Quiet onfarm, frantic at finals

Hemp product marketing and home farm maintenance kept Blair Drysdale busy on his Balfour farm this winter, and then came the Young Farmer finals.

In Home Block5 Minutes

IT’S FAIR TO SAY THAT THIS winter has been just as confusing and chaotic as the politics of this country right now.

May was one hell of a wet month here with nearly 200mm of rain, which was great if you were a duck, but not for the livestock. Thankfully it was also a very mild month, which was great for late growth of both pasture and winter feed crops. Traditionally June is one of our wetter months, but so far this year it’s been our driest and coldest, with frosts 20 days out of 30 – not seen here since I was a kid. As I write this it’s July 16 and it’s been so mild, spring-like, and the grass is back growing again. So, it’s been a strange winter so far.

I’m not overly busy on the farm during winter and neither do I want to be when the other nine months are spent running around like a chook with its head cut off as I try to keep on top of everything. There are only 600 hoggets and 105 dairy heifers here grazing, along with 200 of our own breeding ewes all of which are on four-day breaks. Otherwise its maintenance of machinery, fencing and a few ongoing projects in the workshop. But by winter’s end I will have taken between 20 and 25 plane flights both here and abroad with our Hopefield Hemp business, speaking engagements, awards evenings, some personal development with the Rabobank EDP in Australia and a family holiday in Fiji. So still enough to keep us out of trouble and off the streets of Balfour.

Our son Fletcher and his teammates from Northern Southland College made it through to the Young Farmer Of The Year finals for the Agrikids section in Timaru. They didn’t win any gongs but did very well overall. It was a great experience for them and all the other teams to get a taste at an early age of what the competition is all about.

It was so good to see all three levels of the competition in action, with the agri-sports being the last event on the Friday so that everyone could watch. What a showcase of fierce competition, fortitude, skill, practical ability it was.

It was fitting that the person who showed the most willpower and a strength of mind to never give up won the overall title. A huge congratulations to Emma Poole not only for winning, but also for being the first woman to do so. She gave one of the best acceptance speeches I’ve heard for the competition. Her brother and prior winner Tim Dangen also gave a good speech before handing over the cloak of knowledge. A great message of positivity and progress in farming for this country.

Farming and food production have a very bright future ahead. There’s an ever-growing number of mouths to feed with a global population of eight billion people predicted to hit 10 billion by 2050. But not if we have another three years of a government pushing more regulation upon us: a government hell-bent on dividing the nation, that puts gangs before potholes, has both education and health systems in total disarray, and wants to tax its way to prosperity.

The only thing the Labour party is in it for is itself and that must be changed come October. Otherwise the exodus of talent will grow even bigger at an alarming rate and the deficit of skill sets in New Zealand will worsen.