Fonterra Shareholders’ Council

Federated Farmers Dairy notes with interest, recent changes made to the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council.

“Federated Farmers Dairy sincerely thanks retiring chairman, Blue Read and deputy chairman, Campbell Shearer, for the sterling work they have done in guiding the Council through the difficult seas of Fonterra’s ongoing capital restructure,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“The Federation now welcomes Simon Couper and Ian Brown as Chairman and Deputy Chairman, respectively and wishes to remind them of the Council’s critical role.

“That is to represent the shareholder suppliers of Fonterra – we farmers – while making sure the Directors of Fonterra Cooperative Group reach decisions in the best interests of the Cooperative. Federated Farmers is pleased that Mr Read is to stay on the Council’s Board in the meantime.

“Federated Farmers Dairy, as the independent voice for all dairy farmers, looks forward to working with the Council’s new leadership. The Council is not there to rubberstamp Fonterra Board decisions but to ensure these decisions are in the long term interests of shareholders and the Cooperative.

“Only when the Board has satisfied the questions of farmer shareholder suppliers put to them via the Council, can they be confident that they have the full support of Fonterra’s 10,500 shareholders.

“I look forward to working with the new Shareholders’ Council,” Mr McKenzie concluded.


Get ready to celebrate the bee

12mm long Apis mellifera, Apis mellifera flying back to its hive carrying pollen in a pollen basket. Pictured in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on a private facility.
Image Credit: Muhammad Mahdi Karim (www.micro2macro.net
Sourced: Wikimedia

Federated Farmers is getting ready to celebrate the many positive attributes of the honey bee, as Bee Week 2010 rolls around next week.

“Bee Week is all about celebrating the value that the honey bee brings to the New Zealand economy and that’s not only the hive products, honey and beeswax.” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees Industry group spokesperson.

“Bees play a huge role in the agricultural sector through the pollination of kiwifruit, pip fruit and the export vegetable seed. But by far their biggest contribution is to the meat and wool industry through the pollination of clover based pasture for nitrogen fixation in the soil.

“Without the bee our pastoral farmers, particularly in high country regions, would be forced to spread larger volumes of nitrogen based fertilisers to create good growing conditions annually. The bee has been doing this for free for over a hundred years.

“It’s estimated that New Zealand’s economy receives direct benefits to the value of $100 million per year from bee hive products. But the indirect benefit, through pollination services is around a massive $10 billion annually.

“Like Einstein said, 'if the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, then man would have only four years of life left’.

“But it’s not all rose coloured glasses in the bee industry. Bee Week is also about identifying issues facing the industry, for example the varroa mite that came here in 2000.

“This mite has now spread as far south as Wanaka and it is expected to be on the outskirts of northern Southland by the spring. It poses a massive threat because without human intervention, a hive infected by varroa will die out completely.

“To prevent varroa infecting a hive, bee keepers now have an extra cost of $50 per year per hive for the chemicals, labour and transport costs, Sadly this cost has become a fixed overhead that never goes away.

“Another killer blow is the likelihood that Australian honey will be approved for entry into New Zealand commencing in 2011. Devastating news for our industry. Australia has a bee brood disease that is not currently in New Zealand and we want to keep it that way.

“The spores of the European Foulbrood disease, can be transported in honey and would be a knockout blow for many beekeepers.

“Treatment in Australia is with antibiotics. This not something New Zealand beekeepers want to consider, especially as our high valued manuka honey is often eaten as a food product which is beneficial to the consumer’s health and well being. Antibiotic residues in honey won’t make good reading, nor good eating.

“Federated Farmers realises how important the bee is and how important it is that farmers play their part in protecting the bee. That’s why we’ve launched the ‘Trees for Bees’ campaign. Plant a tree for a bee.

“This campaign helps farmers help bees, by outlining bee-friendly trees and shrubs that they can plant in places such as waterways and field edges,” Mr Hartnell concluded.


Athol Ryan/Seales CFO, James Maw/Glencore, David Mattiske/Glencore, Ross Hyland/MD of Seales

North Island stock feed Company achieves important strategic agreement.

Today Ross Hyland the Managing Director of Waikato’s leading stockfeed Company Seales Ltd announced they had reached agreement with the world's largest commodity trader Glencore. The agreement will allow Seales to move forward positively around future raw material supplies.

Glencore Australian CEO Chris Brookes has stated that Glencore is pleased to have concluded the agreement with Seales, as Glencore sees Seales as a market leader in the supply of quality nutritional feeds to the N.Z. dairy industry.

Glencore believes N.Z. farmers deserve a credible alternative supplier and the combined strength of Glencore's global network with Seales NZ based manufacturing capacity and local knowledge of the New Zealand market, will provide N.Z. farmers with choices over supplementary feed decisions. The rollout of Seales National Manufacturing and Distribution Strategy over the next 12-18 months was also a key factor in Glencore’s support of Seales.

Seales has appointed Mr Tony Moffat to manage this supply chain business with Glencore. My Moffat’s previous strategic role within Seales has been taken over by the appointment of Dr Andrew West, who will be heading up strategy along with Research and Development.

Mr Hyland says “Seales is working on a number of supply chain initiatives including leasing its first bulk storage facilities at the Port of Tauranga”.


Stranger things have happened!

The ‘farm toll’ is reducing, argues farmers

The ‘farm toll’ is reducing, argues farmers

Federated Farmers has responded to the Wellington Coroner by pointing out a 23 percent reduction in the ‘farm toll’ between 2006 and 2009.

“Everyone in agriculture is sincere in sharing the grief that the Santos family must feel following yesterday’s Inquest,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.

“Yet I must point out the Coroner’s comments don't reflect 2010, but 2008. Federated Farmers, with the Agriculture Safety Council, ACC and the Department of Labour, have taken on-board Coronial recommendations to promote all aspects of farm safety, not just All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs or quad bikes).

“This explains why the farm toll in 2009 was 13 while in 2006, 17 people died in farm related accidents. While the farm toll’s reduction is not as fast as we’d all like, we are seeing a positive downwards trend in recent years

“I personally think there’s been a welcome change in farm culture that on-farm safety is paramount. Yet perspective on the farm toll is also needed. Statistically, 99 people died by drowning in 2009 while the road toll last year stood at 393.

“With regards to ATVs, farmers are legally required to ensure employees who operate them are appropriately trained in their use. The Federation further endorses and promotes ACC’s guides on ATV use, the use of helmets and also promotes minimum age limits.

“Yet last November, ACC tellingly reported that of the 400 claims made for ATVs, half were related to recreational use, 150 were farm-related and 50 happened on the road. There is an estimated 70,000 ATVs in New Zealand too.

“Yet this prosecution sadly rams home why training and education is so important. This tragedy has seen the company involved change its procedures for the better and the case has been well publicised - ensuring other companies do take notice.

“While on-farm we've got the message, it’s falling on deaf ears recreationally and agriculture gets lumbered with the raw statistics because ATVs, are classed as agricultural vehicles.

“The shame is, that the Coroner hasn't discussed his ideas with Federated Farmers because things like roll-over protection structures increase the risk of crush injury in a farm setting.

“This is why the proposed changes to ACC are important. It will reward good safety and punish the poor and like the Minister, Federated Farmers believes it will save lives,” Mr Nicolson concluded.

Federated Farmers Fact Sheets on ATV use can be obtained by calling 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646). The Agricultural Health and Safety Council’s guidelines for the safe use of ATVs can be found here while ACC’s guidance publications can be found here.