Drought declaration morale boost for Otago farmers

Waitaki news
Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said today's official declaration of a drought in the Central and North Otago regions would be a boost to farmer morale.

"Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today officially declared the drought conditions on the east coast of the South Island, including Central and North Otago, as being a medium-scale adverse event.

"This declaration will have a big impact on farmers around the region.

"It comes as an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the conditions that they face and it gives farmers something specific that they can refer to when negotiating with banks for funding to purchase things like winter feed.

"On top of that, the declaration means additional Government support will be made available for those farmers who are really in need.

"From a mental health perspective, I think today's declaration is also important because it recognises the plight of farmers across the region and is a reflection that they are not suffering alone.

"Farmers will also now have greater assistance from local Rural Support Trusts, with extra Government funding also made available to them.

"It's been a long hard summer for many farmers around the Otago region, and it's unlikely things are going to get any easier in the months to come, that's why acknowledging the drought conditions at this point is so crucial in providing on-going support to those in need."

Mrs Dean said because it was a stressful time and she encouraged farmers to look out for one another, keeping an eye on neighbours and those in the community who needed a hand.