New Zealand: Farmer Warns Wild West Set to Return Over Rustling
A farmer who has had 50 lambs stolen in Canterbury has warned that rural areas will return to the wild west if people don't remain vigilant in reporting thefts. Doug Avery told Radio New Zealand: "Just recently we discovered that our place was being accessed by a person through a particular gate without permission and so we wired that gate up and they cut the wire off and they continued to access it, so that prompted us to make the move about going public and encouraging people to report crime." He said he thinks these thefts could not be committed by amateurs as the numbers were too high. He added: "Home kill meat is just so much better than the bought stuff and so it's a high prize. Going up to Christmas people are looking for a few treats so I think farmers need to be vigilant and up their security, and that's not hard to do in this day and age, we've got a lot of technology to help us." Full story here.
Canada: The Changing Face of Canadian Farming
With the demographics of Canadian farmers showing a steady ageing and constant fall in farmer numbers, a new generation of young aspirants are trying to get into agriculture. Rene Van Acker of Ontario Agricultural College told Maclean's: “The hurdle is access into an operation, or access to land, and access to very, very practical training in farming.” In Surrey, British Columbia, a course is offering students the chance to learn how to start farming on small sustainable (and affordable) plots. Ken Mullinix designed the course: “It unequivocally and unabashedly focuses on smaller-scale, more human-intensive, community-focused, alternate-market farming and food systems as an integral element of sustainable society.” Read more here.
India: Poultry Prices Suffering after Bird Flu Scare
As poultry prices have fallen by 15% in the past two weeks, the recent scare over bird flu is having a devastating effect on producers. This followed the death of some birds in Delhi. Balram Yadav, Managing Director, Godrej Agrovet Ltd. told the business Standard: “We have just come out of a religious month which normally witnesses lower consumption of poultry products. With the winter season started already in some parts of the country, consumption of chicken and eggs has also begun to rise. The decline in poultry price is a short term phenomenon which would overcome soon. We expect consumption of chicken and eggs to bounce back in the next few days.” See full story here.
The Netherlands: Dutch Consumers Eating Less Meat
For the fifth year in a row, meat consumption in the Netherlands has declined to an average of 75.4kg per person per year in 2015, 1kg down on 2014. This is according to research carried out by the University of Wageningen, commissioned by animal welfare group Wakker Dier. Pork and beef saw the sharpest declines in consumption while chicken, veal, goat, lamb and horse remained the same. Read more in the Dutch News, here.
The Netherlands: Dutch Dairy Collective Launches Biogas Scheme
FrieslandCampina, the Dutch dairy collective which buys milk from 13,500 of the Netherlands' 17,000 farmers, has launched an anaerobic biodigester scheme in which farmers lease a biodigester from the collective on 12-year terms with a fixed price offered for the gas they produce. Pieter Heeg expects to make €10,000 per year from the gas produced by his 175-cow dairy herd. He told the Guardian, “Before, we just spread [slurry] on the land. Now I process it, get energy from it and then fertiliser. This way, we make everything useful.” Read the full story here.
Australia: Too Much Bull in the Cattle Industry
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has concluded this week that the cattle industry there is rife with too much collusion, altered weights and double-jobbing agents, all of which keeps prices artificially low and farmers out of pocket. If that sounds familiar, read on. The report found bet-rigging, physical intimidation and social pressure on rural families with the overall conclusion that something of a cartel situation exists in Australia's beef industry. The cattle industry in Australia is worth $11 billion per annum to the economy and over half of Australia's 123,000 farms are directly reliant on it. Read more in the Huffington Post here.
Agriculture Commissioner Mick Keogh told ABC investigations were underway but cautioned: "When those matters become part of an investigation that ultimately could lead to evidence being raised in a court case, unfortunately it becomes confidential. There were a number of matters raised with the commission during the workshops and during the consultations we had with industry, and some of those triggered further investigations.” Read more here.
US: Vermont Farmers to Resist Water Protection Measures
Farmers around Vermont are testifying this week before a legislative committee to protest new measures to protect Lake Champlain and other Vermont waterways. The measures include buffer zones, restrictions on nutrient storage, soil health, livestock exclusion and small-farm certification. While farmers are peeved at the new rules which they say will affect profits, environmentalists say the new measures don't go far enough. The Washington Times has the story here.