Farming NZ Inc is alive and well and keeping the country afloat.
With tourism gone for the time being farmers are left to shoulder the burden of earning overseas funds for the whole country.
Food production and food production infrastructure are essential services and open for business despite the Covid-19 shutdown.
Without agricultural exports right now, paying for essential imports like drugs and medical equipment, petrol and IT components (think about how you paid for your iPhone and who really paid for it) New Zealand would be in a much worse state right now and in the future.
I spoke with Tim Dunn, the rural accounting Partner at our sister firm, Polson Higgs here in Dunedin about how his rural clients were dealing with the shutdown:
"All in all, farmers are not going to see the massive disruption some of our commercial clients are having to deal with at the moment with many city-based businesses shut down for an indefinite period.
"Our rural clients are pleased to be acknowledged as an essential service to the economy and I can see this helping to restore some pride for farmers as their true value to the nation becomes more apparent to many.
"Hopefully dairy demand out of China will recover quicker than expected. The signs are promising. There are concerns around getting stock taken by the works and keeping stock fed and farmers are working through this currently.
"Perhaps this is a chance for the regulators to slow down and listen to the real concerns farmers have around some of the regulations being pushed through, i.e. freshwater policies and emissions. There are pragmatic ways of achieving the same end results without throwing the baby out with the bathwater."
Thank you, Tim, and all the best helping your town-based clients through this while farmers keep doing what they always do, feeding the nation as well as another 40 million people around the world.
We owe our farmers this one.
Keep asking great questions ...