Sharemilker Mark Chamberlain believes farmers will fail in their fight against oppressive legislation like the freshwater rules unless they become united.

Great expectations suit me just fine. It is just that other people always expect greater. Life being a humble sharemilker is no walk in the park. At times, having a social standing in the community slightly better than a used car salesman or being treated by some as a chattel to the farm.

We also have a daily appraisal system that is shared with the farm owner, called the milk docket. It contains a lot of information along with month-to-date and season-to-date tallies of production. The season is, every day, being compared to the previous, which is by now well and truly in the rear vision mirror. So after two consecutive record seasons on this farm, expectations from some are for a third.

This season, yet again, got off to a horrible start. A lethargic mating last season coupled with the use of sexed semen (lower conception rate) and horrendous weather thrown in just when the herd was ramping up; has got us on the back foot.

The snow of late September was like nothing I have seen before; severe icy winds with a good dump of snow resulting in a wind chill factor that would rival my wife’s frostiest stare, the morning after a big night out.

The herd’s peak milk turning up a week late in the first week of mating, just goes to show that the girls have spent too many days standing in the corners of paddocks, sheltering from the cold.

We do our best to care for them, they just had other priorities for a few days and production is not one of them. As we all know, it is not over till it is over and things are on the up, so fingers crossed.

At present, I have little to no expectations of anything great from the intellectual vacuum that exists in Wellington. Great leaders (or any of substance) should look to unite the country after an election, come together and heal. Unfortunately, with the freshwater legislation, we are being constantly told to heel.

In a time when minority groups are getting more and more say and are imposing their will, farmers have themselves become a minority group – with little say. Our levy bodies are, at times, siloed and not singing from the same hymn sheet. I know the leadership of these bodies must walk a fine line but at times, they are softer than Liberace in the Playboy mansion.

I am getting the impression that, at times, Beef and (mint) Lamb are trying to throw us dairy farmers under the proverbial bus with the clever old, “look over there, there’s nothing to see here” tactic. Or that is the perception anyway which can sometimes, as you know, be reality.

“I know the leadership of these bodies must walk a fine line but at times they are softer than Liberace in the Playboy mansion.”

Recently I have ticked two items off the bucket list. I have turned into quite the activist. Before the election I attended a tractor protest rally in Gore in, wait for it, an unregistered tractor. It was quite heartening to see the local shoppers treating it much like a Santa Parade, coming out on to the street to wave and cheer. On a side note, the most common tractor was either red or green… The irony was not lost on me.

Just last night I attended the Agricultural Action Group meeting at a local hall. A lot of protest ideas were discussed, a couple that Guy Fawkes would be proud of. You can say what you like about some peoples’ political views, at least this group is doing something – which is better than nothing.

Ultimately, we will fail in our fight as farmers – because we are not united. Down here, the winter grazing prices that are being bandied about are laughable. It smacks of opportunism and greed. We will fail.

And that just leaves the fish-heads sitting around a table deciding our future. And for that, my expectations… are not so great.