New Zealand: Drought prompts $900k funding boost for farmers

The New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister, Damien O’Connor, has announced $900,000 of funding support for farmers grappling with extremely dry conditions.

Damien O’Connor said autumn had got off to an extremely dry start in multiple regions along the east coasts of the country.

Forecast rainfall was not expected to be enough to allow parched soils and pastures time to recover before winter.

O’Connor said this was the second consecutive year of drought for some parts of the country and low groundwater levels had not been able to recharge.

He said the money would ensure feed support services could continue and that extra well being assistance would be available.

In March 2020 the drought affecting the entire North Island, parts of the South Island (Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, North Canterbury) and the Chatham Islands was classified as a large-scale adverse event, unlocking funding support for farmers and growers.

O’Connor said the latest large-scale adverse event had now been expanded to include Mid Canterbury, South Canterbury, and Otago.

“Support for the Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Tasman regions, and the Manawatū-Rangitīkei, Tararua and Nelson areas, will remain in place until 30 June 2021, when it will be reviewed.

“The Taranaki region, and the Ruapehu and Whanganui districts, have received good rainfall and soil moisture levels have recovered.”

A Ministry for Primary Industries spokesperson said farmers could access a range of services, including a free feed budgeting service and a feed coordination service for those who needed supplementary feed immediately.

They said a lot of work was being done engaging with farmers, especially in the Marlborough and Banks Peninsula areas, around its feed support services.

Source: rnz.co.nz

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