A growing number of people in this country don’t appreciate who is growing their food and the country’s income.

Instead they latch on to crazy ideas which keep getting legs in the urban media. Often they are socialist, theory-based from the Left who lost the economic and political debate who now lurk in the education and environmental sectors. They try to turn irrigation, production and profit into dirty words.

Yet the idealists haven’t experienced a food shortage, true hunger.

From overseas comes the weird idea of a global tax on red meat. It was proposed by an Oxford university research team led by a supporter of veganism. The Eat-Lancet Commission report claimed it could reverse climate change by drastically reducing meat, dairy and sugar consumption. Yeah right.

Why pick on farming? Why not other areas such as transport or cities?

Better to focus on areas such obesity, smoking and alcohol drinking.

In this issue we catch up with top operators Rob and Karen Newman who were Gisborne Farmers of the Year back in 2014. They haven’t rested on their laurels, always tweaking their business especially focusing on improving production on each hectare while watching costs closely. After a development programme they are expecting to earn an economic farm surplus of more than $1000/ha.

We say goodbye to home block columnist Dan Shand who has decided to make this issue his last column and focus on other challenges such as sailing in the Sydney-Hobart yacht race at the end of this year. In an ever-shrinking world, communication-wise, having no cellphone reception may be a good tourist attraction. Shand says given the speed of the Government’s support of rural infrastructure development, NZ farms may be a mecca.

Fellow home block columnist Chris Biddles agrees with changing the summer holidays to February. Before his kids went to school they always had a week’s holiday in February as it was the hottest month. But he is grumpy at commentators blaming global warming on real time summer in late January and February.

They make out that it is new that the hottest part of the summer is in late January and February, it has always been that way. Just another chance to bash farmers.