Rural round-up

March 31, 2020

Resuscitating a virus-ravaged economy – the answer lies in the soil and the exports it generates – Point of Order:

Westpac is forecasting 200,000 jobs will be lost in NZ as a result of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Chief economist Dominick Stephens estimates economic activity during the four week lock-down would decline by a third, despite the government and the Reserve Bank having “done a lot to calm financial markets”.

Stephens said his feeling was that GDP in the three months to June would fall by more than 10%— “which is completely unprecedented in our lifetimes”.

The  Westpac  diagnosis  reinforces  the argument  advanced  by  Point of   Order   in  one of  its most intently  read  posts:  “After the lock-down the  economy’s  recovery  will be  dependent on dairy farmers and  their  milk”. . . 

Covid 19 coronavirus: It’s essential that agriculture does its bit – Chris Lewis:

To beat Covid-19 those working on the land must do their bit on-farm and off, writes Federated Farmers dairy chairman Chris Lewis.

Just like our hard working medical and emergency services, communications and infrastructure teams, the next four weeks will see farmers and their supporting services continuing to work while most of the country is locked down.

Being away from the high populations of our urban centres is an advantage in a time when we need to limit people contact and for many, business on the farm will largely feel like usual.

But for all of us to beat this, those working on the land must do their bit on the farm and off. . . 

Protocols present harvest challenges – Richard Rennie:

As Covid-19 protocols for essential industry staff become clearer, the kiwifruit sector is facing some tough decisions on how realistic they will prove for this year’s harvest to be successful.

Growers have only one day to go for registration as an “essential business”, and all growers and contractors with over five staff will be required to be registered with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). 

Businesses have until 5pm on Friday March 27 to be registered.

Doug Brown NZKGI chairman said he could not reiterate enough the importance of registering under Level 4 Covid-19 rules. . . 

 

Whanganui meat business Coastal Spring Lamb wins another food award – Laurel Stowell :

A second food award is a ray of sunshine amid a time of drought and pandemic for Turakina farmer Richard Redmayne.

He founded and, with farming partners, owns the Coastal Spring Lamb brand. Its lamb backstraps have won a gold medal in the Outstanding New Zealand Food Producers Awards, announced on March 24. Other gold winners in the category were beef and chicken products, and eggs.

The awards are judged 75 per cent on taste, 15 per cent on sustainability and 10 per cent on brand. Judges said the lamb backstraps were “a real class act”, with sustainability built in, consideration for animal welfare and care for the land. . . 

Raw milk rings alarm bells – Richard Rennie:

The increasingly popular and often controversial choice to drink raw milk has had alarm bells ringing among public health officials in recent years. Richard Rennie spoke to veterinarian and researcher Genevieve Davys about her work with Massey University disease experts on the link between raw milk and campylobacter.

Research has revealed children under 10 are most likely to contract campylobacter disease by drinking raw milk and account for 29% of the raw milk-related cases notified in the MidCentral Health district from 2012 to 2017.

The study collected data on all cases of campylobacter notified in that period. It then dug deeper into raw milk campylobacteriosis cases, comparing the demographics of them to other campylobacter cases where raw milk was not drunk.

Raw milk was linked to almost 8% of the notified cases.  . . 

New protocols to keep the shears clicking during the coronavirus emergency – Vernon Graham:

Shearers and shed hands should travel to work in separate vehicles, according to new wool harvesting protocols.

They should only travel together if the vehicle (eg, a bus) is big enough to allow the recommended 1.5 metres spacing between them.

The protocols have been developed in a collaboration between AWEX, WoolProducers Australia, Sheep Producers Australia, the Shearing Contractors Association of Australia and the WA Shearing Industry Association. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 19, 2013

New Zealander joins World Farmers Organisation board:

Federated Farmers President, Bruce Wills, has been appointed to the World Farmers Organisation Board as its Oceania representative. This assures New Zealand a key voice on the peak body representing farmer organisations from over 50 countries.

“It has been a superb General-Assembly in Japan,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, speaking from Niigata, Japan.

“Federated Farmers has helped to broker a breakthrough trade policy for the World Farmers Organisation. I need to acknowledge the high level policy work involving not only Federated Farmers’ staff but kindred organisations too. . .

Cracks appear between farmer groups – Allan Barber:

It hasn’t taken long for the cracks to appear in the ‘united farmers for change’ movement started by the Meat Industry Excellence group which held its first meeting in Gore a couple of weeks ago with a resoundingly successful response.

The next meeting organised by MIE will be held in Christchurch this Friday, but without Gerry Eckhoff who chaired the Gore meeting but has resigned over a disagreement with the strategy. Having said on the National programme the morning after the meeting that the new system and structure could be in place by next season at the beginning of October, he is now saying this is completely unrealistic. I told you so, Gerry! . .

Drought Declarations in March Dominate Rural Marketplace:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 21 fewer farm sales (-5.3%) for the three months ended March 2013 than for the three months ended March 2012. Overall, there were 376 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2013, compared with 379 farm sales in the three months to February 2013, a decrease of 3 sales (-0.8%). 1,433 farms were sold in the year to March 2013, 2.4% more than were sold in the year to March 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2013 was $22,317; an 11.3% increase on the $20,056 recorded for three months ended March 2012. The median price per hectare increased by 1.7% compared to February.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index eased by 1.1% in the three months to March compared to the three months to February, from 2,939.42 to 2,907.18. Compared to March 2012 the REINZ All Farm Price Index fell by 7.2%. Further details on the REINZ All Farm Price Index are set out below. . .

Govt supports development of dairy women leaders:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has announced that the Dairy Women’s Network has been approved for a Sustainable Farming Fund grant of $180,000 over three years.

“The Government is investing in the development of female leaders in dairying to ensure the sector is well-placed to face future challenges,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“The Dairy Women’s Network has a track record of linking up and empowering women in dairying.

“The Network has identified the need for leaders to drive reform in the dairy sector so that it’s meeting social and environmental footprint obligations without compromising overall productivity.” . . .

Dairy Women’s Network Chief Executive Resigns :

The Dairy Women’s Network has announced the resignation of chief executive Sarah Speight.
 
Backed by significant national and international dairy industry experience, Mrs Speight joined the Network in 2011 as the first full-time chief executive in its 15 year history.
 
For the past two years she has been commuting from her home in Tauranga to the Network’s Hamilton-based offices. Mrs Speight said that to take the Dairy Women’s Network to the next stage and do the role justice requires someone who is Waikato-based.
 
“Being in Tauranga and with significant family and community commitments has made me rethink my priorities. I have decided to resign from the role of chief executive to spend more time with my family in the immediate future.” . . .

Govt funding to help support eucalpyt forestry:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has announced that two projects focusing on eucalypts have been approved for Sustainable Farming Fund grants.

“The Government is investing in the development of eucalypts as a foresting option,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“Eucalypts offer a useful planting option. They are an alternative landuse for dryland areas and produce a naturally durable timber product.”

A project being run by the NZ Dryland Forests Initiative to share information about how to effectively manage plantations of durable eucalypts in dryland areas will receive SFF funding of $216,000. . .

Change Of Directors On Fonterra Board:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the appointment of a new Director, Simon Israel, following the retirement of Ralph Waters.

Chairman John Wilson said the Board welcomed Mr Israel, a Singaporean who has exceptional governance, consumer and wider Asian business experience.

“Simon is based in Singapore and has worked in Asia for many years. He has significant business credentials in Asia and in consumer and investment businesses. He will bring to the Board invaluable knowledge and insights as Fonterra pursues its business strategy, particularly with its emphasis on emerging markets,” said Mr Wilson. . .

Synlait Milk Launches its ISO 65 Accredited Dairy Farm Assurance System:

Synlait Milk launched its internationally accredited ISO 65 dairy farm assurance system called Lead With Pride to its 150 strong milk supply base today.

The only system of its kind in Australasia, Lead With Pride recognises and financially rewards certified milk suppliers for achieving dairy farming excellence.

“It is about demonstrating industry leadership in food safety and sustainability, and guarantees the integrity, safety and quality of pure natural milk produced on certified dairy farms .

“It enables our world leading health and nutrition customers to differentiate their products using Gold Plus or Gold Elite certified milk that has been sustainably produced,” says Synlait Milk CEO Dr John Penno. . .

Funding to help sustainable aquaculture porjects:

Five important projects focusing on aquaculture will benefit from the latest round of Sustainable Farming Fund grants, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced today.

“New Zealand seafood is a premium product and it’s great to see groups looking to improve their production and value by developing aquaculture,” says Mr Guy.

The projects with funding are:

  • Koura Aquaculture, by Wai-Koura South: $119,420
  • Farming Premium Salmon, by the Salmon Improvement Group: $600,000
  • Management of the GLM9 Greenlipped Mussel Spat Resource, by GML9 Advisory Group: $20,000
  • Tuna (Shortfin-eel) Aquaculture, by Te Ohu Tiaki o Rangitane Te Ika a Mauri Trust (MIO): $600,000
  • Aquaculture custom bacterial vaccines, by Aquaculture New Zealand: $115,686. . .

Easy lamb roast (hat tip: Whale Oil):


WFO backs break-through trade policy

April 17, 2013

The World Farmers Organisation has backed a break-through trade policy:

“While we haven’t agreed with 100 percent of everything in this WFO trade policy, the policy is a major pro-trade breakthrough and a huge step in the right direction,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, speaking from Japan where the WFO is meeting.

“Getting 50 countries to agree a policy is challenging and you do not get perfect outcomes, however all recognised the need to free up the trade of food to meet the needs of a growing global population has been grasped by the world’s leading farmer organisations.

“The WFO’s guiding principles commit the WFO to the parallel elimination of all forms of export subsidies and disciplines on all export measures with equivalent effect. It all boils down to improved market access.

“The WFO also wants a substantial reduction in trade-distorting domestic support but with special and differential treatment for developing countries and the least developed.

“The feeling from the WFO is that strengthened rules should apply to export prohibition/restriction and export taxes too.

“Proper protection of geographical indications as provided for under the WTO agreement on trade in intellectual property and recognition of country-of-origin requirements that allows countries to distinguish their products without distorting trade is also important.

“The WFO strongly supports the World Trade Organisation and believes that multilateral negotiations leading to a comprehensive trade agreement is the best way to pursue these objectives.

“That said bilateral and regional trade agreements, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, also work. So long, I should say, that they contribute towards these objectives in a WTO compatible way respecting the WFO’s Guiding Principles.

“Farmers everywhere need a fair, transparent and predictable trading environment but international trade itself needs to be guided by some fundamental principles and the WFO has taken a huge stride forward by the adoption of this trade policy” Mr Wills concluded.

New Zealand farmers have been unsubsidised since the 1980s.

We’re stronger for it and the New Zealand taxpayer is better for it.

Our customers also benefit because we have to produce what the market wants at competitive prices.


Free trade is fair trade

April 14, 2013

Federated Farmers’ president Bruce Wills explains that everyone benefits from free trade:

. . . Trade has been good for China and it has been great for New Zealand.

This is not lost on the World Farmers Organisation, which will be discussing a potential breakthrough policy on international trade.

A strong and viable global agricultural sector is essential if the world’s population is to be assured of stable and secure supplies of food.

Farming globally is vital for employment, economic development and to ensure that our precious but finite land and water resources are looked after. 

Our hope is that the World Farmers Organisation will commit to ambitious trade policy objectives.

Farmers need a fair, transparent and predictable trading environment but international trade itself needs to be guided by some fundamental principles. Federated Farmers, having recently met with our Nepalese colleagues, knows full-well the special needs of the least developed countries have to be taken into account. 

The biggest problem farming runs into are trade barriers.

Through the TPP we have hope that for New Zealand at least, we can negotiate these barriers away.

Anything less would be a disastrous cop-out.

For developing farm systems, there are initiatives like “Aid for Trade,” which has seen over US$200 billion mobilised in funding since 2005; US$60 billion of that for the least-developed. This sounds impressive until you consider that over the same period of time, the United States and Europe have between them paid out some $500 billion in agricultural subsidies to their farmers.

The easiest solution is perhaps less ‘Aid for Trade’ but free trade.  These give emerging economies market access instead of blockages that creates the need for aid funding.

We know from first hand experience that trade is an important way of ensuring efficient resource use.

Trade helps to even out demand and supply helping to meet the world’s need for food. Providing farmers everywhere with increased market opportunities helps to improve incomes, prosperity and economic growth.

That benefits not only rural communities but all communities.

Subsidies and trade barriers are unfair to those who pay for them directly and those who have to compete unfairly because of them.

Free trade is fair trade, if trade isn’t free, it isn’t fair either.

 


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