Change has been the consistent theme throughout the past few months. Actually change is a consistent theme in every day life . One thing I have learnt from the past few weeks is that by and large, people either fear change or they embrace it (as was evident during the recent desk switch around at work).
Change is something the dairy industry has experienced a lot of in recent years too. From changing environment regulations, changing systems to cope with milk prices and everything in between.
And now things appear (touch wood) to be changing again in the form of higher farm gate milk prices. Although financials will no doubt take a few seasons to level out to pre-downturn levels, its a positive start and one that I hope will have farmers in slightly higher spirits.
So what now? What happens to all the changes farmers across the country have made to their systems? Will people stick to their new systems be it lower input or otherwise? Will farmers stick to a pasture first mentality or will the feed reps be out there in their droves pushing supplements again? Lots of questions, not many answers. It will be interesting to see what happens in the months and seasons to come.
Dairy has come under scrutiny in a massive way in recent months (actually years is more accurate) and with it, our hard working farmers. I often read articles on the Herald and Stuff around dairying purely for the comments section. Along with a few well thought out and phrased comments, the majority is made up of ‘pro-vegan’ agendas, people who are unqualified to talk about nutrition, talking about how bad dairy is for you and those who would take more radical actions to ‘deal to farmers’. What I think these people tend to forget is that dairying is, like it not, one of the foundations of this country.
And mixed up in all of this is you guys, farmers! Hard working people who love the land and love their cows. What gets lost in all of the vegan agendas and milk prices is quite often you guys. People tend to forget there are real life humans involved in this, humans who have feelings and are directly affected by the media and talk surrounding the agricultural industry. And there has been plenty of media attention surrounding the ag industry, and not much of it positive. It perplexes me that a video of a vegan on a boat crying because sheep (who to be perfectly honest looked calm and content) were in a truck being transported from on island to another can count as news.
There has also been news in the media that is worthy of note and that of course is around the cases of animal abuse in our industry. Farmwatch (who seem to consistently think it’s OK to break the law) and their hidden camera footage highlighted some more of bad eggs in the industry. I could spend hours writing about my thoughts on this but I won’t. What I will say is that ‘main stream’ media need to do a better job of writing balanced, well researched stories instead of the sensationalized ‘articles’ that seem to be littering our news feeds. I will leave my comments at that.
Recently some jaw-dropping stats came out about the suicide rate in the country. It hit hard that so many of the people that made up those statistics were farmers. Farming can be an isolating and all consuming job and it’s easy to get lost in it all. I have heard and seen many people on social media express their struggles and to those I commend you for speaking out and raising awareness. It’s sad that mental health is still one of those topics people try an avoid.
So to those of you who are finding it tough right now, or need help – ask for it. Ask a friend, a neighbor, a family member – just someone.
You are not alone in this.
And that’s on the great things about our industry that isn’t celebrated enough – you all band together and support one another.You are a community.
Change has come hard and fast into my life too. Although it seems things are always changing. Here at Dairy Exporter we are under new ownership which you can read more about in the November issue of the magazine. We are no longer owned by a large corporate but by a farmer! Although there won’t be anything hugely noticeable in the first few months we have some exciting plans for our content and design.
My own role remains largely unchanged aside from some new responsibilities in the social media realm and a few other bits and bobs. I get to branch out and do some more writing for our other publication Country Wide but will mainly be focused on writing great content for you all.
On the home front lots has changed.The boyfriend received his posting notice and we will find ourselves living apart during the week while he is based in Wellington for next year. Not something I’m overly enthused about but you know #armylife. I will have plenty to occupy myself with while he’s away though because we just purchased a house together! Our own little slice of paradise right here in the Manawatu. Settlement isn’t for another month, so once that’s all done and dusted I will be sure to update you all on our lovely new home and share some pics.
We are also minus a member of our four-legged crew. We sold our horse Flynn. It was a tough decision but after many months of battling I finally decided things just weren’t working out with this horse. Basically it came down to the fact I’m too soft. He needs a tough stern rider, I most certainly am not. I like to go with the softly softly mantra. So we are on the search again for the perfect horse.
Change will come again next month when we move house, I turn 26 next month as well which is a change I’m equally excited about and dreading (excited about presents, dreading getting older).
As we enter into the holiday season I have started to reflect back on the last year at everything that has happened. I have endured hardships, triumphs, lows and highs – everything you can possibly imagine. It just goes to show that no matter how dark things feel sometimes, or how hopeless things may seem, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t be afraid of asking for help to get to the end of that tunnel.