Provinces have wrapped up their annual general meetings over the last few weeks. The following words were part of the address that Manawatu/Rangitikei President Murray Holdaway gave to his AGM. We thought they were well worth sharing wider….
Farming has not been for the faint-hearted in the last few years with uncertainty of the effects of poorly thought-out and drafted regulations, COVID and now the Ukraine war on top of the weather, markets, labour and other variables which we deal with on a regular basis.
It is, however, important to keep things in perspective so here are a couple of thoughts to keep in mind.
Firstly, despite the uncertainty we still live in a great little country with significant freedoms and things to enjoy compared to many other places around the world. Take time to look around and enjoy it.
Secondly, we are food producers. As insecurity and uncertainty increases around the world so too does the importance of having access to a reliable supply of safe food. This applies to individuals and countries.
Right now, there is no better business to be involved in than food production. As the reality of the uncertain economic future becomes more obvious more people are realising that we farmers and growers are not the environmental vandals that we have been portrayed as. We are in fact the key to the future prosperity of our great little country.
The perception of farmers and growers and the contribution we make to New Zealand’s overall wellbeing is improving by the day. We have always had the right to feel proud of what we do and now the door is opening for us to openly display that pride. We need to do just that, so farmers and growers – stand tall, be proud.
As for all those regulations that we talked about: I want to assure you all that Federated Farmers will continue to work to make them more sensible and workable so our farming businesses will be more viable.
Feds works on behalf of our members and rural communities, meaning even those who choose not to be members can still benefit. The influence that Feds has is not possible to measure but it is significant, and the impact of these regulations on our businesses and communities without Feds’ input doesn’t bear thinking about.
Because of the degree of complexity of these regulations farmers and growers need Federated Farmers more than ever and I am convinced the return members are getting for their membership at present is greater than any time in the past.
To be realistic, Feds will not be able to stop these regulations outright. Rather we will make them immeasurably better than they would have otherwise been without our input. So thank you for your continued support through membership because without it none of this would be possible. I encourage you to get more involved with Feds to give the organisation more energy and influence – attending meetings to tell us your thoughts and to hear details of the issues facing us is a valuable contribution.
The Manawatu/Rangitikei province has created a meeting structure where you can attend without fear of having to make any further commitment. I am confident that if you come along and get a better understanding of the work that is going on in Feds, you will see the value of supporting the organisation and become not just a proud farmer, but a proud Federated Farmer.