Listen to the music and take in the words, writes Northland sharemilker ‘Nilator’ McKenzie.
Do you remember the days of the old school yard, we used to laugh a lot by Cat Stevens? Music allows us to transcend to better light. In this column we use the words of music to discuss what is the underlining problem in the New Zealand dairy industry culture. Dare I say it’s capitalism. This is inspired by a great man Mark Bowen who recently passed age 39 from natural causes. Mark loved all sorts music. He was a mate to grow up with and you could always rely on him to be there for you, while quietly razing a little bit of hell.
“I wake up in the morning. I raise my weary head. I’ve got an old coat for a pillow and the earth as last night’s bed.” That’s what Bon Jovi said.
To the reader, before you continue on this journey called dairy farming I want to congratulate you on being successful, in one of hardest careers out there. Against all the odds. You are still getting up every day at 4am to harvest your white gold. Some of you will ride to work on an old AG100 and some of you will drive to work on the latest side-by-side.
As a generalisation we all think that we are too important to do the menial tasks. The sun is hot but if you are riding with your best mate it makes things a lot easier to share that load.
“Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away,” the legendary Kenny Rogers. Can you imagine if capital gains tax comes in. What would it mean to your business? Would it be sustainable? Would you still milk cows? This would not be the biggest mover and shaker in our lifetimes. That would have been Rogernomics. After interest, principal then drawings would there anything left?
“I’ll being riding shotgun underneath the hot sun,” are words of John Ezra. As a generalisation we all think that we are too important to do the menial tasks. The sun is hot but if you are riding with your best mate it makes things a lot easier to share that load. I am meaning having your partner active in the workplace not a glorified trophy wife. To be honest you can’t afford it. Then again you can’t afford a second wife.
Often we employ people to do jobs that we can do. For example, does a farm owner really need a contract milker when they could milk the cows themselves?
“You could be mine,” were the lyrics screaming from lead singer Axel Rose from Guns n’ Roses. NZ dairy farming is at a turning point.
Some will struggle to stay afloat. You could be a 50/50 sharemilker or multiple farm owner and still not make it. Debt is crippling our industry with over-capitalisation of our resources. With relatively small returns on these assets. Basically they are not paying their way.
Ram Jams sings “Bam Alam black Betty had child”. Every time I hear this song I go feral in good way. It makes me feel alive. While I am dagging dancing away to the beat. I always have big smile on my face.
It’s not my material items I have that makes my smile, it’s my wife and life. I go to my happy place if you like.
While drums thrash away I think of all the good deeds I’ve done in the past. To be successful you don’t have to be the biggest or flashiest. You just be happy in what you do.
Nietzsche said “Without music life would be a mistake”. We all get carried away with what’s going on in our own worlds, we forget to smell the roses. Just like the difference there will always be a flasher tractor than yours. On the other side there will always be someone with more problems.
So listen to songs. Be happy with small things. Have some self-sacrifice and do without. No frills works too.