Home' Otago Southland Farmer : February 8th 2013 Contents 2
Reporter - Diane Bishop
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Farmers' daily news fix
under three-day threat
Sitting down to read the morning paper
with a good cup of coffee or tea is a
luxury that many farmers enjoy on a
But now New Zealand Post is talking
about cutting postal services to three
times a week because not enough people
are using the service.
Apparently 265 million fewer items were
posted last year compared with 2002.
Federated Farmers Southland president
Russell MacPherson said it was a ''sign of
the times'' and that farmers were partly
Many use the internet nowadays to pay
their bills because it is quick and easy,
while writing a cheque and posting it is
becoming a thing of the past, he said.
Technological advances, such as email
and Facebook, had replaced the tradi-
tional writing of letters in many
instances and it was more common to get
an Ecard at Christmas than a real one.
Mr MacPherson said he enjoys nothing
better than sitting down on a ''lazy
Saturday and reading the classifieds''
and he struggles to imagine life without
his daily paper.
''I can't imagine a future where we will
be reading the paper on an iPad with
some hot toast and a cup of tea,'' he said.
''But rural people are resilient.''
They have adapted to schools and shops
closing around them, so not getting their
daily news fix via the newspaper is
something else they will have to get used
Mr MacPherson believes the postal
cutbacks will force farmers to become
Given that the average age of the New
Zealand farmer is well into his 50s, this
may be easier said than done.
Often it is the farmer's wife, and not the
farmer, who knows how to turn the
computer on, as I have discovered
through contact with the rural com-
But if farmers are going to read their
paper online they will need greatly
improved broadband services.
''We've got to be careful that rural people
are not disadvantaged compared to
townspeople,'' Mr MacPherson said.
''We have got to have the technology to
replace the paper.''
YOUR SAY: What do you think about
having your daily paper cut to three
times a week? Email: diane.bishop@
Hard facts undermine velvet properties
By DIANE BISHOP
Deer velvet is a natural product and it
should not be banned, says Deer Industry
New Zealand velvet marketing manager
Invercargill company Silberhorn has
been caught up in a world doping scandal
because its product, made from deer
antlers, was found to have the muscle
growth hormone IGF-1, which is banned
by all major sports.
On Wednesday, New Zealand golfing
great, Sir Bob Charles, withdrew his
endorsement of deer velvet capsules until
there was more clarity around amounts
of naturally occurring IGF-1 in deer
Drug Free Sport New Zealand chief
executive Graeme Steel also released a
statement, advising athletes to be careful
when considering supplements such as
deer velvet products.
Athletes would be prosecuted by the
body if they did test positive for banned
substances after taking supplements, he
But Mr Griffiths is adamant the product
should not be banned, saying IGF-1 was
also found in other protein such as meat
''Three 300mg capsules [of Silberhorn]
has less IGF-1 than a standard glass of
low fat milk.
''If you ban velvet, do you also ban meat
and milk?'' Mr Griffiths said.
Mr Griffiths said he did not expect the
scandal to have an affect on velvet
exports, which were worth about $30
million a year.
''It's business as usual,'' he said.
New Zealand is a premium producer of
velvet and exports about 500 tonnes each
year of which 65 per cent is exported to
South Korea, 25 per cent to China and 5
per cent to the United States and Canada.
The balance is consumed domestically
and exported to Australia and other
Mr Griffiths said velvet was mainly used
in oriental medicine to improve immune
function -- to protect against colds and
flus -- and for blood health.
''A major part of the world believes in its
health properties,'' he said.
But the idea that it improved sexual
function was a myth and could not be
substantiated, he said. Mr Griffiths said
there was still an opportunity to educate
more people about velvet.
''A lot of people don't know much about
it. They think it's the fluffy stuff that
grows on the outside of horns.''
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