Rural round-up

27/09/2021

Access barrier for farmer mental health

A new initiative has been launched to improve access to counselling for farmers.

However, the founder of the charity behind it says accessibility is one of the main barriers for farmers seeking mental health assistance.

The Will to Live Charitable Trust’s ‘Rural- Change’ initiative will see farmers jump the sometimes eight-week queue to access three free private counselling sessions.

The initiative was launched in early September and Will to Live founder Elle Perriam told Rural News that they’d already had 15 farmers sign up. . . 

SWAG focused on the long game – Annette Scott:

The group tasked with lifting New Zealand’s strong wool sector out of the doldrums is on track to deliver.

With a 12-month contract and a $3.5 million dollar budget, the Strong Wool Action Group (SWAG) is working on leaving a legacy of a more connected and coordinated forward-looking, consumer-focused wool sector, embracing its place within the natural world.

The group is scheduled to sign-off at the end of this year and chair Rob Hewett is confident it is on track to deliver.

“We will make the grade, it’s a long game, but we are positioning sound opportunities to realise and commercialise several projects and who we are going to do this with,” Hewett said. . . 

Double-muscled sheep breed offers meaty gains -Country Life:

Beltex ram lambs are making farmers around the country lick their chops. Known for its heavy hindquarters and excellent kill weights, the breed is the sheep industry’s new kid on the butcher’s block.

A cross of Belgian and Texel sheep, the Beltex is used primarily for mating with ewes to produce lambs for meat.

Blair Gallagher and his son Hamish run New Zealand’s first Beltex stud at the family’s breeding and finishing property near Mount Somers.

Currently lambing’s in full swing on the scenic hill country farm. . . 

New Zealand red meat sector welcomes Chinese Taipei’s CPTPP membership application:

The Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ) welcome Chinese Taipei’s formal application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Sam McIvor, chief executive of Beef + Lamb NZ said the CPTPP was founded with a vision for regional agreement that provided for the accession of new members. Chinese Taipei’s application demonstrates the value of the agreement and its relevance to economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Chinese Taipei has been a longstanding and valuable market for New Zealand red meat products. Trade with Chinese Taipei was worth over $314 million in 2020, with trade in beef products worth over $170 million alone. This means that trade has almost doubled since the signing of the Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC) in 2013.

“Like all other economies wishing to accede to the CPTPP, Chinese Taipei will need to demonstrate its commitment to the high standards contained in the CPTPP, and with a high-quality deal already in place with New Zealand, Chinese Taipei has demonstrated its commitment to trade liberalisation. . . 

Homegrown talent to tackle pesky pests :

Six of New Zealand’s young minds are setting out to revolutionise pest management, helping efforts to eradicate pests, possums, stoats and rats from New Zealand by 2050.

Supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) and $2.4 million in Jobs for Nature funding, the post-graduate and post-doctoral researchers from University of Auckland, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, and University of Otago will be researching topics as diverse as genetics, biocontrol, audio lures, and social licence.

“Our work is certainly ambitious, but is a critical step to secure New Zealand’s biodiversity. Despite decades of valuable and dedicated conservation efforts, step-changes are needed to achieve our goals. And to achieve those step-changes, New Zealand needs new science talent to drive the cutting edge research needed,” says PF2050 Ltd science director Dan Tompkins.

Tompkins says the programme has garnered international attention with regards to whether its goal can be achieved. . .

The future of Fonterra in Australia – Marian Macdonald:

Australian milk might be some of the best in the world but, Fonterra Australia’s managing director says, it’s not New Zealand milk.

The result is that a chunk of the local business is being put up for sale, with strings attached.

In statements this morning, the giant NZ cooperative announced that it was placing “a greater focus on our New Zealand milk”.

Asked what that meant, Fonterra Australia managing director René Dedoncker said Fonterra had made clear choices around New Zealand milk and would be directing capital towards leveraging its provenance. . . 

 


Rural round-up

28/06/2021

Govt’s response on farm workforce crisis underwhelming – Jason Herrick:

The Government needs to do more to help farmers cope with staff shortages, Southland Federated Farmers sharemilker chairman Jason Herrick writes.

Farm staff shortages in Southland and around the country are getting worse.

While the government finally bowed to dairy industry pleas and announced border exemptions for 150 management and 50 farm assistant positions, the sector was already under severe workforce gap pressure.

The super-busy calving season begins mid-July, and it’s unlikely many of the 200 extra migrant staff will be out of managed isolation by then. . . 

Farmers, tractors, and tradies expected at ‘ute’ protests around the country – Rachael Kelly:

Farmers are being encouraged to take their tractors and dogs to town next month in a show of protest against Government regulations – and tradies are also being encouraged to show their support.

Farmer action group Groundswell NZ is organising ‘A Howl of a Protest’ in town centres from Gore to Kerikeri on July 16, for “farmers, growers and ute owners who are fed up with increasing Government interference in your life and business, unworkable regulations and unjustified costs”.

Groundswell NZ spokesperson Bryce McKenzie said farmers were growing increasingly frustrated with new Government regulations, but he hoped tradies would also join the protests as they were being penalised if they wanted to upgrade their utes.

Last week the Government announced its new rebate scheme, which will make lower-carbon-emitting cars more affordable for New Zealanders and will see a fee placed on higher-emission vehicles, including utes. . . 

Going without in salute to mate :

When Luke Knowles got the call that a good mate had taken his life, it was mind-numbing, heart-breaking and “just totally confusing”.

Mr Knowles said his mate, an intelligent, outgoing and fun-loving young man, was not someone he would ever have guessed was not happy on the inside.

“He was just one of the boys; we always had a good time together. But when he passed away, it did come to light that he had been battling with a few things, but he kept it all pretty close to his chest.”

As a salute to his late friend, Mr Knowles will be participating in Dry July, a campaign in which participants go without alcohol for the month of July. Typically, the campaign is to raise money for cancer research, but he will instead give his fundraising efforts to the Will To Live Charitable Trust which focuses on initiatives specifically designed to help young rural people suffering from mental health issues. . . 

Worldwide commodities boom drives fertiliser prices to 10-year highs – Jamie Gray:

The world-wide commodities boom has driven world fertiliser prices to 10-year highs.

Global food prices have recorded their biggest annual rise in a decade, driven in part by China’s soaring appetite for grain and soyabeans and a severe drought in Brazil, which has put fertiliser in hot demand.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said global food prices rose last month at their fastest monthly rate in more than a decade, even as world cereal production was on course to reach a new record high. .  .

Tiny rural school has students of more than a dozen different nationalities – Lee Kenny:

It’s one of the most culturally diverse schools in the country, but it’s not in the inner city – it’s in rural Canterbury.

Hororata Primary School has 85 students from more than a dozen nationalities – including Serbia, Syria and Sri Lanka – and about a quarter of youngsters speak a language other than English at home.

The village of Hororata lies an hour west of Christchurch, just before the snow-capped Southern Alps rise up on the horizon.

The local economy is heavily reliant on the dairy industry, with workers from around the world employed on the farms and in the cattle sheds. . . 

North-east Victorian dairy farmers identify projects to help manage climate change:

Dairy farmers in north-east Victoria are leading an industry response to climate change.

A group of farmers has identified changing rainfall patterns, increased temperatures, availability of water, weather extremes and access to health services as challenges and/or opportunities for the next decade.

The North East Dairy Climate Futures Project invited dairy farmers to have a say about their own businesses in response to data released by the CSIRO in 2020 that supported predicted climate change impacts across the valleys of north-east Victoria.

At a series of workshops across the region earlier this year, dairy farmers embraced the opportunity to identify what should be the focus for their industry. . . 


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