Celebrity chef Al Brown pledges support for NZ farmers, takes swipe at 'urban keyboard warriors'

Al Brown talks to Rural Exchange about his support for the farming community. Credit: Video: Newshub Image: File

Celebrity chef Al Brown has taken a swipe at "urban keyboard warriors" he claims criticise farmers unnecessarily.

Brown posted a message on his Facebook page pledging his support for New Zealand farmers and calling on city-dwellers to stop bagging them.

"I just want to say thank you to our farmers of New Zealand," the Depot owner wrote. 

"And while I know there may be a few out there that are not particularly invested in looking after the environment, the majority of farmers (along with their wives and children) care more about their land and the welfare of their stock and animals that most people could possibly comprehend."

The post called on New Zealanders to make an effort to see what was happening in rural areas.

"Instead of the urban keyboard warriors constantly throwing shade and shame our farmers way, how about hopping in a car and taking a look for yourself, there is a lot of good stuff happening out there.

"Let’s get behind our honest hard-working rural community and start applauding and supporting the huge effort and challenge that our rural folk take on each and every day of the year."

Brown, who grew up on a farm in the Wairarapa, said he decided to make the post after a drive through rural Waikato.

"I was traveling to Raglan, and we decided to drive the secondary roads and cut in from Mercer," he told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange.

"It was a beautiful weekend and the weather was great, and the farms looked amazing."

He said he thought the criticism of the rural sector was largely unfair.

"I am aware that the rural community is getting a bit of bagging a lot of the time from people that I don't think understand.

"It seems like they can't do anything right, yet they are doing a ton of things really, really well."

A recent Rabobank survey showed New Zealand rural confidence had taken a sharp dive, with concern over Government policy cited as the key concern for farmers.

Rabobank CEO Todd Charteris said policy relating to freshwater reform and future greenhouse gas obligations presented a major challenge for farmers.

"It's clear farmers view policy direction as the major challenge to the future prosperity of the sector," he said.

David Parker said the Government was listening to the concerns from farmers. Photo credit: Newshub

Environment Minister David Parker told Newshub this month that he was hearing the concerns from farmers. 

"The vast number of farmers doing incredibly well and farming profitably with a very low environmental impact," he said.

"We need that best practice to be adopted everywhere."

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor said the Government was supporting farmers to make positive changes.

He believed repeating negative rhetoric was putting fear into the farming community.

"We need to clarify things to remove uncertainty, but let's have a clear and honest discussion," he said.

A $229 million package was announced in the 2019 Budget to support farmers to lift environmental sustainability.

The Government has also approved funding of $1.56 million for eight new research projects to help farmers understand and mitigate the effects of climate change.


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