Cool heads

Wise words from Federated Farmers president Dr William Rolleston (6:10) (transcript here):

. . . “I think the most important thing is to have cool heads at this time. . .

“I don’t see it at this point as a crisis. It’ll be a crisis if people start panicking and I don’t see that happening. I see the banks actually working very well with farmers. . . “

The Chicken Littles are saying it’s a crisis.

It’s not.

The low payout will mean most, if not all, dairy farms make a loss this season but banks will work with their clients to get them through the low payout providing their clients work with them.

People will leave the industry. Rolleston rightly said that happens in good times and bad.

But banks understand the cyclical nature of farming and will do everything they can to avoid forcing people out.

They know that’s not good for banks or the troubled clients and would also be bad for untroubled ones by depressing land values and therefore equity for everyone else in the industry.

The Chicken-Littleing by people like Winston Peters who was also interviewed is politics at its worst and Rolleston gets full marks for his response to the question of whether Peters gets any cut through with Feds (7:49):

“I would say we listen politely.”

That’s more than Peters and the others who are trying to engineer a crisis for political reasons deserve.

Labour leader Andrew Little is no better declaring a crisis and the bogey-man of a stepp increase in foreign ownership.

But as Adolf at No Minister points out that Labour’s declaration of a crisis is a good thing:

. . . This is the best news cow cockies have had for some time.  Now that Labour has delivered its midas touch, you can bet on milksold prices improving within six months.

Someone needs to sit down with Little and quietly explain that an outbreak of foot and mouth disease is a crisis for the industry while aa period of low prices is normal in a commodity market. 

Meanwhile, on the farm where the people who really know what’s going on are hard at work, sharemilkers told me this will be a tough season but sooner or later there will be better ones.

Like Rolleston, they’re keeping cool heads.

They’re also accepting that global prices are something they can’t control, concentrating on things they can control and are seriously unimpressed by those trying to precipitate a crisis through political posturing.

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