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Support for storm stricken farmers in Top of South and Far North

Support for storm stricken farmers in Top of South and Far North

Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor has classified severe weather that affected farmers and growers in the Top-of-the-South and the Far North District as a medium-scale adverse event, unlocking Government support

“The severe weather in the past week has tested farmers and growers in both regions,” Damien O’Connor said.

“We’re making $150,000 available for local Rural Support Trusts and Mayoral Relief Funds to help farmers and growers recover. The Top-of-the-South will receive $120,000 and the Far North has been allocated $30,000.”

Damien O’Connor said the Ministry for Primary Industries has been working closely with sector groups and other agencies to continue assessing the storm’s impact.

“Paddocks and crops have surface flooding, infrastructure and fencing are damaged, while road closures are impacting access for activities such as milk collection and stock movements," Damien O’Connor said.

“This was a severe storm with over 1m of rain falling over four days in parts of the Nelson region. The top of Rai Valley recorded 1,020 mm and Takaka Airport 508 mm of rain in four days. In Northland, soils are also extremely saturated, having received over 500 mm of rain in recent days. The fact it’s followed the second wettest July on record does not help at all. This is an enormous amount to cope with at the best of times.

“The storm couldn’t have happened at a worse time of year, with lambing and calving under way. Even though farmers were well prepared, the clean-up will be challenging because this weather event been extended over a prolonged period.

“We will continue to assess whether further support is needed, such as Enhanced Taskforce Green for clean-up, once the full extent of the storm damage is understood in the coming weeks. We know that farmers and growers in other parts of the country have also been impacted by this storm, so extra support may be needed when we have a fuller picture.

“This is the third time in just over a year we have classified a medium-scale adverse event for flooding in Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough. I realise many people will be doing it tough, but I also know there will be many people willing to get stuck in and help support their neighbour’s clean-up.”

The medium-scale event classification covers the Far North District and the three Top-of-the-South districts of Tasman, Nelson City (which includes rural areas such as Cable Bay) and Marlborough. The funding includes wellbeing support and specialist technical advice for farmers, horticulturalists and other primary industry businesses.

Tasman, Marlborough and the West Coast districts were hit by severe weather in July 2021. The flooding was classified as a medium-scale adverse event unlocking $200,000 of government funding for the primary sector, and Enhanced Taskforce Green was made available. Then in February 2022 a storm caused extensive flooding in Buller, parts of Nelson and Marlborough. This was also classified as a medium-scale adverse event unlocking a further $200,000 of government support.

Helpful links and numbers:

Farmers needing support around dealing with floods are encouraged to visit the MPI Website.

Farmers needing expert feed support to do a feed plan or to source supplementary feed should contact their levy body or Federated Farmers:

Farmers who require wellbeing support should contact Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254.

Assistance measures can include:

  • Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination.
  • Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green.
  • A boost for the Rural Support Trust to help serve communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers and growers.
  • Technology transfer activities and events.
  • Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, can be made available as appropriate.
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