Dry affected farmers urged to use support services

// Pasture and Crops

Farmers in regions facing dry or extremely dry conditions are being urged to tap into the resources being made available to them through their industry organisations and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

dry lands

The feed planning service is open to all livestock owners and helps farmers complete a feed plan. It can be accessed by phoning 0800 BEEFLAMB (0800 233 352) or 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 432 479 69). The feed coordination service connects farmers who are short of feed with available sources of supplement, such as silage and hay.

Mark Harris, B+LNZ’s Lead Extension Manager, says there is no significant rain in the forecast so it is unlikely farmers in affected areas will be able to build pasture covers going into winter.

“I really encourage anyone affected by on-going dry conditions to make use of the feed planning and feed coordination services. Having a third party discuss your options with you can often help clarify your thinking and help with the critical decisions that need to be made going into the colder months.” 

He says experience from the Hawke's Bay drought showed that seemingly dire situations can be turned around by proactive management decisions.

“There are case studies on the B+LNZ website which show the power of having a third party cast an eye over the situation and guide decision making. It is important to try and limit the impact of these extremely dry conditions to this year and try and protect the performance of capital stock next spring.” 

He says there are a range of drought support tools and resources on the B+LNZ website including a simple feed budget and experiences of farmers who have got through drought in recent years.

For farmers who need financial help, or extra wellbeing support, the Government has allocated $200,000 for the Farm Business Advice Support Fund, which is managed by Rural Support Trusts. Banks are jointly funding the initiative. Qualifying farmers can receive up to $6,000 to seek independent financial or business advice. More details are available here: http://www.rural-support.org.nz/what-we-do/Financial

Farmers and growers can also access the Farm Debt Mediation Scheme, should they need help working through debt issues with their bank. MPI can assist with the costs of mediation through the scheme’s hardship fund. More information can be found at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-rural-support/farming-funds-and-programmes/the-farm-debt-mediation-scheme-2/

Rural Support Trusts are there to help rural people during tough times. They offer a free, confidential service to rural farming communities. Farmers and farming families who need help are encouraged to call 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 78 72 54 for confidential advice and support.

For information on all drought management related tools and resources go to: https://beeflambnz.com/news-views/extreme-dry-management