There are so many advancements in agriculture in this country, it’s our biggest earner and yet we are woefully short of people wanting to enter this amazing industry. Genetics, software, farm management systems, mechanisation, harvesting, processing, logistics, customer engagement and marketing. Each of these have advanced dramatically and there is so much happening, so why does our weekly showcase of the industry (Country Calendar) consistently choose human interest and lifestyle type articles that, with respect, fail to do the industry justice. Here’s the last 7 episodes as described by TVNZ…
- Go Girls: When injury threatened a Whanganui womans future on her farm, a female neighbour stepped in to help. Now the two have started a new venture giving others a taste of back-country life.
- A Northland fisherman works the tides of the historic Kaipara Harbour in his small boat, catching flounder for export and for the locals in his community.
- A Southland couple propagate ancient apple varieties brought to the region by early settlers. And they’ve converted a once-barren hectare of land into a lush forest of food.
- An 11-year-old boy strives to achieve the top award in his chosen field of showing cattle a red ribbon at the Auckland Easter Show.
- A wine-maker creates fine wine on one of Marlboroughs most prized parcels of land, while his daughters get hands-on, learning the ropes in the family business.
- The tutors loves their jobs teaching young people agriculture skills on a marae-based training course near Ohakune and it gives the youngsters a chance to follow their dream of working on the land.
- On a Marlborough almond orchard, a couple see their hard work blossom into sought-after nuts, and their engineering skills have created many labour-saving machines to improve production.
Each of these are wonderful stories and have a place, though I don’t watch them because the content is not (in my opinion) substantive. The content seems to suggest our rural communities comprise a bunch of lifestylers who supply local farmers markets. BUT it rates exceptionally well, it’s just a shame it gives a skewed impression of what the industry is really like. Such a marvellous opportunity to showcase the industry as it really is to a wider population who are becoming more and more disconnected.
Ratings will win but I feel better having said it.