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Hawke’s Bay farmers face tough times as a result of drought

Media Release

29 May 2013

Hawke’s Bay farmers face tough times ahead as a result of drought

The Hawke’s Bay Drought Committee says the region’s farmers face some tough times ahead as the aftermath of this year’s drought continues to bite.

The Committee, which met on Monday, includes representatives from the region’s councils, Federated Farmers, Ministry for Primary Industries, the East Coast Rural Support Trust, the agri-business sector including banks and the sheep and beef, dairy and horticultural sector.

The sheep and beef and dairy sector said while grass is beginning to grow, after recent rain many farmers have had to de-stock and buy in feed which will severely affect their financial bottom line. They say while farmland is looking greener, some pastures are very patchy and farmers could be facing a tough spring with potentially less feed available and stock coming out of the winter under feed stress. This will impact on lambing and calving with feed demand pressure as a result. Dairy herds start calving in late July but generally farmers are reasonably prepared with supplements etc on hand and feed growing well without cows on farm at the moment.

Mike Barham from Rural Support Trust East Coast agrees the real impact of the drought will be seen later this year. ‘Now is the time farmers must ensure they have all their planning complete as we head into colder winter weather. The Trust can help those still battling drought issues’.

On a positive note he’s been impressed by the strong support his organisation has received from the rural and financial sector in Hawke’s Bay.

He says the Drought Committee which is chaired by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chairman Fenton Wilson has provided a valuable information sharing and support network.

“Everyone has pitched in to support our organisation and Hawke’s Bay farmers throughout this drought which has been fantastic. It ranges from banks providing drought support packages, the regional council chairing the meetings and providing climate and communications expertise, Farmlands doing the invoicing for the South Island feed we’re bringing in or Federated Farmers offering support to farmers,” says Mike Barham.

When Life’s a Bitch…”

Federated Farmers along with farm industry training organisations AgITO and FarmSafe have launched a campaign to help farmers struggling with the stress of the drought. Named “When life’s a bitch…” the campaign aims to get farmers and their families talking about depression openly and honestly and offers contact details for those needing extra support.


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