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Federated Farmers steps up drought support

27 April 2009
Federated Farmers steps up drought support for Hawke’s Bay

“Federated Farmers is committed to helping all drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers through it’s 0800 drought line (0800 376 844),” said Kevin Mitchell, Federated Farmers’ Hawke’s Bay president.

“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.

“We also welcome today’s announcement that the Government will offer Hawke’s Bay farmers some relief after declaring the area a medium-level drought. However, the province’s farmers will only have access to the same relief measures as a small scale drought.

“Hawke’s Bay farmers are now eligible for the Government relief measures offered to Gisborne and Wairoa farmers, where drought was declared last week. Government assistance includes the provision of tax assistance measures, funding for farm management advice and funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide help.

“This is the third successive drought for Hawke’s Bay. Despite heavy rain falling over many parts of the country in recent days, much of the Hawke’s Bay province missed out. In fact, we have not had any serious rain, with run off, since July last year. This has been 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. The only green on the paddocks at the moment can be found at the tip of a grass blade. The autumn rains did not materialise and that is key to pasture growth.  This shows just how important water storage infrastructure is to farming and we must move forward on this issue.

“Considering the conditions and how close we are to winter, it was very important to declare drought now. The Hawke’s Bay 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,” Mr Mitchell concluded.



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