Tuesday, 19 May 2020 09:29

Farmers queue up for drought advice

Written by  Peter Burke
MPI director general Ray Smith. MPI director general Ray Smith.

The Ministry for Primary Industries says, in the space of a week, it’s had over 120 applications for assistance from the special drought recovery fund.

The fund offers farmers in areas badly hit by the drought to access $5,000 worth of specialist advisory services to help them get their businesses back on track for next season. The fund, which is administered by MPI, is to help farmers and horticulturalists to get quality advice on such issues as strategic planning, technical advice on soil and pastures and sustainable management techniques.

MPI director general Ray Smith says dealing with the drought is incredibly challenging for many farmers and while assistance from the fund won’t help farmers in the short term it will help get them back on their feet for next season.

Smith says the Rural Support Trusts have been doing a great job and in the last week the Hawkes Bay trust fielded more than 160 calls from farmers.

“Hopefully at Level 2 Alert, there will be an opportunity for the trust to get out and check if other farmers are facing stress,” he told Rural News.

Smith says operating within Level 2 is getting back to a more normal environment which will be positive for rural communities. He says it will see rural supply stores open, sale yards opening and stores such as butchers, fruit and vegetable stores and fish shops also open for business. 

But he says these businesses will have to meet the strict protocols that allow them to open. These include maintaining hygiene standards, physical distancing, keeping groups to a maximum of 10 people and having a system of recording anyone who comes into a business.

“Meat processing plants are back to normal and some are operating at 100% capacity,” Smith adds. “I think the meat industry has done an outstanding job, along with the packhouses, dairy companies and all the other groups that have worked during lockdowns four and three.” 

Under alert level 2, MPI plans to phase-in the return of staff to offices around the country. Smith says initially about 30% of staff will be back in their offices – with the remainder still working from home. 

More like this

Outlook for NZ positive

Post Covid, Ray Smith, director general of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), says there is a big opportunity to take our primary product to the rest of the world. 

Making the primary sector sexy

There is a need to re-orientate New Zealanders into working in the primary sector, according to the director general of the Ministry for Primary Industries.

New investment in spirulina production

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Sustainable Food & Fibres Futures Fund will invest in a project to assess the viability of larger scale production of spirulina in New Zealand.

No outbreak, says MPI

Stuart Anderson, Ministry for Primary Industries Mycoplasma Bovis Programme Director, is assuring farmers that a recent increase in confirmed infected farms is only to be expected at this time of year.



John Deere names new Aust/NZ head

John Deere Australia/New Zealand’s new managing director Luke Chandler says he will prioritise leading the way in technology and investing in strong relationships.

Trade deal delivers new 'rulebook'

A new trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), has been described as a new rule book for trade in the Asian region.


Wyeth ready for the 'Coast'

The chief executive-elect of Yili-owned Westland Milk Products Richard Wyeth is looking forward to the challenge of running the company.

Machinery & Products

Weeds in for a shock

WIith an increasing focus on reducing chemical herbicides, largely because of crop resistance and a potential build-up of residues, new…

V8 - a baler with a grunt

Following three years of testing with clients worldwide, Ireland-based manufacturer McHale has added a bigger model to its range of…

Virtual CV valuable tool

With a 12-year history of recruiting specialised operators from overseas to service the agricultural contracting industry, Hanzon Jobs typically brings…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Action, please!

The Hound notes that despite the new government having been elected for well over a month, there seems to a…


Your canine crusader is intrigued to learn that the upper-class twats who attend Oxford University in the UK have voted…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter