Rural drought support still needed
While recent rain had eased some Otago farmers' worries about dry conditions, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said it was important there were still measures in place to support those who needed it.
“A medium-scale adverse event classification, in recognition of the dry conditions affecting farmers and growers in parts of Otago, was last week extended to June 2016 after it was first put in place in February 2015.
“The recent rain has certainly been a great relief to the Central Otago and Upper Clutha farmers that I’ve spoken to, but the effects of long periods without rain will likely be felt by rural communities for many months to come.
“It’s still very dry, particularly in parts of Central Otago, and that coupled with the fact many farmers have been forced to destock their farms early, in conjunction with lower stock prices, means it will be a tough season.
“The Government is aware of this, with extra funding of up to $150,000 going to local Rural Support Trusts across the South Island to support farming communities.
“The Ministry for Primary Industries has also been working closely with rural organisations and Rural Support Trusts to monitor the situation and coordinate support.
“I’d also encourage farmers to look out for each other and to seek support early if they are feeling under pressure.”
Authorised by Jacqui Dean MP, 127 Thames Street, Oamaru