The latest issue of BayBuzz Digest focuses on the region’s land-based economy and challenges it faces — including competing non-agricultural uses of the land, problematic water supply, diminished soil quality, and trade barriers and other changes in export markets.

Here are the principal articles dealing with those themes (click titles to read or download):

Living Off the Land — Tom Belford
An overview addressing land use, soil quality, water issues, talent and innovation requirements, and global marketplace expectations.

Be Poisoned and Die — David Cranwell
Discusses how orchardists have evolved their practices over the years to meet more stringent environmental standards.

Better Farming Through Chemistry? — Phyllis Tichinin
Makes the case for improving soil quality through biological farming, and shows how this is being done today in Hawke’s Bay. Supporting articles by Phyllis deal with the science of soil, the role of councils in improving farming practices, and consumer education.

Farming Carbon — Mark Sweet
Presents another reason to focus on improving soil quality — the opportunity to earn carbon credits.

Another series of related articles hones in specifically on the controversy over use of the fertile Heretaunga Plains. Pressures to develop this land abound, witness the Hastings Council’s own sports park and a bevy of private development proposals. The areas’ Councils have launched a joint planning exercise to agree upon a land use strategy for the Plains.

Mayor Lawrence Yule presents his views on the challenge in Our Land, Our Economy and Our Future.

Allan Baldock of the Land Protection Society counters with a critique of the Hastings Council’s role in advancing the sports park, in Land Protection Society — Why?

Conservationist Kevin Trerise argues for a sustainable Heretaunga Plains land use policy in Strongly Sustainable.

Other political leaders and stakeholders — Mayor Barbara Arnott, HBRC Chair Alan Dick, and advocates for protecting this land, Paul Paynter of Johnny Appleseed, retired orchardist Chris Ryan, and Dianne Vesty of HB Fruitgrowers — present their hopes for the Heretaunga Plains Urban Development study in What Others Say.

Sorry … pretty heavy reading for this month. But the land is worth it!

Tom Belford

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