Thursday, 21 March 2024 09:25

Drought support for Canterbury and Otago

Written by  Staff Reporters
Agriculture Minister Todd McClay. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.

The Government has expanded the medium-scale adverse event classification to cover the Canterbury and Otago regions.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay announced the medium-scale adverse event would cover the Marlborough, Nelson, and Tasman districts.

With today’s announcement comes further support for farmers and growers, including tax relief. It also enables the Ministry for Social Development (MSD) to consider Rural Assistance Payments.

“I have made this decision to unlock additional support for farmers and growers across the Canterbury and Otago regions as the intense dry spell persists and looks unlikely to improve in the short-term,” McClay says.

Earlier this week, McClay met with farmers in South Marlborough to see conditions on the ground first-hand.

“They told me the classification makes a difference, enabling them to access further support,” he says.

The extension unlocks up to $70,000 for Rural Support Trusts in North, Mid, and South Canterbury and Otago to facilitate community and one-on-one support for affected farmers and growers.

This is on top of $20,000 allocated to the Top of the South Rural Support Trust last month in an effort to ensure early support was available.

Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson has also visited the affected regions recently, meeting with farmers, growers, and sector groups to discuss the challenging weather conditions.

“The dry conditions have affected some fodder crop yields and farmers have already been feeding out winter supplementary feed to livestock,” Patterson says.

He says rain over the weekend in parts of Canterbury and Otago did not deliver any significant relief to parched soils.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been working with sector groups, regional bodies, and farmers to prepare for El Niño since its arrival last year; and continue to monitor the situation to determine where additional support is needed,” Patterson says.

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

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