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Just add more?

By Malcom Campbell.

Some significant news and developments have taken place in the last couple of weeks, and it is necessary to stitch them together to illustrate that not all is well out in the real world.

In another widely distributed weekly paper in our region, there is a timely item on ‘wellbeing - particularly on the farm’. ACC paid out $96,000,000 for 22,631 accepted injury claims in the last year. That is a very large sum of money paid out because of injuries, probably mostly avoidable.

The related statistics indicated that 220,000 people were employed directly on the land or generally about one in twenty of the population, give or take a small number one way or the other. Further the figures show, that one in ten farmers were injured seriously enough to warrant a claim made to ACC. The ‘news item’ also says that 58% of those injured, linked the injury to stress, lack of sleep, exhaustion and isolation from friends and family.

Still within this news item, the writer does credit agriculture as the basis of our export earnings. It also says that further support and aid is required and that this work is being led by The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

Now some further information from research carried out by Massey University, showed that chief executives in a variety of industries had a 30% chance of burnout, while hospitality workers had a 20% chance of burnout. But wait for it, farmers had a 70% chance of burnout, well over twice any other sector subject to stress.

To relieve stress - more certification: As a generalisation, the news item adds that this has been a very difficult year and farmers should think carefully about their actions - what could go wrong - take time to think, with a view to preventing accidents. There is an old expression which sums it up, ‘take time to smell the roses. Having Ministry of Primary Industries leading the salvation for farmers is hard to digest at the best of times.

All of the above paints a not too rosy picture. But if farmers only relaxed a little more, everyday actions could be carried out with greater safety. Now having talked these farmers into relaxing, the following page in the same newspaper is devoted entirely to freshwater farm plans and getting ‘certified’. Does that mean the farmer is not only stressed out, but now has to have certified freshwater farm plans?

It seems a little strange that the only not so good water in New Zealand comes from farms. There are umpteen more vehicles in the urban areas than on farms shedding rubber containing cadmium, dripping oil (some of them will) and there are a multitude of industries using chemicals for a multitude of manufacturing activities.

Hardly a wellbeing solution: However, there are also a lot more votes to be counted in the urban areas and it is important to keep most of the public on side, by demonstrating that ‘The authorities’ are serious about cleaning up the environment at minimal cost to the majority. So, these stressed-out farmers who now have to be certified, will be required to come up with a plan as to how they are going to cleanse the water. The result of all this clobbering is demonstrated in simple terms in the same newspaper further on - only the authorities are unaware of their actions.

In the same newspaper in the Real Estate section, a ‘gem’ of a property is listed ‘For Sale’. The agents say it is the opportunity of a lifetime or words to that effect. Why on earth would the lucky owners sell such a gem? Well, that’s because they are off to Australia, missing out on all this freshwater planning and possible certification. Actions speak louder than words.

Note. Assure Quality is authorised by Ministry of Primary Industries to carry out the Certification of Farm Fresh Water Plans. MPI is clearly adding stress to the already stressed.

Personal Note: We have been on this farm now getting close to 20 years and this has been the most difficult winter in that time. Another farmer we know of has a piggery and they are going to be prosecuted for spilling effluent. They have had two metres of rain or more already this year, the same as we have. How on earth is prosecution helping these people? They are supposed to contain their effluent in holding ponds and spread it when conditions are drier. But the good Lord put two metres of water in the holding ponds. Nobody has yet been able to put liquid into a heap except the wind at sea and the heaps don’t last.

Malcolm C.

Caption: Malcom and his plane.


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