Since then, the team has helped 755 farmers through the claims process and now assists over 90 per cent of all claims.
The team, led by DBCAT manager Hamish Hodgson, is funded by the M. bovis Programme but run independently by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and DairyNZ.
“In the early days, the compensation process was proving very challenging for farmers,” says Hamish.
“The level of detail required by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to pay claims can be significant and it is often a really stressful time for farmers.
“The need for assistance for farmers to bridge that gap was identified and it was recognised industry was best placed to do that. The DBCAT team was set up to take as much of the stress out of the process as possible and to help farmers pull together the information needed so farmers can get compensated as soon as possible.”
DBCAT has 14 staff based strategically to support the M. bovis programme in Hamilton, Canterbury, South Otago and Southland.
“All our team leaders have been in the rural industry for a long time,” says Hamish.
“They understand farming and know how to talk with farmers. They are very good at working with people in stressful situations. DBCAT is also a good example of effective collaboration between industry groups.”
If a farm is placed under movement controls by the programme, a case manager will be appointed who can refer the farmer to the DBCAT Team. Referrals also come through the Rural Support Trust or farmers can call the DBCAT helpline directly.
“We will then do a quick scope of the farm with the farmer by phone to get basic details, such as where the farm is, the type of farm, what size and stock numbers,” says Hamish.
“One of our team leaders will then visit to gain the information needed, such as kill sheet data and evidence of herd numbers. We will then help the farmer prepare their compensation claim and support them to submit it to MPI for assessment.”
On average, claims made using assistance from DBCAT are paid out six days faster than claims they have not helped prepare, he says.
“Overall, the claims process is getting a lot better and much faster. A lot of that is down to the fact that the DBCAT team is now submitting more than 90 percent of the claims received by MPI and we continue to work with MPI to help make the compensation process as efficient as possible for farmers.”
The DBCAT helpline number is 0800 322 281.