Rural round-up

20/07/2021

Farmers are riled up over everything and they’ve got a point – Kerre McIvor:

It takes a lot to get farmers off their land. But Friday’s Howl of Protest saw a goodly representation of every man and his dog fire up the Massey Fergs and John Deeres aroundthe country and take to the streets in protest.

There wasn’t just one issue that had got them so riled up.

Farmers don’t see why they should be taxed to assist high-income city dwellers into electric cars when the rural community has no alternative right now but to use internal combustion engine 4WDs to do their work. . .

Can you hear us now? –  Annette Scott:

The deluge of new regulations and costs from the central government spilled over into protest on Friday when farmers, contractors and tradies across the country rallied for the Howl of a Protest.

Trucks and harvest machinery, tractors, utes, transport companies and dogs took to Ashburton’s streets – just one of more than 45 towns and cities from Kaitaia to Invercargill – to host the peaceful protest rallies.

Organised by Groundswell NZ, in an effort to stand up for farmers, food producers, contractors and tradies against what it claims to be a tsunami of unworkable rules imposed by the central government.

Groundswell is seeking the scrapping of the freshwater, SNA, biodiversity and ute tax policies, changes to immigration, climate change and the Crown Pastoral Lease Act policies. . . 

Faith in farming future shaken – Colin Williscroft:

Future increases in the price of carbon will push hill country farmers off the land, a Central Hawke’s Bay farmer says.

Clem Trotter, who farms with his wife Mickey west of Ongaonga, questions what sort of future sheep and beef farmers on the east coast of the North Island face.

The couple attended last month’s carbon forestry conference in Rotorua and prior to that they believed that targeted tree planting on-farm, while retaining productive areas for agriculture, offered plenty of opportunities for farmers but the wholesale planting of regions needed to stop and something had to be done about it.

From what Trotter heard at the conference, which he says attracted far more lawyers, accountants and investment managers than it did farmers, he now thinks it’s too late for that. . . 

Another protest coming – Sudesh Kissun:

Another nationwide protest by farmers will be held on August 16 unless the Government listens to their concerns.

This was announced at the Groundswell protest in Morrinsville where over 2500 people backed by 250 tractors and 100 utes took part in a rally.

There were calls for the Government to review its policies around farming, especially those related to sustainability and water. Tradies are also unhappy with getting hammered with a clean car tax on utes, vehicles considered an integral part of their job. . .

Palmerston North farmer makes up to $4000 weekly giving virtual tours :

Palmerston North farmer Arthur Chin makes about $4000 in a “good week” hosting virtual tours of his one hectare property.

He told Seven Sharp in his first year of doing it he has hosted 358 tours for more than 4000 people in 32 countries.

Forty-five per cent of his customers come from the US and about 25 per cent from Europe. . .

US and Canada heatwave hammers crops, forcing up global grain prices – Michael Condon, Angus Verley, and Belinda Varischetti:

A heatwave across the United States and Canada is having a devastating effect on crops and pushing grain stocks low.

It is good news for Australian farmers, though, as the price of canola is rocketing.

In the United States, temperatures in some regions have risen to 50 degrees Celsius, smashing previous records, while Canada is in the grip of its worst drought in two decades.

Temperatures have risen to record levels in the Pacific North West and parts of California. . . 


Rural round-up

11/07/2021

Ute tax final straw for farmers as pressures mount– Matthew Littlewood:

On Friday, farmers and tradies will come together to protest a number of new government regulations, with thousands expected to drive their utes and tractors into centres across the country – the Government’s new ‘ute tax’ on high emission vehicles is the final straw for many, Matthew Littlewood reports.

It’s been a year of upheaval for many, and the farming community is no different. But setting the impacts of Covid-19 aside, South Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Mark Adams says there have been many challenges mounting for those in the rural sector for some time.

“It was happening even before Covid-19 hit. In this region, you have had Mycoplasma bovis, the Rangitata River flooding, the long dry spell, and then the more recent flooding last month.”

As well as having to contend with raging weather issues, farmers also had a Government pushing on with wide-ranging environmental reforms, Adams said. . . 

Activist photos reignite winter grazing debate in Southland – Rachael Kelly:

A cow stands in a muddy paddock on a winter grazing block, and it’s ignited a fresh firestorm of comments on social media as activists and farmers clash.

Environmental activist Geoff Reid took a photo of the cow and posted it on his own Facebook page, but when asked when he took it, he’ll only say he took it at Waituna last Wednesday, from the side of the road.

When asked if it was taken after heavy rain, he replied “it is Southland and for it to rain in winter is no surprise. I believe we need significant land-use change to avoid the harm intensive winter grazing is causing.’’ . . .

Seeka announces an equity investment in fruitometry:

New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit grower Seeka announces an equity investment in Fruitometry an innovative horticultural agritech.

In its first year Fruitometry successfully delivering a new commercial Digital Crop Estimation (DCE) service to kiwifruit growers, managers and packhouses in the North Island. Fruitometry’s exclusive technology enables the $3billion kiwifruit industry by growers being able to measure fruit set and growth by row throughout the growing season.

Fruitometry CTO and Founder Christopher Miller said “We are delighted with our performance after commercially scanning a thousand hectares. Grower feedback has been fantastic; it affirms our hard work to transform a challenging concept into a horticultural metrics provider in three years. Seeka is an ambitious, growth-oriented leader. Their investment is rocket fuel to rapidly scale our operation, broaden our product line and launch innovative tech towards additional crops and beyond New Zealand.” . . 

Governance plays a vital role in the future of the primary sector:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is a co-operative owned by over 17,000 farmers and growers, and is a leader in driving sustainable productivity within New Zealand’s primary sector.

“We are pleased to announce that we have appointed our first Associate Director, Will Grayling, into an 18-month role focused on building governance experience,” says Duncan Coull, Ballance Chair.

“To understand how boards set and drive organisational strategy and vision, you need experience and training.

“We’ve created an opportunity for an associate to get involved in primary sector governance and learn through doing by being around the board table.

Jamie McIntyre wins Gisborne Young Grower of the Year regional final:

Jamie McIntyre, 25, an orchard hand at Illawarra Farms, has won the 2021 Gisborne Young Grower of the Year competition.

‘What a day and I’m really stoked,’ said Jamie.

‘This is the best job you can have. I love what I do as growing is such a fantastic lifestyle choice. I am passionate about growing and want to share what happens on our orchards, so more people can have a slice of the lifestyle that we can all lead.’

Jamie will represent the Gisborne growing community in the national Young Grower of the Year competition in Wellington on 22-23 September, where six other regional finalists will compete for their share of $30,000 worth of prizes. . . 

Graziers, peak bodies respond to Landholders for Dingoes – Sally Gall:

An acknowledgement that wild dogs don’t respect boundaries must be respected by the Landholders for Dingoes group, according to Queensland producers and peak body representatives.

The newly launched body, which has members in most states, has initiated ripples of comment with its claim that members are reaping business and environmental benefits in keeping wild dogs on their properties.

Queensland spokesman, Longreach grazier Angus Emmott said it was unfortunate that organisations driving the persecution of wild dogs, citing Meat & Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, and the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, focused only on killing them. . . 


Rural round-up

27/01/2021

Pledge to end child labour in agriculture:

The director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, has pledged to intensify efforts toward addressing child labour in agriculture through a dedicated work programme.

“This year, we will step up our efforts to strengthen the capacities of a wide range of agricultural actors to include child labour prevention and youth employment in their work,” he said during the virtual event launch of the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour 2021.

“Policies, programmes, and investments related to agri-food systems need to address the root causes of child labour, including household poverty,” he added. . . 

Crunch time for struggling Otago orchards – Tess Brunton:

Some Central Otago orchards say this season’s crop is a write off, while others are struggling to find enough workers.

It has been a tough season for the growers, with Covid-19 border restrictions cutting the crucial supply of overseas workers.

To make matters worse, a deluge hit during the peak cherry harvest.

Ettrick Gardens co-owner John Preedy has been growing fruit, berries and vegetables in the small Central Otago town of Ettrick for decades. . . 

‘Tough situation’: Government aid sought after hail damaged Tasman crop – Susan Murray:

Tasman orchardists are calling on the government to provide financial help following severe hail on Boxing Day.

The devastating Boxing Day hail event which hit most of the Tasman district could cost it more than $100 million and locals say the government’s been silent about coming up with support.

Some apple, kiwifruit, and hop growers lost their entire production and they describe the event as the worst in living memory.

Insurance will not cover all the losses and the impact will be felt well beyond this season. . . 

First time competitor cleans up :

A first time competitor has won the Taranaki Manawatu FMG Young Farmer of the Year Regional Final.

Jake Jarman, 23, not only took out the regional title and became the first competitor of the season named for the grand final, he also won the most points in all four contest strainers. 

Jarman beat two-time regional winner and two-time previous grand final qualifier James Lawn, who came in second place.

Taranaki Manawatu New Zealand Young Farmers chair Kate Stewart, 24, was awarded third place. . . 

Birthplace of the Hamilton Jet, Irishman Creek Station on market – Kylie Klein-Nixon:

A stunning high country farm that once belonged to farming and engineering legend Sir William Hamilton is seeking a new shepherd.

Irishman Creek station, the birthplace of the Hamilton jet engine – which allows boats to skim across shallow water – has come on the market.

Comprised of pristine Mackenzie country tussock and farmland bordering Lake Pukaki, with views of Aoraki-Mt Cook, the 8642ha farm is more than 100 years old. The property even includes the original homestead, a two-storey prairie-style villa. . . 

Mouse plague wreaks havoc across two states, destroying crops in Qld, blanketing parts of NSW – Maddelin McCosker and Vicki Thompson:

A mouse plague is wreaking havoc across multiple Australian states, as people in the town and country pull out all stops to try to control the outbreak.

A “carpet” of mice has blanketed parts of New South Wales, from Merriwa in the Upper Hunter region to Tamworth and Moree in New England.

WARNING: Some people may find images in this article distressing.

In Queensland, a plague that began seven months ago is leaving a trail of destruction that has cost tens of thousands of dollars in lost crops and property damage.

From southern Queensland to the south-west and up into central Queensland, farmers, graziers, business owners and residents are doing all they can to control the mice, but the rodents seem unstoppable. . . 


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