Be wary when cheap lining offered
There are always a few cowboys out there looking to rustle up a bit of extra cash from unsuspecting farmers.
Recently, I have heard of some keen businesses selling farmers some suspiciously cheap effluent pond liner.
I suspect they fall into the cowboy category.
It seems simple enough. You tell the company what dimensions you want and they send the required amount of liner at an ‘‘off the back of a truck’’ price. However, this is usually little more than plastic silage bale covering which may or may not last the distance.
Using this would be like putting four space saver tyres on your car and going for a family holiday. You might get safely home without any hassle but you are more likely to end up in a ditch.
The fines involved, if you are found to have effluent seeping from poorly constructed ponds, would easily overtake any initial savings made on a liner. If you want your liner to last more than one or two years I suggest you spend the extra money with a reputable dealer.
Effluent pond liners should come with a 10-year guarantee.
Listening to the radio last week I heard that more than 4000 hectares of Waikato farmland is among the 16,000ha involved in applications from 41 buyers yet to be considered by the Overseas Investment Office. Following this, I had a few calls asking what my opinion was on allowing overseas investors to buy this much Waikato farmland. My answer was pretty simple: I have no problem with people wanting to come live here, farm their land and create employment and business opportunities in our local communities.
It seems the High Court ruling over the Crafar farms sale has placed all Overseas Investment Office land applications in limbo.
This may result in some potential investors being put off investing here.
Perhaps that is not such a bad thing.
We need people who are really willing to back New Zealand and its people, not investors and bankers who would look to trade us off as soon as another country and industry becomes more fashionable.
Speaking of creating opportunities and investing in people, Federated Farmers call centre staff seem to have been fielding a number of calls around when a fixed-term employment contract is reasonable and when an open employment contract is necessary. It is pretty basic, really. If you have employees on fixed-term contracts but the work is ongoing, they should be on regular contracts.
The main reasons for fixed-term contracts are to allow employers to hire workers for one-off projects or to cover a permanent staff member’s parental or other extended leave.
Fixed-term contracts could be used by lowerorder contract milkers who themselves are on fixed contracts.
All other employers should be using regular employment contracts.
So, if you are hiring someone for a fixed term, that is fine, but if their contract ends on June 1 next year and it rolls over, that is illegal.
Federated Farmers has a range of employment contracts specifically designed for farming situations available for sale to members and nonmembers alike.
Having one of these at the ready next time you are taking somebody on could save a lot of trouble down the track. It is also worth noting that, as of July last year, all employers must have signed copies of their employees’ employment agreements on file.
There are plenty of reasons to make sure all your employees have contracts, including the fines of up to $10,000 for an individual or $20,000 for a corporation for those who fail to do this.
The supply of palm kernel expeller (PKE), or processing waste, has dropped sharply recently, as a falling demand for palm oil has reduced production.
The price of palm oil has plunged from a five-year peak of NZ$3010 each metric tonne in February 2011, to $1710 in January 2012.
The federation has long argued New Zealand farmers using PKE as supplementary feed are only using a by-product from the much more lucrative palm oil industry. Surely the latest statistics on falling oil demand limiting the production of all palm related products backs this up?