Transient geographies: 50:50 sharemilking in the Waikato
Adams-Hutcheson, G. (2016). Transient geographies: 50:50 sharemilking in the Waikato. Presented at the CARN Symposium Two: An ‘incubator’ for writing and thinking: from idea to text.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10838
Spacings of mobile farming in New Zealand: Assemblages of cows, bodies, farms and the weather Weather changes moods – Nirvana, “In bloom” (1991) Cresswell (2011) broadens mobility studies to include non-human objects and structures, but rarely, non-human animals and the weather. I add here both livestock and the more literal atmospheric conditions of sun, wind and rain which are largely missing from mobilities studies. Weather is ubiquitous, yet hard to ignore – it impacts on both researcher and the researched. I visited farms and was: jumped-up-on by dogs, rode on 4-wheel bikes, got licked by calves [happy/sunny], felt hot, got covered in dust [tired/sweltering], stood still in the milking-shed [tension/cold], and was blasted by freezing winds and slopped through thick mud [depression/winter wet]. For Ash (2013a, 35) “the body is a kind of living or somatic memory, which is composed of various retentional apparatuses”, which become ignited by alignment of senses. In this paper I argue for attention to be paid to sharemilking and the materiality of atmospheres to draw attention to the ‘centrifugal’ forces of mobile rural dwelling. Sharemilking is a largely unique agrarian practice in New Zealand which is embedded in the notion of mobility. Sharemilkers typically own the livestock and machinery, but not the land and enter into contract with landowners on a share profit basis. Contracts are finished and new ones are taken up on a set day, the 1st June which is often termed colloquially as ‘Gypsy-day’. The contract nature of sharemilking stimulates a cascade of mobilities and enabling infrastructures (assemblages) as farmers move on a stuttering schedule of contract renewals. The frequent upheaval of hundreds of large animals and sheer amount of equipment moved, which is needed to run a sharemilking operation, does warrant further consideration.
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