The tension between the primary industries and the Government is palpable. With a long list of issues causing the friction (Three Waters, agriculture emissions pricing, winter grazing rules, blanket forestry solutions and access to migrant workers) – none of which is helped by Covid and the impending recession – we must not lose sight of the common goal.
While it’s important to acknowledge the immense stress all this is causing, it is important it doesn’t distract from the higher purpose of what these regulations are trying to solve.
The incoming election is a reminder that governments come and go, but land owners will remain if we can be trusted to care for the land and natural resources we own. There will always be a government, whose execution we may not agree with, but we can all agree the intended outcome of a sustainable country is a good one.
Taking a more proactive leadership role helps move you beyond the helpless overwhelm where we tend to contribute less because we lose hope and our sense of ownership and empowerment. At the highest level, we all want the same thing, and when the inevitable change of guard happens, farmers will still be growing food. The difference in how we do that is in our mindset. Regardless of who is in charge, the expectation to grow food sustainably and with the utmost of care for our animals and people will remain.
When it comes to the primary sector’s social licence, we must take a leadership role in being a part of the solution rather than the problem. It is the accountability, respect and inclusion of an industry that earns it trust, not protectionism or denial. It’s a privilege to operate, not a right, and if we can’t be a part of the solution, someone or something else will be.