Many readers will be glad to see this year, which seems like three in one, coming to an end. There was Covid-19, the election and renewed pressure on farmers by a Government intent on imposing unfair and unworkable freshwater rules.

Farmer-led water catchment groups around the country have been active. By growing membership and communicating more with urban counterparts, the groups are building strong communities.

Some groups have been able to secure taxpayer funds from the Government. Pomahaka in West Otago secured $3.6 million this year. Wai (Water Action Initiative) Wanaka is the merger of two catchment groups that has taken a whole-of-community and science-backed approach. Wai Wanaka gained $385,000 of funding.

For some farmers, just being in a group and talking to other people has made them feel less powerless.

There is hope of greater support from outside farming as Covid reminded fellow Kiwis how important farmers are for food and export receipts.

During a chat with one of our columnists, Damien O’Connor openly admitted he had stuffed up by allowing the legislation to go through. He said without doubt there will be changes to what really are nonsensical arbitrary rules and dates, without science to back any of it up.

It’s been a tough year for strong wool growers. Initiatives and products for strong wool are better late than never, but the road to hell is paved with failed attempts.

Wools of New Zealand are trying to capture more of the retail price by having its wool made offshore into carpets to sell here and match synthetic prices and specifications. Price is a big killer of wool carpet sales and having a cheaper, but well-made carpet should sell well. Selling domestically seems unlikely to have a major impact on farmgate prices. International sales would, and the carpets wouldn’t have to be shipped to New Zealand. Shipping wool back and forth can’t be good for our carbon footprint.

Even without Covid and the Government’s looney rules, it would still have been a challenging year for many with weather and health, both physically and mentally. This year we lost some more farmers to suicide, some who had featured in Country-Wide.

For me it was another brain tumour in July, the third in three years along with several tumours in my body. Only one remains in the body which is being treated by a chemo drug. So while it has been a difficult year I was grateful to live through it.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Thank you for your support and hope you, like me, are looking forward to ripping into 2021.