Hawke's Bay sheep and beef farmer Jeremy Rookes says it's no surprise farmer confidence has dropped if the Government's freshwater policy meetings are anything to go by.

Although Rookes was unable to make it to his local meeting, he told The Country's Jamie Mackay he'd heard reports many people who had attended left "more confused than when they went in".

He'd also heard that those running the meeting seemed a bit overwhelmed.

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"When they're confronted with stats and figures from farmers, they just don't really know what to do".

Rookes had a similar view of Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor, who said that the water policies would not affect most farmers on The Country earlier this week.

"He just assumes that it'll be right. He doesn't seem to have any concept of what potential upheaval and costs is involved".

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It wasn't just "fear of change" that was taking its toll on farmer confidence, said Rookes, it was uncertainty about the future.

"Farmers deal in facts. Everything we do every day has action consequence. So we know that whatever we do, or anything that goes wrong, we have to fix it immediately and we're good at that.

"But when you have a government that just wants to pile on all sorts of regulation on you - that's why confidence is down - because nobody knows what the hell is going on".