In 2006, Chris Hausman, a fourth-generation Midwestern farmer long accustomed to depending on government support for survival, traveled across the world to witness a revolution in agriculture.
It had been more than 20 years.
“It’s easy to look back at it and say this was a good decision and farming benefited, but to actually live through it was a very difficult experience,” a NZ farmer says.
Today, New Zealand’s farmers are some of the world’s most productive and innovative.
Removing government assistance completely, New Zealand officials say, freed farmers to produce what people really want, and to do so in an efficient way that could turn a profit.
Since the reforms, New Zealand farmers have cut costs, diversified their land use, and developed new products, Clark says.
Additionally, productivity in agriculture has grown faster than the New Zealand economy as a whole.