PULPIT: A vet’s perspective on rural mental health

As a production animal vet we come across many different and challenging situations in our jobs every day. It is an incredibly unique role where we are invited onto farms many times throughout the year and build up longstanding and often very close or intimate relationships with our clients. By far and away, these relationships are the best part of being a vet for me. Learning what your ambitions and goals are, meeting your family, farm workers and riding the ups and downs alongside you.

PULPIT: Solving an on-farm puzzle

It can be difficult to quantify the benefits of long-term fundamental science research programmes.

What have they achieved? How have they made a difference beyond the laboratory and lecture theatre?

Sometimes, however, it is easier to see.

PULPIT: Carbon forests a risky business

I recently read a two-page article in the Dominion Post (April 22) titled Undercover Success Story.

The article was about a company called New Zealand Carbon Farming (NZCF), run by Matt Walsh, which owns 46,000ha, planted in pine trees for carbon credits.

I feel the article was full of misleading facts.

PULPIT: A load of Fonterra spin

The Fonterra preferred capital structure option proposal looks like the biggest destruction of shareholder value in Fonterra’s history. The board proposes to spend some 1.2 to 1.3 billion dollars to buy out the unit fund. In the commercial world such a buy-back would add to the share price for remaining shareholders. In this case it will decrease the share price.

PULPIT: Balance the argument

I am writing regarding the ‘Regen will take courage’ article you published on April 23.

Like many, I was compelled to read the article, believing it to be about collaboration between conventional and regenerative farming leaders. It had many positive points, including the acknowledgment of past environmental degradation, the need for good biodiversity, livestock care, and the care of our people. Unfortunately, it also contained a large collection of uncritically evaluated or fact-checked Jules Matthews quotes. While it is important to share opinions, there is a point – when these opinions are voiced as truth – that these opinions should be fact-checked or expanded upon further.

PULPIT: Reflect how we live

The marketing slogan 100% Pure New Zealand has always irked me. I suggest that it is an inappropriate use of the adjective and that we could come up with something more meaningful to present an image of our country. My best shot at this point is NZ – Closer to Nature, and I will outline my support of this proposition.

PULPIT: Telling an evidence-based story

There is a lot of noise and debate about how to sustainably feed the world’s growing population. We have all seen the headlines about growing almonds in drought-stricken California, ocean fishing on an industrial scale and corn for biofuels.

The production and consumption of red meat is no exception. We – and other producers globally – are facing increased scrutiny from consumers, customers, partners and government.

PULPIT: A stationhouse yarn

Salmon fishing in the braided Canterbury rivers did not come by chance. The Acclimatisation Society introduced smelt where they quickly established and now, decades later, we find it difficult to think of the Rakaia and Rangitata without thinking of salmon. Fish traps are set by rangers in the upper reaches of the rivers to catch adult salmon. They strip the roe and fertilise the eggs by ‘milking’ the ‘jack’ fish so that new spawning grounds can be established in yet other streams.

PULPIT: Regen ag not the be-all, end-all

Regenerative agriculture, where the health and wellbeing of the environment, animals and farmers is prioritised, is gaining cachet. I see that as a necessary but insufficient change to how we manage land and watery environments. In some respects, discussions about regen ag are more backward than forward-looking.