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Past Editorials | Farming News Archive | Farmer's View - News Digest
"Information - Insight - Interactivity"
Edited by Roy McCallum
May 8, 2000
Digest # 001
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Hello Readers

This newsletter, along with our site, is part of our wish to improve the level of communication to and between farmers. We want to ensure that farmers are not left behind in obtaining benefits from the new technologies that are now driving much of the urban economy. We recognize that the Internet is a means to an end and see ways to take advantage of what it can deliver.

It is our opinion that the primary products of meat, milk and wool, will continue to be, the real basis of the rural economy but they are being left behind in the scramble for the consumer's dollar. Not because our products are not wanted, but more because we are not able to make the right appeals to our markets against competing products and marketing systems.

The site was established six months ago as a news and information site with a bias to news as it affects the pastoral farmer both inside and outside the farm gate. News is selected to give a range of differing views and insights on matters as they affect the rural economy - some we will agree with others we will not.

Within six weeks we plan to have added to the site additional features that will include commentary and discussion at a level in which we can all participate and contribute points of view.We plan further new features to be added over the following months.

We are all farmers seeking to ensure our families and farms continue and develop in a fast changing world. We are not sure where the site will take us but we expect it to provide us with some action, interest and excitement as well as ideas as we all try to manage our farm businesses for best results.

Initially this newsletter will be sent out periodically to keep you in touch, as items of interest arise. Thank you for subscribing and welcome.
1. From the editor
2. Rural Access to Internet.
3. Getting Round Trade Barriers
1. From the Editor

This is a new experience for us all.

As farmers we are being moved on from an emphasis on the hard assets of - land - livestock - machinery, the variables we have managed inside our farm gates, to the soft assets - environment - knowledge - relationships - people - markets, which include the total production, distribution and marketing channel.

The Internet seems to provide a low cost opportunity to channel information, ideas and opinion into action at the point where it matters most for farmers - on the farm. But we also expect to glean a better understanding of the off farm influences on the profitability of the products we produce to enable us to be better informed to influence our marketing decisions and ownership responsibilities further down the channel.

We hope you will benefit from what we can bring you and even more importantly from what you bring to our discussions and understanding of the process of farming.


Roy McCallum email contact:
2. Rural Access to Internet

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) is calling on Telecom New Zealand and the Government to follow the Australian Federal Government's example and move towards funding and guaranteeing Internet access in rural areas.

Chief Executive Tony St. Clair said that New Zealand needed to make a similar commitment if it wanted progress on both rural development and the knowledge economy.

Tony St Clair made the following points:

1. "Many rural New Zealanders are locked out of the knowledge economy because of the low standard of telecommunication services in rural and regional areas."

2. "These areas will be left further behind in the global economy if Telecom and the Government do not improve the basic quality level so that every New Zealander has adequate Internet access,"

3. "If the Government is serious about boosting the number of durable and high value jobs in the regions, then it must move quickly to ensure rural people can use the Internet."

4. "The Government's telecommunication review, to be completed this September, will be too late if our Australian competitors gain significant cost and marketing advantages."

5. "The e-government initiative announced by the Government on Tuesday is a non-event for rural people, as so many of them cannot use the Internet because of the low telephone line standard."

6. "The Kiwi Share is no longer adequate or effective. Rural New Zealanders are rapidly being left behind with Third World Internet access and almost non-existent on-farm cell phone coverage. It will especially impact the educational opportunities of young rural people,"


Is rural telecoms access as bad as Fed Farmers paints the picture?

What is your experience of service provided to you and is it a barrier to using the newer technologies in your farm business?

Who should be responsible for any improvement in service?
3. Getting Round Trade Barriers

THE best way for Australian and New Zealand dairy companies to get around unscrupulous trade barriers is to forge partnerships with overseas companies, according to a recent report.

A four-month study of the Australasian dairy industry by the international PA Consulting Group has found both countries would be better off forging alliances with European and Japanese dairy companies than rely on the elimination of trade barriers to lift export sales.

Dairy markets throughout the world remain relatively closed, with only 5% of the international dairy market traded internationally.

PA Consulting Group argues the only means of gaining access to the remaining 95% of "in-house" dairy markets is through overseas investments and alliances.

According to the report, which was published in The Weekly Times, farmers are routinely fed the argument that the elimination of trade barriers could improve export prices by as much as 80% - but there is little evidence that Europe, the USA and Japan are doing much on this front.

"In light of the political difficulties resulting from the recent collapse of the world trade talks in Seattle, it is difficult to see further significant trade liberalisation in the near term," the PA Group reported.

"In fact, governments (EU and Japan) are increasingly having to consider a much broader range of issues - consumer unwillingness to accept genetically modified foods ... animal welfare and global food security."

"A possible consequence of these issues is that governments may be encouraged and indeed find it easier to increase non-tariff barriers."

Rather than wasting time, energy and money fighting these tariffs head on, the PA Consulting Group recommends dairy companies merge and acquire or form joint ventures with dairy companies in other countries

"There are clear investment opportunities in countries such as Germany, France and South America where milk production is high, and the dairy industry is fragmented," the consultants reported.

"This window, however, will not remain open for long, since other major dairy companies are targeting these countries."


Do the parties to the Megamerger understand this - if so how did it fit in with their business plan?

Has this relevance to the Meat Industry as it sets about restructuring locally by merger and acquisition?

Would 40 years of wool levies have funded a vertically integrated industry owned by producers?

Should producers own anything beyond the farm gate?
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