required 75 per cent support from voting shareholders. . .

 

Property with a view for success:

A South Waikato dry stock property offers investors and farmers alike the opportunity to own a high-quality pastoral property central to some of the North Island’s key attractions and cities.

Located in the Tapapa district and nestled against the Kaimai-north Mamaku ranges, the 270ha Pakaraka Road property has been a household name in Romney breeding circles for its intensive breeding programme, run by owner Ross Alexander.

“The Alexander family are certainly well respected in sheep breeding circles and are leaders in Romney breeding on properties exhibiting the highest standards of farming. Ross’s property certainly highlights this,” says Bayleys Waikato salesperson Neville Jacques. . .


Rural round-up

09/10/2020

Tractors take to Gore streets as farmers protest freshwater rules – Rachael Kelly:

Southland farmers have made their feelings about the Government’s new freshwater rules known by clogging Gore’s main street with tractors.

More than 100 machines and some bulk sowers were driven through the town in protest of new rules for farmers, which the Government introduced in September with the aim of improving freshwater quality.

And as the big machines convoyed down the street, many shoppers stopped to watch, and other drivers tooted their horns in support.

It was the first major protest after Southland Federated Farmers president Geoffrey Young called on farmers to boycott the new rules in August. . . 

 

 

 

Balance needed between regulation and innovation – Warwick Catto:

 In recent years, New Zealand’s farmers have found themselves subject to increasingly strict rules and regulations.

These are mainly in terms of how they operate, enforced as a key part of our nation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contamination in our waterways. 

A quick review of the environmental policies announced so far by some of our key political parties, ahead of the election on October 17, suggests that further, harsher restrictions are likely. 

There’s no doubt that our agricultural sector has a vitally important part to play in New Zealand’s response to these key environmental challenges, and overwhelmingly, farmers are more than willing to adapt to meet the standards required of them.  . . 

Spotlight on vet shortage :

While the primary sector has been hailed as a saviour of the New Zealand economy during covid restrictions, a critical shortage of veterinarians and its impact on the primary sector just doesn’t seem to be viewed as important or sexy enough to see border restrictions streamlined.

“We’re led to the conclusion that veterinarians are just not viewed as important, or as sexy as other parts of the economy such as film making, which have seen wholesale exemptions created,” New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) chief executive Kevin Bryant says.

“This is surprising given veterinarians’ essential worker status during lockdown.

“We also understand that exemptions have been granted to build golf courses, build or repair racetracks and for shearers. Surely, veterinarians are at least as important in supporting the economic functioning of the country. . . 

Headwaters sheep ‘definitely superior‘ –

‘‘Being part of The Omega Lamb Project really gives you the best of both worlds,’’ North Otago farmer Ben Douglas says.

Mr Douglas and wife Sarah, and his parents, David and Cindy, farm 6000ha Dome Hills Station, near Danseys Pass.

‘‘My father tried various breeds in the past but we’ve found the Headwaters sheep is definitely superior for our type of farming. We’re very happy with their resilience and their performance. Then you have a whole other side, with the special qualities of the Omega lambs, the omega 3, the good intramuscular fats and the exceptional flavour and texture,’’ he said.

The 100% Headwaters flock was already established at Dome Hills when Mr Douglas returned to the station six years ago, following his university studies and then a banking career in New Zealand and London. . . 

It’s all kosher – Taggart –  David Anderson:

Farmer-owned cooperative Alliance Group says it has already returned $17 million of the $34.3 million it claimed from the Covid-19 wage subsidy.

In a statement to Rural News, Alliance chairman Murray Taggart said the co-op had been “open and upfront” about the wage subsidy.

“We have been in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Social Development about the application of the subsidy and stated from the outset that we would return any funds not used to pay people. In line with that commitment, we have returned $17 million of the subsidy.”

Taggart said the company’s application for the wage subsidy was supported and endorsed by the New Zealand Meat Workers Union. . .

Soil carbon influences climate, farm productivity– Professor Louis Schipper:

In the first of three articles about soil carbon, Prof Louis Schipper from the University of Waikato explains why soil carbon matters to farmers, what influences it and what we currently know about carbon stocks in New Zealand’s pastoral soils.

Soil carbon is one of the most talked-about subjects in agriculture. 

That’s not surprising because carbon-rich soils support vigorous crop and pasture growth, and may be more resilient to stressors such as drought.

Changes in soil carbon stocks over time might also affect the climate.  . . 

Sheep farmers ask industries to make wool ‘first choice’:

Sheep producers are encouraging industries to make wool their choice of fibre as a campaign gets underway to highlight its natural qualities.

The sheep sector is celebrating the start of Wool Week (5 October – 18) today, and farmers are calling on politicians and green activists to back British wool.

The annual event aims to put a spotlight on wool’s natural performance qualities and ecological benefits.

The sector is keen to highlight the fact that fabrics such as polyester, nylon and acrylic are all forms of plastic and make up about 60% of the material that makes up clothes worldwide. . . 


Rural round-up

01/01/2020

South Waikato dairy farmer recognised in New Year honours – Gerald Piddock:

Championing the rights of sharemilkers has seen Tony Wilding recognised in the New Years honours list.

The dairy farmer, who farms at Okoroire in South Waikato, was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work in the dairy industry and the community.

He said his initial reaction when he found out was disbelief. Once it sunk in, he began to realise how special it was.

“I”m pretty delighted and particularly my family who have seen me doing such a lot of stuff that was unpaid for in a lot of areas.” . .

Prices strong, farmers low – report – David Anderson:

Despite generally strong commodity prices, farmer confidence remains at near record lows, according to the latest Agri Focus report from ANZ Bank.

“Confidence at the farm level remains subdued despite returns being near record levels,” the bank’s December 2019 report says.

“Farmers remain concerned as to how future environmental legislation will impact the profitability of their business.”

It adds that dairy land values are also under pressure for the same reason.  . .

LAND CHAMPION: Wool fashions farming’s future– Hugh Stringleman:

New Zealand Merino chief executive John Brakenridge has seen the future of the primary sector and pioneered many of its elements well in advance of most farmers, their processors and exporters.

Few people in NZ can claim the transformation of a primary industry through their life’s work and fewer still have taken the principles uncovered beyond their home industry for the betterment of the sector.

All that has been done by Brakenridge’s ideas, enthusiasm, business relationships and persistence.

The forging of long-term supply contracts between wool growers and apparel brands like . . 

Going green makes money – Jenny Ling:

A Northland farming family is adding value and creating extra income by supplying milk in glass bottles direct to customers. Jenny Ling reports.

Far North sharemilkers Gav Hogarth and Jody Hansen knew they needed a plan B when Fonterra announced a forecast milk payout with a three in front of it.

The couple had been milking their herd of pedigree Jerseys on a conventional, twice-daily milking system for five years at their Kawakawa farm when the dairy co-operative dropped the milk payout from $4.15 a kilogram of milksolids to $3.90 in early 2016. 

“At $3 you’re not making any money and farming is not sustainable at that level,” Gav says.

“The options were either I went back to work or we would have to borrow money to feed the cows,” Jody says. . . 

Contract milking offers opportunities – Pam Tipa:

Contract milking is a good introduction to self-employment, says Northland AgFirst consultant Kim Robinson.

Her advice to young people wanting to go 50/50 sharemilking is, to do one year of contracting milking first.

“Contract milking teaches people how to become self-employed, to run their own businesses . .

Global wardrobe study:

Our wardrobes are growing, which comes as no surprise given fibre production for clothing and the amount of clothes produced, is on the rise. But, like most things in life, we have options. Consumers have the power to choose what they wear and this choice can ultimately have a huge impact on what designers, brands and retailers produce.

For many, it may come as a surprise that our love for clothing is putting a strain on the environment. And with phrases such as “climate crisis” becoming the new normal, it’s time for individuals to pay attention to everyday habits. One small action, as insignificant as it may seem, can cumulatively have enormous impact. From wearing our clothes for longer, doing laundry less frequently, or paying attention to what our clothes are actually made of, consumers have the power to make a difference and influence brands’ business decisions.

This report examines consumer wardrobe and laundry behaviours, offering solutions to help reduce our impact on the environment every day. . . 

 


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