Farmers warned of dangers of meth labs – Susie Nordqvist:
Waikato police have told farmers at Fieldays they’re too trusting about whom they’re renting their farm cottages to, and tenants that end up using farmland for methamphetamine labs can cost farmers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Basically the chemicals are all placed into this flask and then it’s boiled, well it’s heated, on an element [and] the pseudoephedrine comes off, and you end up with the finished product,” explains Detective Senior Sergeant Nigel Keall. . . .
Sheep and sheep meats in China – Keith Woodford:
Last week I wrote about one specific region in China’s pastoral zone, high on the Qinghai Tibetan Plateau. This is just one part of China’s pastoral zone which extends for thousands of kilometres from Inner Mongolia across to Xinjiang and down through the western provinces of Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet. The precise numbers of sheep on these lands is unclear. It is not because the Chinese Government hides the correct numbers, but because pastoral farmers keep the numbers to themselves. The United Nations FAO agency estimates that in 2012 there were 187 million sheep in China, but no-one really knows.
What happens in China’s pastoral zone is important to New Zealand for two reasons. The first is that we are all part of a global environment, with sustainability a global issue. The second is that China is now New Zealand’s most important market for lamb and mutton; the gap between local demand and supply in China is the key driver of sheep industry profitability back here in New Zealand. . . .
Fieldays shoes might seem ‘exotic’ to Aucklanders – Mike McRoberts:
Footwear is an essential part of farming and also appears to be a big part of the National Fieldays this year.
Horselands’ Angie Gil is selling boots at the four-day event and says visitors are expecting a bargain.
“I think that you don’t come to park in a paddock and then walk around Fieldays to not get a bargain.” . . .
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today welcomed the annual KPMG Agribusiness Agenda at the National Fieldays, noting the strong correlation between Government and industry priorities.
This year’s Agenda reiterated the importance of strong biosecurity and food safety systems, and highlighted uncertainty around a potential change of Government as a major point of concern across the over 150 industry leaders surveyed.
“I’m not surprised to see the significance of biosecurity flagged again by industry, and it has been my number one priority since becoming a Minister,” says Mr Guy. . .
The biggest myth about organic farming – Ross Pomeroy:
The majority of Americans believe that organic foods are healthier than food grown using conventional methods. The majority of Americans are wrong. Two systematic reviews, one from Stanford University and the other by a team of researchers based out of the United Kingdom, turned up no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or lead to better health-related outcomes for consumers.
But the idea that organic foods are healthier isn’t even the largest myth out there. That title belongs to the widely held belief that organic farming does not use pesticides. A 2010 poll found that 69% of consumers believe that to be true. Among those who regularly purchase organic food, the notion is even more prevalent. A survey from the Soil Association found that as many as 95% of organic consumers in the UK buy organic to “avoid pesticides.”
In fact, organic farmers do use pesticides. The only difference is that they’re “natural” instead of “synthetic.” . . .
Families mark a century on the land – Sally Rae:
Since 1905, successive generations of the Simpson family have farmed Springside at Tokarahi in North Otago.
From draught horses to large, modern tractors and combine harvesters, each generation has kept up with new farming practices.
The Simpson family was among 42 families to attend the recent New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence, for families who have farmed the same land for 100 years or more.
It was the highest number of families to be recognised for their commitment since the awards were first held in 2006. . .