2011-02-19

Farmers not creaming milk, lamb or beef prices

New Zealand’s farmers are not exploiting high local food prices, with farmers receiving less than 30 percent of the retail value.

“The current high milk prices has many thinking that farmers must be creaming it but we’re not,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers Dairy chairperson.

“If you look at a litre of milk, the farmer’s share expressed as revenue, is about 300 mils.

“Most dairy farmers, myself included, got less than $0.60 for a litre of milk last season. From these 60 cents, we had to pay all the costs of production including, wages, vets, tax as well as paying the mortgage.

“A small number of dairy farmers are paid more for producing "winter milk". There are a lot of extra costs running a dairy farm through winter but even they get only a small premium on a per litre equivalent.

“So if someone’s making a mint from milk, I’d suggest looking a lot closer at retail margins.

“Even with lamb, the current season forecast is around $95 for a 17.5 kg lamb. That’s around $5.43 a kilogram so the farmers share is a lot less than what people pay in a supermarket.

“We found a similar picture in 2008 with the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) prepared report, The farmers’ share.

“It’s time for the Government to look a lot wider than just the retail price of milk. There needs to be a true unbundling of the retail margins involving our primary produce.

“Our farm income and expenses are also completely transparent. Anyone can read this in MAF’s Pastoral model chapters available from its website.

“This data, as well as The Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry, shows how farmers work hard to produce outstanding food and fibre, but are only left with a small portion of the retail price.

“It would also be great if the Government put the same pressure on the costs it and local government impose. Some more discipline in its spending goes a long way.

“These add to non-tradable inflation and this erodes the already small margin of what we make from producing fantastic food and fibre,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

The 2008 NZIER report ‘The farmers’ share’, can be downloaded by clicking here.

MAF Pastoral model chapters can be viewed by clicking here.

I've come to the conclusion that..........



Scary Clowns are no good at rodeos
Warning before you decide to right click this image please note it is copyright and is not in public domain.


Explosives should never be given to Psycho Zebras
This image is copyright and is not public domain

Bruno Manser Fund to Launch International Campaign Against Sarawak Timber Corruption

Bruno Manser Fund to Launch International Campaign Against Sarawak
Timber Corruption


Campaign focus on Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud - Corruption
identified as one of the main drivers of Borneo deforestation

BASEL, SWITZERLAND, February 18, 2011, --/WORLD-WIRE/-- The Bruno
Manser Fund is about to launch an international campaign against the
blatant corruption and abuse of public funds by Abdul Taib Mahmud,
Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. A campaign website,
www.stop-timber-corruption.org, will go online on Monday, 21 February, and will be regularly updated and equipped with features for an interactive campaign with
public participation.

**Abdul Taib Mahmud**

Taib, one of South East Asia's longest-serving politicians, has been
in office since 1981 and is planning to celebrate his 30th anniversary
in power on 26 March 2011. The 75-year old kleptocrat will stand as an
incumbent for another five-year term of office in the upcoming Sarawak
state elections, which are due to be held before July.

Taib has abused his public office to a frightening extent and has
managed to convert the state of Sarawak into his family's private
estate. He simultaneously holds the offices of Chief Minister, and
Finance Minister, as well as that of State Planning and Resources
Minister, which gives him enormous political power.

In addition, Malaysia's "Barisan Nasional" coalition, which forms
the federal government, is dependent on Taib's support to remain in
power. Sarawak's largest private company, its electricity supply,
large-scale logging interests and the control of log exports are also
concentrated in the hands of the Taib family.

Since 1983, Taib and his immediate family members have started to
transfer considerable parts of their ill-gotten assets overseas. The
Bruno Manser Fund has established a black list with 49 Taib companies
in eight countries worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of
dollars. The list will be published next week, and the authorities of
these countries will be asked to freeze all Taib assets and to launch
criminal investigations against the Taib family.

In Sarawak, corruption has proved to be one of the main drivers of
deforestation. While most of the state's forests have been logged or
converted into plantations over the last three decades, Sarawak's
indigenous communities have seen little, if any, benefit from Taib's
so-called politics of development. Poverty, illiteracy and a lack of
basic infrastructure are omnipresent in rural Sarawak.

Sarawak's numerous indigenous communities, and particularly the
Penan, have struggled since the 1980s against destructive logging and
have fought for their land rights but, in most cases, they have been
outmanoeuvred and cheated by Taib and his cronies.

2011-02-18

Helensville to host first Regional Final

Hundreds of Young Farmers have competed in District Finals for The National Bank Young Farmer Contest to find eight finalists for each Regional Final. Seven Contestants will then go on to compete in the Grand Final in Masterton from June 29th to July 2nd.


The Regional Finals get underway on February 26 with the Practical Day at the Helensville A&P showgrounds. Eight of Northern’s finest Young Farmers will be put through a series of rigorous tests that will include demonstrating their practical farming skills, theoretical business knowledge and even their community contribution. The day comprises of four Challenges: AGMARDT Agri-business; Ravensdown Agri-skills; Lincoln University Agri-growth and the exciting, fast paced Isuzu Agri-sports Challenge that will take place from 2pm.

The day finishes off with the Evening Show at the Helensville War Memorial Hall from 5.30pm. Here the winners from the various Challenges will be announced and contestants will take part in question buzzer rounds to ultimately find Northern’s representative for the Grand Final.

The action doesn’t just stop at Contest this year however, with the AgriKidsNZ Regional Final also taking place. A new feature in 2011 is the TeenAg Regional Final where 15-17 year olds will compete in teams of two to try and take out the Northern title. The Preliminaries kick off the day; contestants have five minutes at each station to complete a series of agricultural based tasks. The top seven teams will then progress through to the exciting Race Off that will start at midday.

Northern Regional Manager and 2010 Grand Finalist James Donaldson wants to see locals take advantage of having The Ultimate Rural Challenge in their backyard.

“The event is great fun and really highlights the diversity of modern farming practices and range of careers now available in the agri-sector. We welcome everyone to come along and support Northern’s best farming talent.”

That farming talent is a mixture of old and new faces this year; for some this will be their last chance to compete as the cut off age for New Zealand Young Farmers, and therefore eligibility for the Contest, is 31.

It will be 30 year old dairy farmer Matt Smith’s last chance to compete in the Regional Final; he’ll be hoping to improve on his 4th place result last year. It’s also Shane Munford’s second and last chance to get through to Grand Final; Shane is heavily involved in the Whangarei Club and is a substation technician, a shearer and runs a 30 acre lifestyle block. Also nearing cut off age is Dairy farm assistant Michael Farley who will also be competing in his second and last Regional Final.

Twenty five year old Katherine Tucker is a dairy farmer on her parent’s home block running 600 Jersey pedigree cows. Katherine, the only female in the Northern Regional Final, will be hoping experience will be on her side as she competes in her third Regional Final. Damian Dixon was third last year and is also competing for the third time. He’s an Equity Manager with 550 cows and a Director for Quad Farming Ltd.

There are also some new faces at the Regional Final this year. It’ll be 25 year old Lewis Carter’s first time as a contestant; he’s a farm hand on a 1000 acre bull farm. Also competing for the first time is 27 year old self-employed beef farmer Andrew Farr who has been a member of New Zealand Young Farmers for ten years.

Finally John Kenworthy-Thompson is the youngest in the Regional Final at just 19 years of age. He’s been a part of the Whangarei NZYF Club for six months and this is his first Regional Final, John grew up on a dairy farm but is currently completing an Engineering Apprenticeship.

Not only will one of these eight be announced as Northern’s Grand Finalist they’ll also take home a generous prize pack worth $10,250 including a Honda XR125 two-wheeled farm bike valued at $4000, a $1500 Lincoln University Scholarship, $1000 cash and $500 towards a capability development programme from AGMARDT, a weekend hunting trip courtesy of Isuzu valued at $1000, Ravensdown quality fertiliser products worth $1000, a range of Swanndri clothing valued at $750 and The National Bank will provide $500 cash.

Wool cooperative down but not necessarily out

Federated Farmers believes the failure of Wool Partners Cooperative (WPC) to secure $55 million in farmer backing, while disappointing, may still see a new farmer run cooperative emerge.

“At a personal level am I disappointed? Yes, but as Federated Farmers we must recognise that a majority were yet to be convinced and the WPC model needed a majority to commit,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“To be successful, truly successful, a cooperative has to be built from the bottom up. What I take heart from is that despite some of the worst years for profitability, so many had shared up.

“Yet wool growers have now spoken and the requirements of the WPC prospectus have not been met so we need to move on.

“Federated Farmers is determined to make certain that we don’t look back on this day as an opportunity wasted.

“It’s why Federated Farmers is keen to talk with Wool Partners International and all industry players about a grower owned model. I’m still personally convinced that together in a cooperative we can make things happen for our industry.

“Consolidation and unity is important to wool growers as is much closer involvement in the selling of our fibre.

“There have been many reports into wool but most conclude that farmers should remain owners of their fibre until at least the end of first stage processing. There’s something fundamental about that.

“WPC put up an option that they felt might meet this requirement and got the largest voluntary capital raising the wool industry has ever seen, with 40 million kilograms committed.

“That tells me a sizeable minority of wool growers want a cooperative. They put their money where their mouth was.

“Doing nothing isn’t an option for farmers or the meat and wool industry. Wool is integral to the sheep industry’s long term prosperity.

“So while things maybe black for those who had invested their hopes in WPC we know a sunrise will always follow the darkest of nights.

“What we are looking for is a woolly phoenix to rise from the ashes,” Mr Wills concluded.

Malaysian Government Fears Anti-Taib Protests

Public anger at Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahumd on the rise
- police issue warning over protest rally announced for Sunday


KUCHING, MALAYSIA, February 17, 2011, --/WORLD-WIRE/-- Weeks ahead
of the elections in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo, the
Malaysian police are fearing public protests against incumbent Abdul
Taib Mahmud, one of the longest-serving and most corrupt politicians
in South East Asia.

On Thursday, Sarawak State Police Commissioner Mohammed Salleh
warned the public against attending an anti-Taib protest rally
announced for Sunday in the state capital, Kuching. According to the
Borneo Post, those attending face "the risk of getting arrested for
participating in an illegal gathering". News about the planned
protest had been spread via SMS.

Taib Mahmud has recently come under fire for his family's excessive
wealth, which includes overseas assets worth hundreds of millions, if
not billions, of US dollars. Taib has been in power since 1981 and
simultaneously holds the offices of Chief Minister and Finance
Minister, as well as State Planning and Resource Management Minister
of the resource-rich state in Borneo.

The Taib family has profited immensely from the destructive logging
of Sarawak's tropical rainforests and today has a stranglehold over
the state's economy. Among the companies controlled by the Taibs are
Achi Jaya, which has a monopoly on log exports, and Cahya Mata
Sarawak (CMS), a construction company which is routinely awarded
public contracts without open tender.

Malaysia does not grant its citizens either the freedom of assembly
or the freedom of association. The authorities are free to clamp down
on citizens under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) which
allows for detention without trial or criminal charges.

-Media Release Bruno Manser Fund via World Wire

2011-02-13

TAKE YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY SERENGETI


Say NO to this Highway so the Great Migration can continue
by signing the petition
here
What is he up to?

TAKE YOUR FILTHY HANDS OFF MY SERENGETI!


They want to build a highway on the Serengeti. Now I for one, don't think they should come along with the earthmovers and the dozers, to wreck an iconic landscape. It's part of the great migration routes, that for millions of years, the wildebeast, the zebra and other grazers have followed for generations. They follow the rains year in year out, forever on the move in search of new grazing. They have to compete with other grazers, human settlement, poachers and of course the predators that are always waiting for the weak and the aged. That's how the cycle of life works or so it used to.

If it was a cartoon Serengeti, then those folks who are planning to chop it up for a highway, are figuring on moving on it, they might have a problem. First of all they'd have to get through the wall of hacked off elephants, that would be stationed across the entire Serengeti. Four wheel drives would end up looking like a pizza and that's just for starters....
Then, there'd be an army of Bush pigs like this unsavory looking sod, just itching to do some serious tyre slashing, somewhere along the way to the Bush Pig's Night Club Bouncer's Convention. Now, if you're one of those executives that own the road construction company and you have one of those real fancy top of the line SUV wagons, I'd be thinking twice about trying to mow this nasty mean old bush pig down. He's mean enough to wipe the grin off that well plastic surgery altered executive mug.


At every entry point there would be constrictors like Alexander who doesn't take bribes. All that stash would then be sent to a secret Swiss bank account to fund the wildlife rangers the elephants employed to catch the poachers out.

And of course we would need our mad bomber zebra Zek onto the case to keep those illegal mining companies out. So watch out you highway builders my cartoon animal army will be ready and waiting on the Cartoon Serengeti to fight back.

Signed
The Take Your Filthy Hands off my Serengeti! President