Drought classification extends further to Southland and Otago

HON DAMIEN O’CONNOR

Published on Wednesday, January 31, 2018

https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/drought-classification-extends-further-southland-and-otago

Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor today announced that the medium-scale adverse event classification for the drought in parts of the country would be extended to the whole of Southland plus Otago’s Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Clutha districts. 

The classification triggers additional funding of up to $130,000 for the local Rural Support Trusts and industry groups to coordinate recovery support. 

“We’ve been working with local farming groups, councils and NIWA to monitor how the drought has been progressing and the impact on the farming communities,” said Mr O’Connor. 

“Anticipated rain that could have provided respite just hasn’t fallen in the right areas to mitigate the effects of the early hot dry summer. 

“Farmers have been unable to grow sufficient feed for winter, and have been using stored feed and buying in supplements for stock, as well as selling off animals.  

“Some useful rain is predicted for this week, however the drought has already taken its toll on farms and will take time to recover from. While rain now would allow pasture to grow, this can take a month to translate into feed for animals, and many are now well behind in preparing for winter.  

“So the recovery assistance measures are as important as ever, even when we finally get decent rain.” 

The formal request for the classification was made by drought committees and rural communities yesterday in a letter to Mr O’Connor – in which they highlighted this was an extremely unusual event for Southland. 

“Organisations in the regions are gearing up to assist farmers with feed budgets, technical information and farm management, and stress management. The early start to a hot dry summer has now taken its toll on the groundwater and rivers in the south of the country, and farmers are working hard to look after their animals in a very challenging climate.” 

The Minister of Revenue has welcomed the activation of Inland Revenue’s income equalisation discretions for this drought, and Inland Revenue will also consider hardship situations. Farmers should contact their accountants in the first instance.  

The drought was originally classified as a medium-scale adverse event in the North Island across Taranaki, western parts of Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington, and the Grey and Buller districts of the South Island’s West Coast over the Christmas period. Significant rain has improved soil moisture in some of those areas, but recovery from the drought is an ongoing process.

 

More information

Your Rural Support Trust is here to help. Call 0800 787 254 or go to www.rural-support.org.nz

Federated Farmers' Feedline is open to members and non-members sourcing or offering feed: www.fedfarm.org.nz/FFPublic/Adverse_Events_Farmer_Support_and_Feedline.aspx 

Criteria for medium scale event classification

Like all adverse events, a drought is classified as either localised, medium-scale, or large-scale. MPI doesn’t declare droughts. Rather, they work with local stakeholders when there is a drought and determine how it should be classified, based on its impact on the rural sector.

MPI assesses each adverse event based on the:

  • options available for farmers to prepare for the event
  • magnitude of the event (likelihood and scale of the physical impact)
  • capacity of the community to cope (economic and social impact)

Drought committees

Both Otago and Southland have formed drought committees and have been actively working with their communities, such as hosting information events with DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb NZ, Federated Farmers, Environment Southland, Otago Regional Council and others, to give farmers the latest information around the drought and their options to get through it.

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Author: Terri Anderson

Categories: National, Otago, Southland

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News & Alerts

Good Yarn Workshops coming up!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Author: Bridget Frame

Good Yarn Workshops:

  • KAIKOURA - Wednesday 9th May 10.30pm - 2pm Lobster Inn
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First winter storm sweeping the country

midday, 10 April 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

As the winter weather is making itself felt, most recently with tornadoes in Taranaki and Ruapehu, please stay safe and travel only if absolutely necessary.

Treat all lines as live and report power outages to your supplier.

Please ask for assistance if you need it, and keep an eye on your neighbours.

For updates at this stage please refer to https://www.facebook.com/TaranakiCivilDefence/ and https://www.facebook.com/ruapehudc/

Weather updates http://www.metservice.com/national/home.

Pic below of unoccupied home, taken from Ruapehu District Council facebook page.

 

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Keeping an eye on Cyclone Hola

Monday, March 12, 2018

Author: Terri Anderson

https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/972915753044201472

NIWA: With Hola passing offshore today, its strongest winds will too!

NIWA's high resolution modelling indicates some gusts to 70 km/h for: eastern Northland, Great Barrier Island, the Coromandel, coastal Bay of Plenty, & Gisborne Ranges, then a bit gusty in Auckland tonight.

 

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What did the Fox Say?

Top 10 Drought Tips from Andy Fox on Hokonui Muster

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Author: LindsayWright

Additional support and options for farmers to consider as they head into winter with lower than expected feed levels following the recent dry spell, enabling them all to forward plan and be proactive about risks ahead. 

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