Rural round-up

November 8, 2017

Tackling water resource conservation with modern agriculture – Craige Mackenzie:

As I sat in a board room in Minneapolis, I used a break in my meeting to check the moisture of the soil on my farm in New Zealand.   I didn’t walk into a field and dig a hole or stick a meter into the dirt. Instead, I pulled out my phone, looked at its screen, and saw what my sensors were saying.

Fellow Global Farmer Network board member V Ravichandran was checking his phone as well.  Ravi was looking at photos of his cotton crop that had just been sent to him from his farm in Tamil Nadu India. Ravi checked the photos and sent a reply e-mail to India with his observation and actions required.

This is what modern agriculture looks like: It’s global, it’s high-tech, and it’s all about sustainable conservation. . .

Diversifying in the Catlins – Sally Rae:

Enterprising Catlins farmers Carey and Tracey Hancox have diversified their busy farming operation near Owaka with an accommodation venture and an on-farm butchery, processing their homegrown lamb. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae pays them a visit.

Carey and Tracey Hancox make the most of opportunities as they arise.

The couple have a simple philosophy when it comes to their business — “no-one gets anywhere without hard work”.

“It’s just a fact of life, really. It’s not easy. People look happy once they’re successful but I think it’s reflected in how hard they have to work.

“That little bit of happiness is the payment for the stress and the worry. It balances itself out,” Mr Hancox explains. . . 

One enterprising rural woman – Yvonne O’Hara:

When Debra Cruikshank left school, she was not sure what she wanted to do.

She grew up on a sheep and beef farm in the Catlins and at the very least knew she wanted to do physical work.

She thought she might try art school.

Now, at 37, she has her own vineyard and winery and a successful business, DC Wines, that is growing each year.

After leaving school and the farm she chose to spend a year in Central Otago. . . 

New confidence and culture at Westland Milk Products:

New ways of working at board and management levels have led to a change of culture at Westland Milk Products, with a brighter outlook and growing shareholder confidence in the company, said Chairman Pete Morrison in the company’s 2017 Annual Report released today.

Commenting on the 2016-17 season, Morrison said extensive new thinking had come into the company with new management, a revised board structure and better ways of working.

“The 2016-17 financial year for Westland Milk Products was characterised by challenge and change,” Morrison said. “We began the 2016-17 year under considerable financial pressure. Shareholders, quite rightly, were demanding answers and calling for both the board and management to do much better and reverse the loss making result of the year before.” . . 

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When you lied on your CV abut having previous sheepdog experience – NZ Farming

Reda eyes Australia to secure supply – Annabelle Cleeland:

AN exclusive long-term contract has whet the appetite of a European fabric maker who is appealing to the very best Australian superfine woolgrowers to partner with them to help feed the growing demand for luxury and active wear fabrics.

There are only 20 members in the current Reda Future Project, set-up by 152 year-old Italian fabric maker Reda, who meet the quality standards of set by the country’s largest integrity scheme, SustainaWOOL. 

Last year, Reda chief operating officer Francesco Botto Poala said the company acquired 1500 bales of 15.8 to 19.2 micron wool from this exclusive group, and they are hungry for more. . . 

 


Rural round-up

November 5, 2017

Rebuilding dairy farmers’ social licence to operate with the public – Pat Deavoll:

A couple of weeks ago I went along to the Forest Growers Research Conference. I was bamboozled by science except for one presentation by the director of Our Land and Water National Science Challenge Ken Taylor who works for AgResearch. He was a good speaker, and his topic piqued my interest.

Taylor praised the farming leaders, headed by Federated Farmers president Katie Milne, who fronted up and said: “water quality is our problem, we’ll own it and fix it.” Taylor told us that they were seizing the initiative and stepping towards rebuilding farming’s social licence to operate (SLO).

I’d never heard of this term before, but have since discovered that everybody else has. . . 

Tararua nurse first in country to get certificate in rural nursing – Georgia Forrester:

A Tararua woman is the first in the country to walk away with a new rural qualification in nursing.

Rowena Panchaud said her passion for her rural area led to her completing a graduate certificate in nursing practice, with a rural nursing speciality.

The Otago-born woman has lived in Dannevirke with her family since 2006. . .

LIC bulls given all clear from M.bovis:

LIC has confirmed its artificial breeding bulls are free from the Mycoplasma bovis cattle disease.

LIC is a farmer-owned co-operative and the largest artificial breeding company in New Zealand. More than three out of four cows grazing on New Zealand dairy farms are sired by an LIC bull.

Although confident the disease was not present in its bulls, the co-op announced in September it would test for the disease to provide its farmers with greater peace of mind through the dairy mating season. . . 

 – Keith Woodford:

Those of us involved with research relating to A1 and A2 beta-casein know all too well the challenges of publishing and disseminating that research.  Given the extent to which beta-casein research challenges established positions, some of which are held by powerful entities, there are lots of speed bumps.

Events of recent weeks have once again illustrated some of those challenges. I lay out one such example below.     

Together with Boyd Swinburn, who is Professor of Population Nutrition and Global Health at Auckland University, I was attempting to disseminate to a wider audience the results of a science review paper that we and other colleagues co-authored. The scientific paper itselfwas published earlier this year in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes which is part of the Nature Publishing stable of scientific journals. . . 

Dairy stays above churn of plant-based substitutes – Charlie Dreaver:

Spending on dairy-free alternatives is on the rise as more consumers turn to plant-based milks, yoghurts and cheeses.

The country’s two supermarket chains Progressive and Foodstuffs have taken notice and are stocking more of the products than ever, but the dairy industry said it was not worried.

Foodstuffs, which operates the New World and Pak ‘n Save chains, reported that sales of plant-based milks – such as nut, oat, soy and rice milks – in its North Island stores had shot up 11 percent since August last year.

Progressive Enterprises, which own Countdown’s stores, now has more than 60 non-dairy milk, cheese, and yoghurt products on the shelves. . .

Golden rice approval needed to produce a life changing staple food – V. Ravichandran:

 Their eyes tell their sad stories as ghostly white irises give way to vacant stares. We can look at them but they can’t look back at us. They’ve gone blind because of malnutrition.

I see these poor people all over India, where I live, but their suffering knows no borders: The problem of vitamin-A deficiency curses dozens of countries in the developing world. It causes visual impairment in millions of people. As many as half a million children go blind each year. Hundreds of thousands die within months of losing their eyesight.

What a heart-rending tragedy.

The good news is that science teaches us how to prevent this crisis. The bad news is that manmade complications keep getting in the way. . .


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