Before Federated Farmers farewells 2020, it wants to salute and thank some generally unsung heroes.
“We all got used to talking about clusters of infection with Covid-19, but in another sense that word cluster is somewhat apt for the entire year,” Feds President Andrew Hoggard says.
“It could have been a lot worse for our export-earning primary industries were it not for the dedication and doggedness of a large number of people in supporting services.
First up, Federated Farmers thanks the truckies, milk tanker drivers and others in the freight industry for working through the roller-coaster of alert levels to keep supplies coming to farms, and produce getting on the road to markets.
“These men and women work long hours in any year, never mind one where a pandemic puts in place all sorts of speed bumps and road blocks,” Andrew said.
Another set of ‘good bastards’ for farmers were the staff of the meat and dairy processing plants around the country.
“When the pandemic restrictions and drought-spurred processing bottlenecks threatened severe disruption, these men and women looked for and found solutions to keep the chains ticking over efficiently.”
Hats off to the service technicians, the tractor mechanics, the dairy shed technicians, the electricians, the water pump mechanics and the shearers and shedhands.
“All of them adapted to the Covid situation and continued to provide the services we needed to keep our farms running.”
Veterinarians, too, stepped up in the face of all sorts of difficulties and constrains, Andrew said.
“New Zealand farmers are proud to maintain some of the best animal welfare credentials in the world, and vets play a big role in helping us achieve that.”
Farmers also raise a glass to the nurses, doctors and pharmacists who have had a very trying 2020 – especially those who solider on in the harder-to-staff rural areas.
“A special thanks to firefighters – professionals and volunteers. We should never underestimate the incredible effort the fieries put in to get property blazes under control, often working through the night. These men and women are literally life-savers.”
Farmers also want to thank our trade negotiators, for getting the RCEP deal across the line, and fighting the good fight against counter-productive protectionism that put our producers – and therefore New Zealand’s standards of living – at disadvantage in the international marketplace.
Thanks to the team at MPI who worked hard behind the scenes to help all these services to continue.
“It’s been a year in which many people have come to a greater understanding of our farmers’ role in food security, putting quality produce on the plates of New Zealanders and 35 million other people around the world,” Andrew said.
“To all of you, and to any others I have missed, who helped us continue to do that in 2020, Federated Farmers wishes you a Merry Christmas and a happy and safe holiday season.”