A wicked problem: that’s how the chief science advisor to the Ministry for Primary Industries describes the issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as they affect agriculture.
MPI is working closely with Tasman District Council, Rural Support Trust and other local agencies to ensure rural communities are supported as fire and drought conditions continue.
MPI says it is a very challenging time for farmers, the horticulture and wine industries in the region; and also for the whole community.
“We urge people to access support where needed.
“With no rain respite expected, and further water restrictions now in place, it’s imperative to conserve as much water as possible while still providing for your animal and human welfare needs.
“It is also critical stock levels on properties are appropriate to the water restrictions in place. Farmers and lifestyle block owners need to be making active destocking decisions.”
MPI says animal welfare continues to be its focus.
“We are in a good space with the number of animal welfare concerns and calls to the 0800 number continuing to slow and no further concerns reported to our people at the cordons.”
The number of animals at the Nelson showgrounds is also continuing to reduce, however there are still over 500 animals being looked after.
Advice to rural communities
Providing shade and shelter
Contain livestock in paddocks where there is adequate shade for every animal. Check that the water supply is still drinkable. Low dams or ponds may be surrounded by mud or sludge. Fencing off these areas will prevent animals from potentially becoming entrapped.
It is critical stock levels on properties are appropriate to the water restrictions currently in place. Farmers and lifestyle block owners need to be making active destocking decisions.
Federated Farmers has opened its Feedline to support farmers who have been affected by the fires and need extra feed or grazing for their animals. Farmers who are short of feed, or who have feed to donate, can contact Federated Farmers on 0800 327 646.
Anyone affected by fires and needing feed for animals can register for this help but availability is dependent on donations and priority will be given to farms who rely on farm income for their living and have been affected by fire.
Wildfires and animal welfare
For properties affected by the wildfire, MPI has animal welfare staff at each cordon during the access periods. We encourage people to approach our staff at the cordons if they have any concerns or need help.
For further animal welfare advice or assistance contact MPI’s animal welfare team on 0800 008 333 (Option 4).
Animal welfare officers are posted at the cordons, at each of the four valleys that were evacuated. We will be there every day when the cordons are open, to talk to people visiting their properties and animals.
In the valley areas where there is still restricted access, MPI has animal welfare staff at each cordon during the access periods and we encourage people to approach the MPI staff at those cordons if they have any concerns. They are there to make sure MPI is aware of any issues.
Rural Support Trust
Farmers and grower communities are also able to access support from the local Rural Support Trust who can provide free and confidential support, advice and referrals, including with health, finances and more. The RST can be contacted on 0800 787 254.