Friday Flash

November 10, 2017

From the Board…

Andrew Hoggard, Vice-President
I recently had the privilege of attending the International Dairy Federations’ World Dairy Summit in Belfast.

A big discussion point at the conference was the increasing overlap between sustainability and nutrition, particularly in relation to all the alternative plant-based dairy products out there. A selling point of the plant-based alternatives is that they’re often pitched as having a lower carbon footprint. But in reality, when you look at the actual nutrition you get from them, then to get the same amount as you would from a serving of dairy, you have to consume a lot more. There are a number of studies now where it has been shown that the carbon footprint is actually higher for the alternative when you take into account the need to get the same level of nutrition.
Another take home message for me is that it doesn’t matter whether you accept the scientific consensus on climate change or not, or argue about whether some of the experts are truly that expert. It’s irrelevant because the people who buy our products accept this viewpoint. So while we have a good story to tell around the carbon footprint of our produce on a per unit basis compared to our competitors, those competitors are trying to catch up to us - and they are coming up with good stories to make it sound like they are doing better.
[From a column Andrew wrote for several newspapers. Read it in full here]

R&D – we’re not worried how, as long as we get there

Federated Farmers is right behind the new government’s goal of boosting the nation’s spending on research and development to two per cent of GDP by 2027.

“It doesn’t matter to us whether that’s achieved by the re-introduction of an R&D tax credit, the previous government’s grants schemes or a combination of methods,” Federated Farmers science spokesperson Guy Wigley said in a media statement yesterday. “What’s important is that it’s genuine and useful research and development that drives progress and innovation and boosts New Zealand’s ability to earn a living in the world.”

Leaving their mark in Kenya

Rotorua Taupo Provincial President Alan Wills has been given a leave pass from November 11 to December 8 to manage the New Zealand Ploughing Team at the World Championship in Kenya. Wishing you and the team straight furrows Alan.

Reserve Bank review confirmed

The Reserve Bank kept the OCR unchanged this week at 1.75%. No surprise. It expects inflation to pick up due to a combination of the new Government’s policies and the lower exchange rate. It won’t be too concerned about this as long as inflation stays within its 1-3% target band. Looking at the November Monetary Policy Statement (also released today) it appears that the OCR will start rising from around June 2019, which is quarter sooner than was expected in the August MPS.
More significant is how the Reserve Bank will operate in future. This week the new Minister of Finance re-signed the existing policy targets agreement and signalled a review to reform the Reserve Bank Act, as agreed by Labour and NZ First in their coalition agreement. Adding employment as a goal for monetary policy is not out of step globally and it might not change much in practice, as seems the case in Australia. But is it necessary?
Nick Clark takes a look at the issues, and also the ANZ Commodity Price Index, the GDT auction result and agricultural debt.

Healthy Rivers update

It has been quiet on the Healthy Rivers front while Waikato Regional Council works through the appeal from Hauraki Plains iwi on consultation. Rotorua/Taupo Federated Farmers President Alan Wills says it’s likely to be well into the New Year before the formal submission process gets underway.
The Federation is working hard to come up with an alternative plan, with the objective of trying to pull everyone into a united “pan sector” approach. This alternative plan will also be looking for improved water quality, but catchment based, and will reflect the issues specific to each sub-catchment. But it’s a costly exercise and the Federation is asking for voluntary donations.

 D-Day for submissions on Northland Plan

The Northland Regional Council is consulting on its updated Regional Plan and Federated Farmers is encouraging Northland Farmers to engage with the Plan and determine if it will impact on you and your farm businesses.

We have developed a submission template to encourage farmers to make their own submission on these plans in conjunction with ours. The guidance letter and submission template can respectively be found here, along with the slides from the workshops held earlier this month.

Note that submissions are due on Wednesday November 15.

Federation recruiting for policy advisor, Territory Manager

Federated Farmers is recruiting for a full-time Senior Policy Advisor / Policy Advisor to join its Regional Policy and Advocacy team, based in Manawatu or the Waikato. The role will suit someone who recognises that the primary industry is at the heart of the New Zealand economy and has a strong understanding of the RMA and the business of farming. Someone with experience of the RMA, primary or science sector, legal, government or a related industry is preferred.
We are also looking for a self-motivated sales person to join our team covering Manawatu, Tararua, Rangitikei and Wairarapa areas. As a Territory Manager, your roles will include selling memberships and the Federation’s industry specific contracts and agreements as well as liaison with farmers, current members, the regional policy team and our provincial executive.

Find more information on both roles.

Hamilton quiz night features Te Radar

The Rural Support Trust will be holding the first ever Waikato RST Quiz Night and Charity Auction on 1 December at Gordonton Hall, Hamilton. Doors open at 6:30pm, a light supper will also be provided. Comedian and TV personality Te Radar is guest MC for the evening. This event is open to all, so please encourage your friends and colleagues to make up a team and join in - not only a good excuse for a night out but also a great chance to catch up with others and all monies raised will go back into supporting our rural communities.

Register your team: or 021 180 2995

Buy a contract and be in to win

The next person to purchase a Feds contract and let us know will win a Potton & Burton 2018 Landscapes in Contemporary New Zealand Art Calendar, a vintage Feds cap, tote bag and pen. Quote the promo code “PBCalendar” when you make the purchase. Members can view the complete Potton & Burton range of calendars on our website and calendars are also available to purchase in all good book stores. Email your entry with your name and type of contract purchased to: to be in to win.
Meanwhile, Potton & Burton has a Special Members’ Offer (10% discount and free delivery in NZ) on Edmund Hillary A biography by Michael Gill (Retail Price $54.99). This insightful and illuminating biography by Edmund Hillary’s close friend, Michael Gill, goes further than anyone before to reveal the humanity of our remarkable Kiwi hero. While Hillary became famous through his mountaineering achievements, ultimately it was his humility and great compassion for the people of Nepal that has become his enduring legacy. To obtain the discounted price $49.49, click Edmund Hillary and use the coupon code FEDFARM17 at the shopping cart.

Quick-fire talks from our leading scientists

Science NZ, which represents the seven Crown Research Institutes, is running free, quick-fire 12-minute educational public talks at Te Papa in Wellington today and tomorrow. There is plenty there of relevance to agriculture – e.g. Saturday - 11.15am Dr Greg Bryan of AgResearch on Grasses of the Future, 11.30am of ESR on Is there a new weapon in our battle for clean waterways?, 2pm Hugh Gourlay, of Manaaki Whenua, Using nature to control weeds.  


2017 Best Manawatu Farm Business Performance Field Day

Given the low payout season, Garvaghy Gold Ltd showed a solid return on capital of 2% and operating profit of $997/ha. Their pasture harvest was one of the highest of the DBOY17 finalist group at 13.4tDM/ha from dryland producing 1240kgMS/ha. They were also finalists for the environment award. Come along and find out how they achieved these great results.

When:  Thursday 16 November, 9.30 - 2.30 (free lunch)
Where: Garvaghy Gold Ltd - Robert & Colleen Ervine, 1304 Rangiotu Rd, Palmerston North

Online registration required:, 0800 73 55 88,

Meat & Fibre focus, Taranaki

Taranaki Meat & Fibre members are invited to hear about latest industry trends and policy issues at TET Stadium in Stratford, Wednesday November 22, from 6.30pm.

Guests and speakers include:
  • Digby Phillips from StockX Ltd -award winner in stock procurement and sale
  • Abigail Gough & Adric Ng from Vodafone- discussing rural connectivity and coverage in Taranaki
  • Lisa Harper (Federated Farmers Regional Policy Advisor )- water and stock exclusion – how this affects Taranaki farmers/Update on the NAIT review.
Coffee & nibbles provided. RSVP to: Taranaki office for catering purposes, P: (06) 7573423, E:

Risk mitigation field day in Hastings

Farmlands and FMG are hosting a field day at Kereru Station in Hastings (off SH50) to provide pointers on protection your business and yourself.

Speakers include:
  • Dr Derrick Moot, Professor in Plant Science at Lincoln University
  • Doug Avery, creator and author of Resilient Farmer
  • Tom Skerman, Economic Development Manager for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council
Wednesday 15 November, 9.30am-1pm. Morning tea and BBQ lunch provided.

RSVP by 10 November by emailing


Take Time Before You Sign

Are you a farm owner, sharemilker, contract milker or farm manager advertising or applying for a new position? Do you want to improve the relationship in an existing agreement?

Access the tools and information you’ll need to confidently build a successful relationship.

Hear from other farmers who follow a due diligence process and this event, hosted by DairyNZ and Federated Farmers.

November 30, Inglewood, Taranaki,10am – 2pm with lunch provided

Registrations essential.

Emergency Mobile Alert

Implementation of a new nationwide emergency alert system kicks in later this month. Emergency Mobile Alerts are messages about emergencies sent by authorised agencies to mobile phones enabled to receive them. They can be targeted to geographical areas affected by serious hazards. If your phone is on, capable and inside the targeted area, you should get the alerts. You don’t have to download an app or subscribe to a service, just ensure your phone is capable and updated. A live nationwide test will be held on 26 November 2017 to test the system, cell towers and your phone’s ability to receive Emergency Mobile Alert. Detailed information is available here.

Taratahi takes on Primary ITO training in the deep south

The Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre is now the provider for Primary ITO dairy, sheep, beef and deer courses in Otago and Southland. This follows Taratahi’s acquisition of the Lincoln University Telford Division earlier this year. As a provider with coverage in many areas of the country, the Primary ITO said Taratahi offers consistency in the delivery of its training and there is potential to expand the training offerings in the deep south.


Foods of the future to boost brain

New Zealand foods of the future could not only have more flavour and texture, but also boost our brain functions, the ODT reports. AgResearch scientists are working on programmes that have been awarded more than $21 million from the former Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Endeavour Fund.

Dairy superfood must counter ill-informed messages

One of our challenges here is to ensure Kiwi consumers can find their way through the bombardment and know the truth – that there is scientific evidence to prove dairy products constitute some of the most nutritious foods available for human consumption, writes Tim Mackle.