As I get older I realise more and more that balance really is an important part of life.
Balance between work and family time/relaxation. The balance between income and expenditure. The balance between making a profit and paying back to community. The balance between industry growth and protecting the environment. The balance between the rich getting richer and growing inequality. The balance between speaking your mind and being polite and compassionate…
At a family get-together earlier in January a friend told me of his and his wife’s decision this year to work on being a lot kinder. Hardly unkind people in the past, they are astute farmers/businessowners and generous family people who nevertheless would not suffer fools. But I thought it was a great thing to consciously work on, to be kinder, to everyone.
Everyone walks a different path, with their own challenges, and you never know what might really touch someone else through you being kinder to them. And that incudes being kinder to yourself as well, part of finding more balance maybe?
Our special report this month was lots of fun to write and put together. We are covering diversification, on and off the farm (P55), and it’s great to come across so many cool stories of people developing farm and home-based industries – a dairying physio helping locals recover from cancer in her farm-based studio, others growing hemp and pumpkin seeds, providing accommodation, Mike Short on our cover developing a motocross track (P90), growing kiwifruit and avocadoes alongside dairy, and developing dairy farms offshore.
While many farmers look for more income from their side hustle, many others are also looking for a change, a new challenge and a way to give back to their community.
The Rosser family in Takaka are using farm forestry as a way of making their farm carbon-neutral in future
(P47). Alongside planting their steep sidings, they have bought a couple of extra blocks already planted and are well into harvesting some of the older blocks. Forestry is proving both a good diversification and a way of future-proofing their business for the Government’s Carbon Zero plans.
And our Milking Block columnist Canterbury contract milker James Davidson outlines how his diversification into a small organic herd supplying milk in glass bottles is coming along (P12).
Our condolences to the family and friends of John Wilson, a very hardworking Fonterra co-operative advocate and worker for the past 18 years, whose life was cut short by illness, robbing his family of his presence far too early.
Back to that question of balance again, you never know when your time will be up – make it as balanced as you can while you are here.

Jackie