Rural round-up


Successful 2013 Hemp Harvest for Canterbury:

For the twelfth consecutive year, a successful hemp seed harvest has been completed in the heart of New Zealand’s agricultural centre, the Canterbury plains.

In 2001, Oil Seed Extractions (OSE) and Midlands Seed Limited (Midlands) formed a partnership in the production of high quality seed oils and combined forces to work through the legislation surrounding the commercial production of hemp seed.

These two Ashburton businesses have been involved with hemp trials since the first hemp growing licences were issued in September 2001, and despite the high costs to maintain these licences and the related compliance, they continue to grow successful commercial quantities of Hemp seed in New Zealand. . .

Well done Kereru Station – RivettingKateTaylor:

Normally there are hundreds of red four wheelers traversing the countryside at a Hawke’s Bay Farmer of the year field day , but this year we would have needed a couple of days to get around the magnificent Kereru Station.

Kereru Station’s managers Danny and Robyn Angland  have now been added to the list of who’s who in Hawke’s Bay farming circles (the station is owned by two charitable trusts).

It is a 2842ha property (2114ha effective) with six staff, 15,385 sheep and 1586 cattle. . .

Full-scale Fieldays assault on Russia in the works – Andrea Fox:

Russia is poised for a huge change in the way it farms, with big opportunities for New Zealand agribusiness, say sector leaders planning to get a foothold.

National Fieldays is muscling up its job description to advance New Zealand agriculture, organising a presence for New Zealand agribusiness at a large Moscow show in February, while Hamilton’s Gallagher Group is looking for a way to extend its business in Russia to sales to farmers.

Both were part of a trade visit to Russia last month and say they are excited about the potential for New Zealand in helping the Russian government in its push for greater farming efficiency and production of quality protein, particularly dairy, for its population. . .

Strong demand for NZ sheep genetics

One of New Zealand’s larger air shipments of sheep has landed in Australia to meet growing demand for New Zealand sheep genetics.

The world’s largest red meat genetics company, Focus Genetics, flew 100 Primera and Highlander rams across the Tasman, the third shipment in the last 12 months.

Focus Genetics’ Animal breeding specialist Daniel Absolom said demand has been high.

“The demand for our rams in Australia exceeded all initial expectations. The programme is part of a long term plan to establish NZ sheep genetics in the Australian market,” he said. . .

Environmentally aware farmer elected Federated Farmers Golden Bay president

With the retirement of long serving Federated Farmers Golden Bay provincial president, Graham Ball, Collingwood dairy farmer Sue Brown has stepped up to lead the province.

“Graham will be a tough act to follow but I am humbled to be entrusted with my colleague’s faith,” says Sue Brown, Federated Farmers Golden Bay provincial president.

“Golden Bay is an amazing area to farm in being enveloped, as it is, by both Kahurangi and Abel Tasman National Parks. It is a real privilege to be Federated Farmers provincial president in such a special area we are blessed to farm in. . .

New leaders for Sharemilkers and Sharemilker Employers

Twin leadership changes have come about for Federated Farmers Dairy’s Sharemilkers’ and Sharemilker Employers’ sections. Waikato dairy farmer, Tony Wilding, is the new chair of the Employers Section while Tararua farmer, Neil Filer, has been elected chair of the Federation’s Sharemilkers’ Section.

“The sharemilking system has been a fantastic pathway to farm ownership for us and remains so for many others. Yet today I also see more ways to farm ownership,” says Tony Wilding, chairperson of the Federated Farmers Dairy’s Sharemilker Employers’ Section. . .

Feds Farm Day this Sunday


Federated Farmers Farm Day is taking place this Sunday:

On Sunday 18 March 2012, six farms from around New Zealand will open their gates to the public as part of Federated Farmers Farm Day.  Over the last four years more than 12,000 people have visited a farm in their area.
This national event gives urban people a chance to see what goes on behind the farm gate and get a taste of the rural lifestyle. The farms range from  dairy  farms to meat and fibre operations.
This year each of the six participating provinces: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Manawatu, Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty, have organised an array of fun filled activities, ranging from sheep shearing, working dog demonstrations, pony rides, milking demonstrations and scenic farm walks.
Federated Farmers Farm Day is in its fourth year. It was established to bridge the urban rural divide, giving both groups a chance to come together.

Farming is full of pleasant surprises and even more pleasant people, like Sue Brown, Federated Farmers Golden Bay Dairy chair. For establishing a farmer-led catchment project to improve water quality, Sue has just become a Landcare Ambassador for the NZ Landcare Trust. Water also links another Landcare ambassador, Andrew Hayes. Together with his wife Jenny, the Hayes invested substantial time and effort to improve peat lakes on their Waikato farm. This work also saw them win the Ministry for the Environment’s 2007 Green Ribbon Award for Rural Sustainability.

Right now, the regional finals for the Ballance Farm Environment Awards, New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards and Young Farmers are all underway. Farmers rightly ask why such positive initiatives aren’t being rewarded with greater media attention. Bad news sells but too much of the negative creates unhelpful stereotypes. It’s time for balance.

Farm Day is our direct appeal to you, the public, to see farming for yourselves. We want to challenge stereotypes by giving you the chance to ask farmers how we manage nutrients and what we do with water. Ask whatever you like about animal welfare while seeing real farms in action. If you happen to be near Wellington, tap me on the shoulder at the Battle Hill Regional Park in Pauatahaui.

Sure we have some ratbags in our industry but it’s my hope people will go away surprised by how ‘green’ most farmers genuinely are. Only last month, 550 people attended the inaugural Canterbury Dairy Effluent Expo in Christchurch. Getting 550 people to any event is big, but one specifically on dairy effluent management? At DairyLink events in the Manawatu, which Federated Farmers is part of, water quality scientist Shirley Hayward is helping farmers to boost productivity while reducing their environmental footprint. Farmers take this seriously.

It’s so easy to forget that the bad news we see in the media is there because it is news while the good news stories, farmers looking after their stock well, improving their farms, taking care of soil and water, aren’t news because that’s what most do, day in and day out.

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