We’re all tired with the constant ups and downs as 2022 throws fresh challenges at everyone, Trish Rankin writes.

As the season in Taranaki draws to a close, cows and humans are looking forward to a break. It has been an odd season here in the ‘Naki. That’s probably indicative of the season all around New Zealand.

It’s been a roller coaster year. Things start to be going well and then something comes along to make you rethink, replan or change your approach. Yes this is grass growth, weather, fertiliser costs and staffing challenges.

I think it is also more than those onfarm curve balls. It is, should I be looking to grow my business? Should I be looking to diversify? What level will the country be at? Should I go to a meeting or off-farm event which may increase my risk of catching Covid? Should my kids go to school when 20 of the kids in their class are off isolating…

It has been the year of ups and downs. Constant decision making and we are tired. We, being our family, but, I suspect it is most farming and rural families around the place too.

So what next? How do we move back towards feeling like we’re progressing and achieving our goals? As I write this we are taking a few days off farm. This is our first break away and off farm together as a family since… actually I don’t know. One of us has generally had to stay behind on the farms because of one challenge or another.

We know life happens in cycles. There are good times, there are bad times and there are times when you have to draw on your friends, networks and specialists to help keep moving forward and we have been so lucky to have so many good friends and such a great network to rely on over the last few months.

So to all the people out there reading this who have supported someone this year, thanks to you. Thanks to the sector bodies and member organisations who keep planning events even though you don’t know if you can run them. Thanks to the neighbours and friends who answer phone calls and be a listening ear. Thanks to the rural professionals who take phone calls at all hours of the day and evening and weekends!

For my own sanity and break off farm, I am lucky to have secured off-farm work as an Environmental Consultant with Landpro as well as doing some contracting work on one of my passions around improving rural waste outcomes and services for farmers.

It is also great to see Taranaki Catchment Communities have a number of events and really get their catchment group project moving at pace. These are the things that keep me excited about being a farmer and working in the primary food industry.

Most excitingly, I love being part of the Dairy Women’s Network tribe. Having been elected as chair of this fabulous organisation is such an important role.

It’s so important to have a voice in the sector for the women out there holding their families together, keeping the farm ticking along by milking, ensuring other work gets done, or trying to understand the regulatory change that is under way, while also trying to be a wife, mum and their own person too. It really is critical to our famers staying in farming. I hope everyone has some planned time off in the winter and if anyone has any other ideas on how to keep enjoying the roller coaster of farming, make contact and we could catch up over a coffee (or a wine!).