Vegan fundalmentalists target feedlots

August 22, 2018

The vegan fundamentalists have a new target – feedlots:

. . . Yesterday SAFE called for the government to block feedlots saying it showed overcrowded cattle after the footage aired on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint.

However, Federated Farmers said SAFE did not really care about animal welfare and said their goal was to end all animal farming.

“SAFE’s agenda is to get rid of farmed animals. Animal welfare is a secondary concern for them,” Miles Anderson, Federated Farmers meat and wool chairman, told RNZ.

“They are vegan fundamentalists. I take most of what they say with a grain of salt. It would do them a world of good to have a nice leg of lamb.” . . .

If there are genuine environmental or animal welfare concerns they should be reported to the relevant authorities – the  regional council or MPI.

But SAFE tends to be more interested in making headlines based on their agenda than presenting fact-based evidence.

One of SAFE’s complaints was that the animals don’t have shade. I’ve been to feedlots in Australia and Argentina in the middle of summer where the cattle could have been in the shade and they were choosing to stay in the sun.

I’ve been to the feedlot in question twice, both times on hot days in late summer, and saw nothing to give me any concern about animal welfarre.

The people in SAFE won’t credit farmers with concern for animal welfare for its own sake but they can’t ignore the monetary reward.

Only happy, healthy animals produce well which gives a very real financial incentive for looking after them.

Growing grass is New Zealand’s natural advantage and a very good marketing tool for our produce.

But there are niche markets for the fat-marbled steak which comes from grain-fed stock and providing they are managed well there should be no animal welfare concerns.

It’s not the way most New Zealand farmers choose to raise stock, but there’s nothing wrong with doing it that way when it’s done well.

SAFE’s campaign is yet another that is long on emotion and very, very short on facts.


Rural round-up

December 5, 2017

Oil-infused lucerne chaff a winning feed – Sally Rae:

Difficulty finding quality lucerne chaff has led to a busy enterprise for Waianakarua couple Graeme and Henrietta Purvis.

The couple, who are well known on the rodeo circuit, recently added a New Zealand-first product to their business — chopped lucerne infused with cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

Now, whether it was a winning race-horse fuelled by their lucerne or a pet lamb being reared on it, they were equally delighted to hear success stories.The story began about 20 years ago when Mr Purvis had a sick horse and could only find poor quality chaff to feed it.

“I thought, I could do better than that”, he recalled. . . 

Some vineyards struggling to cope with dry weather – Adriana Weber:

Some vineyards are desperately trying to find enough workers to cope with the workload brought on by the dry spell.

An Otago grape grower and viticulturist, James Dicey, said the hot conditions had meant there had been a huge amount of early growth.

He said that had resulted in the vineyard quickly falling behind in the work normally done at this time of year.

Mr Dicey said the conditions were very rare for so early in the season.

“Relentlessly hot and relentlessly dry. Since the beginning of September, we have effectively, apart from one 20 millimetre rainfall, been bone dry,” he said. . . 

NZ farmer confidence remains at net positive levels overall:

New Zealand farmer confidence remains at net positive levels overall, but has dropped sharply from the record highs recorded in the previous two quarters, the latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown.

While more farmers expect the rural economy to improve than those expecting it to worsen, the overall reading dropped sharply to a net confidence measure of +13 per cent from +38 per cent last survey.

The survey – completed last month – found the number of farmers expecting the rural economy to improve in the next 12 months had fallen to 29 per cent (down from 46 per cent last quarter), 49 per cent were expecting similar conditions (up from 42 per cent) and the number expecting the rural economy to worsen rose to 16 per cent (up from 8 per cent). . . 

Lynch family:

When it comes to running their dairy and livestock operation Kate and Gerard Lynch are less concerned with ensuring they have the most high tech gadgets and more concerned with getting the basics right, day in, day out.

It’s a commitment the couple share although Kate is the first to admit that some days it’s easier than others. “We’ve tried to instil across the business how important it is to do things well every day, on the days when you’re sloshing through mud in sleeting rain as well as on the nice, sunny days,” she said.

“Agriculture is the same as anywhere, if you are running your own business, every dollar counts so you can’t afford to just let things slide. Whether it’s paying attention to every cow to ensure they’re in peak health, clearing up the shed in the evening or ensuring machinery is serviced on time, the simple things make a big difference.” . . 

Public invited to Lincoln University Dairy Farm for Fonterra Open Gates Day:

The Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) its opening its gates, along with a number of others, on December 10 to show off its environmental management.

It is holding an Open Day as part of the Fonterra Open Gates Day which is highlighting how farmers, along with the rest of New Zealand, care about what is happening with our waterways and the environment. . . 

Fonterra open gate days a missed opportunity to mix with Greenpeace, Safe and other critics – Gerald Piddock:

Fonterra and their farmers deserve a pat on the back for organising the open gate days on farms taking place on December 10.

It’s a good initiative and will hopefully be well supported.

The only concern I have is the people who will go are either fellow farmers or those associated with the industry. That’s preaching to the converted.

They are not the people the industry needs to reach. . .

Like it or not Africa’s future lies in GM crops – Karen Batra:

Short-sighted opposition to biotechnology leaves farmers across the continent at the mercy of pests, disease and worse, writes Matt Ridley in The Times:

An even more dangerous foe than Robert Mugabe is stalking Africa. Early last year, a moth caterpillar called the fall armyworm, a native of the Americas, turned up in Nigeria. It has quickly spread across most of Africa. This is fairly terrifying news, threatening to undo some of the unprecedented improvements in African living standards of the past two decades. Many Africans depend on maize for food, and maize is the fall armyworm’s favorite diet.

Fortunately, there is a defense to hand. Bt maize, grown throughout the Americas for many years, is resistant to insects. The initials stand for a bacterium that produces a protein toxic to insects but not to people. Organic farmers have been using the bacterium as a pesticide for more than five decades, but it is expensive. Bt maize has the protein inside the plant, thanks to genetic engineers, who took a gene from the bacterium and put it in the plant. Bt maize has largely saved Brazil’s maize crop from fall armyworms. . . 


Rural round-up

November 19, 2017

Further 1000 Mycoplasma Bovis cattle to be culled in South Canterbury – Ryan Dunlop:

A further 1000 cattle will be culled in South Canterbury due to the cattle disease Mycoplasma Bovis.

According to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), that will bring the total cull number up to 5000.

Meanwhile several people have applied to the ministry for compensation for loss of livestock and productivity. 

On Wednesday, MPI confirmed another farm in South Canterbury was infected with the disease, bringing the total infected properties to eight. . . 

Safe’s distortion of harmless farming practice – Jon Morgan:

 Take a look at this video supplied by the animal rights group, Safe. It shows a cow running behind a car towing a trailer holding three calves.

Safe sent the video to TVNZ and it has been picked up by other news organisations and run by them without any attempt to find out what is actually happening.

Safe alleges that this is a “distressed” cow “chasing” after her calves, showing a strong bond between them.

However, the overwhelming opinion of dairy farmers who have seen the video is that nothing of the kind is happening. . . 

Wool sale best in a long time – Alan Williams:

Prices gained ground across the board at Thursday’s special live wool auction at the Christchurch A&P Show.

“Best sale in a long time,” PGG Wrightson South Island sales manager and auctioneer Dave Burridge said.

He estimated nearly $6 million of wool was sold at the sale, the second auction staged at the show.

First-up at the sale was the New Zealand Merino co offering and auctioneer Mike Hargadon later noted a little more enthusiasm on the buyer bench than at the usual market venue, in what was a very firm market for its fine wools. . . 

Shearing: Tony Coster wins national title at Canterbury Show:

Former New Zealand representative shearer and multiple national all-breeds champion Tony Coster reckoned he only shore in yesterday’s New Zealand Corriedale Championship to get out of doing a job.

But trading the job he says he would have otherwise been doing produced unexpected results, for the now 50-year-old Rakaia veteran when he beat World champion John Kirkpatrick by over a minute in a six-man final over 12 sheep each and won the Canterbury Show feature for a third time.

“I’m on the committee, or at least I help run a few things,” he said. “If I hadn’t shorn I would have had a few jobs to do.” . . 

ACCC set to deliver “myth busting” analysis of $1/L milk selling – Colin Bettles:

MICK Keogh has delivered a comprehensive update of the competition watch-dog’s legal enforcement and oversight activities in different troublesome segments of agricultural supply chains.

Mr Keogh – a long term policy analyst and respected commentator at the Australian Farm Institute – is one of seven Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Commissioners and is spearheading its Agricultural Enforcement and Engagement Unit.

He spoke at an Agribusiness Australia forum in Canberra last week providing a frank assessment of current competition issues which carry economic and political consequences, for the farm sector,

That list includes an ongoing inquiry into the dairy supply chain that’s set to deliver a “myth busting” report in terms of dissolving common misconceptions about food retailers selling $1 per litre milk. . . 

 


Rural round-up

November 16, 2016

Stranded cows surfed to survival – Charlotte Shipman:

 

A geologist says the cows stranded on a quake island likely “surfed” the land as it crumbled around them.

Their image went around the world; two Hereford cows and a calf stranded on a tiny piece of pasture thrust two-and-a-half metres above the ground.

GNS engineering geologist Sally Dellow flew over the cows yesterday with Newshub, and she says they likely surfed the land as it crumbled. . . 

Quake cows won’t be slaughtered – farmer – Simon Wong:

Kaikoura’s three world-famous cows were never destined for the slaughterhouse, says the farmer who owns them.

The two Hereford beef cows and a four-month-old calf made headlines when they were stranded on a small, elevated patch of pasture following Monday’s 7.5 magnitude earthquake, and Newshub’s footage of them was broadcast around the world.

The animals were rescued from their precarious location on Tuesday morning after owner Derrick Millton and a group of five others dug out a track to get them down.

“Once they got off, they drank the water which was in the pond at the end of the block, they’ve got plenty of feed there, and they just needed to rest because like anyone in the earthquake they had a pretty horrific time.” . . 

Farmer flies in to help quake-trapped family in Kaikoura – Glen Scanlon:

Andrew Bowmar sums it up pretty simply: “It’s just what you do when you need to help.”

When the magnitude 7.5 quake struck yesterday he was at home near Gore with partner Lucy Millton. The problem was Lucy’s mum and family were on their farm in Waipapa, on the southern bank of the Clarence River outside Kaikoura.

View RNZ’s full coverage of the earthquakes

Mr Bowmar, a farmer, said he needed no convincing – the choice was easy. He and Ms Millton got his Cessna 185 out and were in the air by 8am on their way to find out what was happening. . . 

 

This is becoming sabotage – Peter Jackson:

It’s all very well for the likes of SAFE and Farmwatch to lobby for animal rights and the prevention of cruelty, but SAFE went too far with its ‘Drop Dairy’ billboard in Auckland’s Hobson St.

The billboard, showing a bobby calf carcass draped over a map of the North Island, was part of an on-going campaign aimed at raising awareness of the fact that approximately two million unwanted dairy calves are killed at a few days’ old every year. . .

Cycle trail ruling frustrates local council

An Environment Court ruling against the planned Oreti River section of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail is a blow for communities in the area, Southland District Council says.

Mayor Gary Tong says he’s deeply disappointed by the court’s decision to uphold an appeal by Fish and Game Southland.

He says areas like Lumsden, Mossburn, Five Rivers, Garston and Athol are reporting significant benefits attributed to increased visitor numbers as a result of the cycle trail development. . . 

Syrian food production at all-time low:

Food production has dropped to an all-time low in Syria where millions of hungry civilians are struggling through their sixth winter in a war zone, UN agencies are warning.

Many farmers have had to abandon their land, unable to afford the soaring cost of seeds, fertilisers and tractor fuel, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme said on Tuesday.

Wheat output – vital for making flat loaves of bread which are a staple of the Syrian diet – dropped from an average 3.4 million metric tonnes harvested before the war began in 2011 to 1.5 million this year, they said in a joint report. . . 


Rural round-up

April 8, 2016

Two new irrigation champions recognised:

Two New Zealand irrigation champions have been recognised with the awarding of the Ron Cocks Memorial Award to South Canterbury’s Robin Murphy and Central Otago’s Tony Banks.

Both men’s achievements were celebrated at IrrigationNZ’s biennial conference dinner last night in Oamaru. The event has drawn more than 400 people to the Waitaki District this week to tour local irrigation infrastructure, listen to global guest speakers address irrigation issues, attend technical workshops and view an industry expo with 52 exhibitors.

The former chairman of the Earnscleugh Irrigation Company, Tony Banks, was described as an outstanding leader in delivering the benefits of water to Central Otago. Tony has given 31 years of service to the scheme; more than half his working life and all in a voluntary capacity. . . 

Power to the people – Anee Hardie:

The power bill is a big expense for many farms. Anne Hardie talked to Franz Josef farmer Graeme Berry about using local resources to reduce that bill to zero.  

Water is an abundant resource around Graham Berry’s Franz Josef dairy farm, which prompted him to build a small hydro power scheme that now supplies all his electricity with enough extra to sell into the national grid and pay its cost.  

It was a lengthy exercise that took years to acquire the necessary consents and ended up costing nearly half a million dollars, but that extra power sold into the national grid pays the interest while the farm and dairy now pay zilch for electricity. . .

Carrfields wins Innovation Award for irrigator stabiliser:

Ashburton’s Carrfields Irrigation company has won 2016’s IrrigationNZ Innovation Award in association with Aqualinc for its innovative irrigator stabiliser.

The award was presented last night at the industry body’s national conference which has attracted more than 400 people to Waitaki District this week.

The HydroFix Irrigator Stabiliser System consists of a series of inflatable water tanks connected to a pulley and counterweight systems along the length of an irrigator. . . 

South America set to dominate beef trade – Allan Barrber:

Rabobank’s quarterly report on the global beef market maintains South American beef producers, particularly Brazil, will be the major influence on the beef trade in 2016.

The most notable features are expected to be an increase in China’s official imports which rose sharply by 60% last year, a decline in US imports and lower than usual Australian beef production. New Zealand’s cattle kill is forecast to be earlier and lower than 2015 because of the earlier dairy cull. Although the American beef kill is still at 20 year lows, high stocks of frozen product will continue to put a dampener on both prices and import volumes. . . 

Isolated negligence of one farmer does not reflect Colony farming practice:

Allegations by SAFE that Colony farming causes increased mortality and poor welfare among layer hens is being strongly rejected by the Egg Industry.

The Egg Producer Federation (EPF) has been working with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to investigate claimsmade by SAFE about one of its member farms.

SAFE broke into a member farm to obtain footage that the Industry said is an unacceptable, but isolated discovery.

“The welfare of the birds is our first priority, so this footage is most definitely disturbing. Investigations have shown this is the negligence of one farm, in an isolated incident that shows poor practice around cage checking and clearing. . . 

Judge Valley Dairies Judged Supreme Winner In 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Puahue dairy farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan are Supreme winners of the 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 7 (2016), the couple also collected the LIC Dairy Farm Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

Based on 245ha of flat to steep contour east of Te Awamutu, their operation, Judge Valley Dairies Ltd, was described by BFEA judges “as a highly productive farm that works well in a challenging landscape while balancing environmental care”. . . 

IrrigationNZ and Feds ask for scientific integrity:

IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.

The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well- heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . .

International Agri-Group Digs Deep for Farm Community • Raising Over $40,000 for Rural School:

A $5,000 donation for catering and serving lunch for 130 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals turned into an impromptu fundraising event recently – with a rural school of 36 students receiving over $40,000.

As part of its annual conference in Wellington, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group visited a sheep farm and a dairy operation in the Wairarapa. The school children welcomed the delegation with a Kapa Haka followed by the serving of fresh, local produce including paua fritters, whitebait and crayfish for lunch. . . 

Ideal conditions for sowing:

If you haven’t sown your new pastures yet, there’s no better time than now to get seed into the ground.

Soil temperatures in many parts of the North Island and upper South Island are still mild – over 15 degrees C which is ideal for establishing most pasture species.

Perennial ryegrass or any short term ryegrass can be sown through to about Anzac Day, so that gives you plenty of options.

Early April is however too late for sowing pasture brome or fescue, because these species are sensitive to low soil temperatures. . . 

Report Shows Strong Future for Organic Products:

There’s good news for New Zealand’s organic fruit and vegetable growers in the report released today showing Kiwis are buying more organic product from their local supermarket.

The Organics Aotearoa Organic Market Report 2016 shows continuing growth in markets for organic fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly in supermarkets, up 127% in four years.

“What is good about that figure for horticulture is it shows shoppers are thinking more about what they put in their shopping trollies.

“That’s a good trend for all the producers serving the New Zealand domestic market,” HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman says.. . 

Weaker Dollar Moves Wool Up:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices, aided by strong support for a more stylish South Island selection suitable for greasy wool orders.

Of the 9,400 bales on offer, 91.6 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.12 percent week on week.

Compared to the last time comparable wools were sold on 23rd March in the South Island Fine Crossbred Full Fleece and Shears were firm to 1.7 percent dearer. . . 

 

 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.

Let’s also pay tribute to those farmers’ husbands/partners who work as hard or harder than their farmers.


Aberrant and abhorrent

November 30, 2015

Cows like all other mammals have to deliver a baby before they start lactating.

If animals are farmed to produce milk their offspring, be they calves, lambs or kids, are a by-product.

Dairy farms here usually keep most of their heifer calves to raise as replacements or for later sale.

Some might raise some bull calves for beef but most are sold to others to raise or sent for slaughter as bobby calves.

Normal practice is to treat all animals well and make the process from birth to death as fast and humane as possible for the calves.

The mistreatment of calves  shown on Sunday last night is not normal practice.

It is aberrant, abhorrent and appeared to be illegal.

No-one is trying to excuse it.

The Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating and DairyNZ, Federated Farmers and the New Zealand have condemned it:

Dairy industry bodies say they are appalled at the bobby care practices revealed in video footage recorded by animal rights group Farmwatch and released as part of a SAFE public campaign launched against dairy farming.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says cruel and illegal practices are in no way condoned or accepted by the industry as part of dairy farming.

“We are shocked and farmers are too,” he says. “We will be asking questions of everyone involved. Farmers don’t see what goes on when calves leave their farm and we need to be holding the transport operators and processing plants to account to ensure bad practices get stamped out of our industry.

“Our surveys show that 95 percent of farmers are compliant with all animal welfare codes and they take great care of their animals including calves. We obviously want to see that even higher because the dairy industry takes its animal welfare responsibilities seriously and we are committed to farming to high standards,” he says.

“There is a range of industry initiatives already in place and we will be boosting our actions with other groups to ensure the care of calves.”

Federated Farmers’ dairy section chair, Andrew Hoggard says “farmers have to farm within strict animal welfare rules and the vast majority care for their animals humanely and responsibly”.

He says the footage released by SAFE and Farmwatch includes some appalling behaviour, by a minority of farmers but also by transport companies and slaughterhouse workers. “This is something we and the industry will not tolerate.

“Federated Farmers strongly, and each season, reinforces to its members that the highest standards of animal welfare must apply when dealing with all calves. The federation will also put resources behind any industry initiatives to review the handling, transport and processing of bobby calves,” says Mr Hoggard. 

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand executive director Kimberly Crewther says that compliance with the New Zealand codes of welfare is important to dairy companies.

“These codes are internationally recognised as robust.  Where there are breaches we fully support and expect Ministry for Primary Industries’ compliance action,” she says.

This abuse of animals is an indictment on the perpetrators, it should not be taken as a reflection on the whole industry in which most people in the production chain strive for, and achieve, high standards of practice with animal welfare a priority.

UPDATE:

Fonterra says any mistreatment of animals is completely unacceptable to the company and its farmers:

Fonterra has seen the upsetting footage of bobby calves being ill treated provided by SAFE NZ, the subject of this week’s Sunday show on TVNZ.

Any mistreatment of animals is completely unacceptable to Fonterra and our farmers.

Immediate action

We’re taking immediate steps to deal with it alongside the rest of the New Zealand dairy industry:

  • We’ve requested a meeting with SAFE, and will let them know that we share their concern for the treatment of animals, and to seek further information from them on the footage
  • We’re in contact with representatives from the meat industry to discuss what we have seen in the footage to express to them our concerns around the treatment of bobby calves

Animal welfare is our priority

While bobby calves will always be part of the dairy industry, they must be treated with care and respect. Behaviour in this footage in no way represents the vast majority of New Zealand farmers who care about their animals.

As a Co-operative we take a hard line on animal welfare. We’re investigating this and will be taking strong action if any of our people were involved.

Five Freedoms

We work proactively with our farmers to embed best practice and uphold the Five Freedoms:

  • Freedom from hunger or thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress through conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Responsible dairying

Fonterra is absolutely committed to responsible dairying. We work with our farmers to ensure they maintain the highest standards of animal welfare and they have a strong track record when it comes to on-farm animal welfare practices.

We audit farms annually and have strict controls in place in any instance where these Five Freedoms are not being observed.

Working together with the dairy industry

This includes working with industry representative bodies like Dairy NZ and MPI to support our farmers and ensure best practice is observed on-farm.

We want to let our customers and consumers know that we are taking action to ensure these practices do not happen on Fonterra farms and will be front-footing this issue with other primary industries.


Social licence to operate

July 14, 2015

Sarah Crofoot Federated Farmers’ Meat & Fibre & Environmental policy advisor on the social licence to operate:

With each generation the urban population becomes further removed from rural New Zealand. Gone are the days when holidays were spent visiting friends and family out on the farm, learning of what we do.

Consumers are hungry for information about where their food comes from. The door is open for us to tell our story, but if we don’t, someone else will.

The ‘conflict industry’ groups like SAFE and Greenpeace are happy to fill the void with half-truths, misinformation, sound bites and powerful imagery of the extreme options.

They profit from people’s fear, their product is cash not stewardship as they would lead you to believe. They are dependent on crisis so are always searching for the next issue – with their websites firmly set on water and animal welfare.

These extreme opinions are being presented to a public with no natural resource linkage and no lens to look through for validity. So, that whole middle ground between the extremes is lost in the discussion.

Whatever the issue – be it animal welfare, health and safety, environment or employment, we need to tell our story.

We can’t afford to have the experts on the important issues facing agriculture be it celebrities with no practical understanding, or have policy made based on a vague idea of what they would like and no understanding of how it would work and the implications.

Our solutions need to be backed by science and we need to stand united with a common cry for common sense.

Sadly the ‘conflict industry’ groups, those with no practical understanding, with vague ideas and/or political agendas get traction without science but farming can’t nor should it.

We need to understand people’s concerns and address them, not just tell them what we want them to hear. We have a great story to tell but we need to learn to be comfortable leading the discussion and telling our story, not being part of a story the conflict industry creates for us. 

We need to help consumers understand what we do and that we strive to be great stewards. That if we take care of our land, plants and animals, they will take care of us and future generations.

As an industry we may not be perfect and we have all made mistakes, but providing for humans is an imperfect science and as imperfect as we maybe, we are the best, safest, most productive, efficient and environmentally sound food producers there has ever been in the history of man. We are the green choice but we need to help consumers understand why. We need to tell the whole truth, warts and all, and do it without tearing other industries down.

When having these discussions it is often forgotten how closely the environment and our economy are tied together. In fact they come from the same Greek root word ‘eco’ meaning house.

Inside is our economy; outside is our ecology, making up our environment. If you hit one the other pays the price. If we don’t have a healthy environment we can’t grow our economy. If we don’t have a healthy economy we don’t have the luxury of protecting the environment.

Why is it so difficult for people to understand that not only are a growing economy and environmental progress not mutually exclusive but interdependent?

We need to be proud of our heritage and share it with others. The calluses on your hands and dirt under your nails should be a source of pride as they helped to lay the foundations for the family business, community, and country, rather than a source of shame or guilt because others don’t understand what you do.

There were two truths learnt in the logging industry which are important for Federated Farmers and agriculture.

Democracy works, but it’s not a spectator sport – we need to stand together as a united front and support those who support us.
When leaders lead, people follow – we need to take a lead on the issues important to us and ensure the leaders understand the challenges;
Bruce Vincent led a call to arms, for every one of us to spend one hour a week advocating for our industry, showing up, being heard, telling our story, whether it is in the local media, social media, a letter to the editor, at a school, in local politics, chamber of commerce, or engaging with Federated Farmers helping to give power to a united voice.

The Federation is committed to this but we can’t do it without you. Your support is valued but we also need you to engage, whatever the issue your voice is crucial. We need a movement lead by rural people built of hope instead of fear; science instead of emotion; education instead of litigation; resolution instead of conflict; employing rather than destroying human resources.

If each of us takes an action we create a ripple. All of our ripples combine to create a current and together we can form a wave and create change and a vision for our future.

These wise words a young, rural woman give strong grounds for optimism for farming and the future.


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