Tim van de Molen’s maiden speech

November 24, 2017

National’s Waikato MP Tim van de Molen delivered his maiden speech last week:

The mighty Waikato: beautiful scenery; well managed & successful farms; thriving and vibrant provincial towns; diverse but united communities; and continual opportunity.

As the new Member of Parliament for the Waikato, I want to start by saying that it is an absolute privilege to have been elected to this role, and in such a magnificent part of the country.

A role that holds great opportunity & great responsibility. As a new MP, listening is a key part of this. My grandfather once said, “you have two ears & one mouth, use them in that proportion”. Congratulations to my fellow new MPs, I’m excited about the path ahead, as I’m sure you are.

The journey to be here was an exciting & rewarding one. A journey shared by so many people in the Waikato & beyond – by family & friends, by Party members, by the public who believe in our vision. Thank you all sincerely for your support.

Today, I want to share a bit of my background (my family, my upbringing, my experiences), why I am who I am, to touch on what brings me to this position. I want to share some of the wonderful aspects of the Waikato; and I want to outline some of my aspirations for both the Waikato & for New Zealand.

Firstly, I’d like to share that I felt, on entering this building, the mana, the prestige, the history of our nation. The decisions made by those who have come before, decisions that have shaped our country. One of those people was my Great, Great Grandfather, John Stevens.

A former member of this House, who spent a number of years through the 1880’s, 1890’s & early 1900’s, representing Rangitikei & then Manawatu.

For me though, Waikato has always been home. I was raised there, I have worked and played there, and now I’m raising my family there. As one of five children, I grew up in a competitive, family focused home where strong values were instilled in us.

Values such as: hard work and enterprise (& fair reward for it); taking responsibility for your actions; strength and importance of family; equal opportunity; and standing up for what we believe in. We were encouraged to use our initiative, to try new things and to ask questions.

We had a very rural upbringing, although my parents are teachers, and we were constantly interacting with the outdoors – generally racing around the countryside with skinned knees & bare feet. Hunting, camping, and fishing were regular activities.

I remember that when we would go fishing from the wharf, Dad needed to concentrate on the fish, of course, so he would tie a rope around my chest & secure it to a post on the wharf, easy retrieval in case I should fall in – yes, Health & Safety in action, even back then. That’s what I choose to believe anyway, and not that I was a burley pot in case the fish weren’t biting!

We would spend long summer days exploring on family farms, or in later years, helping with chores once we became useful. Or on crisp winter mornings, breaking ice on the troughs to use as a Frisbee, or watching the horses’ breath steaming as they were galloped around the track.

Those early years on farm were some of my best memories & developed into a true passion for the Primary Industries; a passion that continues still. I believe we were very lucky to grow up in such an environment, but then, really, it’s the typical Kiwi upbringing that so many of us are lucky to have had.

I’m proud to be Kiwi & I’m proud of the diversity that often reflects for each of us. For me, on my mother’s side, our ancestors arrived in New Zealand from the UK in the 1860’s, and my father’s parents arrived in the 1950’s from the Netherlands.

My hometown of Matamata was, & still is, a jewel in the Waikato crown. One of those great provincial New Zealand towns. I enjoyed my schooling at Matamata College before heading to Waikato University where I obtained a Social Science degree, majoring in Psychology.

During this time, I also trained as a Scuba Diving Instructor – as you do when living in the most inland city in the country. This degree and diving combination, as I’m sure you’d expect, naturally lead to becoming a dairy farmer… my journey has been varied!

The New Zealand Young Farmers organisation was a key part of my life for 13 years. It was through this organisation that I got my first governance experience. Young Farmers was a key contributor to my desire to become an MP. It developed that knowledge that the decisions we made could positively, or negatively, influence the experience of the grass roots members.

Making those calls with the best interests of others in mind, guided by our values. I get great satisfaction from helping people, from supporting them to learn to grow & to succeed. Acknowledging, of course, that success may be measured differently by each of us.

Over the years, my Primary Industries involvement has also led to opportunities to visit Australia, Japan, the UK, & Singapore. We are indeed global leaders in this space.

But with the increasingly disruptive technologies that are now emerging & the changing expectations of consumers, we must be more nimble, more innovative & more united as an industry & as a country, if we are to continue to succeed.

Winning the Young Farmer of the Year Contest was a highlight of my time in the industry. It had long been a dream. Achieving it was a reflection of the team of people helping me – their skills, knowledge & enthusiasm coupled with their willingness to impart that to me. As in so many pursuits, a great team will accomplish great things.

Working as a rural bank manager was a role I loved. Building an understanding of someone’s business, helping them achieve their dreams & aspirations was hugely rewarding. I learnt so much from them too, there is always another perspective. Alongside this, I was able to achieve my own dream of getting into farm ownership.

Having a background across dairy, sheep and beef, horticulture & agri-business is very important in a strong rural area like the Waikato. Having said that, there’s more to the Waikato than cows & crops.

That’s where my experience as a business owner; time working in the tourism sector; service in the NZ Army; and voluntary roles like the St. John Ambulance, enable me to better relate to and understand the diverse range of people in our electorate.

For anyone who has served in the military, I am sure you can appreciate the physical & mental adversity you are frequently presented with. For example, being tasked with Sentry duty – sitting out in the Waiouru tussock, in a hole in the ground at 2:00am, with the sleet driving horizontally, not having slept in three days.

And in the distance, you can see the Desert Rd, with occasional headlights twinkling through the sleet – and you wonder if the driver of that vehicle faces the same challenges you do. Or perhaps, rather than the biting cold, they’re biting into a hot pie; & rather than sitting in a hole, they’re sitting in a leather seat with a seat warmer. Character building moments.

I share these experiences & memories because they have shaped me. It’s the ‘why’ of who I am. It’s also the basis from which my own personal motto comes: If it is to be, it is up to me.

It’s about taking responsibility for your own journey. Driving yourself onward, challenging yourself & thirsting for more. Education is a lifelong experience – you can always learn something from the people around you.

Each day, we can wake up & be a better version of ourselves than we were the day before. But it requires courage, determination, a focused plan & hard work. It doesn’t mean being on your own though, I love working & succeeding as a team.

On that note, the most important team of all is my family. Thanks to my wife Hilary, to my parents, Ron & Sue, who are all present today. Thanks to my siblings, present & watching from afar.

It is a blessing to have the opportunity with my amazing wife, Hilary, to now raise our own family. We have two wonderful children: our beautiful Isobella, nearly two; and sturdy wee Arthur, who arrived only a month ago, shortly after the election.

An election with a young family is not easy, clearly, I have an incredible wife! I would like to acknowledge Hilary – it’s an honour to be your husband.

I love your strength, compassion, intelligence & beauty. You inspire me to be better every day. Actually, it’s our third wedding anniversary today. What more romantic setting could one desire to celebrate such an occasion?!

I love innovation & I thrive on a challenge. In politics, the job is never done. There is always something more that can be achieved, some competing need. I’d like to acknowledge Lindsay Tisch for his dedication as the MP for Waikato over the last 18 years.

His contribution to the National Party extends well before the time he spent as MP & I would like to extend my thanks for all that he & wife Leonie have done. I wish you both the best for the future.

In the Waikato, we have some exciting opportunities in front of us. We need to continue to capture the growth potential with ongoing significant investment in infrastructure.

The Waikato is of great strategic importance given our location in the Golden Triangle, as well as the diversity of economic potential in the region. I will help the newly minted Minister of Regional Development to keep this front of mind when looking for projects to support.

We have an opportunity to further empower our communities. I believe that education is the foundation of opportunity. Our communities are diverse, we are all different, which makes us all unique. But we are all equal, and we can all succeed, though success may look different for each of us. Those who aren’t currently succeeding need help & encouragement to do so, & I will work towards this.

We have an opportunity to strengthen relationships between rural & urban New Zealanders. The strength of the Waikato, & New Zealand, has historically been underpinned by the success of the Primary Industries. And although we now have a lot more diversity, the sector remains a significant contributor to our success.

Farming continues to evolve: how we farm now is not how we farmed 10, 20, 50 years ago and it won’t be how we farm 10, 20, 50 years in the future.

Primary producers are typically great at adapting to their changing landscape, but they need a supportive structure to facilitate this. The ongoing negative agenda being pushed by some groups is counter-productive & divisive.

Let’s work together. We must be sustainable – environmentally, socially & economically.

We have an opportunity to improve our tourism offering. There are so many amazing places in our region, places that are the envy of the country & indeed, the world. Places like Wairere Falls, Port Waikato, the Hakarimata Track, Hobbiton, Nikau Caves.

I ran the Athens marathon in Greece some years ago – a wonderful experience, but very commercialised. Likewise, climbing Mt Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain – a powerful, spiritual experience passing through the shrine at the summit, only to see a Coke vending machine atop the peak. That’s fine for them, but it’s not the Kiwi way. So many tourists come to New Zealand for our relatively unspoilt & raw beauty. Let’s showcase it more.

As I draw to a close, I am confident that my vision & values, my skills & experience, my enthusiasm & determination, will ensure that I am able to contribute to the success of the Waikato & to all of New Zealand.

To my Waikato constituents, I look forward to justifying the confidence you placed in me when you voted. It is my hope that I am able to add to the mana of this House & that after I am gone, some new, fresh faced MP will experience that same sense of awe, & be further inspired to make our great country, greater still.

That picture of the Waikato I shared at the start of this address: the scenery, the successful farms; the vibrant towns; the united communities & the ever-present opportunity.

This can and should relate to all of New Zealand. I am committing to making this picture, our reality. I look forward to serving New Zealand.

Remember, that every day, we can be better than we were the day before.


Rural round-up

July 11, 2017

China’s returning appetite for dairy set to benefit NZ producers – Visiting Chinese dairy expert:

After a two-year hiatus from the global dairy market, China’s appetite for dairy commodity imports is starting to revive, and this will create opportunities for New Zealand, particularly at the higher-end of the market, according to a visiting Chinese dairy expert.

In New Zealand for a series of industry presentations, Rabobank Shanghai-based senior dairy analyst Sandy Chen said China’s appetite for dairy commodity imports is starting to pick-up at a time when global supply across the export engine is returning to growth. . . 

Wool industry hits hard times – Peter Fowler:

Wool prices have hit rock bottom, causing a lot of stress and emotion in the industry, says a Hawke’s Bay wool broker.

Wright Wool managing director Philippa Wright has been in the industry 40 years and said she can’t think of a time when prices have been lower.

Ms Wright said the wool sale at Napier yesterday was very disappointing.

“We are now at a lower point than we’ve ever been in my memory. Six years ago it was around about this level but yesterday I think it went a bit lower.

“The shorter wools are at an all time low but yesterday we saw the longer wools, the better coloured wools, the carpet type wools actually drop as well and quite significantly,” she said. . . 

Farming must adapt for climate change, Nat’s candidate says – Mike Mather:

Tim van de Molen might be looking to inherit a safe National Party seat, but that does not automatically mean he is as staunchly conservative as his predecessors or – likely – some of his contemporaries.

The 34 year old, who officially launched his election campaign in Matamata on Saturday afternoon, is quick to admit that climate change is a reality and more needs to be done to deal with it.

He is also “leaning toward” the decriminalisation of euthanasia, but is less swayed by those calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.

“I don’t think we should be taxing something that could be causing health issues,” he said. . . 

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year – two more contestants go through to the National Final:

Congratulations to Anthony Walsh from Constellation who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 on Thursday 6 July. At 29 this was the last year Walsh could enter so he was more determined than ever to take out the title this year as it was his last opportunity to go through and represent Marlborough in the National Final. He is thrilled all his hard work paid off.

Matthew Gallop, also from Constellation, took out second place and Shannon Horner from Marisco came third, so a great achievement for both of them too. . .  

Hawkes Bay Syrah crowned the champion of the world:

Hawkes Bay wine producer Rod McDonald Wines has won the Champion Red Trophy for its Quarter Acre Syrah 2015 at the world’s most influential wine awards – the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

The winery was already noted for scooping four trophies for its Quarter Acre Syrah 2015, including Best International Syrah, Best New Zealand Syrah, Best New Zealand Red and Best Hawkes Bay Syrah. The Champion Trophy was selected by the IWC Chairmen after re-tasting all the trophy-winning wines. The last time a New Zealand winery won a Champion Red Trophy was in 2013. . . 


Rural roundup

December 14, 2013

Storm-hit farmers feel heat – Annette Scott:

Repairs to wind-battered irrigation systems are progressing but for many Canterbury farmers being back on tap will come too late.

Delayed irrigation has reached crisis point and the economic consequences could rival last year’s drought.

The picture is grim for farmers whose irrigators require complicated rebuilds.

Cropping farmers in particular are counting lost dollars by the day because crops desperately need water. . .

Cottingley and Bradford wool firm spins a successful yarn – Chris Holland:

It used to be said that for woolmen ‘every silver lining has a cloud’ but that’s certainly doesn’t apply to Martin Curtis and his team at Curtis Wools Direct, the Cottingley-based wool merchants he runs with his brother Simon and which owns Howarth Scouring and Combing in Bradford.

Wool may be as old as the hills – and the scale of the processing that produced much of Bradford’s wealth is miniscule compared with the industry’s heyday – but optimism and evangelism about the qualities of this natural fibre and its commercial future dominate their thinking. . .

Raw milk all the rage – Laird Harper:

A milk revolution is bubbling up in Taranaki.

Touted as being a “powerhouse food”, raw cow’s milk keeps many vitamins, enzymes and probiotics often considered lost in the processing plant.

But it’s not a concept lost on Dolly’s Milk owners Peter and Margaret Dalziel, and Cindy and Kevin Death.

Hunting for something new, the group stumbled across the idea while flicking through a magazine.

And as they researched the rules and ways to safely distribute the product, they knew they had to get out in front of this fledgling industry. . . .

Raw milk option expands into South Canterbury – Jacqui Webby:

South Canterbury consumers looking for a choice in the type of milk they use will soon have another option.

Early next year, Timaru dairy farmers Stu and Andrea Weir, and son Mitch, will open a raw-milk outlet at their property in Fairview Rd.

The couple, who milk a herd of about 200 mainly friesian cows, have long been interested in the concept of fresh raw milk and were quick to initiate franchise discussions to open a Timaru outlet with Nelson-based Village Milk. . . .

Bumper Fonterra pay-out boosts farm values at auctions:

Fonterra’s bumper payout for dairy milk solids has underpinned the multi-million dollar sale of two large scale dairy conversion farms in Northern Hawke’s Bay.

The two farms sold for a combined value of more than $12.5million after some hectic bidding in the auction room of Bayleys Napier last week – with multiple parties bidding on each of the properties. Some 58 farmers, stock managers, accountants and rural banking specialists from across the Hawke’s Bay were in the auction room to watch proceedings.

Bidding on the 351 hectare Ben Alpin farm opened at $3.9million. After 16 bids from four potential buyers, the property sold under the hammer for $5.020million. . .

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets:

Synlait Milk expects to outperform financial targets on the basis of a favourable product mix.

Current international dairy commodity price differentials are larger than usual, and continue to favour Synlait’s milk powder and AMF dominant product mix. The company expects that ongoing demand, particularly from China, will mean that this will be maintained for much of the current season.

While it is still early in the season, recent announcements also make it clear that the current season’s milk price is likely to be less than the company was expecting.

John Penno said that Synlait’s policy is to pay our contract suppliers a fair market price.  . .

Strong finish for Young Farmer at Rural Ambassador competition:

New Zealand Young Farmers Vice-Chairman Cam Lewis finished runner up at the recent trans-Tasman Rural Ambassador competition in Feilding, 6-8 December.

The top honour and a $5000 travel grant were awarded to Prue Capp, an equine dentist from New South Wales, and in third place was Samantha Neumann from South Australia.

Mr Lewis, a dairy farmer from Levin, keeps the kiwi success in this competition going strong. The 2012 winner was another Young Farmer member and 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion, Tim Van de Molen.

Mr Lewis won the Royal Agricultural Society’s Rural Young Achiever Award at the RAS Conference in Christchurch earlier this year and was the only representation from New Zealand in the Rural Ambassador competition. The other six competitors were the top Australian state finalists. . .

And from the Farming Show:

 The Farming Show's photo.

Rural round-up

May 22, 2013

Farmers will have to change regardless – Hugh Stringleman:

Sustainability is an economic issue, not just an environmental one, and dairy farmers are going to have to change, willingly or unwillingly.

That advice is being given Paul Gilding, veteran Australian environmentalist and former head of Greenpeace, to meetings of New Zealand dairy farmers called by Fonterra Shareholders Council.

The Grow Your Mind series was conducted throughout dairying regions last week, not without protest from dairy farmers annoyed at a Greenpeace activist being given a platform by Fonterra, council chairman Ian Brown said. . .

Lincoln develops farm output:

Lincoln University has formed a new Farms Committee to oversee the development of the 3900ha of farmland owned and operated by the university.

Assistant vice-chancellor Stefanie Rixecker says the new committee will deliver improved outcomes from the university’s portfolio of farms and farming partnerships, as well as expanding the portfolio in the future.

“The Farms Committee has been established to help Lincoln University make the most of its farms for better student experience, for more and better scientific research on productivity and the environment and, perhaps most importantly of all, for an enhanced interface between the university and New Zealand’s farmers,” says Dr Rixecker. . .

Supplier gets standing ovation:

Feeding the supply chain with 2450 lambs in the 2011-2012 season helped Rimrock Hills on the Taihape – Napier Road become Supplier of the Year for Ovation New Zealand.

Ovation’s commercial manager Patrick Maher said, “Their selection was based on them achieving a score of 88.5 per cent mark for supplying on time and to market specification (this made up 50 per cent of the total score). 

“Further marks were achieved for volume of stock supplied and length/loyalty of supply. This gave them a total score of 89.25/100 – a fantastic result,” Patrick said. . .

More Staff to Strengthen Border Biosecurity:

Twelve new frontline border staff will help ensure New Zealand’s biosecurity defences stay strong, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

The new staff will receive their quarantine inspector warrants at a ceremony today in Christchurch.

The graduation follows the warranting of 43 new inspectors in December and a recent announcement by Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy that MPI will recruit 30 new quarantine inspectors this year.

“The new inspectors and upcoming recruitment programme will ensure that the biosecurity frontline remains fully staffed and isn’t affected by normal resignations and retirement,” says Steve Gilbert, MPI Director, Border Clearance Services. . .

Wonderful journey just the beginning – Hugh Stringleman:

The 2013 ANZ Bank Young Farmer Grand Final followed the form book, with winner Tim van de Molen, from Waikato-Bay of Plenty, and second-placed Cam Brown, from Taranaki-Manawatu, being previous grand finalists in a contest where experience and endurance mean a great deal. Hugh Stringleman puts van de Molen’s win in context.

This year’s Young Farmer Contest champion Tim van de Molen was back at work the Monday after his competitive ordeal and triumph, as an agri-manager for ANZ Bank in Waikato.

With June 1 settlement date looming for many of his dairy farming clients, he needed to be back on deck for their rural banking requirements. . .

Rockburn Wines Win Gold Medal in the World’s Biggest Global Wine Competition Decanter World Wine Awards:

Rockburn Wines has been awarded a Gold medal in the 2013 Decanter World Wine Awards for their 2011 – and was the only Central Otago producer to be awarded a Gold Medal in the competition.
Rockburn Pinot Noir, a wine already noted for its trophy success at the Air New Zealand Wine Awards last year.

The Central Otago winery has a history of winning gold medals, particularly for its Pinot Noir, at such competitions as the Air New Zealand Awards, the Sydney International Wine Competition and the International Wine and Spirit Competition and was most recently awarded Champion Open Red Wine for the Rockburn Pinot Noir 2011 at the 2012 Air New Zealand Wine Awards. . .


Tim Van de Molen wins Young Farmer contest

May 19, 2013

Tim Van de Molen of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Region is the 2013 ANZ Young Farmer Contest Champion.

“It’s an absolute honour and a privilege”, said Mr Van de Molen following the evening show at TVNZ Studios in Auckland.

The ANZ agri-manager and farm owner from Hamilton was runner up in the 2011 Grand Final. “I’m just delighted with the outcome, it is been a long road to get here”, said Mr Van de Molen.

Mr Van de Molen was not the only winner on stage tonight.

The youngest competitor, Matthew Bell of Aorangi, took out the Ravensdown Agri-skills Challenge and is the proud owner of $14,000 worth of Ravensdown and C-Dax products and services. Taranaki/Manawatu’s Cam Brown triumphed in the AGMARDT Agri-business Challenge and won a $15,000 AGMARDT Scholarship towards a career development programme. Reuben Carter from Tasman dominated the Silver Fern Farms Agri-sport Challenge winning a Silver Fern Farms and FarmIQ farmer technology package worth $5,000. And, the Champion, Mr Van de Molen, also took out the Lincoln University Agri-growth Challenge and received $9,500 towards an industry related conference package. . . .

It’s a sign of the times that the contest doesn’t get the publicity in general media that it used to.

But the contest, and the title, are still highly regarded in rural circles where the winner will get the respect he’s earned.


Rural round-up

February 20, 2013

Fonterra plays down reports of Chinese officials destroying NZ milk powder – Paul McBeth:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, is playing down reports that China’s quarantine administration destroyed three different New Zealand brands of milk powder as being nothing out of the ordinary and part of a regular review.

No Fonterra product was involved.

The kiwi dollar shed half a US cent amid headlines the Chinese agency destroyed the New Zealand powder, just weeks after a global scare about traces of the DCD nitrate inhibiter being present in locally produced milk. Units in the Fonterra Shareholders Fund were unchanged at $7.13 today. . .

Agriculture course boosts school – David Bruce:

Waitaki Boys’ High School is returning to its roots with a major investment to boost its agricultural courses.

Rector Paul Jackson sees it as one of the keys to increasing the school roll.

”I want Waitaki Boys’ to again be a school of farming excellence,” he said.

The school last week began the first stage with an investment of about $60,000, virtually all raised through donations and in-kind contributions, to irrigate its farm – about 16ha of paddocks north and south of the school. . .

Green light for Wools of New Zealand as it reaches first threshold:

Wools of New Zealand announced today that it has achieved the minimum threshold of $5 million necessary to proceed with establishing a 100% strong wool grower-owned sales and marketing company.

Achieved one week ahead of the 25 February offer close, the company is now positioned to pursue its commercial, market pull strategy, putting Wools of New Zealand’s brands and market connections to work and further developing its technical and marketing capability for the benefit of its grower shareholders.

This milestone has been reached through the continued support of growers who recognise the need to invest beyond the farm gate. This includes investors in Wools of New Zealand who have converted some of their loans to the Wools of New Zealand Trust into shares in Wools of New Zealand, demonstrating their commitment and confidence in the proposition and their desire to see the company thrive under grower ownership. . .

Federated Farmers asks meat companies how parties can work together – Allan Barber:

Last week Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers’ Meat & Fibre chair, sent a letter to the chairmen and CEOs of the five major sheep meat processors and exporters. The letter asked them to suggest how the parties could work together for the good of the industry.

So far one company, AFFCO, has replied formally, but no doubt others will respond in due course. Maxwell sees this as an age of ‘collaborative governance’ in which farmers and meat companies must go forward together instead of fighting each other. She says there’s nothing to be gained by rattling the cage to no purpose and the intention of the letter is to start the conversation between the parties.

The last twelve months have been seriously stressful, if not disastrous for the meat industry. A year ago the companies were paying an unsustainable $8 a kilo slaughter weight or around $150 per lamb, but the market price and exchange rate combined had already sent this into serious loss making territory for the processors. Just how serious was confirmed by the published annual results from Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, although Blue Sky Meats’ result for the period ended 31 March gave a good indication. . .

Think before letting dogs breed – Anna Holland:

EIGHTEEN YEARS ago I retired from shepherding; I had been hitting my head against a brick wall for too many years. It had been a frustrating occupation met with much resistance. Slowly it is changing and now there are some very capable women being given the opportunity to work the land.

Since then I have tried my hand at other things. My passion for working dogs never waned and I still bred the odd litter of pups, and in the last few years I trained a number of young dogs to the point of being ready to join someone’s team. . .

Effluent results improving, but farmers could do better – NRC

Northland’s dairy farmers have received qualified praise for their increased compliance with farm dairy effluent resource standards but there’s still plenty of room for improvement, those doing the monitoring say.

The latest Northland Regional Council monitoring figures for the 2012/13 milking season show almost 80 percent of the region’s 978 dairy farms were either fully compliant with their resource consent conditions and or rules, or had only minor non-compliance.

Operations Director Tony Phipps says particularly pleasing for the council was a thirty percent drop in significant non-compliance, which fell to nearly 200 farms compared with close to 300 farms reported twelve months earlier.

He says in recent years many of the region’s farmers have invested heavily in improvements to their effluent disposal systems and it’s pleasing to see that outlay starting to pay off. . . .

Down to the wire at Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional final

Tim van de Molen is the second Grand Finalist in 2013 after he won the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Regional Final for the ANZ Young Farmer Contest on Saturday, February 16 in Hamilton at St Paul’s Collegiate School.

It was a very tight race throughout the competition, the final result came down to just one question.
Van de Molen had his work cut out for him narrowly taking the win by just two points ahead of competitor Dwayne Cowin. Josh Cozens and James Bryan were not far behind, placing third and fourth respectively. . .

Comvita flags 15% fall in FY profit on honey costs, supply shortages:

Comvita, which produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, expects a 15 percent fall in annual profit because of expensive honey, supply shortages and tough trading conditions in the UK and Australia.

The Te Puke-based company expects net profit of $7 million in the year ending March 31, down from $8.2 million a year earlier which it had been expecting to beat, Comvita said in a statement.

Sales are forecast to rise 4 percent to about $100 million. The profit warning comes after increases in wholesale honey prices of up to 50 percent, and weak consumer confidence in Australia and the UK, which made it hard to pass on rising costs. . .


Rural round-up

July 28, 2012

Kiwi a Transtasman winner:

Tim van de Molen, the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand (RAS) Rural Youth Ambassador, was announced as the Australasian Rural Youth Ambassador in the finals at the Darwin Royal Showgrounds.

This is a historic win for New Zealand, taking top honours in only the second year the competition has been extended transtasman.

Van de Molen, a 29-year-old agribusiness manager for ANZ and based in Waikato, is overwhelmed by the win. . .

Rapid lamb gains now in the past – Hugh Stringleman:

The drivers of sheep farm productivity increases are forecast to be throttled back over the coming decade, compared with the rapid pace of improvement over the past 20 years.

Total lamb weight produced per breeding ewe, lambing percentage and lamb carcase weight will ease off compared with past productivity increases which have been the envy of the national economy.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief economist Rob Davison told the Red Meat Sector Conference in Queenstown that an industry-wide discussion is needed on the right mix of lamb carcase weights for the future – whether farmers should push on above 18kg. . .

Ballance shareholders benefit from strong result

Another strong result by Ballance Agri-Nutrients has its 18,200 shareholders sharing in a $47 million rebate and dividend distribution.

Shareholders will receive $43.6 million through a $40 rebate per tonne of fertiliser purchased plus a further $3.4 million through an imputed dividend of $0.10 per share.

This will result in an average return of $44.29 per tonne, a result which compares well with last year’s record distribution averaging $50.29 per tonne. . .

Ravensdown announces new CEO:

Ravensdown, the 100% farmer-owned co-operative, has appointed Greg Campbell as the new CEO to replace chief executive Rodney Green when he retires on the 31st December 2012.

 In announcing the appointment, Chairman of Ravensdown, Mr Bill McLeod, commented that “Rodney Green had given us plenty of notice of his intention to retire, which gave us the luxury of time to conduct a really thorough search for his replacement. We are grateful for that, as Rodney will leave a very different Ravensdown to the one he took over in 1998. We especially thank Rodney, and acknowledge the job he has done growing and strengthening the company over the years of his stewardship. This meant we needed to find a special replacement to take over the reins from him.” . . .

North Islander set to defend title:

 Last year’s winner of the Canterbury A&P Association Mint Lamb Competition, Bill Feetham of Hastings, is preparing his entries for 2012 with the opening of this year’s competition launched this month.

 Farmers from throughout New Zealand are invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the 2012 Mint Lamb Competition held in conjunction with the country’s largest Agricultural and Pastoral Show, the Canterbury A&P Show. . .

Government scheme increaeses recycling on farm:

More than 650 tonnes of plastic farm waste has been recycled nationwide during the past year thanks to a government-funded scheme, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

Under the product stewardship scheme, Plasback supplies more than 1000 recycling bins to New Zealand farms, and collects agricultural plastics such as bale wrap, silage wrap and covers, agrichemical containers and crop bags.

The waste is recycled into plastic resin pellets and then reused in new plastic products.

“Many farmers have been frustrated by the lack of options for dealing with plastic farm waste and know that burning or burying waste is not a sustainable solution,” Ms Adams says. . .

Allied Farmers granted waiver for $1.2M loan for bobby calf business:

Allied Farmers, the company whose market value was all but wiped out when it acquired the financial assets of Hanover Finance, has been granted a waiver to borrow up to $1.2 million for the operations of its bobby calf venture.

The waiver, granted by NZX Markets Supervision, was required because the loan would exceed 10 percent of Allied’s average market capitalisation of about $2.5 million and would have needed approval of shareholders. . .

REINZ Introduces New Farm Price Index:

REINZ is pleased to announce today the introduction of the REINZ Farm Price Index, as a superior and more accurate guide to changes in farm sale prices.

The new measure has been developed in conjunction with the Reserve Bank and adjusts for property specific factors such as location, size and farm type in measuring changes in farm prices.

“The REINZ Farm Price Index is less influenced by the type of farms that happen to sell, providing an improved measure of underlying farm prices,” says REINZ Rural Market Spokesman Brian Peacocke. . .

Canterbury vegetable grower takes national Young Grower title:

Andrew Scott from Canterbury has been named Young Grower of the Year at the Horticulture New Zealand Conference 2012.

Andrew, 29, was presented with his award last night after the day-long Young Grower of the Year competition held at Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland, as part of this year’s Horticulture New Zealand Conference. . . .


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