BLOG: US trade deal has big teeth

Enthusiasm from a United States president about a free-trade deal with New Zealand would ordinarily be a cause for celebration.

BLOG: The human cost can’t be ignored

This week we begin a series of stories about all the pressures farmers are under. We are devoting a lot of resources and space to this subject because it is the most important thing happening in the rural sector.

BLOG: Water policy gives farm opportunites

The newly announced Action for Healthy Waterways discussion document has admirable goals but questionable methods. We’ve all been working towards better quality waterways and most can agree the progress in some areas hasn’t been fast enough.

BLOG: Time to get on with GE debate

There are growing calls for another look at genetic modification. With gene editing now a reality some say our laws banning GM are outdated and these new technologies could help us better achieve our environmental goals in terms of water quality and greenhouse gas emissions.

BLOG: Farm debt nags at nervous banks

Among many worries and uncertainties keeping farmers awake at night is the tougher line being taken by banks. Nothing gnaws at the intestines like money worries when your debts have seven figures and the land, the livestock, the family and the future depend on you.

BLOG: Don’t give critics any ammunition

Farmers are under greater public scrutiny than ever before. While most accusations pushed by those with environmental or animal welfare agendas are baseless, they resonate with an urban public that has little or no knowledge about farm practices and are increasingly sceptical given the constant flow of criticism being leveled at farming. For a sector under the glare of critical public scrutiny, why then do farmers make it easy for the critics?

BLOG: Grass might be a silver bullet

New Zealand researchers are starting work to quantify the carbon sequestration capacity of the soil under pasture and believe it might be significant. I’m not a scientist but it makes sense that if trees suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere to grow then grass obviously does that too.

BLOG: Go in to bat for crickets

When I was young my family had a nickname for me – the garbage disposal. That’s because I would eat almost anything. Growing lads need their food, of course, but my family had to divvy up and hide the biscuits so I wouldn’t eat my sisters’ share.