Farmers offered drought help

Farmers in drought-hit parts of Hawke’s Bay will be cheered by news on two fronts.

The Government has announced plans to help them.

Federated Farmers has done the same.

It’s the third successive year of drought for Hawke’s Bay.

Heavy rain has fallen over many parts of the country in recent days, sure, but much of the Hawke’s Bay province missed out.

The region has had no serious rain, with run off, since July last year, a situation compounded by a very dry summer and now, a dry autumn.

The region has received less than 60 percent of its normal rainfall since September and grass growth has been severally stunted.

Kevin Mitchell, Federated Farmers’ Hawke’s Bay president, says the province needs at least 150mls of rain over a period of several days just to get back to where it would normally be at this time of year.

Help is needed – and help is being promised:

Federated Farmers is committed to helping all drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers through it’s 0800 drought line (0800 376 844).

“The Federation’s successful 0800 DROUGHT line is back matching farmers with feed to sell, with those that need it. The line will put Federated Farmers’ members in contact with other service providers during the current Hawke’s Bay drought.

“The Federation’s drought line also provides a platform for all farmers supplying and seeking feed. This service is free to members, but of course, farmers still have to buy in the feed.”

The Feds welcomed the Government’s announcement it will offer Hawke’s Bay farmers some relief after declaring the area a medium-level drought.

But the province’s farmers will only have access to the same relief measures as a small scale drought.

This means Hawke’s Bay farmers are eligible for the measures offered to Gisborne and Wairoa farmers, where drought was declared last week.

The Government’s help was announced by Agriculture Minister David Carter.

Government assistance includes the provision of tax assistance measures, funding for farm management advice and funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide help.

Carter said Government assistance and recovery measures would help farmers seek the right planning and farm management advice, and tax initiatives will help ease financial pressures.

He urged farmers in Hawke’s Bay to talk to their local Rural Support Trust and seek advice if they are finding the conditions tough.

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