Farmers with concerns over their animals in the midst of trying to recover from the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle are being well-supported, say officials from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
At a meeting of Tararua District Council earlier this month, a farmer brought up concern over animal welfare as winter approaches.
Nick Story, director of rural communities and farming support at MPI, said there had been no immediate concerns raised with the ministry regarding the welfare of animals.
However, he said they were aware the ability of some farmers in the Tararua District to undertake stock movement was made more difficult due to roading and farm access being compromised by damage from the cyclone.
“While MPI hasn’t received any reports of farmers who are unable to get stock off their properties prior to winter, we are aware some face an increase in time and cost to do so, with some roads being accessible by truck units only, rather than larger truck and trailer units.”
Story said MPI had “significant involvement” in the effort to respond to Cyclone Gabrielle and help New Zealand recover.
He said the ministry was providing vital support and expertise to help affected farmers, growers and whenua Māori owners get back on their feet as quickly as possible.
“Our teams continue to meet regularly with primary sector groups to focus on the support required for farmers, growers, Māori agri-business and others, and we have people on the ground in affected regions helping local recovery efforts.”
Staff in the Tararua District were working closely with the council, Rural Support Trust and other industry organisations to support the recovery needs of the district’s farmers and growers.
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Rural communities have rallied around to support each other post Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo / NZME
“It’s heartening to see how our rural communities have rallied around each other to provide help and the offers of support from across the country. It’s a team effort, and we thank the sector for getting in behind their people,” Story said.
MPI had made available $51 million to kick-start recovery efforts for farmers, growers and whenua Māori owners significantly affected by the cyclone.
Story said they had also provided $4m to help rural communities with immediate recovery needs.
He said this was targeted funding to help with urgent primary sector needs not already being met by other organisations.
“The fund has been fully committed to a range of projects covering aerial surveys, mental wellbeing, recovery advice, logistics and transport and reimbursement of costs of urgent response activity.”
MPI had also teamed up with Federated Farmers to restart the national Feed Co-ordination Service to assist cyclone-affected farmers to source supplementary feed or grazing, as flood-affected paddocks, especially those where pasture had died or were covered in silt, would be unusable for some time.
Story said the national service helped match people with grazing or supplementary feed for sale to those who needed it and requests to list or seek grazing or feed could be made online or by phoning 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646).
Information on the kick-start recovery support can be found at: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/funding-rural-support/adverse-events/cyclone-gabrielle-recovery-advice-support-and-funding-available/#fund.
MPI was continuing to work with local organisations to provide support to farmers, and those who needed advice could contact the Rural Support Trust at 0800 787 254 or MPI at 0800 00 83 33.
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