Celebration of country values
As sheep, beef and dairy farmers, what we do matters.
I could roll out the numbers – billions of dollars in export receipts generated by the whole supply chain and, of course, that’s the end result – but what we do goes far deeper than a number on the bottom line.
It’s about the integrity and quality of our products.
It’s about the stewardship and management of our land. And it’s about people. What we do on farm matters to consumers – both on and offshore – and to inter-related industries, such as meat exporters and processors.
It matters to the people intertwined with our farms, like our children and staff, contractors and shearers. It matters to vets, accountants, trucking companies and retailers.
It matters to the communities that we live in – to our schools, our playgroups and our local garage owner.
And it matters to NZ Inc.
How lucky I feel to be part of a broad community where my children have the opportunity to learn the intrinsic values that go hand-in-hand with country life.
These country values were demonstrated so well at the Hunterville Huntaway Festival earlier this month, when we experienced a small community coming together to put on a series of challenging events for children, teens and shepherds with their huntaways. In the ‘‘Shemozzle’’, hundreds of participants ran up steep hills, slid down mud slides, ate and drank such delicacies as sardines and vinegar, carried bulls’ testes in their mouths, plucked possums, the list goes on . . .
The grit and determination needed to complete the challenges, overcome the unknown (and, in the case of the eating, overcome the gag reflex) and the satisfaction of success on finishing were all part of the event. A sense of community, participation, grit, energy and confidence – all these opportunities offered to us by the wonderful people of Hunterville.
It reminded me that we don’t just ‘‘contribute’’ to a community. We actually ‘‘belong’’ to it. We shape it – and it shapes us.
Kirsten Bryant is Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s western North Island director and can be contacted at email@example.com