Keeping You

Farming: Staying connected

20 Mar 2018

Did you catch the open letter to Kiwi farmers penned by Matt Shirtcliffe, a latte-sipping Aucklander, a while back? It was aired on TV One on 29 December 2017. His letter went viral at the time.

I have only just read it. I guess it would have been easy to miss coming between Christmas and New Year.

Matt was stimulated to write the letter by recent suicides of young farmers and Matt, who lost his wife to suicide two years before, wanted to tell farmers that their lives were worth a lot more than their farm ever would be.

“So, I want to say thank you to the farmers like you who do a bloody hard job. No matter how tough it gets for you out there, please remember that even if you start to feel worthless, your life is a very precious thing. It’s worth much more than your farm ever will be,” Matt wrote.

The reference to the suicides of farmers drew me to the story but there was another message that came through in the article and the subsequent discussion with Matt that I really wanted to talk about here.

Matt wanted to bridge the gap between city and country by reminding city folk that they needed to appreciate the hard work and skill of farmers, day in, day out, producing their milk, cream, meat, grains and vegetables. “Of course, we never stop and thank you,” penned Matt. I guess he was saying that we all take farmers for granted, and sometimes we need to stop and acknowledge the people who produce our food and the amazing work they do.

What I am only just beginning to appreciate in my on-going curiosity of all things farming, is the stress and pressure that goes along with the job of farming. There are so many things that farmers can’t control. They are so immersed in the farm. It must be hard to let it go, to get away, to drop it when they’re exhausted and … go home for a break and come back the next day, refreshed, like I can.

The article finished with the quote of the year which I am sure was aimed at fellow Aucklanders, “It’s important to stay connected to where your food comes from.” 

Which is surely the future of farming.

Keep asking great questions …


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