Kiwis are beginning to see farmers in a new light after lockdown, research shows.
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There is a shortfall of at least 1000 employees for the new dairy season. Photo credit: Getty

Figures from UMR Research show 63 per cent of New Zealanders hold a positive view of sheep and beef farming, an increase of 9 per cent compared to just eight months ago.

Support for dairy farmers has also jumped, rising from 51 per cent to 60 per cent.

Horticulture tops the list with a positive rating of 65 per cent, while ratings for fisheries have clicked over into majority positive territory at 53 per cent, up from 47 per cent.

The reasons given for increased positivity included farmers being an essential industry to New Zealand and supporting the economy with jobs and exports.

Farmers’ willingness to work through the pandemic and their efficient and high-quality food production were also factors.

Marc Elliott, director of rural research at UMR said the research appeared to show that, in a time of crisis, New Zealanders were more clearly seeing the critical importance of their food-producing sectors

“This should be a small shot in the arm for pastoral farmers who are facing droughts, along with looming regulations and long-term uncertainty in the markets,” he said.

“I keep hearing from farmers that one of their main challenges is negative public perception. While there are pockets of hostility towards our farmers, there is also a growing wave of warmth.

“When times are good critical aspects of our economy can be taken for granted, however in the current crisis our food producers appear to be receiving the extra credit they deserve”.

A farmer’s life is always busy, but when you add in looking after the family and a sideline business as an artificial breeding (AB) technician, with a run that is spread out over many kilometres, it can become a balancing act.

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