Home' Straight Furrow 70th Anniversary : Dec 19 2011 Contents Straight Furrow • December 19, 2011
1941 -- 2011
AGRICULTURE is New Zealand's
precious gem. No other country
exports more than 90 per cent
of what it produces.
As a sheep and beef farmer, it is grati-
fying that a government is again valu-
ing agriculture as the mainstay of the
country's export earning capabilities
and the sector that underpins its stan-
dard of living. My hope for the future is
that agriculture stays in this space and
its value is built upon - that this is the
thinking of all New Zealanders.
Reliable food sourcing is an interna-
tional issue. Going forward, New
Zealand is in an enviable position.
Reflecting this, I would like to see my
fellow sheep and beef farmers operate
with renewed confidence.
However, for farmers to feel truly con-
fident about the future, several issues
need to be addressed.
Current product prices have brought
profitability and sustainability back
into sheep and beef farming, but these
need to be maintained and built upon,
year on year. The Red Meat Sector
Strategy highlights that there are
improved efficiencies to be made in our
sector. Farmers need to spend time
looking at their businesses. For exam-
ple, sheep farming offers a dual
income, but the wool industry is crying
out for its participants to adopt a col-
Meanwhile, we operate against a
backdrop where urban New Zealand no
longer has an inter-generational con-
nection with the rural community. The
days when everyone had a grandad,
aunt or cousin living on a farm are
gone. New ways need to be found to
bridge the gap - with information,
understanding and education.
Urban or rural in background, there
are exciting possibilities in agriculture.
Are our young people aware of this? We
need to make sure they are.
The solution sounds simple: bring
New Zealand back into the country.
However, the implementation will take
the commitment of us all.
NEW Zealand farmers can look
forward to a bountiful future,
everyone tells us this.
The opportunities in Asia as stan-
dards of living improve are said to be
easy pickings. They may be right. But
this is not the time to take it easy.
Rising costs will be our biggest
enemy. We must set in place pro-
grammes that ensure our farmers
become more efficient.
How to disseminate the management
and genetic knowhow of the top 10 per
cent among the remainder, how to
apply the latest science in the field,
how to take advantage of communica-
tions innovation and to take care every
farmer is aware of changing public atti-
tudes toward them -- these are essen-
Sustainability will become more than
a buzzword. All farmers will be
required to prove they are following
sound environmental principles. The
standards will be higher than today --
the state of New Zealand's rivers and
lakes will be continually monitored and
the results won't be good news for
farmers. The legacy of years of nutri-
ent leaching will be with us for many
more years to come.
However, if the bank economists are
correct, farmers will have plenty of
income to pay for these extra imposts.
The future looks rosy, but will be
rosier still if we stay keenly focused on
being the best we possibly can.
The Dominion Post
THE future for Westland Milk
Products, its shareholders and
the wider dairy industry had
never looked so promising, West
Coast-based dairy cooperative's chief
executive officer, Rod Quin, said.
"Globally consumers are demanding
more protein in their diet -- which is
fuelling the demand for milk-based
products, including a growing range
of paediatric formulas and nutrition-
als," Mr Quin said.
To help satisfy demand, Westland
had positioned itself at the forefront
of product and market development
in the sector, he said.
"Since 2008, we have been focused
on transforming Westland Milk
Products from a medium-sized, West
Coast-focused, dairy commodity pro-
ducer into a growth-oriented, valued-
added and nutritional dairy products
manufacturer and marketer," Mr Quin
He said Westland's globally based
customers were already leading-
brand owners in a market which was
worth about US$24 billion a year
"For us, the most exciting part of
this is the speed of growth and the
fact that it is dominated by the Asian
market which is our closest export
WE are a team of specialist
rural valuers and agribusi-
ness consultants based in
Ashburton but working South Island-
wide. Our view on the future of New
Zealand farming is based upon our
wide experience of NZ agriculture.
In my case it's 37 years as farm fin-
ancier with Rural Bank, farm advisor
with MAF and self employed for the
last 16 years. Farming has a very
bright future in New Zealand. People
must eat and standards of living are
rising rapidly in Asia.
Like it or not farms are getting big-
ger, the small are getting out, leasing
or amalgamating. That is a notable
trend in the western world.
We see that trend continuing with
the implications that there will be
fewer larger farms run more on cor-
porate governance type processes.
This new scenario will mean
employment opportunities for young
people as farm managers and super-
visors will be greatly widened.
We are positive about the future of
farming in New Zealand and see great
career prospects for young people
interested in farming as a career.
Registered valuer &
IN this rapidly-changing world of
communication, with an increasing
appetite for electronic media, it is a
credit to their high standard of journal-
ism they are celebrating this landmark.
Although not in business quite 70
years, I've had the privilege of being in
the meat industry all my working life,
and have enjoyed watching it flourish.
There have been the harder times too
of course, and those are when we all
have to take a close look at what we're
doing and how we're doing it.
Health, convenience, quality, safety,
value and taste all jostle for position
and it is our job to make sure we satis-
fy them all in one form or another.
But as protectors as well as promot-
ers of our product, we must remain vig-
ilant of those who would rather see the
demise of our industry, not its develop-
ment. Health issues around fat and
heart disease have been replaced by
cancer and obesity; now increasingly
joined by animal welfare and environ-
mental concerns, conveniently married
together through the 'eat less meat to
save the planet' mantra.
My long-term view, however, is one of
optimism for farming and the wider
meat industry, whilst mindful of
Charles Darwin's words: "It is not the
strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent, but the ones
most responsive to change."
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