A great, if sobering, piece.
Farmers like to promote the idea they’re stewards of the land and even even improving it, but the dairy boom shows this is bollocks and that they're in fact slowly poisoning it to death. It’s a rip, shit and bust mentality that has characterised Pakeha approaches to the land since colonisation began, from felling native forests to gold mining. Dairying is another form of mining that looks for short-term economic gains and doesn’t give a shit about what happens along the way.
This was brought home to me over summer when I spent a week in rural North Otago with my family. Twenty-five years ago I used to swim in the rivers there. On one particularly hot day my 14-year old suggested we go swimming in the nearby Kakanui River. I was told by my sister that this out of the question because it was too heavily polluted from the massive dairy conversions in the district. Can’t see much stewardship going on there.
It’s about time government realised milk powder is not New Zealand’s economic saviour long-term and will, if the present course continues unchecked, end up ruining the land for all.