Penno & Rowath Feds Agribusiness winners

July 4, 2009

Dr John Penno, chief executive of Synlait is the winner of Federated Farmers’ inaugural Agribusiness Person of the Year Award.

The inaugural Agribusiness Personality of the Year title went to Professor Jacqueline Rowath of Massey University.

Feederated Farmers president Don Nicolson said:

“Dr Penno has been described as a ‘milk maverick’ but is Federated Farmers kind of maverick.  Synlait’s business model is revolutionary as it controls supply from the grass right through to finished product.

“Just as impressive is Professor Jacqueline Rowarth, Federated Farmers first Agricultural Personality of the Year. If you could bottle intellect, passion, dedication and charm, Massey University’s Professor Rowarth has it all and much more beside.

“As Director of Agriculture, Professor Rowarth is an inspiration to students and to farmers.  Quite simply put, she ought to be on television with her upbeat and positive conviction that agriculture is an overwhelming force for good,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

The Agribusiness Person of the Year was sponsored by gen-I and the Personality title was sponsored by Ravensdown.

Recognising agribusiness achievement and personality in this way is a great idea from Feds.

This is Penno’s second award in a week. He was one of seven people awarded Sir Peter Blake leadership awards. The Bull Pen has more on that here.


Bloke behind bird song bags Old Blue

June 26, 2009

Wildlife film maker and sound recorder John Kendrick, the man who initiated National Radio’s bird calls has been awarded an Old Blue.

That’s the Forest and Bird Society’s highest award.

Sean Plunket’s interviewed him on Morning Report today.

Philippa Stevenson has more information, inclduing a photo of the kokako which Kendrick says has his favourite bird song, at The Bull Pen.


MAF’s meat future

June 24, 2009

There’s a brighter future ahead for the sheep meat and beef industry a report into the sector by the Ministry of Agriculture found.

It drew on the views of people in the sector to look at opportunities and challenges in the next 10 to 15 years and concluded:

Despite the obvious challenges that the sector faces over the next 10 to 15 years, this study has identified a general positive slant to people’s perception of the industry’s future. It is clear though that this rosy outlook will not be achieved through inaction or simply “carrying on as normal”.  New Zealand has a comparative advantage across much of the value chain. Leadership, vision and action are required from the sector to ensure this comparative advantage delivers a successful and sustainable industry into the future.

 

One point everyone who thinks they have a solution for the meat industry overlooks is that it comprises many competing parts.

The processing sector alone includes co-operatives, private companies and public ones. No-one can impose anything on them and too much co-operation between them could risk attracting accusations of collusion.

 Fonterra was held up as a shining example of what the meat industry could aspire to, although I’m not so sure it’s regarded quite so highly now. But milk and meat are very different products.

Dairy farmers have to sign up for a season and their  milk has to be collected every day.

Sheep and beef farmers have more licence and more choice. That gives them a lot of power when there’s a lot of feed but can leave them in trouble in difficult seasons.

There isn’t an easy answer for the sector, especially when a decline in the sheep numbers has led to excess killing capacity.

But those looking for improvements should start by looking back because solutions which didn’t work in the past aren’t likely to work in the future either.

The Bull Pen has a related post on the report.


Did you see the one about . . .

May 30, 2009

Recessions don’t hurt everyone at The Visible Hand in Economics

The Wesleys 1 at Musty Moments (numbers 2 -6 are also funny) Hat Tip: found via My First Dictionary at Kiwiblog

Cow breeding 101  at Kismet Farm

A New Zealnder opened a bank account today  at Watching Brief

Wondering at Craft is the New Black

Conversation wiht Myself about Obesity at Dim Post

Road Code Politics at MacDoctor

10 feminist motherhood questions from Blue Milk at In A Strange Land

Sommat Better at The Bull Pen

Extra-Ordinary at Bowalley Road

In which my cake geekery reaches new levels at The Hand Mirror


Pigs in Muckraking – Updated & Updated again

May 18, 2009

When a television show gives only one side of a story, I wonder what the other side would say.

I don’t know enough to comment on the issues of pig farming which were raised in last night’s Sunday programme but Farmgirl is better informed and brings some balance to the story.

Good journalism requires balance. Sunday should have given the farmers an opportunity to give their side of the story and it would have helped to have a vet’s point of view too.

There are no excuses for mistreating animals and saying it happens elsewhere is no excuse for cruelty. But nothing is gained for animal welfare if the pork industry here is killed and replaced by meat from overseas where pig farming practices are no better and possibly even worse.

UPDATE:

Minister of Agriculture David Carter has asked animal campaigners to reveal the location of the pig farm shown on Sunday.

“If SAFE has the welfare of these animals at heart, it needs to provide details of the property today so the authorities can the take appropriate action.  I have asked MAF to undertake an inspection as soon as we know the farm’s location,” Mr Carter said.

That is a very sensible response because MAF can’t do anything until they know where the property is.

It raises the question of why SAFE hasn’t already gone to the authorities and any further delay in doing so would suggest they care more about publicity for their campaign than the welfare of the pigs.

UPDATE 2: The Bull Pen has more with King hit on pig farming.

UPDATE 2: Keeping Stock posts on SAFE pork , highlighting a story from the NZ Herald which says SAFE is refusing to identify the farm.

When asked by nzherald.co.nz if that was due to publicity, Mr Kriek said yes.

I’m not going to give you all the details of our strategy, which is a very sound one,” Mr Kriek said.

The organisation which is supposed to save animals from exploitation is exploiting animals by putting publicity before the pigs.


Carter questions court action – Updated

May 15, 2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter is questioning Fish & Game’s leadership  after its failed attempt to gain public access to pastoral lease land.

“I seriously question the use of hunting and fishing licensing fees in taking this action, and I will be discussing this further with the Minister of Conservation.

“I am concerned this divisive action was taken when there was no foundation for Fish and Game’s claim for greater public access to high country stations.

“A pastoral lease gives the runholder the right to say who has access to their leasehold land. This is no different from private property owners,” says Mr Carter.

“The fundamental duty of Fish and Game is to advocate for hunters and fishers, and to help enhance their relationship with rural landowners. . . “

How refreshing to have a Minister who stands up for farmers and rightly questions whether Fish and Game should be using licence fees for its political and litigious campaigns.

Anecdotal evidence from hunters and fishers suggest the Minister is more in touch with their concerns than the body their licence fees funds.

This misguided court action was expensive for licence holders, tax payers and farmers and it’s not just money but goodwill that was wasted.

UPDATE:

Federated Farmers said the court action was a disaster:

The challenge was a failed attempt to by-pass all the work associated with walking access and it is a spiteful and damaging waste of the fishing and hunting license fee money. . .

“This decision brings relief for affected High Country farming families, as they now know Fish & Game members won’t be entitled to walk all over them,” says Donald Aubrey, Federated Farmers High Country chairman.

Both Federated Farmers and the High Country Accord played an instrumental role in the formation and development of the Walking Access Commission.

“We have contributed positively to the development of rules for public access that give pastoral leaseholders and their families security and certainty. Meanwhile, Fish & Game’s Executive has sadly played nothing but a negative and destructive role. . .

“High Country pastoral leases impose strict conditions on us as farmers. The judgment acknowledges that leaseholders are responsible for much more than just grass.

“It’s only right that farmers have the ability to control and manage access to such land. This decision enables pastoral leaseholders to operate a business and maintain authority over their property rights contained in their leases. 

“The High Court’s judgement also recognises that pastoral leaseholders perform a stewardship role. In other words, we farm with the High Country and not against it. . .

“Fish & Game chief executive, Bryce Johnston, now needs to take a long hard long look at his and his Council’s decision to waste a vast amount of license fee money on this challenge.

“Federated Farmers consider it also time for the Government to look at the legislative privilege that enables Fish & Game to fund such frivolous litigation. This inappropriate use of license fee money should not go unchecked by Government,” Mr Aubrey concluded.

High Country Accord chair Jonathon Wallis issued a media release in which he asked if the action was a misuse of funds.

“Not just the huge amount of money farmers have been forced to direct into these proceedings away from rejuvenating our economy through expanding and maintaining agricultural production, but both the vast amount of tax payer funds that went into jointly defending it and the allocation of precious funds more commonly used for the protection and establishment of habitat for our fish and game.”

“The latter are funds generated by the sale of Fish and Game licenses sold to hunters and anglers who for almost a century have respected the goodwill and relationships established between farmers and recreationalists regardless of it being a matter of privilege as opposed to right.”

“The question also has to be asked whether this was not just a personal crusade by an executive distorted from the opinion of the general membership of Fish and Game itself.”

Wallis said he allowed licensed duck shooters on to his property on opening morning because he wasn’t blaming them for the actions of the national council.

Alf Grumble and The Bull Pen also post on the issue.


Talk about laugh, Trev

April 1, 2009

Well those who got the April Fools Day jokes laughed, others – like the friend who walked up six flights of stairs because she believed the sign that said the lift would be out of action until noon – weren’t so amused.

The Bull Pen reported wired muso-farmers stage come back

Interest.Co found NZ economists revert to busking to replace bonuses

Bits on the Side spottted you April Fool tube

Kiwiblog  contributed to an outbreak in raised blood perssure – and got mentions on Newztalk ZB  & RadioNZ with National to Appoint Cullen as Reserve Bank Governor

Whaleoil announced Worth to be sacked, Brash to stand in Mt Albert  and found out he had fans when he said that’s it

At Frogblog Greens went off-road off site, then decided to ban the Easter bunny  and invited Winston on board

TV3 reports big business adopts April Fools Day as its own

And it wasn’t an April Fools joke – but someone was having a laugh at the expense of a couple of Labour MPs when they set up Twitter accounts and registered as followers of Keeping Stock. 

If I missed one, please leave a link in comments.


What’s not to love?

March 27, 2009

In spite of the findings of the UMR survey  which found most rural people are happier with where they live that those in towns and cities, rural life isn’t for everyone.

A rural real estate agent told me she loves lifestyle blocks because people who buy them stay an average of three or four years then decide it’s not for them and put the property on the market again.

Some are put off when rosey dreams or rustic romance are thwarted by rural realities, like the former city slickers who was upset by what she thought was porn in the paddock. Some just find it’s not what they thought it would be.

 But for others, like Bevan and Sharon Shannon who moved from a 17th floor flat in Battersea, London to Eketahuna,  the transition from city to country more than lives up to expectations.

 I’ve lived in town and country – from Great Mercury Island with a then human population of nine , to London and enjoyed them all because it’s not just where you are but what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with that contributes to making you happy.

But, that said,  while I enjoy visiting towns and cities I’d prefer to live in the country and I think those of us who live in this part of the world are especially blessed.

Not convinced? Just look at at Peter Young’s  brilliant scenes of rural New Zealand and tell me what’s not to love:

 Hat Tip: Bull Pen


Rural voices in the blogosphere

February 11, 2009

Agriculture Minister David Carter has joined the blogosphere at Over The Fence  ,  it’s good to not only have a blogging minister but another rural voice.

I’ve recently discovered another rural blogs: Kismet Farm.

Others who give a rural perspective on the blogosphere are:

Agridata

Alf Grumble MP

Bull Pen 

RivettingKate Taylor

2B Sophora

I’ve also just discovered Half Pie who isn’t rural, but he was a country boy.

If you write, or know of, any other rural blogs, I’d appreciate you leaving the web address in the comments.

Hat Tips: Kiwiblog & Lindsay Mitchell.


So many blogs . . .

January 16, 2009

Oh dear, I don’t need any more excuses for work avoidance but Inquiring Mind  has pointed me to Alf Grumble, the long-serving, hard working and obviously modest MP for Eketahuna North who has been driven to blogging by the MSM’s failure to notice him.

I’m delighted to have another provincial/rural voice in the blogosphere. While I still chortle over John Clark’s skit A Mystery in Eketahuna,  and have passed through the town I’m not familiar with Alf’s electorate and have to confess I didn’t realise he was in the National caucus although this post  suggests he is.

Somewhat further to the left, and without Alf’s sense of humour, is another newish blog, Kiwipolitico which has joined my list of daily reads. Today Anita is wanting to know who took down Winston?

For something usually sans politics but with plenty of humour, Laughykate is also worth a regular check.

Where poetry stars on Homepaddock on the last day of the working week, it’s Friday Frocks  over at Craft Is The New Black  (and who couldn’t like someone adicted to presents, chocolates, cherries and sun?).

On the subject of delicious things, Bitsontheside has discovered chocolate pencils.

Back to matters rural, The Bull Pen  is another must-read.


Ag commodities down but will lead 2009 rebound

December 4, 2008

The ANZ Commodities Price Index fell 7.2% in November, contributing to a 21% fall in four months.

Prices for dairy products fell 12% and have almost halved from their record levels a year ago. Prices for pelts tumbled 41%, the biggest decline among products tracked in the index. Beef, wool, lumber and aluminium all fell more than 10%. Seafood prices dropped for the first time in 18 months, sliding 0.6%. Lamb rose 4.3% and kiwifruit gained 0.3%.

Producers were cushioned from the slide in commodity prices by the weakening New Zealand dollar and the ANZ New Zealand Dollar Commodity Price Index was down only 1.8% in the latest month.

“Although the currency softened further in the month, it failed to match the drop in value of the commodities that we monitor,” ANZ economist Steve Edwards said in a statement. “It is clear that a weaker currency is acting as a buffer to falling commodity prices.”

Prices in yesterday’s on-line auction by Fonterra continued to slide with an average price of $4203.50 ($US2223) a tonne, 14% lower than last month’s auction and a fall of 49% since July.

Fonterra commercial director of GlobalTrade Guy Roper said the economic crisis had resulted in a significant drop in the demand for dairy commodities and a continued decline in prices had been expected.

“There will continue to be downward pressure on prices, until either the supply of product declines, or buyers have confidence that the global economic situation will improve,” Roper said.

Fonterra has been criticised for its auction which some feel is leading the market down. The Bull Pen disucsses that here.

However, the news isn’t all bad. Stock & Land  expects agricultural commodities to rebound next year.

After the dust settles from the sell off across commodities triggered by the global financial crisis, agricultural commodities will benefit from a secure demand outlook and tight supplies to outperform metals and oil in 2009.
Regardless of the gloomy macroeconomic outlook people still need to eat; therefore agricultural commodities will be more resilient during the economic downturn.

“Demand for agricultural commodities tends to be less elastic, less responsive to economic factors, more responsive to population,” said Lawrence Eagles, a commodities analyst at J.P. Morgan.

 

That’s encouraging because the MAF Briefing to Incoming Ministers warns the outlook is uncertain:

 

Over the next 20 years, New Zealand’s food and fibre producing capability will become increasingly important. Globally, rising population and economic growth is expected to increase demand for agricultural and forestry products. At the same time land and resources, such as freshwater, available for food and fibre production worldwide is likely to decline.

Despite this favourable long-term outlook for New Zealand’s primary production sectors, our industries, environment and broader society face a complex set of challenges to reap future opportunities. These challenges are exacerbated by the current global financial crisis that continues to unfold with uncertain impacts and duration.

Added to that is the growing threat of drought.

The contrast between irrigated and dryland in North Otago increases by the day, showing how badly we need rain and most of the east coast of both islands is similarly desperate for rain.

 


Halfdone blog rankings

December 2, 2008

Scrubone at Something Should Go Here Maybe Later has compiled the Half Done November blog stats the top 20 of which are:

HD Rank Blog Last Tumeke Rank Alexa Alexa NZ Authority HD Score
1 Kiwiblog #1 62615 99 252 2
2 Whale Oil Beef Hooked #7 134113 276 93 40
3 The Standard #2 199522 268 111 48
4 Public Address #3 216349 794 174 99
5 Not PC #6 239877 538 95 136
6 No Minister #4 237322 433 64 161
7 Policy Blog: Chris Trotter & Matthew Hooton #10 202188 717 60 242
8 The Hive #5 241742 602 54 269
9 New Zealand Conservative #23 359340 557 52 385
10 Homepaddock #17 358477 763 68 402
11 Tumeke! #12 436170 807 73 482
12 Dim Post #13 355942 544 39 496
13 Cactus Kate #14 347784 806 46 609
14 New Zeal #16 414241 4467 215 861
15 Poneke’s Weblog #18 527522 1575 86 966
16 Roar Prawn #11 386652 861 32 1040
17 The Inquiring Mind #15 438737 1262 50 1107
18 Frogblog #8 94021 208 118 1326
19 Something should go here, maybe later. #34 811342 1529 66 1880
20 No Right Turn #9 907936 3070 129 2161

The blogosphere had some comings and goings in November – Roarprawn took a holiday, but has returned; Matthew Hooton and Chris Trotter left Policyblog but the latter moved to Bowalley Road, Anti-Dismal and The Hive closed and there have been two newcomers: Dear John and The Bull Pen.

I suspect Homepaddock’s 10th spot on the Half Done rankings is a lot higher than the Tumeke! rankings which Tim Selwyn is compiling now because I’ve noticed a fall in visitors and comments since the election.

Apropos of that in November:

* I wrote 226 posts.

* Received 14,414 visitors, including the most on any one day (1,160 on November 4th because of a post about the Melbourne Cup photo finish which must have shown up  high on Google searches).

* Had 378 comments, the most on a single post was 14 on November 10 about the blue wash being bad for democracy.


Tagged twice

November 28, 2008

I’ve been double tagged – first by MandM then by Keeping Stock so I have to:

              *  Link to the person who tagged you

             *   Post the rules

             *   Share seven random or weird facts about yourself

             * Tag 7 random people at the end of the post with their links

So here’s the seven random/weird facts:

1. I had a one-way ticket to Britain when my farmer and I met so he flew 12000 miles to propose to me.

2. My longest friendship is older than my memory – which isn’t a sad reflection on the state of my memory, we met when her family moved next door to mine when we were both two.

3. I lived on Great Mercury Island for a year – employed by Michael Fay & David Richwhite, who own the island, to supervise the correspondence school lessons of the farm manager’s three children.

4. I’ve received a card on every Valentine’s Day of my life – not necessarily because it’s Valentine’s Day but because it’s also my birthday.

5. I lived for three months in Vejer de la Frontera.

6. Most people call me Ele which is a contraction of my name – Elspeth, the Scottish form of Elizabeth.

7. We hosted an AFS student from Argentina and his family is now our family.

And an eighth: I never pass on anything resembling a chain letter and as this could be construed as such I’m tagging the following people as a tribute to their blogs but won’t be at all offended if they don’t want to play the game:

rivettingKateTaylor

Bull Pen

Art and My Life 

John Ansell

Rob Hosking

Something Should Go Here

PM of NZ


Bull Pen

November 17, 2008

If like me you’ve been missing Philippa Stevenson’s contributions over at Dig n Stir and Rural Network mourn no more – she’s back on the blogosphere at The Bull Pen.

She’s also freelancing for The Country Channel which screens on Sky (it was free in October but now costs $14.50 a month).

Pip does a weekly segment in their news porgramme, Farmgate, which is an agri-media panel discussion on the ag issues of the week, called The Bull Pen and the blog provides a forum for further discussion.

I’ll confess I rarely watch TV and saw only a few minutes of The Country Channel when it screened last month which is not enough to make a judgement on it. But the concept is a good one and it’s a welcome addition to the sparse coverage of agricultural and rural matters on TV.


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