Rural round-up

May 28, 2015

Surveyor believes in power of cooperative model, but says it’s up to farmers – Allan Barber:

Four months into his new job as CEO of Alliance, David Surveyor is really loving the challenge of heading a global business which is so crucial to farmers, consumers and New Zealand as a whole. He has always been interested in the agrifood space, as he terms it, and enjoys getting to know New Zealand through its agricultural producers.

In contrast with his previous roles in steel and building materials, the biggest difference in the meat industry is the question of livestock supply with so many factors outside the company’s control. Variable climatic conditions and land use change are just two of the main ones. At Alliance its cooperative status demands a lot of time seeing things from the supplier perspective which is not such a major factor in manufacturing industries, while all meat companies need to spend more time focused on the market. . .

Positive Signs Ahead as Farmers Look to Put Season Behind Them:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said Farmers will be cautiously optimistic following today’s announcement by Fonterra of an opening forecast Milk Price for the 2015/16 season of $5.25 per kg/MS, including an opening advance rate of $3.66 per kg/MS.

Mr Brown: “Farmers will view next season’s forecast as a positive given the situation we have experienced this past season.

“They will also see the announcement as a signal from their Board that the market should start to move in a positive direction in the near future, which is welcome news. . .

Fonterra Announces Board Change:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced that Sir Ralph Norris has indicated he will not seek to continue his term on the Fonterra Board, following the Co-operative’s Annual Meeting on 25 November 2015.

Sir Ralph joined the Board in May 2012 as an Independent Director, and made this decision because of his other commitments.

Sir Ralph is also resigning from the Board of the Manager of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, from 25 November 2015. . . 

Funding bost for Irrigation Acceleration Fund:

Irrigation projects will receive a kick-start of $25 million in operating funding for five years from 2016/17 through the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF), Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“This funding will help to complete the investigation and development of new regional scale irrigation proposals,” says Mr Guy.

“The need for more water storage projects is obvious given that nearly every part of the country has suffered through drought at some stage over the past three years.

“Providing a reliable water supply for farmers and growers has massive potential to boost growth, creating jobs and exports in provincial regions.” . . .

New Zealand National Party's photo.

Call for more water storage heard by Government – more funding allocated:

IrrigationNZ today welcomed the post budget announcement by Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, of a $25 million allocation of new funding to the Irrigation Acceleration Fund.

“This will boost the development stages of water storage and irrigation distribution infrastructure, which is desperately needed in our summer dry east coast regions. Reliable water supply will sustain communities and maintain the environmental health of their rivers,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ Chair.

“With additional IAF funds contributing to the early stages of this infrastructure development, it will be essential that RMA process reforms that empower collaboration also occur so that the funds do not go to waste,” says Mrs Hyslop. . .

Choice of chair underlines importance of forest safety:

A safety council has been set-up, chaired by Dame Alison Paterson, to make forests safer places to work. Establishing the council was a key recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel that reviewed forest safety in 2014.

The Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) was launched tonight at a function at parliament. Its board includes representatives of forest owners, contractors, workers, unions and Worksafe New Zealand. Funding will come from the Forest Grower Levy and from government – ACC and Worksafe. . .

Kanuka right at home on winning farm – Kate Taylor:

Kanuka is very much part of our landscape, says Simon Beamish, who with wife Josi was named the 2015 Pan Pac Hawke’s Bay Farm Forester of the Year in April.

They farm alongside the Ngaruroro River that slices between the Kaweka and Ruahine ranges in Hawke’s Bay, west of Hastings, with the farm rising to 690 metres above sea level.

Their 1121ha Awapai and 992ha Waitata properties have been owned by the Beamish family for almost 130 years. They were both part of the original Whanawhana block leased and then freeholded by Simon’s great great grandfather Nathaniel Beamish in 1886. Nathaniel’s son George was sent up to manage the block of land at the young age of 18. . .

Cervena venison piloted in Europe:

New Zealand venison exporters have started a trial to test the appetite of European consumers for Cervena venison in the summer grilling season.

The trial, which began in April, is part of the Passion2Profit initiative that was formally launched today at the Deer Industry Conference in Napier. P2P is a joint venture between the deer industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Primary Growth Partnership programme.

“We are really excited that this pilot is underway. Launching Cervena in Europe has been talked about in the deer industry for many years, but it needs careful branding and substantial promotional support to make it a sales success,” says DINZ venison manager Innes Moffat. . .

Horticulture’s future may lay with city slickers:

Increasing urbanisation means more support for initiatives like the ‘NZ Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’ is needed to encourage fresh talent into primary industries, like horticulture, to sustain this country’s edge as a top quality food producer.

The horticultural industry has a bright future and is fundamentally important to New Zealand’s economy, but the fact that more than 85 per cent of kids under 15* now live in urban areas is prompting some of the country’s top companies to throw their weight behind career awareness and development initiatives in the sector. . .

Rural Connectivity Symposium 2015 gets underway today:

After months of planning TUANZ and RHAANZ are delighted to announce that the Rural Connectivity Symposium kicks off in Wellington today.

“The event has sold out with over 150 people attending. The Symposium will be opened by the Communications Minister, The Hon. Amy Adams and has been well supported by sponsors across the health and ICT spectrum” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.

“Rural satellite service provider, Wireless Nation, is the premier sponsor for our one-day event, which is a mixture of presentations and workshops.” . .

New dairy mineral blend ticks all the boxes:

As mineral deficiencies continue to cost dairy farmers time, money, livestock and lost production, a unique new mineral blend is offering a comprehensive, cost-effective solution.

Developed specifically for New Zealand dairying by BEC Feed Solutions, Main Stay Macro Minerals, delivers key nutritional minerals in a convenient, palatable, accurate and dust-free blend. And, because it incorporates the revolutionary Bolifor Mag 33 and MGP+ Magnesium products, farmers won’t have to worry about pasture dusting again, consequently saving valuable time and labour costs. . .


Rural round-up

September 4, 2014

New Season Looking Positive for Sheep And Beef Farmers:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmers can look forward to a positive 2014-15 season, according to analysis released by Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service today.

B+LNZ Economic Service executive director, Rob Davison says the season’s favourable climatic conditions so far, expected higher product prices and a more export-friendly exchange rate collectively translate to improved returns for the country’s sheep and beef farmers.

New Season Outlook 2014-15 predicts the average sheep and beef farm profit before tax will increase 8.0 per cent on last season, to $110,800.

Mr Davison says a 6.3 per cent lift in sheep revenue is largely responsible for the increase, while total farm expenditure should only rise by an average of 2.3 per cent. . .

 Unravelling the schedule gap between North and South Islands – Allan Barber:

Every year when livestock numbers pass their peak in the North Island, there is a constant stream of trucks carting stock across the Cook Strait to plants for slaughter. There are two obvious reasons for this – either there isn’t enough South Island capacity at the time or the cost of procurement plus transport is less than the price in the North Island.

 These two explanations are two sides of the same coin, because there is no need for South Island processors to pay more than they have to when their plants are full. This is even more evident from the species with the largest price gap which is cull cows, possibly wider than it has ever been. However there is absolutely no point in paying dairy farmers over the odds for what is a fully depreciated asset they have to get rid of. . . .

Rock Lobster Industry Welcomes Prime Minister’s Pledge of Farmland Buffer Zones:

The New Zealand Rock Lobster Industry Council has today praised the National Party pledge to spend $100 million over 10 years to buy and retire farmland next to waterways to provide a buffer and improve water quality.

The pledge was made by Prime Minister John Key in Southland this morning.

Rock Lobster Executive Officer Daryl Sykes says the National Party pledge represents an appropriate recognition of the quality and integrity of private property rights and invokes market mechanisms to resolve concerns about the natural environment. . .

Independent Inquiry Welcomes Fonterra Progress:

The Independent Inquiry Committee which reviewed the circumstances giving rise to the precautionary recall of whey protein concentrate (WPC80) last year has welcomed Fonterra’s progress on implementing recommended improvements.

The Committee completed a nine-month checkpoint on Fonterra’s progress which itself was one of the Committee’s recommendations.

Committee Chair Sir Ralph Norris said the Co-operative’s leadership had taken responsible measures to distil the Inquiry’s recommendations into a significant programme of work. . . .

 Seeka offers kiwifruit growers share incentive in exchange for trays – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, the fruit grower and coolstore and packhouse operator, is looking to secure kiwifruit supply over the next three years by offering growers shares in return for exclusive supply from their orchards.

Under the growers incentive scheme eligible growers will be issued new shares annually in proportion to the number of trays provided, at a rate of 10 cents worth of shares to every tray, until 2016, the Te Puke-based company said in statement. Seeka shares were unchanged near a five-year high at $3.29 on the NZX and have gained 57 percent this year.

Local kiwifruit growers have been struggling with the outbreak of Pseudomonas syringae PV actinidiae in 2010, which infected about 40 percent of the nation’s orchards, with gold fruit varieties hardest hit. Seeka expects the gold market to double in 2015 once re-grafted SunGold orchards reach commercial volume. . . .

Rural Equities doubles annual profit on record milk production and prices – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, doubled annual profit and lifted its dividend 17 percent on the back of record dairy production and prices.

Profit rose to $24 million in the 12 months ended June 30, up from $10.9 million a year earlier, the Hastings-based company said in a statement. Operating earnings before interest and tax doubled to $6.43 million from $3.33 million, as its six dairy farms produced a record 1.67 million kilograms of milk solids and the price of dairy products soared.

Production at its three Waikato farms benefited from rising beef, lamb and wool prices, and “contributed materially to increased earnings,” the company said. . . .

Oz turns to selfies in free trade bid:

AUSTRALIAN DAIRY Farmers (ADF) have launched a selfie campaign to push for a China free trade agreement which they say will put them on an equal footing with New Zealand farmers.

 It says the campaign had reached 1.6 million Twitter users by today, September 2. ADF is urging all Australians to get behind its #FTA4dairy ‘selfie’ campaign to help secure a China-Australia free trade agreement (FTA) which could see $30 million in tariff savings per year placed back into the pockets of Australians.

Showing your support is as simple as uploading a #FTA4dairy selfie holding up a postive message, and posting it online incorporating the #FTA4dairy and #FTA4farmers hashtags, the group says. . .

The Campaign for Wool partners with the Harris Tweed Ride:

On Sunday 31st August, tweed clad ladies and gents from all over Scotland gathered outside the luxury Blythswood Square Hotel for the annual Harris Tweed ride, this year in partnership with the Campaign for Wool.

The Harris Tweed ride has continued to become increasingly popular with this year’s ride being no exception. Over 120 cyclists and wool lovers took part in the ride covering Glasgow Green and Kelvingrove Park taking in some of Glasgow’s most iconic sites as well as guiding riders past some of Glasgow’s top dining establishments. . .

 

 


Fonterra adds expertise to inquiry panel

August 15, 2013

Fonterra has added more expertise to the panel inquiring in to the contaminated whey protein concentrate.

An independent inquiry into the circumstances of quality issues with a whey protein concentrate (WPC80), announced by Fonterra’s Board early this week, is now underway.

Inquiry Chairman and Fonterra Independent Director Sir Ralph Norris said the first Inquiry Committee meeting held yesterday had confirmed terms of reference for the Inquiry and noted the appointment by the Fonterra Board of a further independent member – Professor Stuart McCutcheon, Vice Chancellor of the University of Auckland – who will join the Committee, effective immediately.

“Professor McCutcheon is a respected New Zealander whose independence, strong credentials as a scientist, and governance experience will further ensure the Inquiry is conducted at the right level and addresses the right questions without fear or favour,” Sir Ralph said.

Professor McCutcheon holds a PhD, has completed post-doctoral work as a Harkness fellow at Cornell University and published extensively in the fields of endocrinology and metabolic physiology. He is a previous Director of the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research and is presently Chair of the Universities New Zealand Research Committee.

Professor McCutcheon joins retired High Court Judge Dame Judith Potter as the two independent members on the committee, alongside five Fonterra Directors, and Chapman Tripp QC, Jack Hodder, who is undertaking a review of events for the committee.

To assist with technical aspects of this review the WPC80 Inquiry Committee has also confirmed the appointment of an international expert on the manufacturing and safety of foods and food components. He is Jacob Heida, an expert in whey production processes and standards for infant food ingredients and current member of the Disciplinary Committee of the Netherlands Controlling Authority for Milk and Milk Products. . .

This is a high-powered and well qualified group and it needs to be to reassure shareholders, customers and the public.

The inquiry is expected to take about six weeks.


Fonterra inquiry team includes external members

August 12, 2013

Fonterra’s inquiry into the whey protein concentrate contamination will include two people from outside the company.

Today Fonterra Chairman John Wilson announced that Fonterra’s Board has established the WPC80 Inquiry Committee, and charged them to oversee an independent review into the circumstances giving rise to the affected whey protein concentrate (WPC80) and subsequent chain of events.

Mr Wilson said he had complete confidence that Fonterra’s CEO, Theo Spierings, had made the right decisions and is continuing to do everything to manage this complex issue, but that there are serious lessons that need to be learnt.

“It is critical that we identify these lessons quickly so our farmers, governments, customers, consumers and unit holders can again have full confidence in Fonterra and its products.

“With this in mind, the Board has confirmed the Committee will be chaired by Independent Director, Sir Ralph Norris, and will include two external independent members who are not Fonterra board members.”

The Committee is comprised of:
·         Sir Ralph Norris (chair) – Independent Director
·         Simon Israel – Independent Director
·         Dame Judith Potter – External Independent Member
·         Blue Read – Farmer Elected Director
·         Nicola Shadbolt – Farmer Elected Director
·         John Waller – Independent Director

An eminent and respected scientist will also be appointed to the Committee over the coming days as the second independent member.

Commenting specifically on Dame Judith Potter, a retired High Court judge and fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, Mr Wilson said that her appointment to the Committee demonstrates the Co-operative’s commitment to a full and independent inquiry.

“Dame Judith brings with her a breadth of legal, judicial and board experience, and a reputation for being decisive and commercially astute.”

The Committee has appointed Jack Hodder, QC of Chapman Tripp, to undertake the review into the events leading up to and following the WPC80 concerns. Mr Hodder will  report back  to the Committee.

As part of this, Mr Hodder will have access to all necessary independent experts and advisers, and the WPC80 Inquiry Committee is currently seeking an internationally recognised industry expert on the manufacturing and safety of foods to work alongside Mr Hodder.

“The inquiry will start immediately and it is the Board’s intention to have it completed within six weeks. However, the emphasis will be on a full and thorough investigation.

“The Board has given the Committee a far-reaching remit. It will not only review the circumstances and principle decision points relating to the affected WPC80 product, it will also look more broadly at Fonterra’s business procedures, systems and practices,” Mr Wilson said.

Two well qualified external members, three independent directors and two farmer elected ones provide a good mix for the committee.

A full inquiry into not just the contamination and how it was handled but the broader view of the company’s procedures, systems and practices is necessary to find out exactly what went wrong and why it was so badly handled.

Only then will the company be able to improve what it does and how it does it and from that foundation rebuild its reputation.


Fonterra chair stepping down

November 17, 2011

Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden has announced he will step down as chair at the company’s AGM next year.

The board has also appointed a new director, Sir Ralph Norris, who is retiring as chief executive of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.


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