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and The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation

Letter from Noelene about Drought and Farmed Animals - 2 Feb 2013

February 2, 2013

TO: New Zealand's Ministry for Primary

The Minister for Primary Industries
The Hon. Nathan Guy
Dear Minister,
Excuse my contacting you without introduction. (I am a retired nurse, freelance writer, interested in social issues, health  and animal welfare.) It is very disturbing to see the difficulties for farmers and for their animals when, most years, they are troubled by drought in many parts of our country, and especially in this year’s very severe drought conditions.
I wish to share some information gleaned from world-renowned silviculturist, the late Dr Richard St. Barbe Baker, for whom I typed many manuscripts and articles.

Dr Baker showed me a study revealing that even an old, large oak tree transpires 300 gallons of moisture into the atmosphere every day!  

What bothers me is that when I mentioned this fact years ago at a joint meeting of farmers and Treecrops Assn members in Canterbury, an elderly farmer queried it, stating that “no-one has PROVED that trees bring moisture...”!! The proof was there in the research by an experienced scientist.

My own experience has confirmed it for me in practice. Driving back from Arthur’s Pass some years ago, the rainfall, quite heavy, ceased IMMEDIATELY we left the forested area!

It’s obvious that large amounts of moisture are circulated in the cycle of earth-through-trees-to-atmosphere and back down to earth.
Sir, my point is this: I wonder every year whether farmers could surely plant at least one row of trees down the centre of each paddock, in order to help bring moisture, for the sake of their animals and the soil.  It shouldn’t be hard to cultivate beside the trees.

Not only for help in easing drought conditions, but also FOR SHELTER,  because it is really heartrending to see, e.g., large numbers of sheep crowding together trying to find shelter by an election- poster pole, for example, or a single tree, when sun, rain, wind etc are troubling them!

The other thing which bothers me is this: Is it thought that sheep, cows etc. don’t NEED water to drink? One very rarely, if at all, sees any trough provided for them. Apart from THE NEED TO CARE FOR THEM PROPERLY, I’m sure hydrated, comfortable animals are much happier than dehydrated ones...
Thank you very much for your time;  
Noelene Sanderson

FOLLOWUP - March 12:

Above letter sent – 27.02.2013 to New Zealand’s Minister for Primary Industries;...(acknowledged by his secretary ‘for comment later, by the Minister..’) No comment yet, as at March 11...But tonight on the news, joy of joys, the reporters showed (instead of the usual desert conditions, in this severe drought,  not a tree in sight), a farmer with trees everywhere, cows grazing on some grass beneath– AND browsing the plentiful green leaves! Instant supplementary feed, no costs involved! No problems! And ‘though we don’t want farming, at least it was a joy to see those contented animals.