Let’s be open with each other

Te Puke Times - - Rural News & View - By DAR­RYL JENSEN Pro­vin­cial pres­i­dent, Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Bay of Plenty

I en­cour­age all of you to at­tend a farm open day.

If you eat food or drink you should re­ally have a greater un­der­stand­ing of the pro­cesses that oc­cur to con­trib­ute to your favourite meals and bev­er­ages.

Farm open days are an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity to show the na­tion’s 90 per cent city pop­u­la­tion what goes on be­hind closed doors in the most trans­par­ent and safe way pos­si­ble — we are af­ter all op­er­at­ing in the age of biose­cu­rity crises and an un­der re­sourced ru­ral po­lice force.

We also have a pub­lic with no links to farms or farm­ing any­more which means mis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns or me­dia cov­er­age on the most ex­treme neg­a­tive court case can be­come the pub­lic’s main im­pres­sion of farm­ing.

To com­bat this, I en­cour­age farm­ers to open their prop­er­ties to the pub­lic or en­cour­age their ur­ban coun­ter­parts to at­tend a farm open day.

Be­ing trans­par­ent about what farm­ers do, how they do it and why they do it is the best pol­icy go­ing for­ward. Hon­esty is gen­er­ally a good pol­icy and takes power away from de­trac­tors. I’m not sug­gest­ing any­thing ex­treme such as risk your busi­ness se­crets around how you get a greater re­turn than your clos­est com­pe­ti­tion — but I’m talk­ing about show­ing your proof of sus­tain­abil­ity — es­pe­cially to the peo­ple you want as cus­tomers.

And If there is a farmer down the road strug­gling for ideas around how to im­prove their op­er­a­tion see­ing your work, and be­ing able to talk to you, could help them on their way to run­ning a far bet­ter busi­ness than what they were do­ing.

Fon­terra ran a suc­cess­ful se­ries of open days re­cently which went down a treat with the pub­lic.

Over 8000 peo­ple at­tended the na­tion­wide se­ries.

Peo­ple left happy, bet­ter in­formed and with some ice cream.

What a good way to help bring ev­ery­one along and to bring com­mu­ni­ties to­gether.

Farm open days help to show the wider pop­u­la­tion what farm­ing is about, Dar­ryl Jensen says.

Dar­ryl Jensen

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