The recent passing of Murray Ball has prompted Jim Hopkins to reminisce about the way New Zealanders used to feel about farming.
Ball's creations Wal and Dog were indicative of a time when the public regarded farmers in an affectionate manner says Hopkins.
Now times have changed and the perception of farming is at a worryingly low level.
Jim believes this is down to lobbying from "angry groups", but also urban New Zealanders' romanticised view of agriculture. A view Hopkins says is often completely disengaged from the realities of the countryside.
It's time we remind townies that "the heartland is actually the financial heartland as well" says Hopkins who believes if New Zealand disregards farming it will be a very poor country indeed.