I tip my hat to farmers: OPINION

WHEN it comes to handing out medals, I'd give a chestful to farmers. They spend months planting, fertilising, weeding, irrigating and have the crop ready to make a buck when along comes some rotten overgrown wind storm and sends it all into the next state.

Or they wonder why they've gone to the trouble of giving the crop water when the river turns itself into something like Niagara Falls and any moving about the paddock is done by boat.

Or it's as dry as a Pom's bath towel. Where's all that water when they need it?

Or the bank's making noises about foreclosing; the chooks won't lay; the pigs get into any vegetable patch the flood hasn't wiped out; the tractor and the best milker pack it in at the same time.

Does the cockie put up his calloused hands and call enough? Not a bit of it. He girds up his loins - if he's got any loins left to gird - and starts all over again.

One old timer reckons it's tough enough without all the messing about with things.

"Started back in in '66," he said. "When they changed pounds to dollars. That doubled me overdraft."

"Then they changed those other pounds to kilograms. Now I send twice as much to market and what I get for it buys half as much of what it used to.

"They had to mess about with the rain, didn't they. They made it millimetres and we haven't had an inch since. No wonder the plants won't grow. Though that might be because of what they did with temperature. It became what they call Celsius. Now it never gets to be more than 30 degrees.

"It got worse when acres became hectares. I ended up with half the land I had. Took just as long to work it, though. But maybe that was because they brought in daylight saving and cut back the number of hours in the day."

The old-timer said he got sick of all the changes. He decided to sell out.

"I put me farm on the market. Then I found out they'd changed miles to kilometres. Now I'm too far out of town for anybody to buy the bloody place."

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