Farmer Focus: Virus means turning away overseas visitors

In writing this article it would be very easy to grumble about the drizzly latter part of what has been a cracking harvest up here in the Highlands at Misty Hollows, ironically while much of the rest of NZ battles severe drought.

But really that would be disingenuous and not reflect what is capturing all of our thoughts at present.

A mere two months ago, most of us thought a Corona was a Toyota from the 1980s or a Mexican beer.

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Now the coronavirus has affected every part of our daily lives, our Nations and wreaked havoc in financial markets, with risk that it may set free the ghosts of the global financial crisis that were so conveniently hidden in the closet.

Our borders have effectively been closed, with all incoming passengers required to self-isolate for 14 days, and most sporting, cultural and business events cancelled, with folk living in fear, much like many other counties the world over.

Planned visits

I have found myself this week, reluctantly turning away International visitors who were planning to visit us here.

Tourism has been virtually wiped off the map overnight, this is a foot-and-mouth-scale impact for our wee country.

It feels almost as if we are entering a siege mentality, and it seems hard to focus on cracking on with essential and urgent work with such uncertainty and fear of the unknown building rapidly.

The virus may well pass, and I sure hope it does, but the financial destruction will linger much longer I suspect.

We all face the same realities together, now is the time to look after the vulnerable in society and those close to you, as we look to the dawn on the other side of this dark night.

More than ever, please take care. Until next time.


David Clark runs a 463ha fully irrigated mixed farm with his wife Jayne at Valetta, on New Zealand’s South Island. He grows 400ha of cereals, pulses, forage and vegetable seed crops, runs 1,000 Romney ewes and finishes 8,000 lambs annually.