NZFarmer : December 16th 2009
16 Straight Furrow • December 15, 2009 RuralNorth Legal Talk with Barbara McDermott Breaking New Territory - Dairy Cow Leases Farmers' desire to invest their capital into land rather than stock has meant dairy cow leases have become a viable option. Another reason farmers have considered leasing is the increased cost of the stock itself. As hundreds of thousands of dollars can be at stake, the form and content of the lease is critical. Below are some of the basics your lawyer will want to cover in a dairy cow lease: 1.C t a d a s A lease is a contract. Contracts are no good unless they will stand up in Court. The lease needs to state clearly: a)Who arethe a s? Trusts and partnerships need the full names of the trustees or partners to be included in the agreement. Companies' names need to be correct. Guarantors can be very useful. b) What p p is being leased? The cows must be clearly identifiable to avoid disputes as to the cows covered by the lease. c)Whatisthe ? Errors are commonly made in the figures. Errors are also commonly made as to whether the price is plus GST or inclusive of GST. d) What is the rm of the lease? The start and finish date should be stated. Are there any rights of renewal? . O n rshi The lessee of the cows (the person paying the owner for the use of the cows) will need to make sure that no one else has the right to take the cows. This is done by searching the PPSR (Personal Property Securities Register) to see whether anyone else could have a claim on the cows. Where the lease is for more than one year, or the lease could run for more than one year, the lease must be registered with the PPSR, or the owner of the cows could lose ownership. If h leas s n gis d and h ss st nanci d c h s ha a la m t t s r ld obta n n rs th s ihs n resp ns bil ies The lease must set out what both parties can and must do. This is where the time spent on the lease document and attention to detail pay off. Consider: • What stock can be rejected by the lessee • What stock records are to be provided • Mating and calving dates • Care of stock and farming practices • The owner's right to inspect cows • Where stock is to be kept • Remedies on default e.g. payment of interest on amounts outstanding • Dispute resolution The lease may be put into the bottom drawer and never looked at again. However, if you have to get the lease out and study the fine print, the time and effort put in at the beginning will pay off. I hope you enjoyed this first of a regular rural column, focused on legal issues. Please email me at email@example.com with your ideas for future articles. Keep an eye out for next month’s column, where I will discuss the important aspects involved in farm subdivisions. Barbara McDermott is a partner of Norris Ward McKinnon, specialising in commercia l and rural law. With offices in Hamilton and Huntly, we have friendly, expert legal advisors ready to help you with your business and personal legal matters. Find out more abou t us at www.nwm.co.nz ANGORA rabbits are gradually making a comeback in New Zealand after experiencing a decline in numbers over the past 20 years. Long time spinner, Angora rabbit breeder and commercial developer, Kathryn Roper of Taranaki, became involved with the breed and the Angora fibre industry during the 1980s. "At that period of time, there was a lot of awareness among spinning groups about Angora fibre. "It was considered the elite to spin," she said. Ms Roper said she loved the look of the English Angora and tried spin- ning and blending the fibre. "I was forever hooked," she said. "I soon realised that to have a con- sistent supply, I had to have my own English Angora rabbits. "Luckily, they were easily sourced." At that time the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) had allowed the importation of rabbits from the USA and Europe for the establishment of a fur, fibre and meat industry in New Zealand. Ms Roper said that initially there was great enthusiasm with commer- cial sized rabbitrys setting up in business. But it didn't last. The world market became flooded with stock piled Angora fibre, pulling down the value. Ms Roper said it became too diffi- cult for rabbit fibre breeders to con- tinue in that economic situation and most of the rabbits were either euthanised or given away as pets. Only a few dedicated breeders con- tinued. "Now, unfortunately, the Angora rabbit is considered rare," she said. Although there are few Angora rab- bits currently available in New Zealand, numbers are building slow- ly. Of the four main Angora rabbit breeds it is the English Angora that is generally seen in New Zealand. The English Angora rabbit is dis- tinguishable by lots of fibre on the face and big tassels on the ends of the ears. The fibre is finer with less guard hair. Ms Roper currently owns nine English Angoras -- white and colours, along with Rexes and Chinchillas. She said the rabbits require daily Fibre inspires spinner to breed Angora rabbits regular attention to keep their fibre in a usable condition. "A matted rabbit is no good -- the fibre goes in the bin. "The harvesting of fibre is done every four to five months, depending on the individual ani- mal's fibre growth rate." Fibre can be harvested by two methods -- clipping or plucking. Clipping the fibre off with elec- tric clippers or scissors leaves a lot of fibre behind on the rabbit. Ms Roper said plucking the rabbit was a better method, removing the fibre at its premi- um length. "The rabbit resembles a plucked chicken - not a pretty sight but within a fortnight, the rabbit is covered in fine fibre." The English and French Angora rabbits release a hor- mone which enables the fibre to pull free without causing any pain to the rabbit. "It takes about three hours to fully pluck an adult rabbit," said Ms Roper. An average of around 1kg of fibre per annum is considered a good amount produced from each adult rabbit during pluck- ing. Ms Roper spins the fibre, either pure or blended with fleece, making 100 per cent nat- ural, homespun garments, hats, scar ves and other creations. She also holds demonstrations at rabbit shows on how to spin the fibre. "I use only natural colours with no commercial dye or com- mercial wool core input." Ms Roper said a warm, draught free, frost protected, off-the-ground hutch is essential for the rabbits. "Their fibre gets dirty and matted if they are on the dirt and grass. "They are best kept on wire mesh, which gives them ventila- tion for their coat when the weather gets warm and keeps them nice and clean." A rabbit is considered to be fully mature when it reaches 10 months of age. This is also a good age for breeding from a first-time doe, providing she is an acceptable body weight. The gestation period is 30-33 days with an average sized litter between five and eight kits. At three weeks of age, the kits are fully fibred and usually weaned about four and five weeks of age in preparation for re-homing at nine weeks. They should receive their first vacci- nation at 12 weeks. Angora rabbits can be bred up to three times a year. Ms Roper said the Angora rab- bits require patience and good husbandry technique. "They are a gentle, fascinating animal to be involved with, whether showing them, as a hobby, or looking to develop a commercial outlet. "The potential is out there to develop further," she said. Ms Roper can be contacted on 06 753 6230 for further enquiries about Angora rabbits and fibre. firstname.lastname@example.org by Denise Gunn Top: An English Angora adult successful at the Waikato's World show in 2009. Above: Angora rabbit breeder and commercial developer Kathryn Roper demonstrates spinning the fibre during the recent Manawatu A&P Show. Inset: An English Angora with natural products spun from Angora fibre. It is believed that Angora rabbits date back to the early 18th century -- around 1723. Sightseeing sailors pulled into a Turkish port, Angora -- now known as Ankara, and saw indigenous women wearing shawls unlike any they had previously seen. They enquired about the fine wool in the shawls and found it to be from the Angora rabbit.
December 9th 2009