Forecast has rural communities on the radar

Monday, November 2, 2015

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says advice is already in place for farmers ahead of another anticipated dry summer.

Forecasters are predicting that the strong El Nino conditions of spring will continue over summer and into autumn and could rank among the 4 strongest El Nino events recorded.

This comes just eight months since drought was last declared in South Canterbury.

Mrs Dean says the Ministry for Primary Industries has published guidance on how to prepare for the dry weather. "We need to be on the front foot. Mackenzie District farmers know the challenges that arise from these weather patterns - they went through it all last summer.

"It is however important, particularly for younger farmers, for advice to be readily available now. The latest publication from the Ministry covers a range of issues from implementing feed budget's to water restriction planning.

"We're seeing a greater level of awareness these days of the stresses faced by farmers. Government invested an extra $500,000 in rural mental health initiatives this year which recognises that farmers are very much like the rest of us in needing support during testing times. 

"While summer may prove tough for some, we know that many parts of the primary sector are seeing increased export returns. The medium to long term outlook for the primary sector is bright but Mother Nature seems set to post some challenges along the way."