Monday, 19 March 2012

Big Farming Story of the Week

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The Payout.

The 15 cent drop in the Fonterra forecast payout was no surprise, the inevitable result of falling commodity prices and a high dollar. What was more surprising was it was only 15 cents. I thought the dairy giant only made announcements when the payout moved by 30 cents or more? Maybe Sir Henry wants us to be like his Anchor easy-spread butter and he’s just trying to soften us up?

# Big Political Story of the Week: David Shearer – decisive, deliberate or ditherer?

That was the question I posed to the personable Labour leader on the Farming Show last week following accusations from some quarters that he’s been less than decisive, thus far, in his new role. It solicited the following angry response from a listener who thundered: What a surprise you don't support ordinary working people [in this case the striking watersiders] trying to preserve an eight hour working day so they can be with their families and you're asking the Labour leader an extremely insulting question. No wonder you’re sponsored by a fertilizer company. How appropriate!

My response: What I don’t support is workers being paid for a 40 hour week and only working 26 hours. That's unproductive. My understanding is that the port workers have been asked to work (and sign contracts) for 160 hours per month - hardly unreasonable I would have thought? Most workers I know work longer hours and often the hours are irregular depending on work availability. We live in a 24/7 world. The days of the inflexible 8 to 5 work day are gone. As for asking the Labour leader an "extremely insulting question", I am merely asking what many in the media have already asked and what many in the public are wondering. Plus I gave him the courtesy of pre-warning him about the question. For what it's worth, I like the guy and think he’s a man of substance and honour. To be the next PM though, he will need to be more decisive and quicker on his feet than he has been thus far.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Match-fixing.

Chris Cairns used to hit a big ball. Now he’s proving he’s got a pair of them by taking an Indian billionaire to court. Win, lose or draw the case, I suspect he’ll end up the legal equivalent of running himself out going for a cheeky single.

# Brickbat: Food Nazis.
A recent long-running US study of more than 120,000 people suggested eating a daily portion of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or two slices of bacon, can increase a person's risk of dying by up to 20 per cent. What’s more, those who ate a card deck-sized serving of unprocessed red meat each day on average saw a 13 per cent higher risk of dying than those who did not eat red meat as frequently.
A separate study, published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, found that men who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily, faced a 20 per cent higher risk of heart disease than men who did not.
So that’s beer, wine, coffee and steak off the menu. A life of lettuce-munching might prolong your life. Or more likely, it would feel that way!

# Bouquet: M J B (Jock) Hobbs.

I don’t know that they award knighthoods posthumously, but if they do there can be no more deserving recipient then Jock Hobbs. Very few, if any, All Blacks captains are more famous for their work off the paddock than on it, but Hobbs was the exception to the rule. Not once, but twice, he rescued rugby from the abyss.

Cancer, and in Jock’s case leukemia, are indiscriminate killers and 52 years is too short a time on Earth for a good man. I once played age-group rugby against Hobbs, which makes me his age, but I’m not ready to go yet. Trouble is, I can’t decide whether to go home and have a salad for longevity’s sake or enjoy a beer while I still can?

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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