Last week saw the release of a survey showing that more New Zealanders have high regard for dairy farmers than are critical them. And this week DairyNZ has shared a letter expressing one family's view of those who milk cows for a living.
Auckland Mark Ellery wrote:
'I am just a normal, hard-working small business owner in Auckland, and I have some real concerns about the rural sector in this country.
"I am an architectural designer, an Aucklander, and generally a pen (or mouse) pusher. From me, as your average Kiwi, to every one of (DairyNZ's) farmers, I love them. They are the backbone, the guts and the legs that have kept this country going, and will for the next millennium.
"My apologies at how every farmer is being treated in this country. It is totally disrespectful to a core of our country, and I just feel so sick at the stress that is being placed on every man, woman and child in the rural sector.
"We are not all like that. In fact I think most good Kiwis love our rural brothers and sisters, and it hurts me to think they are hurting from the stress that is being placed on them.
"I had one man's stress on me. I can't imagine having the feeling the government and the country is against you. It is not. We love you all. Please keep going. Please keep being the people you are, the real Kiwis, and I promise the next time I am coming past a farm and see one of you out there I will stop and shake your hand and thank you for being you.'
Mark and the entire Ellery Family
DairyNZ's strategy and investment leader, Dr Jenny Jago, said it was important to acknowledge that while dairy farming could be a challenging and ever-changing job, it was also hugely rewarding too.
"Despite the everyday pressures of farming, dairy farmers are doing okay, and supporting each other through what are tough times for many," she said.
"Our farmers are busy ensuring the environment is protected and caring for their people and animals. Many of them are reporting that they feel stress, anxiety, fatigue, and even depression from time to time," she added however.
"Statistics for the past year show that almost one in five farmers has contacted someone for help with personal issues. That is a high number, but what's important is that they recognised their need for support and took action to get it."