Comment: Southland dairy farmer Suzanne Hanning's heartfelt Facebook post expressing her concerns about where farming is going in New Zealand has captured the attention of the rural community.
The post had been shared 2600 times so far, which wasn't a surprise to Hanning, of Bristol Grove Dairies Ltd, who reckoned farmers were fed up with environmental reforms from the government.
"It's all a bit disheartening. We're just a bit disillusioned really," she told The Country's Jamie Mackay.
"We simply can't meet the rules. We can't do it. And it's really frustrating."
"You're trying to do a good job and it's not even acknowledged."
Listen to the full interview here:
Read Hanning's Facebook post below:
I can't sleep
There's a few things on my mind.
I know farmers are supposed to be resilient and just get on with things, but I've been chewing over the new laws our government has just passed for a wee while now.
"She'll be right, we'll figure it out"...
I'm just thinking how we're going to get our baleage and silage harvested.
Our contractor shared a post that they can't get specialised machine operators into the country because they aren't considered important enough by our government. They haven't got enough skilled operators here and will probably have to park up machinery during harvest.
If we can't get our baleage and silage harvested in a timely fashion, we won't have enough food for our cows for the autumn and winter. The grass doesn't grow well in the autumn and winter.
We can always feed them crop ... except we can't. Not without breaking the law.
If we graze our cows on crop over the winter, the paddock can't have more then a 10 degree slope, we can't leave foot prints deeper then 5cm, and we must have it resown before the 1st of November, along with several other conditions.
If we can't meet these conditions, we have to apply for a resource consent. - which requires us to meet these conditions - but we can't ... our cows weigh nearly half a ton each. They're going to leave foot prints.
We could all grass winter ... but we would need a lot more silage and baleage ... which our contractor may not be able to harvest for us due to lack of skilled staff.
It would require us to use up more of the farm over winter, causing more damage to our pasture then if we were able to put in crops ...
Maybe we just don't worry about it, just get the crops in and carry on ... business as usual. But we'd be breaking the law ...
The worst thing I've ever done was get a speeding ticket on my way to see the midwife when I was pregnant with our second child - winter grazing is practically classed by our government as environmental terrorism.
... I'm just a farmer ... trying to grow good food for people who think I'm a greedy maniac, trying to destroy the world ...
We've worked so hard, these past years, to try to help change the face of dairy in NZ.
When we converted the farm from sheep to dairy cows, we were going to be the complete opposite of "Dirty Dairy".
Waterways fenced off, nutrient budgets, farm plans, the latest effluent management equipment, all, way before it was law.
Then, a couple years ago, when all this wasn't good enough, we upgraded again.
Spending more then six figures to make sure we were "future-proofed"
It's still not enough
How do we have free range cows that don't pee or leave footprints?
We can't build a barn, it's insanely expensive and our cows aren't really suited to standing on concrete for long periods. Besides - what part of free range says "housed in a barn"?
We can't sell the cows, this farm is mainly suited to pasture, not crops for humans. We can't sell the farm, it's been in the family for nearly 150 years. Besides, no one wants to go dairy farming ...
Lol, wonder why ...
During lockdown, farmers were considered an essential service provider, yet rarely got mentioned. Not that we were worried about it. It was nice to be left alone to get on with our job for a change ...
Minister Parker and Minister O'Connor said when they came out with this law that they consulted with farmers and we were "happy" with these new rules.
They lied, on both counts.
How did we get here?
How did we get to the point of having rules so outrageous, forced on us, that not even the top operators can figure out how to make it work?
They say it's to bring the "laggards" up to a better standard. We must be pretty bad then, because our cows leave footprints 5.5cm deep on worked soil after a rain, sometimes more!
But hey, "we're resilient, she'll be right. We'll figure it out."
I know I usually try to see the bright side of things.
I'm still farming's' biggest cheerleader, and I still back our farmers who try their best 100 per cent. But we're going to have to pull something out of the bag, team.
I just haven't worked it out ... yet...
I'm tired ...
Might have a glass of milk and try to sleep ...