Recently I enjoyed the experience of helping two young local men shear some of my sheep.
The exercise was a mixture of one that helped to restore my faith in our local farm based economy but also another that reinforced my concerns about the contemptuous manner in which the farming industry is being treated by the current government.
Who would have thought that it would be possible to have two views of the same cornerstone industry that are so diametrically opposed.
Yet here we are lamenting that those who have the power to safeguard the jobs and welfare of those who make it happen, actually doing their best to destroy our number one asset - all in the name of an already discredited ideology. It is criminal activity and those who are responsible should be held to account.
These recurring thoughts were brought into focus again almost by accident although we have all been witnessing what is becoming a slow death for some time.
My conversations with the shearers helped me to understand how easy it is for relatively young men and women to become wise beyond their years simply as a result of personal circumstances that are or were not entirely of their own making.
In some ways their short life experiences have already indelibly scarred their individual personalities but, from what l saw, they have both learned from their fleeting negative lifestyles and are well on the way to making something of themselves.
It doesn’t take much to work out why the new owners have introduced a crash course of planting that will see both properties almost fully planted by the end of next winter.
They obviously are fearful that a change of government may see their opportunity reversed if not curtailed altogether - but unfortunately, as much as we would want it to happen, you wouldn’t bet on it.
It looks as if the “jewel in the crown” is gone forever, sacrificed on the altar of idealogical madness when it didn’t need to happen this way.
I have said many times before, that there is more than enough marginal unplanted hill country available in this country that would satisfy the government goal of reducing carbon emissions 50% by 2030 without forcing a single hectare of our very best out of livestock production.
I believe the government knows that to be true and will be hoping that this irrational decision will be the last in its search for idealogical purity.
However, my guess is anything is possible with these incompetents and we should buckle up expecting the worst while hoping for a change in direction foreshadowed by a change of government.
It can’t happen soon enough.