Friday, 15 March 2024 11:54

Drought classification welcome news - Feds

Written by  Staff Reporters
The classification is on top of $20,000 in funding made available to the Top of the South Rural Support Trust last month to provide extra support. The classification is on top of $20,000 in funding made available to the Top of the South Rural Support Trust last month to provide extra support.

Federated Farmers Marlborough Province says it welcomes the announcement yesterday that current dry weather in the top of the South Island would be classified as a medium-scale adverse event.

Yesterday, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said that after receiving an urgent update from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), he decided to classify drought conditions in the Marlborough, Tasman, and Nelson districts as a medium-scale adverse event.

The announcement unlocks support for farmers, including the ability to defer tax payments or access money, if they have put it aside, under the Farm Income Equalisation Scheme.

The classification is on top of $20,000 in funding made available to the Top of the South Rural Support Trust last month to provide extra support.

“It is clear conditions are tough,” McClay says. “This decision will unlock further support for farmers and growers, including tax support.”

Federated Farmers Marlborough Province president Evan White says the announcement comes as a relief for local farmers.

“Even just having recognition of how extreme things have been will go some way to boosting morale – particularly in areas where they’ve been hit the hardest, like south of Blenheim,” White says.

Conditions are incredibly dry in the region and Blenheim has recorded its lowest rainfall for the last nine months in almost a century, causing a significant impact on the rural community.

“Creeks that have never dried up before have stopped flowing, everything has browned off, and 50-year-old native plantings are starting to die,” White says.

“Stock water is under real pressure as wells dry up,” he says. “Summer crops are failing, and farmers are having to chew into livestock feed set aside for winter.”

White says this is going to have a domino effect because farmers won’t see the usual autumn grass growth.

“Even if there was rain now, it’s debatable how much good it will do this late in the season,” he says.

The season has already proven challenging with low stock prices, especially for lamb, and inflation and interest rates hitting the sector hard.

“Sheep and beef farm profits are at a 30-year low – and then you factor in the drought impacts on top of that. It’s pretty tough,” White says.

“I’ve got some real concern about the mental wellbeing of farmers and their families,” he says. “There’s a lot of pressure starting to build.”

Farmers and growers who require support are encouraged to contact their local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254.

More like this

Panel banking on farmer support

The secretariat of the Government’s new methane science review panel says support from the agricultural industry is central to developing enduring solutions to agricultural emissions.

Farmers back ACT MP's bill

ACT MP and Northland dairy farmer Mark Cameron is lodging a new member’s bill that would prevent regional and district councils from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Feds support live animal exports

Federated Farmers have reiterated their support for the coalition Government to abolish the present ban on the live export of animals.


Insurance Council urges bold action

The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) is urging the Government to take a leadership role on climate adaptation and build New Zealand’s resilience against the impacts of climate change on lives and property.

Draft emissions plan a mixed bag

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) says documents released as part of the Government’s second emissions reduction plan consultation contain some positive elements, but also concerning ones.

Feral cattle wreak havoc

According to John Roche, MPI, the saviour for Chatham Island farmers this season has been the weather.


Milk's more than just protein

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) executive director Kimberly Crewther said that while the Our Land and Water National Science…

Machinery & Products

More efficient jumbo wagons

In a move that will be welcomed by many, Austrian manufacturer Pottinger appears to be following a trend of bringing…

Fieldays' top young innovator

Growing up on a South Waikato sheep and beef farm, Penny Ranger has firsthand experience on the day-to-day challenges.

Claas completes 500,000th machine

Claas is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936, marking the occasion by building anniversary machines from the…

Donated tractors welcome news

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February 2023, it left an estimated $13.5 billion worth of damage across New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound


OPINION: In 2021 a group of prominent academics got ’cancelled’ for daring to oppose changes to the school curriculum that…

Under pressure

OPINION: On top of the rural banking inquiry, several as-yet-unnamed banks are facing a complaint to the Financial Markets Authority…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter