While winter feed crops are crucial in Simon O’Meara’s farm system, the West Otago sheep and beef farmer is making changes to cut their damage to the environment.
When Bay of Plenty was hammered by storms in 2017, the local trust was a big help to farming families, the 2018 Rural Recovery Survey has found.
The survey was commissioned by the Rural Support Trust with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It looked into farm support after Cyclones Debbie and Cook in April 2017.
“Our team were kept busy during the storms and their aftermath as we supported rural people and their families,” says trust chairperson Miles Mander.
Their efforts included search and rescue at the height of the storm, visiting homes with the Red Cross to check on affected people, farm cleanups, managing people’s wellbeing and helping rural families get needed resources.
“The most common need was helping people work through what they needed to do. The floods were so severe, there was so much work, it was overwhelming for many,” says Mander.
“There were the logistics of working around road closures and flood waters, helping people displaced from their homes, then helping them see the massive and lengthy clean up ahead.”
The trust was appreciated most for its face to face support. About 96% of respondents said the support was “very likely” or “somewhat likely” of value and they would seek advice or support from the trust in a similar event.
Survey results were collected from 25 out of 98 people who were either affected by the weather or were part of a supporting agency.