With the South Island’s West Coast in the grip of drought, which is a highly unusual event, most farmers on the West Coast will have no idea how to cope with it or its aftermath.
“Farmers need to remember they are not alone because the West Coast Rural Support Trust is only a phone call away on 0800 787 254,” says Dianne Milne, Chair of the West Coast Rural Support Trust.
“If farmers feel stressed it is vital to keep talking to their family, business partners, mates and rural professionals. It’s only when a farmer bottles things up those small problems become big problems.
“If you are a dairy farmer speak to staff at Westland Milk Products, DairyNZ and others who come up your drive. Similarly for sheep and beef farmers, have a yarn with your meat processor or to Beef+Lamb NZ.
“Don’t be shy about picking up the phone and talking to Federated Farmers either.
“At times like this you need the best advice so speak to your bank manager or accountant about options, especially in dealing with Inland Revenue. They may seem scary but if approached early by your advisor they will look to work with you.
“Even your council may show flexibility but these bodies need to understand what your situation is and can’t if you don’t talk to them.
“Listen to advisors or seek their help about the best way to manage the situation, especially regarding herd, feed and pasture management.
“There is going to be big demand for grass seed so talk to your supplier and secure some now if you think you need to. Get your fertiliser in the shed now for when it does rain, rather than being at the back of the queue for transport later.
“This is where your bank comes in and all of the major ones have drought packages available.
“Please keep an eye out for your neighbours and talk to them or if you have concerns, pass that onto us at the Rural Support Trust. At times like this you need your mates so get together for a BBQ because that reinforces the message that you are not on your own.
“The West Coast Rural Support Trust is here to help rural people through events like this. If you want our assistance or have concerns for someone who may, please call 0800 787 254. We are here to help,” Mrs Milne concluded.