Rural News

  • EU states agree UN 2015 climate deal AAP - Sat, Oct 1, 2016 1:14 AM NZDT

    Environment ministers from all 28 European Union states have agreed on Friday to a fast-track, collective ratification of last year's UN Paris climate deal, the EU said. "All member states greenlight ...

  • Green Climate Fund should change projects AAP - Thu, Sep 29, 2016 4:01 PM NZDT

    The Green Climate Fund, which aims to channel billions of dollars to help poorer nations tackle global warming, is not yet backing the right kind of projects to bring about a sea change in low-carbon development, said its recently departed executive director. Hla Cheikhrouhou, who has been appointed as Tunisia's minister for energy, mining and renewables in its new government, urged the $10.3 billion fund to provide clearer guidelines on what it is seeking to finance in areas such as water, urban development, energy and transport. "Now our rules are very broad ... the net that exists is very wide, so anything goes," Cheikhrouhou told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview from Tunis.

  • Qld authorities testing for banana disease AAP - Thu, Sep 29, 2016 2:57 PM NZDT
    Qld authorities testing for banana disease

    Testing is underway on a number of banana plants from a north Queensland farm amid concerns of another outbreak of Panama disease. Biosecurity Queensland says the samples were taken after the owner of the Tully property raised concerns to authorities. Another Tully property has been under quarantine since last March after Panama tropical race 4 (TR4) was found in its banana plants.

  • Backpackers tax a shemozzle: Xenophon AAP - Wed, Sep 28, 2016 6:39 PM NZDT
    Backpackers tax a shemozzle: Xenophon

    Senate powerbroker Nick Xenophon is fairly blunt in his views on the Turnbull government's backpackers tax: whoever thought of it in the first place needs a "kick up the backside". Senator Xenophon, other crossbench senators and Labor have poured scorn on the impost, even in its newly revamped package announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison on Tuesday. Farmers at least are relieved there has been a solution to the long-running saga which will now tax working holidaymakers 19 cents from the first dollar they earn from next year, rather than the 32.5 per cent rate that was originally flagged by former treasurer Joe Hockey in last year's budget.

  • Cabinet backs backpacker tax compromise AAP - Tue, Sep 27, 2016 7:35 PM NZDT
    Cabinet backs backpacker tax compromise

    Treasurer Scott Morrison has described a backbench committee as being like "a pig in mud" after settling on a compromise for its controversial backpacker tax. Farmers have also been quick to ...

  • Tax shift gives Tas farmers certainty AAP - Tue, Sep 27, 2016 5:56 PM NZDT

    Tasmanian farmers had been among the most resolute opponents of the federal government's proposed backpacker tax and have welcomed a softened approach that they say will ensure the supply of necessary workers. Tuesday's announcement that backpackers will be charged 19 per cent tax from the first dollar they earn, instead of the previously proposed 32.5 cents in the dollar, was applauded by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association. "The reality is that Tasmanian agriculture needs backpackers and, following today's announcement, our farmers can be assured that they will have the workforce that they need," Association boss Peter Skillern said.

  • NSW floods to devastate crops and herds AAP - Mon, Sep 26, 2016 6:50 PM NZDT

    HOW WILL NSW FLOODS IMPACT FARMERS? CROPS * Tens of thousands of hectares of crops are underwater, likely to lead to heavy losses due to waterlogging, especially for pulses (e.g. chickpeas, lupins etc). ...

  • Fishing industries under pressure AAP - Mon, Sep 26, 2016 5:01 PM NZDT

    After centuries of weathering overfishing, pollution, foreign competition and increasing government regulation, the latest challenge is the one that's doing them in: climate change. The warming waters, in the gulf and elsewhere, have caused other valuable species, such as clams, to migrate to deeper or more northern waters. Others, such as lobsters, have largely abandoned the once lucrative waters off the southern New England states of Connecticut and Rhode Island, having become more susceptible to disease or predators.

  • Quiet, big changes in energy: Obama legacy AAP - Mon, Sep 26, 2016 1:01 PM NZDT

    Mostly unnoticed amid the political brawl over climate change, the United States has undergone a quiet transformation in how and where it gets its energy during Barack Obama's presidency, slicing the nation's output of polluting gases that are warming Earth. As politicians tangled in the US and on the world stage, the US slowly but surely moved away from emissions-spewing coal and toward cleaner fuels like natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar. The shift has put the ntion closer to achieving the goal Obama set to cut emissions by more than a quarter over the next 15 years, but experts say it is nowhere near enough to prevent the worst effects of global warming.

  • WA beef exports could grow to $1b by 2030 AAP - Fri, Sep 23, 2016 6:00 PM NZST

    Western Australia's beef export industry to Asia could grow to $1 billion by 2030, according to a new report. The report by Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre released this week analyses the contribution of agriculture to the WA economy and the state's capabilities to meet increased global demand. BCEC director Alan Duncan said the importance of Asia to WA's agricultural exports will grow as the economies develop and global demand for food changes.

  • UK to ratify Paris deal by end of 2016, PM AAP - Wed, Sep 21, 2016 11:17 AM NZST
    UK to ratify Paris deal by end of 2016, PM

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May says the UK will ratify the Paris climate change agreement by the end of the year as she gave her first address to the United Nations. The prime minister told the gathering in New York that the UK would be a "dependable partner" on the world stage. "Others are new: global terrorism, climate change, and unprecedented mass movements of people.

  • Brexit may dent UK's social sector AAP - Tue, Sep 20, 2016 4:01 PM NZST

    Britain's role as a pioneering country for social entrepreneurs could suffer as it prepares to leave the European Union. A Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of experts in the world's 45 biggest economies ranked Britain third after the United States and Canada as having the best environment for entrepreneurs using businesses to help tackle social problems. From The Big Issue newspaper sold by homeless people and ecotourism attraction the Eden Project to Divine Chocolate, a company co-owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana, Britain's social enterprise sector has grown rapidly in 20 years.

  • Slim pickings: Without EU labourers AAP - Tue, Sep 20, 2016 12:01 PM NZST

    There's just one problem: British farmers may soon be unable to find workers like the 25-year-old Bulgarian because of the UK's vote to leave the European Union. British fruit and vegetable growers rely on seasonal workers from other EU countries to harvest their crops because local workers no longer want the poorly paid, physically demanding jobs that offer little security. EU citizens have the automatic right to work in any member state, and low-skilled east European labourers have helped fuel Britain's economy since their countries joined the bloc in 2004.

  • Qld to make world first solar electric car AAP - Mon, Sep 19, 2016 9:24 PM NZST
    Qld to make world first solar electric car

    Brisbane could be home to the world's first solar electric cars after the opening of a new manufacturing workshop. Clenergy Team Arrow, Australia's premier solar racing team, unveiled the work hub and car design at Eagle Farm on Monday, with the goal of having the car road registered by October next year. "We've already had a couple of orders placed," Clenergy Team Arrow's founder Cameron Tuesley told AAP.

  • Nationals say backpacker decision 'soon' AAP - Mon, Sep 19, 2016 4:59 PM NZST
    Nationals say backpacker decision 'soon'

    Nationals MPs are confident the 32.5 per cent backpacker tax is "soon to go", despite Treasurer Scott Morrison saying work could continue up until the end of the year. Queensland Liberal-National Party MP George Christensen has been one of the most vocal opponents of the budget measure, earlier this year pledging to cross the floor to vote against it. "The 31.5 % (sic) backpacker tax is soon to go, meaning local farmers will still have access to a workforce," Mr Christensen wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.

  • Rhode Island residents oppose wind farm AAP - Mon, Sep 19, 2016 2:01 PM NZST

    Dreams of a wind-powered nation sparked by the pioneering Atlantic Ocean project are running aground back on shore, where conventional battles over aesthetics and property values have stymied wind projects here and around the US. Ruth Pacheco said she didn't expect so much hostility when she invited a developer to build a giant wind turbine atop a forested hill at her 21-hectare family farm in rural North Smithfield. The 86-year-old proprietor of the Hi-on-a-Hill Herb Farm believes harvesting wind energy is the best way to preserve the land her family has owned and cultivated since the 1840s.

  • Joyce counters economic debate hijack AAP - Sun, Sep 18, 2016 3:56 PM NZST

    Environmental "extremists" have hijacked Australia's economic debate to ignore the overwhelming contributions of agriculture and mining. Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce wants people to recognise regional development and natural resources will continue to drive economic growth as the nation transitions out of the mining boom.

  • California to pay farmhands overtime AAP - Fri, Sep 16, 2016 12:01 PM NZST

    California will become the first US state to require farmers to pay overtime to field workers and fruit pickers under a bill signed by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown. The bill will phase in overtime pay for farmworkers from 2019 to 2022. "We're shedding tears of joy right now," said Arturo Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers Union, which lobbied for years for an eight-hour day for agricultural employees.

  • Monsanto accepts Bayer takeover AAP - Thu, Sep 15, 2016 12:03 AM NZST
    Monsanto accepts Bayer takeover

    German drug and farm chemical company Bayer AG says it has signed a deal to acquire seed and weed-killer company Monsanto for $US66 billion ($A88 billion). Bayer says it is paying Monsanto shareholders $US128 per share, which represents a 44 per cent premium over Monsanto's closing price on May 9, the day before a proposed deal was announced. The deal is subject to approval by Monsanto shareholders and anti-trust regulators.

  • Omnibus bill sails through lower house AAP - Wed, Sep 14, 2016 2:37 PM NZST
    Omnibus bill sails through lower house

    The Turnbull government has fast-tracked $6.3 billion of budget savings through the House of Representatives a day after striking a deal with Labor. The government's so-called omnibus bill, which contains 20 measures ranging from cutting family benefits to climate change funding, was the first order of business on Thursday. The bill and its amendments cleared the lower house with a shake of hands between Treasurer Scott Morrison and his Labor counterpart Chris Bowen.

  • Beer, salmon help grow Tas produce value AAP - Wed, Sep 14, 2016 1:54 PM NZST

    Tasmania's boutique seafood and beer producers have contributed to the state's growing primary industries sector, the government says. The gross value of agriculture in the state for 2014/15 grew by more ...

  • Murray Goulburn ups milk price for farmers AAP - Tue, Sep 13, 2016 6:21 PM NZST
    Murray Goulburn ups milk price for farmers

    Australia's biggest dairy producer, Murray Goulburn, has increased milk prices for dairy farmers after a cut to prices that sparked a public backlash. The company said on Tuesday that it will pay an extra 15 cents per kilogram of milk solids to its suppliers, lifting the new price to $4.46. Murray Goulburn also upped its annual farmgate milk price forecast to $4.88.

  • Murray Goulburn raises milk price AAP - Tue, Sep 13, 2016 11:33 AM NZST

    Milk processor Murray Goulburn will pay milk suppliers slightly more, thanks to improvements in international dairy markets. The company has increased its 2016/17 available southern milk region Farmgate ...

  • Elders eyes earnings jump, live export end AAP - Mon, Sep 12, 2016 3:41 PM NZST
    Elders eyes earnings jump, live export end

    Elders is expecting underlying earnings to jump as much as 24 per cent after it decided to stop exporting live animals. The agribusiness has reviewed its live dairy and beef cattle shipments China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. Chief executive Mark Allison says long haul shipments to China aren't creating satisfactory returns on capital or margins.

  • Farm investment from China welcome: SA AAP - Fri, Sep 9, 2016 4:59 PM NZST

    South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill says he welcomes Chinese investment in the state's farming land, as long as it creates jobs and prosperity for SA. Mr Weatherill told reporters on Friday that concerns about Chinese investment in agricultural land are "not well placed" and he plans to ignore the controversy. "The only thing that's relevant is does it create jobs and prosperity for South Australians.

  • Mixed reaction to new Apple iPhone AAP - Fri, Sep 9, 2016 9:27 AM NZST
    Mixed reaction to new Apple iPhone

    The features of the iPhone 7 have split the technology industry, impressing some, but leaving others feeling underwhelmed. Geoff Blaber from analyst firm CCS Insight said that Apple had arguably exceeded expectations with the 7 and 7 Plus. "In the context of a smartphone market that is firmly in an innovation drought, there's a strong argument that the iPhone 7 is more than an iterative update," he said.

  • New milk supports struggling dairy farmers AAP - Wed, Sep 7, 2016 11:34 PM NZST
    New milk supports struggling dairy farmers

    Victorian farmers have launched a new brand of milk in a bid to lure customers away from supermarkets' $1 litre labels and raise funds to support struggling farmers in southeast Australia. Farmers' Fund milk will launch this week in Victorian supermarkets as the peak body for dairy farmers says $1 per litre private-label milk, such as those sold in Coles and Woolworths, has "eroded" the amount of money in the dairy supply chain. "The $1 litre milk policy has seen a shift in total sales consumption ... in essence that means less money going through from processors ... through to the farm sector," Dairy Australia trade and industry strategy group manager Charlie McElhone told AAP.

  • Industry fears fracking ban could spread AAP - Wed, Sep 7, 2016 6:41 PM NZST

    Australia's peak gas body says Victoria's ban on fracking is bad policy that it fears could spread to other states. The Victorian government is set to prohibit the exploration and development of all onshore unconventional gas in the state, a move it says will protect farmers. Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association chief executive Malcolm Roberts said the Victorian government has given into activist pressure, and the ban could hurt the state in the long term.

  • WA potato industry deregulated AAP - Wed, Sep 7, 2016 6:29 PM NZST
    WA potato industry deregulated

    The industry deregulation involves winding up the Potato Marketing Corporation of WA by the end of the year and a $14 million grower adjustment package, which includes a $2 million industry development plan. Agriculture and Food Minister Dean Nalder said deregulation of WA's potato industry was a win-win for the agricultural sector and consumers. WA was the only state that regulated the potato market, with the corporation determining who could grow potatoes, what varieties could be grown and how many could be planted.

  • Milk to raise funds for struggling farmers AAP - Wed, Sep 7, 2016 10:39 AM NZST

    A new milk brand will launch this week in Victorian supermarkets to raise funds for struggling dairy farmers in south eastern Australia, as pressure mounts on retailers and processors to pay more for milk. Farmers' Fund milk will be produced by Murray Goulburn Co-operative and Coles under license from the Victorian Farmers Federation and will see 40 cents from every two-litre bottle go to a fund that supplies grants of up to $20,000 to dairy farmers hit by falling milk prices. Coles first flagged the idea in June but the Victorian Farmers Federation's announcement is the first detailed information on how the milk will help farmers directly.

  • Unpopular dairy scheme under review AAP - Mon, Sep 5, 2016 2:03 PM NZST

    Milk processor Murray Goulburn is reviewing its controversial support package for dairy farmers after admitting the program has disappointed its suppliers and is testing their loyalty. Murray Goulburn chairman Phillip Tracy released a a letter to Murray Goulburn supplier-shareholders on Monday acknowledging the problems in the Milk Supply Support Package (MSSP) that was designed to claw back loans made to farmers after a shock cut to farm gate milk prices in April. "Since its introduction it has become very clear that the MSSP is not considered by suppliers to have addressed their most significant concerns and is potentially proving counterproductive from the perspective of their continued loyalty," Mr Tracy writes in the letter.

  • MG reviews dairy farmer support package AAP - Mon, Sep 5, 2016 1:31 PM NZST

    Dairy processor Murray Goulburn is reviewing its controversial milk supply support package for dairy farmers, admitting that the current one has disappointed farmers and is driving some to other processors. "The board will proceed with this review in a timely manner and expects to be in a position to communicate further with suppliers by the end of October 2016," Murray Goulburn chairman Phillip Tracy said in a letter to its supplier-shareholders on Monday. Murray Goulburn introduced its Milk Supply Support Package - essentially a loan package for dairy farmers - after it shocked the industry with a cut to the farmgate milk price in April.

  • Energy, banks lift Aust market higher AAP - Mon, Sep 5, 2016 12:48 PM NZST

    The Australian share market has got off to a strong start, as strong cues from Wall Street and gains in oil prices lift stocks in key sectors. On Friday, US stocks advanced as a weaker-than-expected non-farm payrolls report dampened expectations for a September Federal Reserve interest rate rise, with traders trimming the probability of a September rate rise. "We had pretty good leads from Wall Street on Friday, and that positivity has flown through our markets," Australian Stocks Report's head of trading Chris Conway said.

  • Climate change to increase hay fever AAP - Thu, Aug 25, 2016 12:24 PM NZST
    Climate change to increase hay fever

    Millions more Britons could start to suffer from hay fever as a result of climate change, a study has suggested. Around one million people are currently thought to suffer hay fever from ragweed pollen but this figure could rise to more than six million by 2060, the study found. Researchers from across Europe, led by the University of East Anglia (UEA), estimated that across the continent the number of people who suffer an allergy to the pollen from the weed will increase from 33 million to 77 million over the same time frame.

  • Fonterra raises farmgate milk price AAP - Thu, Aug 25, 2016 10:16 AM NZST

    Dairy giant Fonterra has increased its forecast farm gate milk price for 2016/17 by NZ50 cents to NZ$4.75 ($A4.56) per kilogram of milk solids. Current global milk prices remain at unrealistically low ...