Thursday, 31 December 2020 14:55

Editorial: Roll on 2021!

Written by  Staff Reporters
Farmers stepped up in 2020 amidst lockdowns. Farmers stepped up in 2020 amidst lockdowns.

OPINION: There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year for New Zealand and the world.

However, despite this, our country’s farmers have soldiered on doing what they do best – farming!

The country’s farmers stepped up during the lockdown, as an important part of New Zealand’s essential services, adapted quickly and kept on farming despite the constraints.

If there is one good thing to come out of Covid-19, it has further emphasised the vitally important role that the agriculture sector plays in NZ. At a time when other major sectors have been adversely affected, farming is playing – and continues to play – an increasingly vital role as a source of income and employment for the country.

In a normal year, farming’s fortunes are always at the mercy of factors that farmers cannot control – the weather, commodity prices and exchange rates to name but three. However, 2020 saw the global pandemic that is Covid-19 cause major disruption throughout the world.

Yet despite this major challenge, New Zealand’s farmers – and the wider agribusiness sector – stood up, adapted and carried on. How the NZ public perceives farming – which has not always been positive – benefitted from this attitude and has led to a much needed lift in public perception and understanding of the agriculture sector and its importance to the nation.

As 2020 winds down and we head into 2021, farming will continue to face challenges. Farming sustainably – be that in improving water quality, mitigating emissions or how animals are treated – is becoming more and more important.

But such changes cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach or ideas dreamt up in the cloistered rooms of the Wellington bureaucracy and government.  It is vital for farmers and the country that practical solutions are developed and introduced that maintain profitability and make progress.

Government and bureaucrats need to work closely with farmers to support on-farm changes and develop practical regulations. Making environmental improvements while running a profitable business is where real progress will happen.

As we look ahead to Christmas and New Year, farmers can take pride in the achievements and resilience they displayed in 2020. They should take the opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends and recharge as they head into 2021.

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