The actual quote was “So, in the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option: I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.”

The quote is from the book, The Martian, and was made famous by Matt Damon who played the lead role in the movie The Martian – when he managed to keep himself alive and eventually make it back to Earth after being left behind on Mars by the landing crew who thought he had died when a huge storm hit the planet.

This year, 2020, has been crazy, with the Covid-19 pandemic landing on top of the world-wide climate change hysteria and it’s easy to get demoralised about the future.

But huge problems have been solved in the past and will be in the future by science – by investigating why things happen and understanding how to change the outcomes.

It’s as difficult and as simple as that. In our hot science issue we look at some of the great science going on in New Zealand to help solve some of our difficult issues – the leaching of nitrogen through soils, the problems of dairy farming under new wintering rules, farming under an N cap, and of dairying in a variable climate.

It’s important to not be too stressed about the new regulations and to try not to be too negative, says Keri Johnston, who has worked in environmental regulation for 20 years (pg 62). She says not one single process she has been involved with has got it perfectly right the first time, but regardless, you do what you can, and implement what you can – you are the most innovative farmers in the world!

She has some pretty stern words for the rural media too – saying negativity on our part just contributes to poor mental health outcomes for farmers. On the mental health side, our wellness writer Harriet Bremner says it’s important to prioritise health and wellbeing – and taking time to exercise and eat healthily contribute to both (pg 76).

Make that your resolution for 2021!

WINNERS AND GRINNERS: Congratulations are in order for Dairy Exporter writer Anne Lee for winning both the DairyNZ Dairy Writing Award and the Rural Women’s Connectivity Award, and to the team for coming Runner-Up in the Rongo Award for Excellence in Agricultural Journalism 2020 at the Guild of Agri Journalists Awards. The Dairy Exporter was also Highly Commended for Best Trade Magazine at the 2020 Magazine Media Awards.

Jackie Harrigan