150 farmers attended the first joint Federated Farmers/Rural Support Trust Southland meeting in Wyndham to help farmers move from the response to the recovery phase. A second meeting is being held in Otautau tonight and Balclutha tomorrow evening.
“Given we didn’t get out of the venue until nearly 11pm, it shows you how affected farmers were hungry for facts and fellowship given this is probably the worst storm event in the South since 1949,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.
“We explained to everyone that our teams may not have got around to every single farm with gift packages, but teams from Federated Farmers, Alliance Group, FMG, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, PGG Wrightson, CRT, Ag ITO as well as Silver Fern Farms, are still on the road.
“Not to mention staff from the banks and Ravensdown, who are also out seeing and supporting their customers.
“Our Chief Executive, Conor English, who was MC last evening, helped impart with the speakers some major themes. That’s to face up to the costs and issues you have before you and be honest about your situation. Get help from trusted advisors and plan your way clear by investing time and money on getting things right from the start.
“It helps that rural professionals who have been advising us were there to give factual information covering banking, insurance and animal welfare. We had experts in mental health on hand to give practical tips on stress management too.
“Lindsay Wright, chairman of the Rural Support Trust Southland explained how he personally overcame his own dark days of adversity. The key thing is that there is a way ahead and the worst thing is to bottle things up.
“Invercargill Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, gave an uplifting talk including why Mayor’s should have a discretionary funds available to meet times of need, as well as opportunity. We were also pleased to have Invercargill MP, Eric Roy as well as Southland District Mayor, Frana Cardno, in Wyndham with us.
“Gerry Forde, from Venture Southland with Southern Man, Phil Reid, finished by outlining why the Southland Stags are winning and why the community has rallied around their farmers – because it’s the spirit of Southlanders. Having the Ranfurly Shield in Wyndham for the meeting made us all proud to be Southlanders.
“That said, a front row of Conor English, Eric Roy MP and Juliet MacIntosh, who packed down to wrap up the formal proceedings last night, may, aside from Juliet, be useful as deterrence against Canterbury supporters.
“Federated Farmers hopes to announce options from the Federated Farmers Adverse Events Trust by week’s end,” Mr Nicolson concluded.
Federated Farmers asks if the media can please help publicise the following meetings (media are very welcome to attend):
The meetings will include short talks about the response to the storm, managing stress, insurance matters, dealing with banks and financial matters as well as animal health. An update from Federated Farmers and the Rural Support Trusts will provide key information to help farmers over the short-term. Complementary food and beverages will also be available.
Dates, venues and times:
§ Otautau (Southland) - From 7pm TONIGHT, 5 October at the Otautau Combined Sports Complex, 20 Hulme Street
§ Balclutha (South Otago) - From 7pm Wednesday, 6 October at the South Otago Town and Country Club, 1 Yarmouth Street
Federated Farmers feedlist:
This list can be accessed by putting “Southland/South Otago storms 2010” into google.co.nz and clicking on the Federated Farmers link or by going to www.fedfarm.org.nz and selecting “Adverse events update” from the homepage and navigating to Southland/South Otago.