Drought conditions affecting the primary sector in the Waikato and South Auckland have today been classified as a medium-scale adverse event by the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI), activating a package of support for farmers and growers.
“This is recognition that a severe dry spell over the autumn months is taking its toll on the region’s primary sector and additional support is needed,” MPI’s director of rural communities and farming support, Nick Story said.
“The lack of any consistent rainfall since the beginning of the year means dry conditions in the region have reached the point where assistance is needed to help the rural community get through.
“Farmers in these districts have been closely monitoring the situation and making early decisions about stock levels, culling and buying in feed, but the lack of rain is starting to have an impact as winter looms.”
The Ministry said the adverse event classification was made by the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, following a request from primary sector organisations in the region.
This decision unlocks a package of support including tax flexibility with Inland Revenue, and the Waikato, Hauraki-Coromandel Rural Support Trust will receive extra funding of $30,000 to run events to connect people and provide mentoring support.
The national Feed Coordination Service is also available for farmers if they are struggling to find sources of supplementary feed.
“This free service matches farmers with surplus feed to those that need it. If you live in a neighbouring area and have spare feed, listing with the service will help those caught short,” Mr Story said.
“I encourage farmers to seek professional advice from the Rural Support Trust, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and their business advisers who can provide information about managing dry conditions.”
Today’s announcement follows a medium-scale adverse event classification for drought conditions in Southland and parts of Otago in March where $100,000 was allocated to the Rural Support Trusts to support affected farmers.