Better communication will bridge rural urban divide – Hayden Dillon:
The farming community needs to step up to help lessen the rift between city and country.
I believe the debates during the course of the recent election campaign oversimplified some issues that are core to the agri sector, such as water and soil quality. These have created divisions that are not helping New Zealand move forward.
As with many complex issues, the rush to simplify the discussions and debate has seen farming, in particular dairying, blamed for many of our environmental problems.
That’s simply not correct. . .
Stopping to appreciate the small things in life really helps people handle the big stuff.
That was one of the messages coming through loud and clear from farmers involved in rural wellbeing initiative Farmstrong, project leader Gerard Vaughan said.
Over the last two years Vaughan and video maker Nigel Beckford have been busy interviewing Kiwi farmers about what they do to keep well and avoid burnout.
They’ve been sharing the best tips and advice in short video clips on the Farmstrong website – http://www.farmstrong.co.nz. . .
It’s Mental Health Week and the theme is “Nature is Key – Unlock Your Wellbeing”.
The idea is to escaping stressful or ‘same old rut’ work and home environments to eat your lunch in a park or at the beach, to take the family for a weekend bush walk, etc. It can lift spirits, put you back in touch with Nature, and get you thinking about your health, your priorities – and whether you may need to reach out for help or advice.
Federated Farmers President Katie Milne welcomes the focus on mental health and talking through issues and feelings with others. “Our great outdoors can also be a wonderful tonic.”
But for rural folk, Mother Nature can also be a source of considerable stress. Storms, floods, ailing livestock, droughts, etc., can ratchet up financial woes, relationship strains and the feeling ‘it’s all too much’.. . .
Mental health support needed for farmers – Alexa Cook:
A Waikato farmer is pushing for the government to provide better mental health support for the rural sector.
Research shows that the suicide rate in New Zealand’s rural sector is up to 50 percent higher than in urban areas.
Dairy farmer Richard Cookson has had his own struggle with mental health, and said while there is good crisis support for farmers, such as the Rural Support Trust, there isn’t enough for depression.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, Mr Cookson said a good start would be free counselling to get farmers in the door, but the sector also needs quite specific help. . .
Media accepts pseudoscience drivel unchallenged – Doug Edmeades:
Damn it all. Someone is not listening and I am now forced to repeat myself. My last column ended thus:
“Without an independent principled fourth estate we may be drifting away from being a society in which our policies are based on evidence, rational thought and logic analysis and which encourages and embraces criticism. If we are not careful we could drift back to a time when humans believed in alchemy, witches and taniwha”.
In this last week, as if on cue, three media outlets coughed up three items of demonstrable drivel.
Exhibit 1: The NZ Farmers Weekly (October 2) gave their opinion page to Phyllis Tichinin in an article headlined, Urea cascade cause of problems. She attributes many animal health, soil and environmental problems to the overuse of urea. Opinion yes, evidence no. Her whole thesis fails the logical test of cause and effect. How can one thing – in this case urea – have so many unrelated effects? As one qualified reader expressed it to me: “I struggle to find one fact or one statement that isn’t a falsehood.” . . .
Is this synthetic food thing for real? – Jacqueline Rowarth:
Synthetic food is being talked about rather more than it is being eaten.
The balance might change in future as the technologies develop, but at the moment there is more hype and interest than hunger and intake.
The Impossible Burger seems to be the focus at the moment. The burger is made in the laboratory from wheat (grown in a field) and involves a ‘haem’ from legumes. The haem is pink (it is responsible for the colour in healthy, nitrogen-fixing clover root nodules) and so confers the burger with ‘bleeding’ properties. . .
Farmers Fast Five: Doug Avery – Claire Inkson:
The Farmers Fast Five : Where we ask a farmer five quick questions about farming, and what agriculture means to them. Today we talk to Marlborough Proud Farmer Doug Avery whose Resilient Farmer platform aims to deliver powerful support to New Zealand farmers across the three pillars — financial, environmental and social. Through road shows and ongoing mentoring, he helps farmers to adopt new thinking and practices. Check out his best selling book The Resilient Farmer, and his website http://www.resilientfarmer.co.nz for more information .
How long have I been farming?
46 years but I am only involved in the directorship of the business now and financial control.
What sort of farming are you involved in?
We grow wool, meat, crops , dairy support and people. . .
The importance of the primary sector to the New Zealand economy is emphasised today by Fieldays’ 2017 Economic Impact Report.
A report prepared by the University of Waikato Management School’s Institute of Business Research, reveals that the biggest agricultural expo in the southern hemisphere, generated an estimated $238 million to New Zealand’s GDP, an increase of 24.7 per cent when compared to 2016.
Federated Farmers’ Board member Chris Lewis is particularly familiar with Fieldays and regards the event as a key indicator to how the country is faring. . .