Unacceptable to continue bleeding land dry
Federated Farmers recently awarded a tin plate each to the owners of a hill country farm near Gisborne. Outstandingly the farm ran a profit due to size and stock numbers, but its hills are denuded of trees.
Overstocking and no trees equals erosion. Taxpayers fund free trees to stop this. It appears to me that the dairy industry does little to force environmentalism, merely reacting to bad PR when needed.
Why is the profit a farm makes the only industry benchmark while downstream cost to the land is borne by the entire population?
If these environmental and taxpayer costs due to flooding, drought, agrichemical runoff, and loss and damage to ecosystems are factored in, a farm could not exist, making the agrichemical farming system defunct. Luckily the real costs of farming are spread nationwide in government subsidies. I could say I made a profit too if I took 20 bucks off a stranger and put it in a pokey machine and won $2.
There’s talk of a rural-city divide. But very few of us haven’t lived, worked or know farming families.
We are all connected to the land and to the cities. Farmers are diverse but the collective is represented by industry and lobbyists who act out of selfinterest and ultimately against the farmers they say are their cohort. When Federated Farmers or Dairy NZ with regional councils deny environmental science and replace it with equivocations, they hold up nonpartisan progress in the sector. This is equally when good wages and conditions of workers in processing factories or safety regimes on farms are denied. It’s a discredit. Agitate for less regulation and wind up with untrammelled disease outbreaks.
Some farmers mythologise themselves as custodians of the land but that’s no longer enough. Fred Dagg is dead, land needs protecting and it’s unacceptable to continue bleeding it dry.
Most people are aware now that it’s not the 20th century and heavy agrichemical inputs are a race to the bottom financially and ecologically.
This is not an attack and I’m not alone. The massive industry can’t claim victimhood when it constantly holds itself as a shining light of the economy. And as the largest landowner in the country with all the benefits that affords, they should expect to be, as city dwellers are, regulated and accountable in more ways than in the past. Farmers should ditch regional chronyistic councillors. And dump the lobbyists who do business that counters positive change. Let in the Mike Joys of the sector who actually care and have the science to back it up.