Agribusiness has been the shining star of the Covid-19 crisis — a "hero" sector even.
Other key export sectors such as tourism and international education came under enormous pressure as much of New Zealand was forced into lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even Air New Zealand — the nation's flag carrier — has had to clip its wings.
But Agribusiness — the nation's largest sector — has kept pumping.
It's not too much of a stretch to say it became the beating heart of the New Zealand economy.
This is not to denigrate the work of all those other New Zealanders in 'essential industries' like the supermarket workers, bus drivers, hospital frontline staff, cleaners and more who kept turning up to work each day while the rest of us became part of that collective SAH acronym — Stay at Home.
But people also have to eat.
The sector frequently gets a bum rap. It is caught in a vortex where the pressures wrought by climate change policies have forced considerable change on farm. These changes are tough. Particularly in dairy.
But the sector should be heartened. Covid-19 did not impact on Fonterra's bottom line. The country's biggest company managed safely through the crisis and its international customers were satisfied.
Zespri also did well — as did a range of horticultural producers. Meat producers proved resilient.
Forestry was impacted by the shutdown on wharves in China. Lobster exporters also faced a tough time. But Government agencies got behind the sector and worked intensively in-market to keep export lanes open. So too, Cabinet Ministers like Damien O'Connor and David Parker in their respective portfolios — agriculture and trade.
In the Herald's 2020 Agribusiness report we canvass the impact of the pandemic on the Agribusiness sector.
There's plenty more besides.
Particularly, the rise of bold female agribusiness entrepreneurs like Miro's Liz Te Amo and Okuora's Maury Leyland who are a mark of how the sector is changing. Couple that with the steady encroachment of women into the top preserves of farm lobbying organisations and life on farm just isn't the same.
Agribusiness and its part in New Zealand's economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis will be a story for months — if not years — to come.
A mark of how much things have changed is that Ian Proudfoot's signal KPMG Agribusiness Agenda will be unveiled at a webinar next Tuesday morning.
In recent years, the KPMG Leaders' Breakfast has been a "must". It's where Agri CEOs, chairs, directors, political leaders, farming leaders, capital providers, producers, Māori Leaders and invited commentators descend on Mystery Creek as dawn breaks to mull over the latest trends and issues to impact New Zealand's largest business sector.
Another first is that Fieldays itself — which is usually billed as the largest agricultural show in the Southern Hemisphere — will for the first time in its 52-year history be held online. Virtual Fieldays will run from July 13-26 instead of the usual four days in June. NZME, publisher of the Herald is media partner.
The programme includes digital exhibitors, presenters and all the usual Fieldays deals and entertainment, but in a virtual framework
The Covid-19 crisis also marked a pause in the production of the Herald's Business Reports Series.
But after a three months break, the Herald Business reports team is pleased to be back producing high-quality premium reports like today's Agribusiness report, the upcoming Capital Markets report and the Mood of the Boardroom Election CEOs Survey.
It's been an absolute pleasure for the team to report on New Zealand Agribusiness this year. The optimism and innovation has been palpable.
Let's hope it rubs off across the economy.