OPINION: It’s a big week in the agri sector because it’s Fieldays week. Actually, by the time this is in print it will be all over and some of you may be suffering from shopper’s remorse.
I was reading an article the other day that predicted farmers will be opening their wallets this year because of the lift in milk price and commodity prices being stable.
The only thought that came to my mind was that if that prediction pans out then farmers have shorter memories than a woman who’s just given birth.
The predicted milk price for this season is just that… predicted! It is further from your bank account than next week’s Lotto winnings.
So how do we get the prediction to reality over the next 14 months and actually into our bank accounts? Keep supply and demand on an even keel, it’s that simple.
Those of you who have decided to buy in more feed, milk more cows so you produce more milk solids to make more money are the very people who will send the milk price plummeting.
We need our milk supply to be nice and steady. That will win the race and your bottom line will be better for it if you don’t flood the market with milk and run up hefty feed bills.
If you have spare money every month while the advance payment for milk is up, put it into debt reduction instead of buying new shiny things to keep up with Bob down the road who’s just updated his ute.
That way, if the payout doesn’t flop around like it did after the last high hype three years ago and the powers-that-be decide to do a clawback and not pay us for five months, your bank will see you through with your added equity and the show of good faith you demonstrated by putting them before the car dealership.
If everything goes swimmingly and the payout stays up and actually ends up in your account, that’s when you can go and get the shiny new ute or tractor.
There will be no new purchases here this year but we are getting a new grandbaby mid-December which will bring the total grandies to 10. With four more children in the stalls not old enough to spawn yet, God alone knows where our grandkid total will end up.
I always laugh when people say we don’t look old enough to be grandparents then they find out we have so many, that’s when the shock sets in. For us, we think how empty our lives would be without all the little people. The other day I said to a friend, “We don’t need to be Fonterra shareholders and suppliers to feel like we are a part of something big because we already are… it’s our family!”
Although our family is a bit disjointed in places, what with us being a blended family, even though it doesn’t blend very well because I’m the type to have honest and open conversations and others don’t like the truth getting in the way of their story.
I have never really talked about that part of our life, of being a step-parent, because it’s been one of the most disturbing roles I have ever had. They are a part of Geoff, so it’s not hard to worry about and care for them.
But there’s always an adult lurking with insecurities willing to make me their dumping ground. That’s okay, I always believe the truth comes out eventually.
I guess my daughters’ step-parents, Geoff being one of them, have benefited from me being a naturally happy-go-lucky person who is comfortable with who I am.
As a woman, a mother and an ex-wife it’s a very liberating place to be, not blaming anyone else for your own decisions and their consequences.
My eldest daughter Courtney had to learn that lesson very early after her fall from grace nearly three years ago when she ran off with a drug dealer – remember, I told you about that.
She played the blame game, tried to be the victim, but ultimately had to realise she was the only one responsible for the decisions she made.
With a few honest conversations from her ever-loving mother, your’s truly, and the love, laughter and genuine kindness and support of her new man William, she has come through wiser and more self-aware at 25 than some 40-year-olds I know.
She is back to being her old self with a wicked sense of humour and a level of honesty that makes me so proud of her.
At the end of the day, our family fall-outs, or any fall-out for that matter, should be measured by the ability to recover from them with honesty, respect and genuine care.
If you can do that then there is nothing you can’t bounce back from.
So that’s it from me. May you all have a fantastic season, great health and the ability to move forward through adversity.
May you women out there know strong women, be strong women and raise strong women. And you blokes, pray you are married to or are the fathers of those strong women.
And remember to laugh. Life is too short and none of us are getting out of here alive anyway!
Louise Giltrap is a Northland dairy farmer. She loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: LOUISE GILTRAP