Hitting a significant birthday has got Dan Shand thinking about the future.

So we’ve made it to 40. My wife Mandy and I started working together 20 years ago and hitting this significant birthday has made us think about the future.

As the saying goes “Life begins at 40” so it’s time to make that a reality.

I’ve been writing columns for the Country-Wide for six years now and for someone who struggles with English, I can proudly tick that box off. I have decided to make this my last column so that I can focus on some other challenges. I have signed up to do the Sydney to Hobart yacht race at the end of the year and looking to go to the top of New Zealand the year after. Some may think this is some sort of mid-life crisis – and they might be right – but we just want to make sure we do a few of the things we want while we are still able to do so.

I wrote in a previous issue that we had put a date for change on the calendar, and with the beginning of 2019 bringing mixed results in our business, it would be easy to delay again.

Farming is great with lots of feed and great prices but the honey season is at the other end of the spectrum with low volumes, poor quality and an industry struggling to find its feet.

Personally, I get solace in the fact vegans have worked out that without farmed bees to pollinate fruit, vegetables and nuts they basically have nothing to eat.

Mandy and I have made our plan and like most of my budgets, they often end up a bit different to what was expected, but at least we have a plan.

Philosophically, I draw an analogy between life and that popular technological adage that states “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run”.

Our lives appear to be very similar as we tend to overestimate our ability to make progress in the short term but underestimate our progress in the long term.

Time have definitely changed since I started writing my columns. Last week my twelve-year-old daughter came home from her rural area school, where she is now studying digitech, and explained to me that they learned farmers, along with truck and taxi drivers, will not be required in the future. Not the kind of thing you expect to hear when you ask what you learnt at school today. But some rural leaders have also been questioning the relevance of meat and milk in the future. Personally, I get solace in the fact vegans have worked out that without farmed bees to pollinate fruit, vegetables and nuts they basically have nothing to eat. Even vegetarians around the world end up destroying biodiversity and killing many animal rodents and birds in order to eat their fresh natural products. So, if there was somewhere in the world to be a sheep and beef farmer NZ would be it because no matter how much people try, they will still have to eat something and natural will always win over synthetics.

One last thing before I sign off. Over the Christmas break going on holiday took on a whole new meaning. It has been more about not answering emails for a couple of days than actually going anywhere and my call for the future is this – having no reception will soon be a tourist attraction for people from all over the world. I once thought having no cell reception was a bad thing but as time progresses, I have realised it might be a farm asset. Given the speed of the government’s support of rural infrastructure development, we may be well placed to give the rest of the world a technology holiday on our farms. Ironic but true.