It is probably a good time to be flagging the job, as the challenges facing farming continue to grow, but I have enjoyed the years I have filled the role, and am grateful for opportunities it has provided.

I have written what will hopefully be my final report as Federated Farmers' Meat and Wool chairman.

It is probably a good time to be flagging the job, as the challenges facing farming continue to grow, but I have enjoyed the years I have filled the role, and am grateful for opportunities it has provided.

It has been a challenging year in many ways.

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Generally Northland had a slow and wet spring, and just when it looked like things were turning a corner at Christmas the rain stopped, and as of now still hasn't started again.
My creeks and dams are lower than they have ever been at this time of year, and I am not alone in this situation.

Prices for lamb have been good, and beef has hung in there, although store prices are down and the weaner fairs were disappointing for many vendors. I will not say anything about what is happening to wool prices.

Politically things have been even more challenging. I tend to be cynical about official processes, and sitting in on council and central government processes around district plans and national policy statements has in many ways entrenched those views.

What may seem to be good progress at consultation and hearing levels often seems to disappear in the final wash.

Additionally, even when things seem settled, challenges through the Environment Court seem to negate months or years of community-led process and leaves the decision in the hands of a judge.

Despite that, I am confident the lion-hearted efforts from many in Federated Farmers, and even my rather more feeble ones, have made a difference, even though it is sometimes more a case of things could have been a lot worse.

In the meantime I would like to thank everyone who I have met over the past few years, both in the North and the other regional chair,s and Feds staff.

Finally, Louise and the kids have put up with far more Federated Farmers business than they are interested in, and supported me being away from time to time.

I am looking forward to more time with my family.

I hope there is a bit more time for fishing with my son, and in the long term I hope I have done my bit to make the farm something he can be proud of rather than leaving him a poisoned chalice.