This year has been a tough one for all Kiwis and New Zealand's rural community was no exception.
The agricultural sector faced challenges in 2021 but there were also successes to celebrate.
The Country's top 10 articles of the year reflect those highs and lows, with an interesting mix of political and business stories, along with a couple of animal tales as well.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Groundswell NZ's Howl of a Protest featured in a few of these articles, with one farmer's ode to the event taking out the top spot for 2021.
Here are The Country's top 10 articles of 2021
The Golden Goose: Farmer's poem for Jacinda Ardern
The top story of the year was inspired by Groundswell NZ's Howl of a Protest, along with concern over government regulations on the rural sector.
East Coast farmer and bush poet Graeme Williams put pen to paper in a plea to Jacinda Ardern to look out for farmers. He shared his poem, The Golden Goose, with The Country in July.
Read all about it: The Golden Goose: Farmer's poem for Jacinda Ardern
Super-size your urban ute: Climate change, macho advertising and why the farmers are right
Coming in at number two was this article that looked into how aggressive marketing had driven the rise of the double-cab ute on New Zealand streets.
This was also published in July, hot on the heels of the "ute tax" debate which sparked the Howl of a Protest.
Why farmers protested in NZ towns and cities
The third top story of the year also focused on Groundswell NZ's Howl of a Protest.
Balclutha dairy stock agent Shelley Krieger was inspired to write the following post on Facebook, to explain why rural people took to the streets.
Read all about it: Opinion: Why farmers protested in NZ towns and cities
Study finds most New Zealanders still eat meat
Number four concerned a study that found about 94 per cent of New Zealanders still eat meat, while 86 per cent ate an unrestricted meat-based diet - and just under 6 per cent were vegetarian or vegan.
Read all about it: Study finds most New Zealanders still eat meat
Harvest begins at New Zealand's largest cannabis crop
Rounding out the top five stories of the year was this article about the Macfarlane's farm Winterhome, on the coast of Kēkerengū north of Kaikōura.
Sank Macfarlane spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about how tens of thousands of cannabis plants were being picked as harvest began at New Zealand's largest commercial medical cannabis crop in April this year.
Read all about it: Harvest begins at New Zealand's largest cannabis crop
Winston Peters says John Key is right about Covid response
Number six on the list contained the powerful political combination of Winston Peters and Sir John Key.
In September the New Zealand First Leader told The Country's Jamie Mackay he agreed with the former Prime Minister's assessment of the Government's Covid response.
Key had called New Zealand a "smug hermit kingdom" and compared the lockdown approach to North Korea.
"He's not wrong in doing that. The reality is that we've got a massive economic crisis on our hands," Peters said.
Read all about it: Winston Peters says John Key is right about Covid response
Far North farmer fits GPS collar on feral dog attacking stock
Coming in at number seven was this article about a Northland farmer's innovative response to a tragic problem.
In July, feral dogs killed more than 100 stock on the Nilssons' sheep and beef farm just south of Cape Rēinga.
In September, Anne-Marie Nilsson caught one of those dogs and fitted it with a GPS collar to track its movements.
Read all about it: Far North farmer fits GPS collar on feral dog attacking stock
Oamaru Vet pulls out all the stops to save '50k' calf
The eighth most popular story of the year is this heart-warming tale of Oamaru vet George Smith and the lengths he went to to save a calf that was possibly worth $50,000.
In his fifth year out of Massey University, Smith admitted the calf was probably one of his most exciting and rewarding bovine patients.
Read all about it: Oamaru Vet pulls out all the stops to save '50k' calf
Shock leap in Global Dairy Trade auction overnight
There was more good news in the ninth top article of 2021 about a huge leap in the Global Dairy Trade auction in March.
Prices across the board jumped an incredible 15.0 per cent to an average US$4231/MT.
Read all about it here: Shock leap in Global Dairy Trade auction overnight
Jacinda Ardern on Groundswell, Barry Soper and press conference issues
Another political article rounds out the top 10 with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's interview on The Country.
Ardern dismissed claims she'd only met with agricultural leaders three times in 2021, before addressing why she hadn't met with Groundswell NZ.
She also discussed supposed journalist favouritism at her press conferences and told Jamie Mackay's his line of questioning about it was "inane".
Read all about it: Jacinda Ardern on Groundswell, Barry Soper and press conference issues
So there you have it, The Country's top 10 articles of 2021. Thanks for tuning in this year. The team will be back on January 17, 2022. Have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.