THE Year of the Farmer is coming to an end without a whimper, writes XAVIER DUFF
So the National Year of the Farmer is officially a flop.
The end-of-year celebrations, a series of B&S balls this month, have been cancelled and a host of other events that were supposed to happen never did.
Shame really, because everyone should know where their food comes from and, with the YOTF barely getting off the ground, people will think Coles and Woolworths are the only reasons we don't all starve to death.
The YOTF website featured a great video about agriculture called The Greatest Story Never Told. At the end of YOTF, that is still the case.
The organisers claim a lack of cash as the problem. This is particularly ironic given that getting by on the smell of a diesel-soaked rag is the story of farmers' lives. Thing is, farmers still manage to feed the nation.
But you have to wonder about the organisation as well.
A spokeswoman for Markson Sparks, the company organising the B&S balls, said they clashed with "harvesting or something like that and we haven't had time to get the message out". Gee, harvesting in December - who would have thought?
Much as I hate to admit it, if the animal activists PETA had been in charge everyone would have known.
You would have had YOTF ambassador Glenn McGrath shearing sheep in the nude in Federation Square and Catriona Rowntree and Natalie Gruzlewski, in PETA's famous lettuce-leaf bikinis, throwing the fleece.
And why was lamb ambassador Sam Kekovich not recruited? He is a legend for his Australia Day lamb promotions.
One of the best promotions for farming this year was a YouTube video of three young farmers from Kansas performing a song called I'm Farming and I Grow It based on the hit tune I'm Sexy and I know It. It has been viewed eight million times and would have cost next to nothing to make.
Imagine a YouTube clip of Sam as Barry Gibb from the Bee Gees singing You Should Be Farming, to the tune of You Should Be Dancing.
If that didn't go viral, I'd go he.
But that said, I wonder about the effectiveness generally of "Year of" things. It's an increasingly crowded calendar with all sorts of causes competing for attention, from compost to incontinence, gorillas to potatoes.
Apparently 2012 was also the Year of Co-operatives, Year of Sustainable Energy for All as well being the National Year of Reading and Year of the Bat.
They must have had the same budgets as YOTF because we didn't hear much about them, either.
Not to worry, farmers will get another crack in 2014 to raise their profile. The United Nations has declared it the International Year of Family Farming.
There's plenty of time to plan the B&S balls so they don't clash with harvesting and to get Sam Kekovich practising his '70s disco moves.
- Xavier Duff is a Weekly Times senior reporter