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August 2016 National Farming Review

INSIDER

AUGUST 2016

Is it time to put up your hand?

COMMUNITY service

The local body elections are next month. We talk to two mayors, including Hurunui Mayor Winton Dalley (pictured with wife Jean), who are combining farming with service to the community. Read more on P8 & 9 PHOTO: Katrina Parish, Shot from the Heart Photography, Amberley

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National Farming Review August 2016

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PERSPECTIVE

Let’s celebrate farmers as they give us freedom

AUGUST 2016

OPINION

Flaws to reducing the dairy herd Change coming on water quality

P4 P6

NATIONAL POLICY

Excessive KiwiRail charges unfair to farmers

P5

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Farmers launch manifesto Are you ready to vote?

CONSERVATION

Farmers leading the way

REGIONAL POLICY

Southland Land and Water Plan

P7 P9

P10

P16

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Federated Farmers Awards celebrating contribution and excellence P14, 15

WEATHER

Spring outlook from the MetService P19

Editor: John Donnachie / Kara Tait Ph: 04 470-2162 nfr@fedfarm.org.nz Memberships: April van Dam Ph: 0800 327-646 avandam@fedfarm.org.nz Advertising: Linda Friedrich Ph: 021 225-4610 linda.friedrich@apn.co.nz ■ ISSN 1179-4526

FARMERS NOT ONLY GROW OUR FOOD, THEY ARE ALSO ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDS OF 40 PER CENT OF OUR LAND. WE SHOULD CELEBRATE THAT TOO.

By DR WILLIAM ROLLESTON Federated Farmers National President “We delegate the responsibility of feeding our families to farmers — (a relatively small percentage of the population) — so that the rest of us can be lawyers and doctors and peace corps volunteers and economists and people who work for government and the other occupations. Most of us don’t think ‘gee do I have to actually grow food for my family?’ No, we go to the grocery store and get it so we are free to do whatever we want with our lives. That is an incredible freedom which we take for granted in this country. “And rather than being criticised and demonised at times we have got to be celebrating these people and we

— WILLIAM ROLLESTON

don’t do enough of it.” This was the message from Tom Vilsack, USA Secretary of Agriculture, in answer to a question in a hearing committee this month. His words apply equally to us here in New Zealand.

Farmers not only grow our food, they are also environmental stewards of 40 per cent of our land. We should celebrate that too. Local government is a big player in farmers’ lives and businesses. They set regulation which determines the

limits of what we can do on the land. Farmers in turn are some of the biggest rate payers in many districts and rates are among farmers’ largest expenses. That is why it is important for farmers to not only stand for local bodies but also for them to take their voting responsibility seriously. Federated Farmers works tirelessly across all 78 local bodies to ensure rules are practical for farmers and rates are fair. Federated Farmers has published The Farmers Manifesto — Local Elections 2016 to provide guidance to prospective councillors and those who interact with them. When councils get it right they empower farmers to grow the food for all of us and play their part in stewardship of the land. That is something we should celebrate more.

Essential councils relate to farmers By GRAHAM SMITH Federated Farmers Chief Executive Farming is the “life blood” of many regions in New Zealand and underpins the financial “well-being” of many councils. It is essential that local councils understand and can relate to farming and the primary sector in general. It’s also why Federated Farmers devotes considerable resources and effort to working with councils. Major areas of focus include land, water and air, of which water quality and the Resource Management Act (RMA) are consuming enorm-

ous amounts of effort from us. In dealing with complex council issues, Federated

Farmers strongly believes that solutions need to be developed that underpin the following principles, including: ■ An evidenced based approach, where credible information is collected, analysed and forms the basis of subsequent conclusions and decision making; ■ A recognition that a “one size fits all” approach does not work; that solutions have to be relevant and specific to local communities and catchment areas; ■ That solutions are founded on a practical, common sense approach; ■ That decision-making is fit for purpose, at a fair price. With local council

elections to be held shortly, we encourage farmers and those in the primary sector to seriously consider running for council. Your empathy and knowledge of the sector will be a huge asset, particularly given the significance of many future decisions in relation to infrastructure, natural resources and community services. These will all impact on our ability to remain a leading food producing nation, with world-class environmental credentials. That’s why the August edition of the NFR is so important and why I encourage you to read as many of the articles as you can, especially our feature pages 8 and 9.

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August 2016 National Farming Review

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ECONOMY

Farm confidence up but still weak By NICK CLARK Federated Farmers Manager General Policy Farmer confidence has picked up slightly since January but remains weak, according to Federated Farmers’ new-season July 2016 Farm Confidence Survey. The global economy, including Brexit, and continuing weakness in commodity prices is weighing heavily on farmers’ expectations about general economic conditions and their own fortunes, both of which remain in negative territory. World dairy prices recovered a little from March to June but have not kicked on to levels that would make the average dairy farm turn a profit. Most dairy farmers continue to expect tough times ahead and more of them expect their profitability to worsen over the coming year than to improve. Dairy gets most of the headlines but it hasn’t been easy for other farming types either, with farmgate prices for meat

The global economy, including Brexit, and continuing weakness in commodity prices is weighing heavily on farmers. PHOTO: FILE

and arable down on this time last year. Production expectations for the year ahead have recovered from their depths in January when almost as many farmers expected to reduce production compared to increase production.

Despite the improvement, production expectations remain well below the average for this survey. The high exchange rate is an added concern for farmers as it has further eroded farmgate prices. After dipping in 2015, it

has strengthened this year. The decoupling with world commodity prices has been particularly evident since the start of June. This is impacting on expectations for profitability. Farmers’ spending intentions for the coming year remain deeply negative and have barely budged from January’s survey. The intention to keep cheque books closed is especially strong among dairy farmers, but it is also shared by the other sectors. More farmers expect to increase debt than reduce debt, although to a slightly lesser degree than in January’s survey. This is especially so for dairy farmers who are contending with the enduring low payout environment. The ongoing support of banks will continue to be important and Federated Farmers will continue its quarterly member surveys on banking relationships and behaviour. The agricultural labour market remains tight despite the downturn in the dairy industry. Immigration NZ’s removal of some dairy positions from its Immediate Skills Shortages List

has made it tougher for farmers to recruit and retain skilled and motivated staff. By far the biggest concern for farmers is commodity and farmgate prices, cited by 38 per cent of farmers. This was followed by regulation and compliance costs on 14 per cent, where most concern is about health and safety requirements and resource management issues, especially freshwater management. There were many other concerns but none attracted more than 10 per cent of respondents. Farmers’ highest priority for the Government is trade policy, cited by 13 per cent of farmers. These included calls on it to negotiate new free trade agreements or to protect market access into the EU and UK postBrexit. This was followed closely by monetary policy on 12 per cent (a reflection of the high exchange rate), regulation and compliance costs with nearly 12 per cent, and housing at just under 10 per cent. The July survey attracted over 800 individual responses. The next survey will be held in January.

What does Brexit mean for NZ’s primary sector? By SARAH CROFOOT Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Policy Advisor At the end of June after a very tight run race, the United Kingdom shocked the world and voted to leave the European Union (EU). It plunged politics into turmoil and the economy into volatility and uncertainty. Within a month of the vote Britain now has a new prime minister and there are more changes occurring by the day. We will be seeing consequences of the vote on the UK political system for some time, with the ripples being felt throughout Europe with other countries considering their options. The vote has and will continue to impact the global economy and

financial system and New Zealand won’t be immune. There is a long road ahead with many twists and turns as the UK prepares to trigger Article 50, marking the start of the two-year process to withdraw from the EU. The reality is even after the two years there are still likely to be many things to be worked through. There will also be more direct trade implications for New Zealand, especially for agricultural products subject to quotas and tariffs. The EU represents half of New Zealand’s global sheep-meat exports by volume. Over $2 billion of red meat and wool exports were sent to the EU, including the UK, last year. This sector is by far our largest exporter to the EU and UK with exports almost four times more than the next largest contributors, horticulture and wine, and

seven times more than New Zealand dairy exports to the EU. The EU is an incredibly important market in terms of both volume and value. It is a stable, reliable, high value market taking high quality products. New Zealand has 228,000 tonnes of sheep-meat quota negotiated through the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This is very important to New Zealand and New Zealand farmers. Under WTO rules, New Zealand’s total sheepmeat and beef access into the EU and UK cannot be eroded as a result of Brexit. New Zealand will need to work hard to maintain its access into the EU and UK as Britain renegotiates its access into the EU. This will be complicated and will take time. Along with other stakeholders Federated Farmers will continue

to advocate for New Zealand’s interest both here and abroad. New Zealand is fortunate to have a team of highly skilled and experienced negotiators. We have a track record of punching well above our weight when it comes to securing trade deals. We are well equipped to navigate these choppy waters and get the best possible outcomes. New Zealand has started down the road to secure a free trade agreement with the EU. This will be very important for New Zealand and should continue to progress even post Brexit. Ideally we would also like to negotiate a separate free trade agreement with the UK in the future. Given our longstanding, close relationships with Britain, we would hope our prospects are strong but we respect they have a difficult time ahead and

are short on negotiating talent, having not had to negotiate free trade agreements of their own for over 40 years. Meanwhile New Zealand farmers need to focus on common interests with UK farming groups and work with them to ensure the market suffers as little disruption as possible. We will need to understand the impact of Brexit on markets in both the UK and the EU. For example, the EU takes 90 per cent of the UK’s sheep-meat exports so what will happen to those exports if their market access is reduced? There are also other indirect impacts such as appreciation of the NZ dollar against the euro and the pound which will make our exports less competitive. This is already happening with the NZ dollar briefly breaking through 55 pence.

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INDUSTRY OPINION

Flaws to reducing the dairy herd By JACQUELINE ROWARTH Professor of Agribusiness, The University of Waikato A suggestion that New Zealand should remove 80 per cent of dairy cows to return to a natural environment overlooks various fundamental problems including: what is natural? Dairy farms tend to be in flat to rolling countryside where grass grows well and cows can create milk efficiently. It is in this country that clear mountain streams become winding rivers picking up sediment and nutrients from the soils through which they are travelling. As they slow down, plants and fish have a chance to grow. Dairying occupies 1.7 million hectares of New Zealand’s 26.8 million hectares. This area, with the associated processing and value adding, resulted in export revenue for the year to June 2015 of $14 billion. In some contrast, sheep, beef and deer farms cover 11.5 million hectares of mostly somewhat steeper land, and bring in $9 billion. Replacing dairy cows with beef, sheep and deer would affect the economy negatively, meaning reduced funds for environmental protection, education and health as well as social welfare. In addition, meat animals produce less human food per hectare than dairy cows and are associated with more greenhouse gas per unit of food production. In a globally responsible world, the efficiencies of food production, and New Zealand’s efficient farmers, should be part of the marketing that creates extra revenue. The latest Situation and Outlook for the Primary Industries was launched in June at Mystery Creek National Fieldays. The report acknowledges that the 2012 goal of doubling primary sector exports to $64 billion in real terms by 2025 is not likely to be reached as the nominal forecast for 2020 is only $44 billion. However, what has already been achieved is an increase in value for the whole sector of over 5.5 per cent a year. The forecast is

Are y tappin the fu value

REPLACING DAIRY COWS WITH BEEF, SHEEP AND DEER WOULD AFFECT THE ECONOMY NEGATIVELY, MEANING REDUCED FUNDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, EDUCATION AND HEALTH AS WELL AS SOCIAL WELFARE. — JACQUELINE ROWARTH

for 5.4 per cent a year overall (2013 to 2020). The big boost between 2013 and 2014 was the 18 per cent increase in export value led by dairy and forestry — from only 3.8 million hectares. This year it is horticulture that is leading the charge — a 20 per cent increase forecast for 2016 led by kiwifruit, wine and pip fruit. Horticulture covers approximately half a million hectares and generates $4.2 billion in export revenue. Although conversion to horticulture might be suitable for some current dairy farms, seasonal labour is a problem, and so is disease strike. An extra problem is that the further the horticultural activity is from the

pack houses and ports, the greater the contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. By 2020, The Ministry of Primary Industries forecasts that meat and wool will have decreased in export value by 2.2 per cent, dairy will have grown by 26 per cent, and horticulture will have increased by 37 per cent. In these projections, change of land use is only part of the consideration, but is important in response to consumer demands and in climate change. The point about any landbased activity is that the activity must suit the topography and climate, which interact with the parent material to create the soil.

Farmers and growers understand the nature of the interaction, and then manage the deficiencies — fertilisers, irrigation, herd shelters, for instance. They also consider the infrastructure, processors and markets. The goal is financial viability and environmental sustainability. Debate about where New Zealand should focus in future should be at a higher level than whether or not dairy farming is taking over New Zealand. Minister of Finance Bill English has stated that the dairy sector had pulled New Zealand out of economic recession, and it has done so from only 1.7 million hectares — only 6 per cent of New

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Zealand and 12 per cent of pastoral land. Also worth remembering is that about 30 per cent of New Zealand’s 26.8 million hectares is in the Department of Conservation (DoC) Estate, supported by government revenue. Although DoC has Molesworth Station (181 thousand hectares) under its aegis, the station is managed by Landcorp with 10,000 beef cattle; and production is vital to control weeds and pests. There are no easy answers, and unintended consequences are likely if decisions are made on the back of emotion rather than analysis. New Zealand’s beautiful countryside requires good management and in being managed productively, supports the economy. The reality of Paul Harvey’s ‘and God made a farmer’ is worth considering in Godzone.


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August 2016 National Farming Review

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NATIONAL POLICY

Water quality priority for farmers By KARA TAIT Water quality was confirmed as a top priority for members of Federated Farmers at its recent National Conference. Water spokesman for Federated Farmers, Chris Allen, said farmers were doing much to reduce farming’s environmental footprint, especially in the fresh water space, but this wasn’t always recognised. Federated Farmers wants smart bang-for-buck solutions. These need to be based on excellent catchment-specific information that targets the problems and delivers the results communities want for local rivers, he said. “Investment needs to be coordinated locally to engage the commitment, innovation and ideas of all stakeholders in a catchment. “Like Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, recently said, we need to prioritise environmental challenges and decide as communities what matters the most,” Mr Allen said. “We need to ask questions like is the issue large-scale, accelerating, likely to result in

irreversible damage? “Location also needs to be considered. An issue that may be important in Auckland or Canterbury might not have the same level of importance to locals of Wairarapa and vice versa. “Current government policy is being implemented on slogans and rhetoric that isn’t supported by fact. Federated Farmers has analysed the 2015 Environment Aotearoa report that shows, in contrast to much of what was reported, 80 per cent of water quality in our rivers is stable or shows an improving trend. “Policy makers need access to quality and robust analysis of information, so decisions are based on real evidence, not emotion, or political views. “We need to get back to basics. Let’s look at the 20 per cent where water quality is declining. Let’s focus on these hot spots. “Let’s define the size and shape of problems whether it’s town sewerage, industrial waste, nutrients or sediment causing the problem and develop smart solutions as communities. We want solutions that deliver for the environment and strengthen communities,” Mr Allen concluded.

NUTRIENT ALLOCATION An outcome of discussions on water at Federated Farmers National Conference included a mandate by farmers that the Government takes an alternative path to that of the nutrient allocation, tax and trade package currently being assessed. New Zealand is unique in the world in attempting to impose regulated taxable tradeable caps on nutrient losses based on modelled estimates. Technology is just not up to the complex requirements for making nutrients a taxable and tradeable commodity. Modelling is far from an exact science and using

estimates is an absolute recipe for disaster. Central government needs to take heed and understand the issues local government has experienced in this space. Measurement tools have got to be fit for purpose. Councils have realised current Overseer estimates are very problematic for exact discharge figures. Overseer is a world-class tool and helps farmers select the best options to manage farm N loading and determine the likely cost of various options. But it has serious limitations. Overseer mainly estimates

nitrate (N) which is one of the four basic components of water quality. The other components include phosphorus (P), sediments and pathogens; all crucial to determining water quality. Poor water quality will not be improved in some catchments by reducing N inputs. In some catchments the import problem limiting water quality may be sediments or pathogens or too much phosphorus or a combination of all four factors. Federated Farmers will continue to push good farm management practice as a better solution to dealing in nutrients.

Excessive KiwiRail charges unfair to farmers By NICK HANSON Federated Farmer Senior Policy Advisor There was much aggravation at Federated Farmers National Conference in regards to KiwiRail’s treatment of farmers. Federated Farmers has been disappointed with the manner in which the company has set about implementing a new charging regime. Federated Farmers spokesperson for transport Guy Wigley says many farmers have been left stunned by the proposals

they have received for new lease rents, rail crossing charges and annual inspection fees for underpasses and bridges. “Recent hikes in rentals range between 200 per cent to more than 400 per cent. An example is of a farmer’s rental going from $300 to $2200 plus annual increments of 2 per cent. This doesn’t include new inspection and admin fees,” Mr Wigley said. KiwiRail is citing a need to quantify its property assets and get them managed on a commercial basis. Farmers see the scale of increase in lease rentals and new charges for crossing, bridges and

underpasses as onerous. Federated Farmers is supporting farmers and making the case that farmers have been safe and vigilant custodians of stock crossings across railway lines. As lessees, farmers maintain fencing and are keeping weeds and pests under control at no additional cost to KiwiRail. “Despite reporting to the contrary Federated Farmers has reached no agreement with KiwiRail on either the rental issue or the new charges for crossings. We have met with KiwiRail recently and are currently pursuing ways to reduce the impact of this new and additional expense,” Mr

Wigley said. “It is important that revised charges are an accurate reflection of the costs incurred by KiwiRail. We will be working constructively with them to ensure there is transparency around their charging.” “KiwiRail’s negotiations with lease holders are in the early stages and it has committed to reviewing its policy for engagement with farmers over the coming months. We certainly appreciate the early discussions and will continue to work with them for a reasonable outcome for our members,” Mr Wigley finished.

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COUNTERPOINT

Change coming on water quality By DR GARETH MORGAN, Morgan Foundation founder, economist, public policy analyst, and philanthropist As a nation, we have made progress on water quality in recent years; at least in theory. We have agreed that we want water quality to be maintained or improved, and soon that will apply in every catchment rather than “across a region” (whatever that meant). Communities will agree how they want to use water, then set limits across a series of measures (which themselves are being improved to include measures of ecosystem health). Most dairy farms now exclude stock from waterways, and other farming types will eventually follow suit. The Government has so far failed to install an aspiration for swimmable rivers, but we won’t dwell on that here. For catchments that want to improve water quality, the limits will be above current levels and sacrifices will have to be made. For catchments that want to maintain water quality, the limits will be close to current levels. Despite all the talk of “headroom” in some catchments, that simply doesn’t square with wanting to maintain or improve water quality. So soon, in theory at least, all farmers will operate in an environment of scarcity where the commons is closed. This applies to both water use (eg. for irrigation) and water pollution (eg. nitrogen leaching). Any activity that uses more water or adds more pollution will need to come from efficiency gains or from reductions in activity elsewhere. This raises the question of who gets what rights to use and pollute fresh water — a question that will affect all landowners and lies at the heart of economics.

GOVERNMENT REVIEW The Government has tasked officials and a technical advisory group to solve these issues. I

don’t hold out huge hope, judging by their terms of reference. It contains no mention of balancing the environment with economic progress. Water flowing to the sea isn’t a waste, it is a river. Any use of water damages the environment, that is a trade-off we must face up to and deal with. They also can’t touch the issue of iwi settlement, which is the elephant in the room of any attempt to allocate fresh water rights. We need to tackle it in the same way we did with fisheries. Government reticence over solving this issue is holding back progress. What should review of this issue canvas?

ALLOCATION

There is no fair way to close a commons. People are used to having unlimited access to a common resource and when that

gets closed there have to be losers. If you grandparent rights to existing users then they win and all potential users (particularly iwi) lose out. Grandparenting also creates terrible incentives for existing users to increase pollution or water use to snaffle a greater share of rights. Alternatively you could divide rights equally among landowners to recognise potential users, but existing users then lose out. The natural capital approach is the middle ground, allocating rights based on what the land can handle.

TRADING AND PRICES There is no fair way to close a commons, but at least trading gives you an efficient way of doing it. By allowing rights to be

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THE FACT THAT THE TAXPAYER HAS PAID OVER $400 MILLION TO CLEAN UP FRESHWATER POLLUTION CAUSED BY COMMERCIAL USERS IS COMPLETELY NONSENSICAL. — GARETH MORGAN

traded, they can move to their highest value use. Regardless of how you allocate rights, through trading a profitable business can thrive by improving efficiency and/or purchasing the rights they need. Of course, if rights are

being traded, they will have a price. That is nothing new; there is a price for water use and pollution rights now, it is just hidden in land values. Water users and polluters fear making this transparent, because people will see that they are profiting from a public resource, and demand they pay a rental for it. And they should be worried, because that would be a perfectly sensible outcome. The fact that the taxpayer has paid over $400 million to clean up freshwater pollution caused by commercial users is completely nonsensical. So change is coming, but there is much to be positive about for landowners. Once the costs of water use and pollution are included in the bottom line, forestry and less intensive farmers could be far more competitive compared with more intensive ones.

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August 2016 National Farming Review

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local govt manifesto — prioritising needs over wants By MARK WARDLE In the run-up to local elections a best-practice, practical and common-sense approach to governance was unveiled at Federated Farmers National Conference. Federated Farmers’ Local Government spokeswoman Katie Milne said the tri-annual guide promotes the latest thinking on how councils should be engaging with and providing services to farmers and other ratepayers. “Farmers are some of the largest funders of local government and the sector most likely to be impacted by regulation developed and implemented by councils. “Farmers need level-headed councillors who prioritise real needs over the ‘nice to haves’. They also need to respect the

FARMERS NEED LEVELHEADED COUNCILLORS WHO PRIORITISE REAL NEEDS OVER THE ‘NICE TO HAVES’. — KATIE MILNE, Federated Farmers’ Local Government spokeswoman

considerable contributions from ratepayers,” said Ms Milne. “Rates are among the largest working expenses for an average farm; with many farmers’ annual rates bills over 10K or even 20K. “Federated Farmers believes in the implementation of an equitable rating system that is affordable for all ratepayers.

“Councils provide infrastructure and services vital to successful primary production and vibrant rural communities, with roading the most important of these. The farming emphasis might be summed up as ‘fit for purpose, at a fair price’,” said Ms Milne. “Farming is also hugely impacted by local government’s regulation of natural resources — land, water, and air — all of which are critical to food production and New Zealand exports and GDP. “This guide isn’t just for farmers, it’s a must read for all ratepayers, current and future elected representatives,” Ms Milne said. See the full Federated Farmers Local Government Manifesto — http:/ /www.fedfarm.org.nz/files/ Federated-Farmers-LocalGovernment-Manifest-2016.pdf

Katie Milne, Federated Farmers’ Local Government spokeswoman introduces the Federated Farmers Local Government Manifesto to farmers.

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LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Local government means looking after your community IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE THE FARMERS’ VIEWPOINT REPRESENTED AROUND THE TABLE, BUT COUNCILLORS ARE SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

By LEIGH CATLEY So, have you ever thought about becoming a mayor, or a local councillor? The idea of getting involved in local politics certainly doesn’t appeal to everyone. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you do get elected, there may be a fair amount of tea drinking involved. Two South Island mayors, Winton Dalley at Hurunui District Council and Kelvin Coe at Selwyn District Council, have both managed to combine their lives as farmers with their work as local government representatives. They are both hugely positive about the importance of maintaining good leadership at a local level in communities. Every three years voters have their pens poised over the list of names on the voting paper, looking for reassurance that the candidates understand what they need, what their businesses need and what their communities will need, now and in the future. Voters want to be reassured candidates have the best interests of the district, the region or the local hospital at heart. So it makes sense that voters look for candidates with knowledge of the issues they have to deal with day-to-day. That’s why Federated Farmers encourages farmers to consider voting for farmers or standing for election themselves. Both Winton and Kelvin agree they brought a greater depth of understanding of the challenges facing the farming sector to their respective councils when they got elected. But both also agree they don’t sit around the council table only thinking about farming. As Winton says, there are two angles to his approach to council discussion and decision-making. “I’m here to give direct input about the value of the primary

— KELVIN COE, Selwyn Mayor

Selwyn Mayor Kelvin Coe.

sector to the community, but it’s about being part of the community first. “I take great care to represent fairly all sectors of the community.” Kelvin agrees. “It’s important to have the farmers’ viewpoint represented around the table, but councillors are supposed to represent the entire community. You learn a lot more about your community. “You are part of a team, looking for consensus as much as you can,” Kelvin says. Both men also acknowledge the time commitment required is significant. Being self-employed is an advantage, but prospective local government representatives need to make sure they

have the support of family, friends and business partners. Kelvin has done a total of 21 years on the Selwyn council, and has been mayor for nine years. He’s retiring in October, and will look back on his time in local government with fondness. “It’s an interesting and at times exciting job. I’ve been in some very robust debates.” Becoming mayor was a step up in time commitment, and Kelvin acknowledges the support of his daughter and son-in-law managing a sheep and cropping farm and his sharemilker on his dairy unit. “They let me do odd jobs occasionally.” Winton has served the Hurunui district for 22 years, the last six as mayor, and he’s standing

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again. “I’m only young, only 70!” He credits his wife Jean with holding the family farming business together while he found himself getting more and more involved with local politics. They started out in the 1990s on a 5000 stock unit property, and back then he became a councillor and managed the workload pretty well. But as time went by, and he was asked to consider the mayoralty, it became obvious that something was going to have to give. So the couple downsized to a 60 hectare block, and Winton took on the mayoral chains. He gives all the credit for his being able to take on the larger role to Jean. “Without her, I wouldn’t have

been in the job, from day one.” Now he claims to have one of New Zealand’s largest offices, 9000 square kilometres in the Hurunui district, which is home to 12,000 people. It runs from just south of Kaikoura to Amberley, and from Lewis Pass to the sea. So the daily commute can be a long one. One of the subjects he’s hottest on is capital rating. He sits in an unusual spot as a mayor supporting his council’s rating objectives and as a farmer paying a considerably higher amount than an urban-based business would. He’d like to see the government — and Federated Farmers — find a way to revisit this imbalance. “All we can do in local government is try to get the fairest balance we can under the current legislation.” He’d also like to see more people throw their hats into the ring for councils, “especially young people”. Winton worries that councils tend to be only populated by people who can afford the time to be away from their own businesses and livelihoods. Although, given Winton is 70, and still very much going strong, it’s hard to see that any age could really be a barrier to good local governance.


Ph 0800 327 646 www.fedfarm.org.nz

August 2016 National Farming Review

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Are you ready to vote in the 2016 local body elections?

Hurunui District Council Mayor Winton Dalley who has managed to combine local body work with farming.

The local elections are being held in September and October this year. They are for city and district councils, regional councils and district health boards. In some parts of New Zealand, elections will also be held for local and community boards, licensing trusts and some other organisations. Local elections give people the chance to have their say on who will make decisions on things that affect their communities like the local environment, rates, water quality and health services. Voting in the local elections is by postal ballot, which means that everyone who is enrolled to vote before Friday, August 12 will be sent their voting papers in the mail. So it’s especially important that everyone’s enrolment details are up to date. Workers in rural areas can change farms and addresses often. If you employ farm workers who are moving around, encourage them to enrol or update their details so that they’re ready to vote at election time. Everyone who is currently on the electoral roll will be sent enrolment update packs in the mail to help the commission make sure that it has everyone’s details right. If you get your pack and your details are correct, you don’t need to do anything more. If you need to change anything, fill in the form, then sign, date and return it straight away. If you haven’t had a pack you are either not enrolled or you need to update your enrolment details. Enrolling or updating your details is easy. You can get an enrolment form at www.elections.org.nz, by Freetexting your name and address to 3676, by calling 0800 36 76 56 or from your local PostShop.

VOTES COUNT: The Electoral Commission wants everyone who is eligible to enrol to vote in this year’s local body elections.

VOTING IN THE 2016 LOCAL ELECTIONS Everyone correctly enrolled by Friday, August 12 will be sent their voting papers by their local council in September. They will include full instructions about how to vote. People enrolling after August 12 will need to cast a special vote, and will need to

contact the electoral officer for their local council to obtain voting papers. Enrolling by August 12 is the easiest way for you to have your say in the local elections. Help to make sure that all members of your community are ready to have their say on the issues that affect them.

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National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

CONSERVATION

Doing great things for conservation CAPE TO CITY IS BRINGING MANY ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL GAINS.

By LOU SANSON Director-General of the Department of Conservation It’s great to see farmers in Hawke’s Bay leading the way by getting stuck in and doing great things for conservation. Their efforts are bringing major benefits for both agriculture and the environment. The Department of Conservation is delighted to be part of the Cape to City project which is tackling predator control and restoring plants and wildlife across 26,000 hectares of land between Hastings, Cape Kidnappers and south to Waimarama. This innovative project has brought DoC together with 168 landowners and farmers, local hapu, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Cape Sanctuary and Landcare Research, along with funding support from the Aotearoa Foundation. Cape to City is bringing many environmental, economic and social gains, while helping communities come together to halt the loss of our precious native wildlife and unique plants.

— LOU SANSON

The key to its success is transforming how pest management takes place on farmland. This collaborative approach aims to reduce possums, feral cats, stoats and rats down to low levels at low cost over large areas of land. Controlling these predators on private land has a huge impact by complementing DoC’s conservation management efforts on public conservation land. For farmers it may mean they lose fewer lambs to toxoplasmosis, which is transmitted by feral cats.

Maintaining low levels of possums also reduces the risk of bovine TB and means there are fewer possums wreaking havoc on pasture and crops. This project is using cutting edge technology to bring the cost of that pest control down to ultra low cost compared to current techniques. It’s an exciting development to see traps being set up with wireless technology. The trap sends farmers and landowners a text to their mobile phone, notifying them the trap has been set off. This means the traps only have to be checked and reset after they’ve been activated. It’s a major saving in time and effort.

At the same time, DoC, assisted by private industry, is working with Cape Sanctuary to bring our native birds back. Birds don’t care who owns the land. Controlling predators on a landscape scale means they can flow across larger areas of land and be safer. For example, Cape Sanctuary, with DoC support, has reintroduced diving petrels and they’ve recently started breeding of their own accord — the first time on the New Zealand mainland for many years. And after being absent for 50 years, it was great to see the first pair of toutouwai (North Island robins) released this month into the Hundred Acre Bush along the headlands south of Waimarama. In total 90 robins will be reintroduced to the area over the next three years. Another key to the success of the project is getting both urban and rural communities involved in valuing wildlife. The community effort will see more than 50,000 native trees being planted this year along the Maraetotara River as part of the habitat restoration programme. These plants will enhance the

environment for native species, plus help reduce erosion and improve water quality. Cape to City aims to plant at least 215,000 natives throughout the project area in the next five years. The Department of Conservation is delighted to be involved in Cape to City’s strategic partnership model, involving local and central government, landowners and philanthropists. We’re also excited by the use of wireless pest control technology. We hope to see it replicated elsewhere in New Zealand. Cape to City shows that working together means we can achieve long term success.

CONSERVATION WEEK September 10-18. Farmers across the country are committed to conservation and actively involved in conservation projects. We’d love to hear more about projects going on your farm or in your community. Email: nfr@fedfarm.org.nz

mpi.govt.nz/animal-welfare

MP PI0228 8

seen Bobby Calves mistreated?


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August 2016 National Farming Review

11

RURAL FIRE & FIRE SAFETY

Proposed fire service merger By NICK HANSON Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor A proposal to merge the urban Fire Service and Rural Fire Authorities has widespread support from primary sector groups but is not without risk. Federated Farmers is seeking member views. After an announcement from Minister of Internal Affairs Peter Dunne in November 2015, the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Bill was introduced to Parliament and passed to the Government Administration Select Committee which will seek submissions from the public. The biggest impact of this legislation is to unite the current urban Fire Service and more than 50 Rural Fire Authorities. Currently responses to rural fires, which are primarily vegetation fires, are managed by local bodies termed Rural Fire Authorities which are often the local Territorial Authority but could also be the Department of Conservation or a commercial forest company. Under the proposed merger a new organisation, Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ), would be responsible for the reduction and managing of risk and for fire responses in all parts of the country and for all types of fire. The minister has described this step as the most fundamental shift in fire policy since the 1940s and, at least behind the scenes, will lead to significant change. In addition to organisational unification, the bill proposes to: ■ Expand the mandate of Fire and Emergency New Zealand to ensure that there is a clear mandate for fire and emergency personnel to respond to traffic accidents, medical emergencies and other situations where they

AMALGAMATION DOES COME WITH RISKS TO THE RURAL SECTOR BECAUSE OF THE ROLE THAT THE USE OF FIRE PLAYS IN LAND MANAGEMENT AND RUBBISH DISPOSAL. — NICK HANSON

may be required. ■ Expand the base of the insurance policy levy to fund the service and remove a number of the current exemptions like livestock and growing crops, and to third party car insurance ■ Remove provisions for cost recovery in rural fire events to an infringement fine system. An amalgamation of fire services has been an objective of successive governments but it has been difficult to gain traction, principally due to fears of a Fire Service takeover of rural fire. During extensive consultation undertaken by the minister and the Department of Internal Affairs, a mood for change was detected which paved the way for this significant legislation. However, it was clear that sections of

Federated Farmers is seeking your views on a proposal to merge urban Fire Service and Rural Fire Authorities.

provincial communities were still wary of increased centralisation that does not account properly for specific local needs and risk profiles. As a response to this concern, the bill also includes provision for the mandatory establishment of local committees. These will be empowered and resourced to provide local input into national fire policy and will be responsible for local fire plans.

The exact number, boundaries and membership of these committees is not dictated by the legislation. The legislation requires the FENZ board to consult publicly on the boundaries to ensure it accounts for risk profiles and the interests of local communities. Federated Farmers will be making a submission to the select committee and we encourage members to get in touch if they

have feedback or want their views to be reflected in the submission. Amalgamation does come with risks to the rural sector because of the role that the use of fire plays in land management and rubbish disposal. The proposal has significant advantages for rural fire volunteers, including an extra $300 million funding for the transition and support mechanisms for volunteers.

Install smoke alarms or be in firing line By NICK HANSON Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor It is now compulsory for landlords to install smoke alarms in all rental properties. That includes accommodation supplied to farm employees. There are some stiff penalties for non-compliance. The dust has now settled on changes made to the Residential Tenancies Act that came into effect on July 1. Landlords are now legally responsible for ensuring there are working smoke alarms in each bedroom of every rental property. In smaller dwellings it may be possible to place smoke alarms outside the bedroom as long as they are within three metres of the bedroom door. While existing smoke alarms are probably okay as they are, 10 year long-life devices are required for new installs. Although it is clear that it is a

landlord’s responsibility to ensure that working smoke alarms are installed at the beginning of the tenancy, tenants retain the obligation to monitor and replace batteries, and to inform the landlord of any suspected problems. This additional requirement proceeded through Parliament with little argument and most politicians and commentators have considered the need for smoke alarms in rental houses a ‘no-brainer’. Federated Farmers supported this change and urges all farmers who provide accommodation to their workers to make sure that they have working smoke alarms that comply with the new act. The same amendment brought in requirements for insulation in rental properties, although for farmers these will not kick in until July 2019. It will be compulsory by that time for all landlords to install under-floor and in ceiling insulation in all rental properties. There will be some exceptions for situations where it is not practical to insulate.

SMOKE ALARM: It is now compulsory for landlords to install smoke alarms in all rental properties.

The final decision on insulation was recognised as a middle ground solution to address issues of substandard housing stock without going for a full accommodation ‘warrant of fitness’ which would also include heating and

moisture prevention provisions. With these requirements comes a reinforced ability for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the lead agency of building and housing, to pursue non-compliant

PHOTO/FILE

landlords. Tenants will be able to take complaints to the tribunal. The tribunal is empowered to make a ‘work order’ that would require landlords to make changes necessary to be compliant.


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National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

HEALTH & SAFETY

Keep safe, keep farming

FEDERATED FARMERS PARTNERED UP WITH RISK MANAGEMENT SPECIALISTS QUALITY SOLUTIONS INTERNATIONAL (QSI) TO DEVELOP A COMMON SENSE HARDCOPY GUIDE TO ONFARM HEALTH AND SAFETY. — KATIE MILNE, Federated Farmers National Board spokeswoman for Health and Safety

There are calls to improve farm safety given that around 17 people will die in agriculture related accidents this year and many more will be seriously injured.

By KATIE MILNE Federated Farmers National Board spokeswoman for Health and Safety This year in New Zealand around 17 people will die in agriculture related accidents and many more will be seriously injured. It’s a tough statistic to swallow and we all need to get better at safety. There are some strong financial and social implications

for farmers and their families in the event of a death or accident; our farming businesses rely heavily on everyone pitching in. The cost of having a key person out of action is crippling, so we need to keep safe so we can keep farming. The latest health and safety legislation came into effect on April 1, 2016. Understanding the new rules and roles on your farm is extremely important. Interpreting

New Farm Safety Management System Available

passages of legislation and how they relate to your farm is time consuming. Federated Farmers partnered up with risk management specialists Quality Solutions International (QSI) to develop a common sense hard-copy guide to on-farm health and safety. It’s the guide that shifts your focus to the significant risks faced as part of your daily work on farm. This makes implementation easy, where it matters the

most. The new Safety Management System (SMS) has had significant input from farmers to make sure the practicalities of farming were considered in its development. By also working closely with Worksafe New Zealand, the system meets all new compliance requirements. The Safety Management System is available to Federated Farmers’ members for just $199.50 or $520.50 for non-

Federated Farmers and QSI have partnered up to help you meet your compliance obligations under the recently updated health and safety legislation. This is a critical component of a high-performing and positive workplace.

Order online shop.fedfarm.org.nz or phone 0800 327 646

members and was designed using a risk based model that keeps everything simple. It will make sure you meet all obligations to keep people safe and foster a high-performing and positive workplace. You won’t get buried in paperwork or thrown in the deep end. Trusted safety advisers are available for further implementation advice. ■ Call 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) or visit shop.fedfarm.org.nz for more information.


Ph 0800 327 646 www.fedfarm.org.nz

August 2016 National Farming Review

13

BIOSECURITY

The actual state of our water By DR PAUL LE MIERE Regional Poilcy Manager — North Island Daily we are being bombarded with rhetoric and slogans about the state of New Zealand’s fresh water. It seems that everyone is an expert. At the end of last year the Ministry for the Environment and StatisticsNZ published Environment Aotearoa which was the first report of its kind to try and give a picture on the national state and trends for many environmental indicators. Federated Farmers obviously has a keen interest in making sure that any information about the state and trends of New Zealand’s environment is accurate, unbiased and robust. Unfortunately the report was released with a media headline that ‘water quality is declining’. Federated Farmers policy people and scientists have analysed the raw data, met with scientists behind the work and looked at whether this headline was supported by data. It was clear that the headline was not supported by the statistics in the report. Water quality is not declining overall. Once this was pointed out to the Ministry

WATER QUALITY IS NOT DECLINING OVERALL. — DR PAUL LE MIERE

for the Environment, to their credit, they accepted it was not correct and were quick to correct with a revised press release. Unfortunately, this was not picked up by anyone. Why is this important? Well Federated Farmers is an evidence driven organisation and this forms the basis of our policy and positions. It is fundamental

to us and for good government policy development and implementation that government adhere to the highest standards of rigour in their reporting. This is the bedrock that is needed so that we can move on from debating slogans and statistics. We need to develop good, robust, efficient, and effective policy so we can get on with solutions. It is critical that policy makers have access to quality

and robust information so decisions are based on real evidence, not emotion, or slogans or political views. So what does the analysis of the Environment Aotearoa statistics actually say about water quality? In broad terms it shows us the 80/20 game. Importantly over the past 10 years roughly 80 per cent of water ways show no trend or an improving trend for water quality attributes. This is a

great news story but something that the nay-sayers don’t want to hear. There is some really interesting information in the data — for example five times more waterways are improving for phosphorus levels than are worsening. There are also good news stories for other indicators such as clarity, algae, macroinvertebrate and others. This is largely due to the work that farmers have been doing around fencing, and effluent management. A survey by Federated Farmers and DairyNZ in 2015 showed that dairy farmers alone spent more than a billion dollars over the past five years on environmental improvements. So we have a good news stories across the range of water quality attributes. The majority of waterways are improving or stable. The other 20 per cent are the hotspots we must focus on. Let’s define the size and shape of problems — whether it’s town sewerage, industrial waste, nutrients or sediment causing the problem — and develop smart solutions as communities. We want solutions that deliver for the environment and strengthen communities.

How secure is your farm against invasion? By BOB DOUGLAS Federated Farmers Regional Policy Advisor (High Country) There’s a fair chance that any vehicle entering your property could be bringing with it something potentially damaging for your business — and among the best places to reduce this risk is your border: the farm gate. Over the past few years there has been an increasing awareness, within the primary sector and other agencies, of the importance of having an effective onfarm biosecurity regime. In June 2013 two booklets were published highlighting this and offering advice to the farmer. Drystock Biosecurity Guidelines (Beef + Lamb NZ and Deer Industry NZ) noted that contamination can be readily brought onto and spread around your farm by visitors, their vehicles or via equipment that has been used on other farms or at saleyards. Keep it Clean, machinery hygiene guidelines produced by the National Pest Control Agencies, tells that a 2012 MAF (now MPI) report found that machinery movements pose a persistent high risk in pest spread, with at least 80 pest species known to be typically moved by machinery. The guidelines advise that machinery hygiene must be practised any time a machine is moved between properties. Any form of plant or soil contamination has a real potential of harbouring pests or weeds. This was clearly demon-

THERE’S A FAIR CHANCE THAT ANY VEHICLE ENTERING YOUR PROPERTY COULD BE BRINGING WITH IT SOMETHING POTENTIALLY DAMAGING FOR YOUR BUSINESS. — BOB DOUGLAS

strated in a piece of investigation undertaken in the Mackenzie Country a few years ago, where a small sample of dirt was removed from an excavator that had been “cleaned” prior to moving on to another job. The dirt was placed in trays in a glasshouse and within 12 months 18 different plant species emerged, including 139 gorse seedlings. Which just goes to show — you can’t be too careful. So what can you do to prevent such invasions? Arguably the first, and best, step is to be a good neighbour and ensure vehicles and machinery leaving your property is not transporting potentially damaging substance onto other properties. The Machinery Hygiene Guidelines state that: “It is the responsibility of the operator to do whatever is required to make sure that machinery is clean before it is moved to another property. Ideally, machinery

Machinery hygiene must be practised any time a machine is moved between properties.

wash-down should occur on the property prior to movement, thereby containing any problems at source.” At the other end of the road, of course, there is the safety net on your own property. Make sure you have a regime in place that can keep tabs on anything and everything that wants to enter. And don’t forget that you have every right (some emergencies excepted) to refuse access to any person or vehicle that you think may pose a biosecurity threat to your business until the threat has been addressed.

Increasingly various parties are recognising the importance of on-farm biosecurity and are willing to comply with conditions set by the landholder. A number of Canterbury Regional Council vehicles, for example, carry their own wash-down equipment. The Machinery Hygiene guide includes a machine clean-down log book, use of which is supported by contractors and can be inspected by the landholder. When you consider installing a wash-down facility on your property, make sure you have effective control over any contaminated material that may be

washed from vehicles or machinery — it’s no use if you help it “escape”. Regional councils or pest control groups such as the Chilean Needle Grass Awareness Group through its farm biosecurity brochure offer advice in how to do this. Taking precautions like these may seem to some people another chore with little benefit but look on it as applying the “stitch in time principle”. After all, major weed pests such as hieracium in the south and Manchurian wild rice in the north all arrived after hitching a ride on something that came through the farm gate.


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National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Celebrating contribution and excellence in agriculture To recognise excellence in agriculture and contributions made by members, Federated Farmers unveiled six winners at its inaugural awards dinner at National Conference in June. Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston said those nominated had gone above the call of duty, putting in significant time and energy to serve and advance the entire primary industry. Outstanding Contribution to Federated Farmers The award for the Outstanding Contribution to Federated Farmers went to Canterbury man John Hartnell MNZM for his unrivalled commitment to the Federation. “John was on the Federated Farmers National Board from 2008 to 2011. He chaired the Bee Industry Group for many years and was at the front line in the aftermath of the devastating Christchurch Earthquake, leading the ‘Farmy Army’ for which he received a New Zealand Order of Merit. “In a career which spans more than 40 years, John has been an integral part in uniting the bee industry, he’s been the honey intent on sticking the industry together,” said Dr Rolleston.

FARMING MESSAGE AWARD For his significance to primary sector education, ManawatuRangitikei Provincial President James Stewart took out the Farming Message Award. “James is a special kind of farmer. His practical and handson approach to the community and farming has seen him be-

come a trusted commentator with media. “He’s built a high-tech shed on his Manawatu farm where up to 30 people can watch an entire milking operation and learn about farming. “Leading from the front, he’s well respected by local and central government for his ability to champion human, physical and economic factors which can help his region unlock its growth potential, Dr Rolleston said.

OUTSTANDING ADVOCACY AWARD A 20-year Federated Farmers veteran Neil Heather was also recognised for his ‘can-do, nononsense attitude’ to farming in the Rotorua-Taupo region. Taking out the Outstanding Advocacy Award, Neil has developed a positive and collaborative reputation as an influencer and leader with farmers and local councils alike. “Neil is a tireless advocate for farmers. ‘‘He makes sure farming has a voice especially when it comes to council policy, regulation and rates,” said Dr Rolleston. “He’s led the charge for farmers against the proposed rates hikes in Rotorua, literally saving our members thousands of dollars. “Neil is a smart operator who has even asked to assist the Environment Court with mediations, bridging the gap between governance and farming. “Neil’s commitment, passion for farming and sense of community means he’s a real asset to the region.”

Emerging Advocate Award winer, Federated Farmers North Canterbury Meat & Fibre Chair Dan Hodgen.

John Hartnell, long-time Feds man and “Farmy Army” organiser, became a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his work coordinating farmer-help after the Christchurch earthquake. He was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Federated Farmers Award at National Conference.

EMERGING ADVOCATE AWARD Taking out the Emerging Advocate Award, Federated Farmers’ North Canterbury Meat & Fibre Chair, Dan Hodgen is a passionate about sheep and beef farming, making sure Feds is visible in the North Canterbury region. “Dan is a keen supporter of many community events, and ‘leads the charge’ on drought issues in the region, holding various drought committees roles and represents farmers in media. “As an expert in land and water management, Dan has worked to bring the Hurunui dryland farmers together to ensure their united view was heard.

“Dan rolls up his sleeves, working tirelessly behind the scenes getting feed and grazing options out to farmers and recently co-led a project to send 100 North Canterbury farmers up to National Fieldays for two days,” Dr Rolleston said.

PROVINCIAL SERVICE AWARD Chris Wall has served the Federated Farmers Manawatu/ Rangitikei province for more than 41 years and was presented the Provincial Service Award. “Chris is highly respected and influential person in the community and was at the forefront of the amalgamation of the Federated Farmers Manawatu

Provincial Service Award winner Chris Wall, from the Federated Farmers Manawatu/Rangitikei province.

and Rangitikei provinces,” Dr Rolleston said. “His unreserved loyalty to the Feds over many years is a true example of the collective strength Federated Farmers aspires. “Chris’ work to help farming families in difficulties and under stress, has meant he has not only helped farming business survive, but has saved lives,” said Dr Rolleston.

MEMBERSHIP GROWTH AWARD The Federated Farmers Wanganui province took out the Membership Growth Award with the new provincial president Harry Matthews accepting it on behalf of the province.

Manawatu-Rangitikei Provincial President James Stewart received the Farming Message Award.


Ph 0800 327 646 www.fedfarm.org.nz

August 2016 National Farming Review

15

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Sue Brown, Federated Farmers Provincial President for Golden Bay. Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers National President.

Ann Thompson, Federated Farmers Dairy Policy Advisor.

Dr Paul Le Miere, Federated Farmers Regional Policy Manager — North Island.

Richard McIntyre, Federated Farmers Sharemilkers’ Chairperson.

Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury Meat and Fibre chairwoman.

Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries.

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, chief science advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office.


16

National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

REGIONAL POLICY

Water and farming down south By TANITH ROBB Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor In June, Environment Southland notified the Proposed Southland Water and Land Plan. The plan sets a region-wide framework for the management of water and land in the lead up to limit-setting. A key difference in the way Southland is addressing water quality issues, compared to other provinces, is in the science it is utilising. Environment Southland has divided the province up into nine different ‘physiographic zones’ to get an understanding of how contaminants move through the landscape. Each zone has similar attributes that influence water quality such as geology, soil type, hydrology, and climate. Environment Southland has used these differences to underpin a regulatory framework, which aims to “halt the decline” in water quality before limitsetting. In Southland, water quality and quantity is generally very good, but there are a few nutrient ‘hotspots’ and some water quality trends that show deterioration. The physiographic science has the potential to be an exciting and innovative conceptual model. It provides a risk-based framework which will be useful in targeting non-regulatory methods, including good management practices and mitigation measures on farm. Unfortunately, it does not inform water quality. The zones that Environment Southland has identified as the riskiest, in terms of contaminant loss, cover areas where there are no water quality issues. This is significant given the regulatory implications for these zones. For example, in the Old Mataura and Peat Wetlands

IN SOUTHLAND, WATER QUALITY AND QUANTITY IS GENERALLY VERY GOOD, BUT THERE ARE A FEW NUTRIENT ‘HOTSPOTS’.

— TANITH ROBB

physiographic zones, new or expanded dairying or new intensive winter grazing on more than 20 hectares are non-

complying activities. The plan will in some way affect all farming in Southland, regardless of physiographic

zone. Over the next few years, all farms over 20 hectares in total size will require a management plan. This will cover a range of areas including good management practices to be implemented on farm, a riparian management plan, cultivation maps, intensive winter grazing maps, bird’s eye maps or photos of the farm (showing infrastructure, waterways, and physiographic zones), and a nutrient budget. Stock (except sheep) will need to be excluded from most waterways within a few years. Cultivation beside waterways requires three metre, 10 metre or 20 metre setbacks depending on the slope.

In other physiographic zones (apart from alpine) intensive winter grazing would be permitted on up to 50 hectares. While the plan became effective immediately upon notification, there is still the opportunity to request changes under the statutory planning process. Federated Farmers Southland has extensively worked through the plan and its rules, and has discussed key issues with farmers through a series of farmer meetings and a member survey. Our submission to council is informed by our members. It seeks to make the key rules workable and practical for farmers, while achieving the aim of maintaining and improving water quality.

Informed members and powerful examples MANY LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS ARE WRITTEN WITHOUT A FULL UNDERSTANDING OF FARMING REALITIES.

By RHEA DASENT Federated Farmers Senior Policy Advisor One of Federated Farmers’ great strengths is that regional policy work is informed by members. This brings much-needed realism to local government decision-making around the country’s council chambers. Federated Farmers has been able to identify members who are affected by the Hastings District Plan rules that identify and protect Outstanding Natural Landscapes. These landscapes have been identified by the Hastings District Council and mapped, with special rules that aim to protect the scenic qualities. Some of these rules will interfere with normal farming activi-

— RHEA DASENT

ties so it is vital that landowners know what parts of their farm are mapped. Many local government regulations are written without a full understanding of farming reali-

ties. One of the rules limits earthworks to only 200m3 per year, with the effect that normal farm earthmoving will require resource consent, including

maintenance of existing tracks. Another rule requires resource consent for soil conservation planting undertaken by the landowner in an Outstanding Natural Landscape, even though this is something that regional councils and central government encourages farmers to do on steep land as a low-impact landuse alternative to livestock, and to reduce sediment run-off. The maps show where the Outstanding Natural Landscapes lie and Federated Farmers has identified members affected. We were then able to contact landowners to make sure they were aware of the restrictions and accurately represent any concerns in the appeal process. During Federated Farmers’ appeal to the Environment Court against the rules, the ability to

provide the council with anonymised examples has been very powerful. The Resource Management Act consultation process operates on a progressively reducing basis. Anyone can write a submission at the beginning, but only people who have been involved in a previous step can continue to the next stage, resulting in more people dropping out as the process continues. By the court appeals stage, only the few hard-core are left, including in this instance Federated Farmers. It is time consuming and resource intensive to get involved in an Environment Court appeal, but Federated Farmers is involved on your behalf. We get great results when we stand together.


Ph 0800 327 646 www.fedfarm.org.nz

August 2016 National Farming Review

17

ESTATE PLANNING

Ensure trusts are compliant Farmers have been warned to pay closer attention to their succession and estate planning, after it was revealed up to 85 per cent of New Zealand trusts are non-compliant. The analysis by Perpetual Guardian is seen as a wake-up call for the rural sector, where many farms are in multi-generational ownership. Farmers must also contend with the new Health and Safety at Work Act, which came into effect in April, placing personal liability with farm owners if an injury or fatality occurs on their property. To help farmers address these issues, Federated Farmers has launched a new partnership with Perpetual Guardian. There are several common mistakes in the governance of trusts that farmers need to be aware. This ranges from trustees’ failure to understand the scope and weight of their responsibilities, problems with the finer details of gift and debt forgiveness, understanding of transfer of assets and use of personal bank accounts for trust purposes, a lack of minute books and annual accounts, no records of decisions, and no annual meetings. Perpetual Guardian CEO Grant Kemble says they are aware of cases in which farmers have appointed a neighbour or friend as trustee or executor, and parties are not aware of the potential risk and legal implications of such a responsibility. “Farmers work hard and have little time to think about their personal affairs as a result, which can see their estate and succession planning suffer. “It is easy to overlook the endgame when you are busy dealing with new regulations, bad weather, or any number of other

challenges. That is why it is crucial to have trusted advisors who understand your needs and ensure your affairs are structured appropriately. Our focus on relationships positions our clients as the central hub of the wheel through which we bring together specialists. These include accountants, insurance advisors, lawyers and farm managers. We coordinate these relationships to produce a plan that works for individual farm operators’ needs. Farmers should also consider the importance of ensuring they have up-to-date, legally sound wills to ensure their wishes are fulfilled. Founder of Perpetual Guardian and business leader Andrew Barnes’ vision for the New Zealand fiduciary services sector is to ensure that Kiwis better understand the importance of estate planning, and that access to these vital services are affordable and easy. To better meet the needs of farmers, Perpetual Guardian has

IT IS EASY TO OVERLOOK THE ENDGAME WHEN YOU ARE BUSY DEALING WITH NEW REGULATIONS, BAD WEATHER OR ANY NUMBER OF OTHER CHALLENGES. — GRANT KEMBLE, Perpetual Guardian CEO

switched from asset-based charging to a fee-for-service model. The three-year partnership with Perpetual Guardian entitles all Federated Farmers members to discounts on many important estate planning services, along with services and advice from 40 estate planning specialists across 16 branches.

TO FIND OUT MORE Contact Brendan Reidy, Perpetual Guardian business and client advisor on 07 959 3571 or brendan.reidy@pgtrust.co.nz. ■ Whangarei, Trevor Peacock, 09 986 5873, or Paula Burgess, 09 986 5872; ■ Tauranga, Craig Roebuck, 07 928 5452; ■ Hamilton, Eileen Slater, 07 959 3573, or Bruce Jenks, 07 959 3578, or Brendan Reidy, 07 959 3571; ■ Rotorua, Angela Wharekura, 07 921 7681, or Russell Bridge, 07 921 7688;

■ Napier, Miles Edilson, 06 974 1154; ■ New Plymouth, Alison Clement, 06 968 8582; ■ Palmerston North, Bruce Manning, 06 953 6131 or Sheree Merritt, 06 953 6135, or Paul Fifield 06 953 6133, or Jeff Rayner, 06 953 6137; ■ Nelson, Mike Elson-Brown, 03 989 2903; ■ Christchurch, Clinton Tamati, 03 924 3415; ■ Timaru, Martin Reynecke, 03 956 3605; Dunedin, Sue Addison, 03 955 3771.

Perpetual Guardian CEO Grant Kemble.

PROVINCIAL SPOTLIGHT

Everyone’s an expert . . . after the fact By JAMES STEWART Manawatu Rangitikei Federated Farmers Provincial President As the seasons change, it’s time again to reflect on the year that has been, and plan for the new challenges and targets ahead. As always, we do this with a sense of optimism and enthusiasm. To sum up the last 12 months, it has been tough. While prices, apart from beef, have been nothing to write home about, farmers have also had to deal with what the climate has thrown our way. Climatic conditions have meant farmers have been faced with not only the extremes of weather systems, but also the challenges that these extremes bring, such as facial eczema at the tail end of the season. But these issues are something that most farmers, including myself, can take in our stride. Mother nature can be pretty unpredict-

ONE OF MY BIGGEST FRUSTRATIONS OF LATE HAS BEEN WITH THE SO-CALLED ‘EXPERTS’ WHO HAVE OPINIONS ON THE CURRENT DAIRY DOWNTURN. — JAMES STEWART Manawatu Rangitikei Federated Farmers Provincial President

able at times, so farmers know first hand how to be adaptive to the situation, employing resourceful strategies to keep our farms productive. We welcome advice and guidance from researchers and experts, bringing new information to hand, guided by empirical evidence pointing us in the right direction. Having the latest research, I

believe, is the key to improving our farming systems going forward, so it’s great to see the government budget indicating continued funding in this space. But not everyone’s ‘two cents’ is helpful. One of my biggest frustrations of late has been with the so-called ‘experts’ who have opinions on the current dairy downturn. As a dairy farmer I can testify

that it certainly has been hard with low cash flows; perhaps even tougher, when after a bit of a rough morning, is coming in to see media columns and comments of doom and gloom. These really get you down and make you start to wonder why we bother. The worst is when these ‘shinny shoes’ make comments saying farmers should have seen this coming, they had predicted it. Then they start telling us how many farms are going under and how much we are losing. Farmers are good listeners, and as I highlighted earlier, when good, practical evidence comes to hand, are receptive to changing farm management practices to align with the best research of the day. Just like the global financial crisis, perhaps there are some who saw the dairy downturn coming, but as a farmer it sucks that we are only hearing these messages now. Perhaps they only decided to get vocal after the fact, or maybe other ‘expert’ opinions were get-

ting media coverage, but I’m pretty sure I never had this information to hand. ‘I told you so’ is a pretty hard pill to swallow when I don’t recall being told. These messages do little to bolster farmers’ morale, who by in large are getting on with things the best they can. In times like this we see great community support, with farmers focusing on the job at hand, which is ultimately one that they love. So the crux of my message is that at the moment, a little positivity would go a long way. We need to keep positive, as agriculture has been and will be in the future, the bread and butter of the New Zealand economy. We need to remember that we are trying to set up future generations, both emotionally and economically, to maintain and build on our primary production platform. We need them to remember that the current situation is part and parcel of the farming business cycle. So let’s keep positive and look at what is coming up.


18

National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

RURAL SECURITY

Could NAIT stop rustling? By RICK POWDRELL Federated Farmers Rural Security spokesman As farmers around New Zealand continue to struggle with people who think it is their right to steal equipment, vehicles and livestock, there is another group of people searching for tools to assist in the protection of property. These tools will take many different forms with some yet to be thought about, yet alone developed. This is the speed of modern technological advances. One area that both Federated Farmers with New Zealand Police and Rural Stakeholders

ONE AREA THAT BOTH FEDERATED FARMERS WITH NEW ZEALAND POLICE AND RURAL STAKEHOLDERS PARTNERSHIP HAVE DISCUSSED IS THE USE OF EXISTING ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION AND TRACEABILITY SYSTEMS.

— RICK POWDRELL

Effort is going into the search for tools to assist in the protection of rural property.

Partnership have discussed is the use of existing animal identification and traceability systems. This includes NAIT, traditional earmarks and ear tags and animal status declarations. In the past, particularly at the inception of NAIT, many people were very protective of any collected data being used for any other purpose other than what it was specifically collected for. This stance meant very strict and tight parameters were put in place around access to information by outside agents, including the police. It is my opinion that the rural

New Farm Safety Management System Available

community, having experienced NAIT for more than three years, would be more open to easing access to information for rural security purposes. One obvious area would be police access to information, as time delays accessing information from the database often means stock are long gone before the search begins. Other suggestions like red flagging stolen animals on the database would require software programs to detect the animals as they reappear at some future location. A more complex software program would be

needed to put in place a system whereby scanned stock tag details were linked to tag registration dates and animal age. This would be the ultimate tool within NAIT to combat the theft of animals as animals not matching their age would be readily identified at their next movement. The ability to implement a system of this nature is possible but a far better compliance of NAIT requirements by farmers would have to occur. Presently compliance to processing plants and saleyards is very high but the same cannot be said for farm-to-

Federated Farmers and QSI have partnered up to help you meet your compliance obligations under the recently updated health and safety legislation. This is a critical component of a high-performing and positive workplace.

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farm movements. Until farmers become better at registering tags when they are placed in animals’ ears and completing between farm movements, the ability to use new technology tools is severely restricted. OSPRI is about to review the NAIT program with the flaws of the present system being forefront. It would be nice to be able to incorporate possible new systems that benefit the wider industry but unless today’s operators are prepared to fully comply with existing regulation it will be difficult.


Ph 0800 327 646 www.fedfarm.org.nz

August 2016 National Farming Review

19

WEATHER

Looking ahead into spring By GEORGINA GRIFFITHS MetService Meteorologist

RECENT PATTERNS Weather patterns in the New Zealand region turned a corner in late June and early July. There has been a clear shift away from the blocking high sitting to the east of New Zealand, with its associated north to northwest winds that prevailed during the first half of 2016. More typical, mobile winter weather was seen intermittently during July, with some colder southerlies and some extremely gusty westerlies moving through at times. Finally, some useful rainfall was recorded in the east of the North Island after an extended, dry autumn. The MetService expectation of large week-to-week temperature swings during winter seems to be paying dividends, driven by amplified swings in the local winds from mild northerly to cold southerly, and back again. We’ve seen frosts, snowfalls at elevation, and some extremely mild spells, too, during the winter. Good old New Zealand weather — throwing everything and the kitchen sink our way, as per usual! Sea temperatures around New Zealand continue to trend slowly back towards normal, away from the abnormal warmth that has persisted since January. Forecasts indicate that seas retain (muted) warmth through winter and into spring, but the warming effect of the sea is now much diminished.

Finally this month some useful rainfall was recorded in the east of the North Island after an extended, dry autumn.

LOOKING AHEAD “Local” climate mechanisms, such as Tasman Sea lows and Southern Ocean southerlies, will continue to take turns ruling our weather as we head into spring. And while climate models forecast a solid chance (60 per cent) of La Nin ˜ a conditions in the tropical Pacific in spring and summer, this is not yet guaranteed. In fact, models have recently backed off both the chance of, and the intensity of, any future La Nin ˜ a. If La Nin ˜a does form in spring, models suggest it will be weak, and well below the strength of the 2010-12 event (which was one of the most significant La Nin ˜ a periods on record). In addition, it is important to note that sometimes the atmosphere and ocean fail to ‘couple’ properly (work in tandem), meaning neutral conditions may linger for several more months yet. Either way, it may be some time before our local weather patterns step aside.

A COOLER AUGUST ON THE CARDS One important signal that we see looking ahead is the likelihood that August temperatures run

GOOD OLD NEW ZEALAND WEATHER — THROWING EVERYTHING AND THE KITCHEN SINK OUR WAY, AS PER USUAL!

— GEORGINA GRIFFITHS Napier recorded only 240mm in the first six months of 2016 (1 January — 30 June), just 60 percent of normal.

average to cooler than average in many regions. This may impact on late calving and lambing, or affect early cropping activities. While not every day in August will be cold, keeping up with the forecast will be essential. This is the first month in

2016 that computer models have forecast cooler monthly temperatures. However, consistent with the changeable nature of weather patterns lately, predictions show a rapid warming in the New Zealand region during Septem-

ber and October (to above average temperatures). You can catch our latest thinking about future New Zealand weather patterns at www.metservice.com/rural/ monthly-outlook, including monthly forecasts of regional

rainfall and temperature. MetService Meteorologists are also happy to answer farming questions on Twitter and Facebook. You can find us at MetService New Zealand on Facebook and @metservice on Twitter.


20

National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

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Groundspreaders put health and safety first By ANDERS CROFOOT Chairman of the Fertiliser Quality Council When new laws come into effect, not everyone embraces them. Legislative changes often create extra work and involve increased spend. This frequently detracts from the intended purpose and results in a fair bit of grumbling as people reluctantly comply. But not the groundspread industry. I was privileged to attend the recent New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers Association’s (NZGFA) 60th Annual Conference in Nelson where I witnessed unanimous ‘buy-in’ to meeting the requirements of April’s reform of the Health & Safety Act 2015. With day two of the conference devoted to health and safety issues, which included presentations from Worksafe NZ and forestry industry health and safety pioneer Dale Dewars, the groundspreaders in attendance focused on how they could make their industry a safer place for their employees — as well as for the farming communities that make up the majority of their customer base. They saw the reform bill as their opportunity to minimise risk. And, led by re-elected NZGFA president Brent Scully, they decided that they would step up their efforts to truly ensure that only best-practice and robust procedures

THAT ‘ACCIDENTS HAPPEN’ IS NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE TO THIS INDUSTRY — AND NOR SHOULD IT BE ACCEPTABLE TO ANY OTHER INDUSTRY OR WORKPLACE.

— ANDERS CROFOOT Chairman of the Fertiliser Quality Council

were in place. The NZGFA, which already operates and promotes spreader-driver training as being essential to understanding the hazards involved when fertiliser spreading, has now promised to help its members review and update their health and safety policies. The New Zealand groundspreaders are leading by example. That ‘accidents happen’ is no longer acceptable to this industry — and nor should it be acceptable to any other industry or workplace.

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Entries open for NZ’s largest A&P Show Organisers of the 2016 Canterbury A&P Show are calling upon showing enthusiasts from throughout New Zealand to send in their entries and compete in the country’s largest and most prestigious A&P Show. With 100,000 show visitors and over 3000 animals on site, the show continues its 154-year legacy by attracting New Zealand’s best animals and talented competitors. In addition to showing success, exhibitors will be competing for over $100,000 in prize money. The Canterbury A&P Show is also very proud to be hosting a Royal A&P Beef Cattle Event in 2016, which is sure to attract beef exhibitors hoping to win prestigious royal medals and ribbons. To encourage exhibitors from further afield, travel and entry fee discounts are available to competitors travelling more than 400km to compete at the Show. ■ More information and schedules are available at: www.theshow.co.nz.

Be part of New Zealand’s largest A&P Show, with over 3000 animals on-site and the chance to win your share of $100,000 in prizes. Discounts are available for exhibitors travelling more than 400km to compete. The Canterbury A&P Association is proud to host a Royal A&P Beef Cattle Event in 2016. Don’t miss the opportunity to win Royal prizes in the South Island! LIVESTOCK ENTRIES CLOSE FRIDAY 23 SEPTEMBER EQUESTRIAN ENTRIES CLOSE FRIDAY 16 SEPTEMBER

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August 2016 National Farming Review

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August 2016 National Farming Review

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INDUSTRY

Is your bobby calf fit for transport? By ANN THOMPSON Federated Farmers Dairy Policy Advisor All dairy farmers should know by now they will be facing new regulations to manage the welfare of bobby calves this season. Farmers should understand that in all probability they are already following these regulations as they are based on the standards in the 2010 Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare. The main difference is that now regulations are enforceable. So what is expected this spring? Bobby calves should be cared for in much the same manner as their heifer calf sisters. However, on the day they turn four days old, they can expect to be closely inspected if travelling. Farmers will look to see that these calves are free of disease, deformity or disability, are able to stand on all four feet and move about freely. They need to have firm hooves that are worn flat and have a navel that is wrinkled, withered and shrivelled. All these are indications that the calf is at least four days old and is fit to travel. Farmers will need to have processes in place so that their calf rearers understand what’s required. On the day of travel bobbies should be fed at least half the day’s ration of colostrum (or colostrum substitute) not more

BOBBY CALVES SHOULD BE CARED FOR IN MUCH THE SAME MANNER AS THEIR HEIFER CALF SISTERS. — ANN THOMPSON

than two hours before pick-up. This means that farmers are going to have to talk with their transport operator to find out what time they are due. They also need to talk to the processor in case there are other feed requirements. Bobbies must not be fed any colostrum or milk from cows that have been treated with antibiotics and where the withholding period still applies. Carcases

Farmers should know they will be facing new regulations to manage the welfare of bobby calves this season.

are tested at the works and penalties are high if residues are found. Residues affect both market access and the farmer’s pocket. Bobbies waiting pick up need to be kept in a sheltered pen that is situated off the main road and where it’s easy for loading. A loading facility will be required

by August 2017 but if you can have one ready for this, good. Lifting calves and placing them onto the truck is hard work, especially when you do it all day. For those bobbies that are not fit for transport, farmers are reminded that it is against the law to kill any calves by blunt force trauma except in emer-

gency situations. Federated Farmers recommends the use of a captive bolt, a firearm or a vetadministered injection. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is keen to talk to your community about the new regulations. ■ Email animalwelfarepolicy@mpi.govt.nz.

Meat & Fibre well placed to meet challenges By SARAH CROFOOT Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Policy Advisor The short days and cold nights of winter indicate lambing and calving is just around the corner. It is also the time for Federated Farmers’ national and industry AGMs. Meat & Fibre Council and other elected members transcended upon Wellington June 27 and 28 to discuss an array of industry issues. These included everything from moves afoot to reform training in the wool industry to biosecurity and the velvetleaf incursion. Rural security remains topical with key lessons shared from around the country on how communities can best support one another and the importance of reporting suspicious activity. Health and safety, water and resource management reform all remain high on the agenda and actively debated. An update was received on Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s market development proposal which looks to be making positive steps for the industry. Discussion was also had on the new animal welfare regulations, methamphetamine and the risks associated with this for farm housing, and developing guidelines for truck weight transactions. Of course, no AGM would be

HEALTH AND SAFETY, WATER AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT REFORM ALL REMAIN HIGH ON THE AGENDA. — SARAH CROFOOT

complete without an election and this saw Bay of Plenty’s Rick Powdrell returned as the national Meat & Fibre chairman for his third year. Miles Anderson of South Canterbury remains the section’s vice-chairman. Chris Irons retired from the executive after four years of service. Fortunately Chris isn’t going far and we will still have the benefit of his expertise on the

An array of industry issues were put under the spotlight at Federated Farmers National Conference.

council representing the Waikato. We welcomed David Wilson of Northland, who will provide a fantastic addition and fresh perspective to the executive. David joins Michael Salvesen of Mid Canterbury and Simon

MacAtamney of Otago at the Meat & Fibre top table. It was great to see a number of new council members who have taken on the important role of representing members’ views from their province. There is some great young

talent coming up through the ranks, a very positive sign for the sector. The section is in good health and will adeptly represent members on the myriad of challenges that lay ahead for the coming year.


26

National Farming Review

August 2016

www.fedfarm.org.nz Ph 0800 327 646

BIOSECURITY

Velvetleaf paddock inspections essential this growing season By PHILIPPA RAWLINSON Federated Farmers Arable Policy Advisor Did you plant fodder beet seed in 2015? Did you plant Feldherr 131, Troya 112, Bangor 114, Bangor 126, Bangor 079 or Kyros 128? News flash, these fodder beet seed lines have all tested positive for velvetleaf contamination. This is a major concern, as velvetleaf is known to be the world’s worst cropping weed, affecting crops by competing with them for nutrients, space and water. Until February 2016, New Zealand did not have a widespread problem with velvetleaf. The plant pest was being managed in isolated patches of the Waikato under progressive containment as part of their Regional Pest Management Plan. But velvetleaf has now been found on 252 properties throughout 11 regions of New Zealand and traced to the importation of contaminated fodder beet seed by one seed importer. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) launched a biosecurity incursion response in February and any farmers known to have planted Kyros 128, Bangor 126 and Bangor 079 and those who called the 0800 number suspecting they had velvetleaf, had their paddocks inspected for the presence of velvetleaf. Since the “urgent measures” phase of the response was completed in May, Feldherr 131, Troya 112 and Bangor 114 have tested positive for velvetleaf contamination. Farmers who had planted these seed lines will not have had their paddocks inspected by MPI unless they checked their paddocks for velvetleaf, saw (or

VELVETLEAF HAS NOW BEEN FOUND ON 252 PROPERTIES THROUGHOUT 11 REGIONS OF NEW ZEALAND.

— PHILIPPA RAWLINSON

suspected) they saw the weed and called MPI. Importantly, this means that there are many paddocks throughout New Zealand which were unchecked in the 2016 season because at the time those lines did not test positive for velvetleaf. Remembering one velvetleaf plant produces 17,000 seeds, which can remain viable for up to 60 years, we are now in the second growing season with the possibility of a higher level of infestation in the paddocks where the contaminated fodder beet seed was planted, and around farms depending on the movement of stock, machinery and any human movement. This is a very real and serious problem. At this stage, MPI is not

One velvetleaf plant produces 17,000 seeds, which can remain viable for up to 60 years.

planning on any additional interventions or regular inspections as it did in 2016. Relying on farmers to check and report the presence of velvetleaf is not enough, given we know some farmers will take an active approach to managing velvetleaf and others won’t. Farmers have too many challenges — drought, environ-

Why we’re Feds members

mental compliance, low dairy payout, low meat schedule — which will be given a higher priority over routing a weed. While we lobby government to take an active role in long term management of velvetleaf, Federated Farmers urges any farmers who have planted fodder beet to be vigilantly checking their farm for the

presence of velvetleaf. If you are planning on purchasing fodder beet seed this season, take additional steps to get quality assurances for the seed you are purchasing. Arable Industry Group chairman Guy Wigley says: “Ask for the results of the purity and germination test, and ask for the results of the bolter test.”

Daniel and Emily Woolsey Southland

“We have been dairy farming in Southland for the past 12 years. We initially joined Federated Farmers to utilise their Employment Agreements and continue to do so. Following this we learned a lot more about Federated Farmers involvement in New Zealand agriculture, from community to parliamentary level. Federated Farmers ensures farmers are represented and the farmers voice is heard. We see value in our membership in and out of the farm gate, and encourage others to join.”

Want to know more about becoming a member? Contact us on 0800 327 646 or visit our website www.fedfarm.org.nz

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Ph 0800 327 646 www.fedfarm.org.nz

August 2016 National Farming Review

27

INSIDER FED PEOPLE loves to hunt, fish and ride ponies. She has a Dip Ag from Lincoln University and is passionate about agriculture. She is looking forward to meeting members in the area and bringing on board new blood.

CHARLIE REYNOLDS

CHARLIE REYNOLDS Federated Farmers GisborneWairoa Provincial President Charlie has been on the Gisborne-Wairoa Federated Farmers executive for the past couple of years and took on the president’s role at the annual meeting in April. The 37-year-old has been farming on his own account for four years. He had various office jobs and travelled overseas when he left school before working as a spray driver for Leaderbrand for four years. When he was about 27, he thought he might join his dad on his farm at Te Papa, Ormond, but his father said not without a degree. He studied at Massey University completing a Diploma in Agriculture before working as a shepard and general dog’s body before buying the family farm in 2012. He is married to Megan and has a two-old-son, Ollie.

LOUISE GIBSON

LOUISE GIBSON

Federated Farmers Policy Administration and Co-ordinator — Hamilton Louise joined Federated Farmers at the end of May, coming from a background of dairy farm systems research in South Otago and the Waikato. Growing up milking cows, Louise went to Massey University to study biological sciences with a focus on agricultural science. She then headed to the UK to work with the British Grassland Society, running on farm events converting research to workable solutions. Since then, Louise has been working for DairyNZ on research projects to find solutions for farmers to work within nutrient limits. She has joined the Federated Farmers to see the other side of policy, before it is implemented, and to co-ordinate farmer engagement projects within the policy team.

four years as private secretary to three government ministers. He also worked on a number of MPI projects including the Regional Growth Programme and Farm Systems Change. Gavin has more than 20 years policy development and advocacy experience in the primary industry as well as previous experience working for the federation. He understands the agricultural sector and its ongoing challenges. Having started life as a sheep and beef farmer, he’s got an excellent understanding of farming and the role and goals of Federated Farmers. As the previous Federated Farmers deputy director of policy, Mr Forrest managed a range of national, regional and local policies across the organisation. He also held positions from branch chairman through to provincial senior vice-president as a farmer representative. “Federated Farmers is a unique and great organisation to work for. The work of its farmer representatives and staff is strongly exhibited in their dedication and enthusiasm,” Mr Forrest said. Mr Forrest also holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Massey University.

LEIGH CATLEY

LEIGH CATLEY

REBECCA O’NEALE

REBECCA O’NEALE

Federated Farmers Territory Manager — Tararua, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Rangitikei Rebecca is the new territory manager for Tararua, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Rangitikei. She’s been in the job a month. Rebecca has a sales background and has previously worked for Flight Centre, Farmlands and Hunting and Fishing. She currently resides at Riversdale Beach with husband Gavin, who is a stock manager on a sheep and beef farm. She is outdoor mad,

GAVIN FORREST

GAVIN FORREST

Federated Farmers General Manager Policy and Advocacy Federated Farmers of New Zealand welcomes Gavin Forrest to the position of general manager, policy and advocacy. Prior to this appointment, Mr Forrest was principal adviser, sector policy, policy and trade at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and spent more than

Federated Farmers General Manager Communications Federated Farmers has appointed Wellington communications strategist Leigh Catley to the role of general manager, communications. Leigh was previously head of communications at Horticulture New Zealand for 10 years. She has a background in journalism, editorial management and public relations in New Zealand and Australia. Her former employment includes time working for the New Zealand Press Association, the Australian Associated Press and Radio New Zealand. Federated Farmers CEO Graham Smith welcomed Leigh, saying it was great to have someone on board with a good understanding of the value of the primary sector to New Zealand. “Leigh’s time at HortNZ means she comes to Federated Farmers already up to speed on a number of the key issues we deal with every day. She’ll hit the ground running in our organisation and she understands the challenges ahead.”

BOOK GIVEAWAY This month we are giving away Witi Ihimaera’s Bulibasha. This award winning novel has been reissued to tie in with the release of Mahana, the stunning film adaptation of the book set in 1960s rural New Zealand. Ma¯ori sheepshearing families the Mahanas and the Poatas battle for supremacy in the shearing sheds and in their own hearts. The youngest Mahana, 14-year-old Simeon, is troubled by the rivalry and begins to unravel the truth behind the historic feud.

OFFAL PIT The mean old censoring editor I got the editor’s call that all columnists don’t ever want just before deadline. No it wasn’t we’ve had enough of the mindless drivel, poorly constructed sentences and spelling mistakes or the absence of hard-hitting satirical masterpieces of written excellence. No it was worse than being told those things. It was a complaint — my first official one. It was that we need a change (code for this is your last chance). You’ve systematically offended one too many people by adding together rumours, innuendo and official information, painting a picture with words that skates along the edge of defamation and misrepresents the truth. Maybe it was a bad choice describing a certain statesmanlike Member of Parliament as a having similar sheep characteristics as a Suffolk. For the dairy folk these Suffolk characteristics are sort of like the stroppy Jersey bull behaviour. The editor made it very clear that this Offal Pit needed to be upbeat and positive. Well that wipes out politics, dairy farming, selfproclaimed award winning columnists with targets on their back, all government departments, Brexit, Trump and Boris Johnson being UK Foreign Secretary. Actually the wisdom of appointing Boris is similar to John Key making Nicky Hager head of the SIS! With all of these out, I thought this is going to be a hard column this time and the editor wouldn’t accept a

blank column. What the editor didn’t have to say and is fully understood in the commercial columnist game is that you are upsetting the advertisers, and if you continue on you will be cut. Considering that there is “sweet f all” commercial gain, not even a dinner voucher, a cheap bottle of vino or a free membership to Feds, you would wonder why I was so concerned. Actually this is a positive because the one thing all columnists crave is to know that someone actually reads the Offal Pit columns. I thought hidden away in the back of the paper surrounded by the dodgy adverts for Russian brides and the likes no one would ever get there. Especially after trolling through the heavy hitting articles about all the excellent work Feds does on behalf of members. (That’s enough greasing — editor.) So to try to isolate the offended complainant, as the editor wouldn’t reveal sources, I flicked back through the list of “targets” and quickly ran out of fingers and toes so gave up on plotting revenge in the next article. (You’ll be lucky to get another chance — editor.) What’s the bright side in being beaten up and censored by the mean old editor? Well I have managed to write 400 odd words without offending anyone, and hopefully all the hints about getting something for all my free contribution might be finally getting through. But please note I can’t eat or drink the Feds membership, and am probably signed up anyway! ■ The Offal Pit is a contributed column and does not reflect the views or policies of Federated Farmers.


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