Happy new year New Zealand!

Here's hoping it's a more prosperous one for many farmers. I have no doubt, despite the recent blip in the Global Dairy Trade auction, cow cockies will enjoy a much better 2017 than 2016. They will need it.

And the good news for sheep farmers is my 2016 Ag Person of the Year, ASB rural economist Nathan Penny, is picking better returns for lamb producers. They will need it.

A new year is also a time for reflection but more importantly, a time for resolute resolutions and goal setting. It's never too late to set goals because without dreams and aspirations, what's the point of life?


Recently, during a period of soul searching with my good friend Google, I had occasion to visit the Statistics New Zealand website where I was able to find out, statistically, how long I was likely to live.

Assuming I fall into the medium death rate category, I can expect to live until I am 86.2 years of age. As I'm currently 57.3 years old, the math on my mortality is nice and neat, just the way I like things. I am almost, to the day, two thirds of the way through my life.

All of which made me do a bit of stock take of my time upon this mortal coil. If I was to kick the bucket tomorrow what would be left on my bucket list? I'm sure you've all done the same in your heads, even if you haven't written it down or verbalised it to your nearest and dearest.

Being an All Black was reluctantly crossed of the bucket list 30 years ago. I still hold a forlorn hope of shooting par on a golf course, though in reality it would probably have to be flat, tree-less, water-less and sand-less piece of real estate.

I haven't given up hope of walking the length of New Zealand with my old mate Dick Tayler in aid of charity and the sadist in me would love to run a marathon at 60.

Following the untimely passing a great mate of mine in 2011, I was inspired to do my bucket list world tour in 2013, lest the same fate befell me. Only the Great Pyramids of Cairo, courtesy of the Arab Spring, eluded us. Other than that I've been lucky enough to tick most of the boxes.

So what's left to do? See an NBA game, hopefully Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Watch an NFL game, the Dallas Cowboys would do. Take in some jazz and jambalaya in New Orleans. Cruise the mighty Mississippi in a paddle steamer. Visit the Houston Space Centre.

See Elvis Presley's Graceland home in Memphis. Go to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Taste bourbon from the Jim Beam distillery in Lexington Kentucky, bluegrass country and the home of the world's thoroughbred industry.

See a Texas cattle ranch, a mid-west cropping farm and experience a Mississippi cotton-picking delta town where there's one dusty street to walk up and down.

And I can promise you, from personal experience, you'd love a day in Dallas on the JFK Assassination Trail. More conspiracy theories abound there than at a Green Party dairy division meeting!

Throw in a pilgrimage to the Muhammad Ali Centre in Louisville, also home to the Kentucky Derby and you have a trip that could fill three buckets.

An old mate of mine, when I walked jealously past him in the Business class section on a flight to Johannesburg on our 2014 Farming and Footy Tour to South Africa, told me if you don't fly Business your kids will fly First Class! He's right. How many of you are two thirds, or more, of the way through your life? It's time to push the boat out at your kids' expense.

Go on! The dairy payout is on the up. Pollyanna Penny has promised improved returns for lamb and it's small change for kiwifruit growers.

Drop me an e-mail if you're keen to join us in November. Besides if you're a farmer or in the farm servicing industry Bill English will pay some of it for you!

Finally, speaking of Dipton's most famous son, a lot of water has crossed under the bridge since I last appeared in this paper on Monday, December 12.

Trainspotters will realise that was the day Bill English became our 39th Prime Minister.

Way back in May 2002 I paid the pricey sum of $300 at a charity auction for some of Bill's artwork - a piece entitled 'Global Warming in Gore' - thinking that the then Leader of the Opposition would surely soon be PM.

It's been a long wait but maybe my painting might be finally worth something after all.