Children bullied because parents are dairy farmers
Dairy farmers’ children are being bullied at school because of what their parents do, DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says.
There had been ‘‘two or three incidents’’ of children who were being singled out in school because their parents were dairy farmers, Mackle said in a speech at the organisation’s Farmers Forum at Lye Farm on the edge of Hamilton recently.
Mackle called it: ’’The saddest story I’ve heard’’. The behaviour was indicative of the negative treatment many felt the industry was receiving from the media.
‘‘It’s fair to say that across the country, dairy farmers are feeling a bit beaten up right now and that’s been going on for the last 18 months.’’
Mackle said he and the DairyNZ board had received a lot of feedback on this issue. The organisation holds public perception surveys of 1500 people across the country on a quarterly basis.
Survey results showed it was not as bad as what people thought, he said.
Over half of the country had a favourable impression of dairy farmers. The other half was not all negative towards dairying because much of the remaining 50 per cent were neutral.
Those with a total favourable impression had lifted from 56-59 per cent since the last survey.
‘‘The point is, we haven’t gone backwards,’’ Mackle said.
Almost all of those surveyed either strongly agreed or agreed that dairy farmers were valuable members of their community.
However, that dropped when surveyed people were asked about the industry’s environmental record and dropped even further if they lived in Southland and Canterbury.
Farmers should take negative press ‘‘with a pinch of salt’’, he said.
‘‘It’s really important that
‘‘It's fair to say that across the country, dairy farmers are feeling a bit beaten up right now. ’’
when we get a hammering - and we will get one because it’s an election year - that actually the numbers don’t back up what the media are saying.’’
Mackle said they were not satisfied with the result and wanted to get back to a position where New Zealanders were ‘‘proud’’ of the industry.
‘‘Last week’s [Water Accord] result is a great example. [It is] the biggest mobilisation towards our environment that our country’s ever seen.’’
DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said there were cases of the children of dairy farmers being subject to bullying at school because of their parent’s profession.