Changes have been announced to the FMG Young Farmer of the Year contest.
FMG chief executive Chris Black visited North Canterbury and the South Island east coast to see first-hand the nature and scale of the damage.
Most importantly, he says, farmers must get roofs over their heads, organise food and start milking cows if they are dairy farmers.
He has seen some damaged farm plant that is repairable and some that needs replacing. In Waiau he saw a dairy shed completely wrecked.
Several months or more may elapse before the damage is sorted and things return to normal, Black says. The effects of this quake are different from those caused by the Darfield quake in 2010.
“The land slips are much more severe than at Darfield and access is a much bigger problem than in Canterbury. Some staff are going up from Christchurch and some from Blenheim to meet clients.
“We already have hundreds of claims. We realise people are under stress and for some it was a terrifying experience.”
People are helping each other and pulling together as people do in rural communities, he says. In the case of the farmer whose dairy shed was ruined, his 1000 cows are being milked on other farms in the district.
“We are working with Federated Farmers and Rural Support Trust, seeing a coming together of those groups which happens at a time like this. We can’t do everything ourselves but we can connect people with those who can help.”
Black expects FMG to cover damage to houses, sheds and stock water systems, and business interruption.