Rural round-up

June 17, 2017

Riding the dairy rollercoaster – Ian Telfer:

Head just west from Riverton, Southland, turn inland from stony Colac Bay and the wilder waters of Foveaux Strait, and you reach the Mathieson family farm.

Sandwiched between the sea and the bush-covered slopes of Longwood Forest, it’s where Ewen Mathieson was born, and has remained ever since.

“It’s a pretty special place.”

For most of its history, the 650-hectare farm ran mainly sheep and beef, but in 2008 – the year the National-led government was elected – the family decided to convert to dairy.

It turned out to be interesting timing. . . 

Researchers confident of pāua comeback after quake:

Researchers studying how pāua have been impacted by the Kaikōura earthquake say it is not yet clear how long it will take the species to recover.

November’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake lifted parts of coastline up by several metres in places, dehydrating and killing thousands of exposed pāua.

Last year the government announced a $2 million research package to look at how marine life was coping after the disaster.

Pāua are one of the species thought to have fared worst in the Kaikōura earthquake. A ban on collecting them and all other shellfish and seaweed in the area, excluding crayfish, is in place until November this year – when it will be reviewed. . . 

Green Ribbon Awards showcase farmers’ environmental work:

Federated Farmers is delighted to see farmers’ environmental work being showcased and celebrated at the annual Green Ribbon Awards in Wellington last night.

The Ministers for Environment and Conservation who hosted the event announced two farmer led initiatives as winners; The Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust was honoured in the community leadership category, while Te Rūnanga-ā-Iwi o Ngāti Kahu was winner of the Kaitiaki Leadership category.

In all, there were five farmer led initiatives which were 2017 finalists, underlining kiwi farmers’ commitment to the environment and biodiversity. . . 

Grow large with milk – Eric Crampton:

It would be tempting to take these results and make a case for ending Canadian dairy supply management, but there are better reasons for ending Canadian supply management.

A new paper out in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows there’s an association between children drinking non-dairy milk, as opposed to cow’s milk, and lower heights. 

The press release doesn’t link to the paper. Here’s the link to the paper if you’re interested. 

The press release talks about associations but doesn’t say anything about causality. Nevertheless, the author goes on about the lack of regulation of protein content in non-dairy milk. 

And hey, maybe that’s what’s going on. Reduced protein intake could be doing it. . . 

Global demand fueling forestry export growth:

Strong demand from key markets is driving up export growth in forestry products, Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston says.

The latest Ministry for Primary Industries’ Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) shows strong growth in the forestry sector.

“Forestry exports are expected to grow 6.4 per cent to $5.5 billion in 2017, before increasing further to $6.3 billion by 2021 as increased volumes of wood become available for harvest,” Ms Upston says. . . 

Proud moment as New Zealand farmers take their wool to the world stage:

Seeing their product presented to the North American market was an emotional and triumphant experience for a group of New Zealand wool growers last month.

Just Shorn®, Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool)’s range of premium New Zealand wool carpets and rugs, was launched in New York City on May 18 at an event attended by New Zealand Trade Commissioner – Consul General, Beatrice Faumuina.

Craig Carr, managing director of Carrfields, said the farmers who attended the event were immensely proud to see the finished carpets and rugs, which are now available from US luxury flooring specialist Carlisle, presented at the event. . . 

Soybeans: Missouri’s Super Crop! Planting #My60Acres – Uptown farms:

It’s ‘s growing day 10 already and I am just now telling the story of planting #My60Acres!  Many of you will remember from last year that my farmer husband gave me full access to take over one, 60 acre  field on our home farm.
 
Last year #My60Acres was planted to corn (you can read that story here).  I delayed planting a few days (because I didn’t want to take time off from my day job) and it cost me in yield at harvest time because I hit some wet, cold weather right after planting. . . 

Sileni Estates wins Platinum at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards in London:

Hawke’s Bay producer, Sileni Estates, has been awarded Platinum at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) for its 2014 Estate Selection Peak Syrah.

The Decanter World Wine Awards is one of the world’s largest and most influential international wine competitions judged by the top wine experts, Masters of Wine and Master Sommeliers from around the world. . . 

Xero urges agri sector to Improve glacial invoicing:

Xero announces new app developments, agri-specific reporting templates and benchmarking capability

As Fieldays is in full swing and businesses have been spending up large, Xero is urging agri businesses to proactively manage their finances.

Craig Hudson, New Zealand Country Manager at Xero, says the agri sector has some of the longest payment terms Xero sees across New Zealand.

“The concept of monthly invoicing is outdated for the agri sector. If you aren’t invoicing as you complete work, you are missing a trick. The sector will be losing out on millions due to the unnecessary cost of financing negative cashflow. . . 


Rural round-up

August 29, 2014

Synlait Milk receives MPI approval:

Synlait Milk has received approval of its Risk Management Programme from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for its dry blending and consumer packaging plant.

The approval enables Synlait Milk to now pack and export retail-ready product from its manufacturing site, having met the New Zealand food safety requirements of the Animal Products Act 1999.

The only exception is for exports of finished infant formula to China. Documentation required to support Synlait Milk’s application for registration as an exporter of finished infant formula to China was sent to the Chinese regulatory body today by MPI. . . .

Beef + Lamb NZ expenditure on overseas promotion under review – Allan Barber:

Next year sheep and beef farmers will have their five yearly referendum under the Commodity Levies Act when they get to vote on whether they wish to continue funding Beef + Lamb New Zealand as their industry good body.

It was a fairly close run thing last time and actually resulted in the motion to continue with wool promotion being defeated, although this is now back on the agenda. However there is obviously some nervousness about the likely outcome of the next referendum, although this may be unfounded if farmer returns continue to be positive

One element of B+LNZ’s activity which tends to provoke debate among farmers is the use of funds for overseas promotion. Within the last 20 years, and especially more recently, there has been an agreement within the meat industry that promotion should be jointly funded by MIA members and B+LNZ. . .

Westland farmers braced for hard season:

Farmer-shareholders of the dairy cooperative, Westland Milk Products, will be watching spending very closely as the country’s number two dairy cooperative has cut 60 cents per kilogram of Milksolids (kg/MS) to a range of $5.40 – $5.80 kg/MS before retentions.

“Given Fonterra’s hold on its benchmark payout forecast, this isn’t exactly the best news to go into spring with,” says Renee Rooney, Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy Chairperson.

“The fact the world produced seven billion litres of milk for export in the first half of 2014 isn’t a secret and hasn’t happened overnight, so this further revision is disappointing. . . .

TNZ and NZ Winegrowers sign MOU:

Tourism New Zealand and New Zealand Winegrowers have today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly promote New Zealand as a visitor destination and premium wine producer internationally.

The two-year MOU will see the organisations formalise their activity to enhance both brands, ultimately driving more visitors to New Zealand and increasing the sales of New Zealand wine in key markets.

The MOU was jointly signed by Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler and Phillip Gregan Chief Executive Officer for New Zealand Winegrowers, at the wine organisation’s annual conference in Blenheim.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says that the MOU will see both parties work together to leverage and enhance each other’s international profiles. . .

 

Possum-fur yarn makes double debut at NZ Fashion Week

Wellington yarn maker, Woolyarns New Zealand were rapt to find out this week two designers, Zambesi and Maree MacLean, are featuring their luxury possum fur product, Perino in collections for New Zealand Fashion Week 2014.

Up until now the luxury yarn has been used exclusively in the tourist market. Woolyarns NZ Marketing manager Jimad Khan says the move into high fashion is an exciting development for the company.

Both Zambesi and Maree MacLean are using the top-end yarn as features in their New Zealand Fashion Week collections.

“Zambesi is very keen to source local, sustainable product and on being approached by Woolyarns New Zealand got excited by the idea of possum yarn,” says Zambesi designer Dayne Johnston. . . .

Spark brings high speed mobile broadband to rural New Zealand:

Spark New Zealand announced today that it has begun its rollout of 4G services on the recently acquired 700MHz spectrum in the Waikato, enabling 12 sites with 4G in the region.

Following a successful trial earlier this year Spark, in conjunction with Huawei Technologies has now livened up sites with 4G in Te Aroha, central Hamilton, Morrinsville, Mystery Creek and other surrounding areas in the Waikato – allowing customers to access high speed mobile broadband over the 700 MHz spectrum.

Spark Networks Chief Operating Officer, David Havercroft, said: “Today marks the start of an accelerated rollout of 4G services to regional New Zealand. Over the next few months we’ll continue to widen our 4G footprint in the Waikato region, including the Coromandel, and will bring this technology to existing sites by February 2015. . .

Finally, a cloud based solution even the number crunchers can get excited about:

Xerocon Australia 2014 proved to be the perfect launch pad for iAgri, the agri-add on partner for Xero’s farm accountancy solution.

With more than 1,300 delegates cramming into the Dome in Sydney to hear the latest news from Xero and check out the latest add-ons and services from 82 exhibitors, the Canterbury based farm software company was one of the real winners.

iAgri CEO John Lay says there was a huge degree of interest in the product. “Farming is as important in Australia as it is in New Zealand so we fielded a lot of enquiry. Plainly, a lot of the accountants and bankers, many of whom had travelled from all over Australia specifically to view the iAgri add-on, have been waiting for a comprehensive solution like this to take to their clients and they were super excited – about as excited as an accountant can get anyway.”  . . .

 


Latta vs rich List

August 4, 2014

Nigel Latta’s TV programme on the New Haves and Have Nots has reignited the debate on inequality.

Eric Crampton counters the assertion inequality is growing:

. . . First, as noted last night, inequality has not been increasing. There was an increase from the mid 1980s through the early 1990s, and it’s been flat since then. Last night I put up the Gini time series, but that’s hardly the only measure of inequality. Let me here quote the Ministry of Social Development report:

Overall, there is no evidence of any sustained rise or fall in inequality in the last two decades. The level of household disposable income inequality in New Zealand is a little above the OECD median. The share of total income received by the top 1% of individuals is at the low end of the OECD rankings.

That’s one of their big bolded summary findings. Inequality is flat, we’re hardly out of line for the OECD, and whatever you think about inequality in NZ, it’s not being driven by the top 1%. . . .

Whether or not he read that, Latta added to the debate with a Facebook post:

And… for all those people out there who dispute the fact that inequality has been steadily increasing in this country… and who argue the ins and outs of the statistics from the most recent Household incomes survey… and even the man on Newstalk ZB who just said the episode was all just “socialist propaganda”… well, all those people might be interested in the fact that in the latest National Business Review Rich List Survey the collective wealth of our rich-listers has more than doubled since 2004 from $22.3 billion to $51.2 billion in 2014.

You can call that any one of a number of things, but I don’t think you can look at those numbers and say that inequality has been “stable” since the 1990’s.

So, you know, there’s that.

To which responds:

. . . Meantime, is the Rich List 2014 exhibit A for growing inequality?

It’s worth noting the Rich List isn’t stuffed with cigar-chomping bankers or sweat shop owners or other Dickensanian characters.

Take the wealthiest new entrant, Ian McCrae (Orion Health) or Rod Drury (Xero) who had one of the biggest jumps in personal wealth this year.

Both of these sell-made CEOs have roughly doubled their software companies’ workforces from around 400 to more than 800 a piece over the past 12 months. 

Those are high quality jobs. As are the 1500+ employed by Rich Lister John Holdsworth at Datacom, which has shot up the TIN100 rankings to become our second largest high tech exporter (just ahead of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, founded by the Rich List Paykel family).

Companies on the TIN100 (and NZTE/Callgahan Innovation-backed list of our largest high tech companies) piled on staff last year — and would have added more if not for a skills shortage. The TIN100 is stuffed with NBR Rich Listers too numerous to name, but it includes Sir Peter Jackson, and the Gallagher Family.

Many make a broader contribution. Xero has fostered a shoal of smaller NZ software companies that support its platform. Holdswoth and Morgan each invest in dozes of startups, as does another Rich Lister Sir Stephen Tindall (and there are many other examples of investing in new businesses; I’m just pulling a handful from the tech scene). Morgan is also investing further afield including multiple projects in Africa aimed at creating sustainable businesses. 

It’s also worth noting that Drury and McCrae’s companies are barely gouging and exploitive by nature. Xero will only succeed against rivals if it makes it easier for small businesses to do their books. Orion Health has had wins around the world for its software, which among other things makes it easier for healthcare providers to put patient records online and share them others who need access. But its biggest success as been in the US on the back of the Obama reforms which have made healthcare more accessible. Orion is helping to make our hospital system work better too. That’s a good thing.

It’s true Rod Drury’s wealth has increased four-fold over the past couple of years, but it’s not like he got there by reaching into workers’ back pockets. It reflects the value that NZ, Australian, US and other investors have ascribed to his company’s shares.

Drury and McCrae have also made useful contributions to the debate around ICT infrastructure and public education., among other areas.

Not all Rich Listers have made such active investments in terms of employment or otherwise contributing to the economy. Some have merely seen the value of properties increase over the past year, with mixed results for middle and working class NZ. And not ever retailer on the Rich List is about to get a medal from the CTU. But it’s notable that the largest retailer, Sir Stephen Tindall’s The Warehouse, introduced a living wage programme over the past year (or Career Retailer Wage as the chain calls it). There are counter examples, but across the Rich List there are lots of examples of good jobs being created and even, like Sir Stephen, a few examples of closing the gaps.

Most wealthy people are wealthy because they have worked hard and taken risks.

They have earned their wealth and most have made a positive contribution to both the economy and society in doing it.

A very few might have got ahead at the expense of others but most get ahead by creating wealth which not only helps them it also helps others, by creating jobs and providing goods or services.

There is no doubt there are people in dire circumstances in New Zealand but the statistics on how many and comparisons with others don’t matter nearly as much as the people who are in need.

The easiest way to reduce inequality is to make the rich poorer but that won’t help the poor.

The real problem isn’t the gap between rich and poor but whether those at the bottom have enough and how easy, or difficult, it is for them to improve.

Some in immediate need require immediate direct help.

The key to helping the rest is improvements in their education, health, and helping those who could work but aren’t to move from welfare to work.


Rural round-up

June 20, 2014

New Zealand features at “Olympics” of TB control

New Zealand’s expertise in the eradication of bovine tuberculosis (TB) will be showcased in Wales this month at the prestigious international M.bovis conference.

TBfree New Zealand TB Eradication and Research Manager Dr Paul Livingstone QSO will be a keynote speaker at the conference. He is well known for advising other countries, including Wales, Ireland, Chile and the United States, on TB management.

Dr Livingstone has spent his working life managing the disease and has been a key part of TBfree New Zealand’s success. He said it is a privilege to speak in front of such an esteemed gathering of experts from around the world, with about 500 attendees expected at the conference. . .

Antimicrobial resistance worries vets:

Growing resistance to antimicrobials has vets worried.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association at its annual conference in Hamilton this week, regards it as one of the greatest threat to human and animal health.

Bacteria, which is the major cause of disease develops the ability to withstand the antibiotic used to control them.

Keynote speaker at the conference, Australian vet, Stephen Page said that while the problem in animals is not nearly as great as in humans, farmers and vets can’t afford to relax. . .

Rural professionals needed – Vet Assn:

The Veterinary Association says the lack of young people wanting to take up careers in agribusiness and sciences is likely to affect the number of vets being produced in this country.

The Ministry for Primary Industries puts the number of rural professionals currently at about 2000.

Association president Steve Merchant said for this country to achieve an increase in its primary exports at double the current rate, more rural professionals were needed. . . .

Research to focus on environment:

Dairy industry research funded by farmer levies will have a stronger focus on environmental issues.

The industry body Dairy NZ has received strong farmer support for renewing the levies it collects from them for another six years.

That will take effect when the Primary Industries Minister signs a new commodity levies order, which needs to happen by February next year. . . .

HRH The Prince of Wales hosts Campaign for Wool’s 5th Anniversary:

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Campaign for Wool, the campaign’s Patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a major celebration of wool at Clarence House.

Attended by a host of key guests representing brands and fashion designers from the Wool Collection, the occasion was marked with enlightening talks by very special guests including Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chairman of the Campaign for Wool (pictured below with HRH The Prince of Wales). Seeking to highlight two of the Campaign’s most frequently made claims regarding wool’s benefits: firstly, that it is a supremely safe fibre thanks to its natural fire retardant properties and that secondly, wool quickly biodegrades in soil – a key ecological benefit, the day centred around two tests and an immersive wool fashion and interiors presentation. . . .

To commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Campaign for Wool, the campaign’s Patron His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales hosted a major celebration of wool at Clarence House.

Attended by a host of key guests representing brands and fashion designers from the Wool Collection, the occasion was marked with enlightening talks by very special guests including Nicholas Coleridge CBE, Chairman of the Campaign for Wool (pictured below with HRH The Prince of Wales). Seeking to highlight two of the Campaign’s most frequently made claims regarding wool’s benefits: firstly, that it is a supremely safe fibre thanks to its natural fire retardant properties and that secondly, wool quickly biodegrades in soil – a key ecological benefit, the day centred around two tests and an immersive wool fashion and interiors presentation.

– See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.org/news-item/hrh-the-prince-of-wales-hosts-campaign-for-wools-5th-anniversary/#sthash.4Zt2b9RF.dpuf

‘Farming in the Cloud’ online accounting launched by Xero:

Online accounting software company Xero today formally launched its dedicated rural online accounting and farm management solution – Farming in the Cloud – together with key farming solution partner, Figured, at the National Fieldays in Mystery Creek.

Xero also announced that rural services company, RD1 has joined Farming in the Cloud as a partner, and as part of this is working with the wider Fonterra group to explore opportunities for integration.

Ben Richmond, CA, Xero Rural Strategy Lead said: “We are excited to now have all our major rural supplier partnerships in place. Figured has been instrumental in taking Xero to the farming market. Now, having RD1 on board, alongside the likes of PGG Wrightson which is already a partner, really validates the power of Farming in the Cloud as a ground-breaking farm productivity tool, and looking ahead we’re pleased to be broadening our relationship with Fonterra.” . . .

Kahungunu Harvesting Our Future:

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi is hosting a second in a series of Agribusiness Conferences to showcase current farming talent and to provide roadways into the future for landowners and shareholders who in the past leased their land to neighbouring farmers.

This conference is being held on Thursday 26th June at The Hub in Dannevirke.

We will highlight successful business women in farming and successful grouping of Māori interests that take produce from the ‘Nuku to the Puku’ meaning from the land to the tables of the world.
Dannevirke is already a hot bed of energy and innovation when it comes to farming. The success stories from this area will be a good example for other small communities that see the value of cooperation and partnership.

Ngāti Kahungunu is well known in iwi circles for our generous hospitality to visitors. This trait has built lifelong relationships throughout the country and one we want to extend to the world. . .

Fonterra Announces Two Senior Appointments:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced two senior appointments to the Fonterra Management Team.

Kelvin Wickham, who is currently President Greater China, will take up the newly created position of Managing Director Global Ingredients.

Johan Priem, who is currently a member of the Office of the CEO, will become President Greater China, when Mr Wickham assumes his new role on 1 August. . . .

New Zealand Site Dominates U.S. Wine World:

The most influential wine website in the U.S. is not based in Silicon Valley but the Auckland suburb of New Lynn.

The VinePair Wine Web Power Index measures the influence of selected wine websites and mobile apps within the United States and West Auckland-based Wine Searcher is top of the list.

Wine Searcher is a search engine for wine that lists more than 5.5 million wines and prices from almost 40,000 merchants around the world. Master of Wine Jancis Robinson calls it “the most successful, and seriously useful, price comparison website.” . . .


Rural round-up

March 4, 2014

India world’s largest beef exporter – Allan Barber:

For a country where the cow is sacred to adherents of the majority Hindu religion, it seems surprising that India has overtaken Brazil as the largest exporter of beef in the world. A recent article in the New Indian Express reports that a prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, recently referred to the ‘pink revolution’ as the only revolution happening in India, signifying the growing importance of the country’s meat industry.

It was intended primarily as a dig at the inactivity of India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance party which has been in power since 2004. But it underlines the point that beef exports have grown by 50% in the past five years to 1.89 million tonnes with main markets being USA, Europe, the Gulf States and South East Asia.

Poultry exports have also grown substantially, reaching 3.5 million tonnes in the latest year for which figures are available, which puts it after USA and Brazil as the world’s third largest exporter. . .

China’s meat imports surge, while live cattle trade slows – Allan Barber:

An article in Global Meat News.com highlights significant changes in China’s live animal and meat trade with the rest of the world.

China’s imports of live cattle dropped back in 2013, although there was a surge in cattle for beef breeding and finishing. According to China Customs data, China imported 102,245 cattle (cows, bulls and weaners) in 2013 which was down 26,000 on the previous year, but the figures included 9,370 Angus cattle from Australia and New Zealand destined for the beef sector. A batch of 3,000 Angus, classed as ‘beef cattle’, were imported from Australia in November alone.

A listing of major feed lots, published by China’s agricultural ministry, shows the bulk of China’s cattle feed lots are concentrated in Hebei, Liaoning and Shandong provinces. Yet cows and cattle are also being farmed in increasing numbers in the less populous northwesterly regions of Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Xinjiang – all of which also have large Muslim populations and a traditional demand for halal-compliant beef products. . .

Bluff oysters are back – Michael Daly:

Succulent Bluff oysters are starting to appear on shop shelves after the season opened at midnight today, but the delicacies are not expected to be widely available in most supermarkets until early next week.

“There will be a little bit getting around the country today,” Bluff Oyster Management Company spokesman and Barnes Oysters manager Graeme Wright said.

Some of the 11 boats in the fleet had gone out last night to be ready to start harvesting as soon as the season opened, and the first boat had been back in port before 8am. . .

Dairy dominates rise in export volumes:

In the December 2013 quarter, seasonally adjusted dairy export values rose 27 percent, Statistics New Zealand said today. Dairy volumes, after adjusting for seasonal effects, rose 23 percent while actual prices fell 1.1 percent.

Total export volumes rose 9.7 percent in the December 2013 quarter while total export prices fell 0.5 percent. Both movements were strongly influenced by dairy, which accounted for 39 percent of the value of goods exported in the December quarter – twice as much as meat and forestry combined.

“Export volumes are at their highest level since the series began in 1990, reflecting higher dairy volumes in the December quarter, after adjusting for seasonal effects,” prices manager Chris Pike said. “Dairy export prices fell slightly, reflecting a stronger New Zealand dollar.” . . .

DairyNZ’s research head retires:

DairyNZ chief scientist Dr Eric Hillerton has announced he will leave his post at the industry body later this year, having decided to semi-retire.

Dr Hillerton says one of the most rewarding parts of being a scientist with DairyNZ is the direct involvement with dairy farmers, understanding the real problems on farms and helping develop solutions and new technologies.

“Much of the value of that science lies in taking research and knowledge directly to farmers, and testing how to apply and transfer innovative technologies and solutions,” says Dr Hillerton. . .

Two New Zealand multinationals partner for Fieldays Premier Feature:

NZ National Fieldays Society is pleased to announce Fieldays 2014 Joint Premier Feature Partners: PGG Wrightson Ltd and Xero Ltd.

Fieldays, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Agribusiness Expo, will be held 11 to 14 June at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton. Each year the Fieldays Premier Feature theme provides a compelling showcase for what’s happening throughout New Zealand’s agricultural industry; promotes adoption of current knowledge and technologies; and offers solutions for upcoming challenges.

The Fieldays 2014 Premier Feature theme, Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage, will highlight areas in which New Zealand’s agricultural sector can optimise, maximise and develop systems and processes to help manage resources effectively and maintain our place among the world’s best. . .


Rural round-up

February 21, 2014

Draconian sharemilking clause to be deleted:

Federated Farmers is to delete the outdated ‘set-off’ clause from its industry standard Herd Owning Sharemilking Agreement.  This move will be welcomed by Sharemilkers and Sharemilker Employers alike.

“The set-off clause is outdated, against common law and is downright draconian,” says Tony Wilding, Chairperson of Federated Farmers Sharemilker Employers section  

“The set-off clause gave farm owners the ‘right’ to instruct their dairy company to withhold up to 75 percent of the milk payment due to a sharemilker during a dispute.  These funds are instead transferred into the farm owner’s solicitor’s Trust Account. 

“I know the set-off clause is only supposed to be used after conciliation of the dispute has failed and the dispute is in arbitration, but too often, I have heard it being misused and this is causing sheer misery. 

“Sharemilkers end up with little money to feed their family, let alone their cows, when the correct dispute resolution process hasn’t been adhered to. . .

Young herdsperson wins three times on the trot–  Yvonne O’Hara::

Samantha Hall (14), of Stirling, has won the Southern Rural Life Young Herdsperson of the Year for the third year in a row.

Jorja Robertson (13), of Wyndham, was second, after placing third last year.

Samantha won the Southern Rural Life trophy and $100, while Jorja received $50. . .

 

Honeybee disease infecting bumblebees:

Scientists in Britain say they’ve found evidence that diseases found in commercially-kept honeybees are increasingly spreading into wild populations of bumblebees.

Populations of bumblebees are in steep decline around the world.

The insect is an important part of the countryside, but over the last 50 years numbers have plummeted, the BBC reports.

Scientists from Royal Holloway at the University of London believe that a virus and a fungal parasite, usually carried by honeybees have spread to bumblebees. . .

Consultation on draft EEZ regulations underway:

The Government is seeking feedback on draft regulations for the dumping of waste and the discharge of harmful substances under the EEZ Act, Environment Minister Amy Adams announced today.

“These activities already occur within New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. They are currently regulated by Maritime New Zealand under the Maritime Transport Act 1994, but will be transferred to the Environmental Protection Authority when the new regulations come into force,” Ms Adams says.

The proposed regulations will cover discharges of harmful substances from offshore structures and from production facilities on board mineral mining ships, as well as the burial of human remains and the dumping of waste. . .

Farm accountancy puzzle solved:

A missing piece of the farm accountancy puzzle has fallen into place with the launch of Figured – an online farm financial package launched at Xerocon today.

As a former partner in a rural accounting firm, and a farmer, David Marshall felt for a long time there had to be a more efficient way of managing farm finances.

Working with farm investment company MyFarm, which is responsible for managing more than 50 farms, Marshall says he became increasingly frustrated at not having the right financial information at his fingertips.

“We were trying to communicate how well the farms were running or if there were issues looming but we seemed to be reporting different results, using different systems and getting different answers.” . . .

Xero to launch ‘Farming in the Cloud’ service mid-year:

Significant partners on board

Online accounting software company Xero has announced today that its new ‘Farming in the Cloud’ solution, which brings real-time, single ledger reporting to the farm for the first time, will be ready to go to market mid-year 2014.

The solution allows farmers and their accountants, banks and rural service companies to work together from the same set of online, real-time data, and will provide one centralised home for key accounting and farm management tools.

Key to the solution is a growing eco-system of farming software partners that are fully integrated with Xero’s beautifully simple online platform, and has the potential to be a major boost for farmers, and for the country. . .

Finalists Recognised for Maori Excellence in Farming:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) would like to congratulate the three finalists, and all entrants of the 2014 Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Māori Excellence in Farming award.

“It’s great to be a major sponsor of a competition that celebrates and encourages Māori farmers who are committed to pursuing new and innovative approaches,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton.

“Māori agribusiness is a major contributor to New Zealand’s primary sector, and the wider New Zealand economy. These finalists should be proud of their achievements and I’m sure they will go on to be leaders in their sector,” says Mr Dalton.

The three finalists announced at an event in Parliament last night are:

  • Putauki Trust –Himoana Farm Bay of Plenty
  • Ngati Awa Farms Ltd – Ngakauroa Farm – Bay of Plenty
  • Te Rua o Te Moko Ltd – Taranaki . . .

 


Rural round-up

October 30, 2013

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Puts Case to Washington:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and representatives from other Five Nations Beef Alliance partners have called on Washington’s Capitol Hill to promote a unified view of how trade in agricultural products – and especially beef – should be treated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

The TPP, which is currently being negotiated and of which New Zealand is a participant, aims to open up trade in goods and services. Progress towards an outcome was most recently reviewed in Bali, where Prime Minister John Key chaired the meeting of the 12 TPP negotiating countries.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance is made up of the national organisations that represent beef cattle producers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the United States. Collectively, the five countries account for one third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. . .

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to be bulletproof:

New Zealand food and beverage producers need to ensure their operations are “bulletproof” if they want to compete in an increasingly aggressive global marketplace, an industry expert says.

Grant Thornton New Zealand Partner and National Leader, Food and Beverage, Simon Hunter, is describing the firm’s latest International Food and Beverage sector report, ‘Hunger for growth: Food and Beverage looks to the future’, as a wake-up call for the local industry.

The report, based on interviews with 248 senior executives in seven countries (including New Zealand), says 90% expect revenues to increase in the next 12 months but only half expect to employ more people. . .

Gigatown competition will change the future for one town:

Federated Farmers is excited by Chorus’s year-long competition to bring the fastest broadband speed to one New Zealand town.

“This competition is a great opportunity for rural towns,” says Conor English, Federated Farmers Chief Executive.

“If a rural town wins it will become the first town in the southern hemisphere to receive one-gigabit per second broadband speeds – up to 100 times faster than most cities around the globe.

“New Zealand’s farmers are desperate for new ways to get onto the internet and this competition has the potential, for one fortunate town, to spark innovation and mobilise and transform their local economy and society. . . .

(This is why we’re supporting #gigatownoam and the #gigatown campaign).

Fonterra board to set up separate risk committee after food scare review – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – The board of Fonterra Cooperative Group will establish a separate committee to oversee risks facing the dairy group in the wake of the false alarm food scare that prompted a precautionary recall in August.

The company’s board will carve out the risk elements from its audit, finance and risk committee into its own separate committee, which chairman John Wilson said will cover “food safety, food quality and other risks Fonterra in today’s environment faces.”

The measure was one of a raft of recommendations from the board-ordered inquiry, led by Jack Hodder QC, after recall of three batches of whey protein concentrate, which were thought to have been contaminated.

Fonterra’s handling of the fall-out was “inadequate” for the kind and size of the crisis and the company’s lack of responsiveness to external stakeholders was seen as a “fortress” mentality, the report said. . . .

Shareholders’ Council welcomes report, inquiry recommendations:

The Fonterra Shareholders’ Council, which safeguards the interests of the dairy Co-operative’s 10,500 Shareholders, said it welcomed the completion of the Fonterra Board commissioned independent report of the WPC80 issue.

Council Chairman, Ian Brown: “The Council has received the report and we commend the Oversight Committee and the Independent Inquiry Team on the comprehensive nature of the report.

“We also commend the Board on their openness and support their decision to make the report public. . .

New health & safety regulations will increase potential penalties for employers:

The potential for higher penalties for non-compliance as a result of upcoming changes to Health and Safety regulations means employers in the high-risk agricultural sector need to be more aware than ever of their obligations, says Melissa Vining, AGRI Consultant for human resources specialists Progressive Consulting – the HR division of Crowe Horwath.

The government will establish new Crown Agent WorkSafe New Zealand by December 2013, when it also plans to introduce to parliament a new Health and Safety at Work Act, which is expected to come into force by December 2014. . . .

Xero releases farming blueprint:

Xero has released its Farming Integration Guide, a blueprint that helps rural solution providers connect to Xero and deliver integrated farm management and accounting solutions. 

Xero CEO Rod Drury says this is a great example of technology bringing an industry together. “This guide is the key step towards full integration between farmers, rural accountants, rural suppliers, banks and software providers. The innovation we’re experiencing in the tech sector is being applied directly now to the rural economy, the backbone of the NZ economy.” . . .


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