Rural round-up

July 15, 2019

Mystery chopper hangs over stock – Neal Wallace:

Southland farmers are feeling under siege by campaigns believed to be by animal welfare and environmental activists questioning intensive livestock wintering practices.

There have been multiple reports in recent weeks of a helicopter with a camera on the front hovering over stock being wintered on crops in various parts of the province.

Separately, Waikato businessman Angus Robson has confirmed he plans to travel to Southland as part of a campaign highlighting questionable wintering practices. . .

Bacteria key to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from sheep – Esther Taunton:

New Zealand scientists have singled out the microbes responsible for producing methane in sheep, a discovery which could help reduce emissions from livestock.

Scientists from AgResearch and Otago University are part of a global team that has identified processes that control methane production in sheep and other ruminant animals like cattle and deer.

As well as identifying gut bacteria which produce hydrogen during digestion in sheep, the researchers discovered which organisms feed on that hydrogen in the production of methane.  . .

New NOIC chief executive – Sally Brooker:

Andrew Rodwell brings international leadership experience to his new job as chief executive of the North Otago Irrigation Company.

He has replaced Robyn Wells, who spent nearly nine years in the role.

Mr Rodwell has a BSc from Canterbury University and a finance diploma from Auckland University’s Graduate School of Business.

As New Zealand’s trade commissioner in Los Angeles he focused on food and agritech, then formed and led a United States subsidiary for Telecom New Zealand. . .

Beekeeper buzzing after honey medals – Richard Davison:

A South Otago beekeeper is enjoying a sweet buzz after flying high at the country’s top honey awards.

Allen McCaw, of Milburn Apiaries near Milton, received the Supreme Award at the ApiNZ National Honey Competition in Rotorua recently, after hauling in two golds, a silver and a bronze medal for his creamed honey entries.

Although he and wife Maria were now working towards retirement, he still enjoyed competing with the honey from his ”cottage” factory to the rear of the couple’s 6.5ha smallholding on State Highway 1, Mr McCaw (69) said. . .

Young Farmers posts big loss – Colin Williscroft:

A one-off gift let Young Farmers record a surplus for its latest financial year instead of a significant loss.

The organisation reported a profit of $4.61 million for the year ending September 30, 2018.

But that was because it was bequeathed a farm valued at $5.5m. 

Its trading results show losses of about $900,000 for the year though chief executive Lynda Coppersmith is confident the organisation is on the right track to ensure that won’t happen again. . .

Stratford shearer Gavin Mutch wins for Scotland at world championships – Mike Watson:

Stratford shearer Gavin Mutch returned to the podium at the world shearing championships in France.

The Scottish-born shearer combined with compatriot Calum Shaw to win the teams’ event at the championships in Le Dorat, western France, at the weekend.

​Mutch and Shaw finished ahead of Welsh pairing Alun Lloyd Jones and Richard Jones, and New Zealand’s Cam Ferguson and Rowland Smith, who were third. . .


Rural round-up

June 18, 2019

Concerns in Whanganui that billion trees protagonists can’t see the wood for the trees – Iain Hyndman:

Blanket planting of tree has put mainstream farming and rural communities at risk.

The relentless march to plant a billion trees brings with it dire consequences for mainstream New Zealand agriculture.

The very real fear is that those leading the charge simply can’t see the wood for the trees.

A growing groundswell of opinion suggests the negatives of blanket planting trees far outweigh the positives and these voices are coming from farmers and even rural real estate agents themselves. . .

Mavis Mullins’ journey from shearing shed to boardroom:

New Zealand Business Hall of Famer Mavis Mullins’ life has been a fascinating journey from a shearing shed on the outskirts of Dannevirke to multiple governance role and collecting an MBA along the way. Her CV is extensive, there’s the family business Paewai Mullins Shearing and wool industry offshoot Wool Systems, but also her governance roles include Landcorp, Health boards, Massey University Council, the Maori business development trust Poutama and the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. . . 

Making small herd farming a team effort – Louise Hanlon:

Keith and Tracey Crawford began their dairy careers with big dreams of farm ownership, then still a highly achievable goal for a determined young couple.

“Keith went dairy farming when he left school” says Tracey Crawford. “I left school and worked as a microbiologist at the dairy company.

“When we got married in 1986 we decided to go on the path of 29%, 39%, 50:50. We were pretty fortunate that we got to do all those stepping stones to set us up 50:50.”

A&P Society sets up Northland farm cadet scheme :

In a modern twist on the old farm cadet scheme, Whangārei A&P Society is developing a new live-in, on-farm training initiative to help grow future farmers.

The A&P Society has committed a seeding fund to establish a programme which will focus on providing job-ready Northland interns with the right skills and attitudes.

The society’s president, Murray Jagger, said the Farm Intern Programme is a reinvention of former on-farm learning models.

The aim is for graduates of the two-year training scheme to come out with Levels 2, 3 and 4 New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture, and with practical experience and life skills that make them employable in the industry while also being ”good” citizens. . . 

Farm debt mediation a useful tool – Feds:

Federated Farmers supports the Government’s decision to proceed with a Farm Debt Mediation Bill.

The proposed legislation will require creditors to offer mediation to farmers who default on payments before they take enforcement action and it will allow farmers to initiate mediation.

“Federated Farmers is in favour of this,” Feds Vice-President and commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard says. . . .

Fieldays enables real conversations – Dr Paul Le Mière:

Fieldays is an opportunity for Federated Farmers to get some valuable face-to-face time with its members, writes North Island Regional Policy Manager Dr Paul Le Mière.

Getting to the heart of the matter is what we at Federated Farmers are about.

Federated Farmers is at the National Agricultural Fieldays this week.

It’s New Zealand’s biggest agricultural show and for me it is always a great chance to have a good chat to farmers from around the country, and sometimes beyond, about what is happening in their patch.

It is also a good opportunity for all farmers to find out a bit more about what is going on in their industry and what issues and opportunities are coming their way. . .

Rancher refutes Impossible Burger criticisms of regenerative grazing, invites CEO to leave his lab and visit a real farm

Will Harris, a fourth-generation farmer-rancher in Bluffton, Georgia, called out Impossible Burger for claims the company made today that regenerative grazing is “not sustainable at scale,” and that grassfed beef “generates more GHGs than feedlot beef.”

Harris responded to Impossible Burger’s claims with this statement:

“As an independent professional rancher, who has practiced regenerative land management on our family farm for more than 20 years, I can state unequivocally that Impossible Burger’s claims about regenerative grazing are incorrect. . . 


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