17 Jun 2015

'Pub Club' held aims to help farmers through drought

2:00 pm on 17 June 2015

Beef and Lamb New Zealand is hoping the lure of a free meal will get farmers in drought-stricken North Canterbury together, to plan for the coming weeks and months.

There has been no heavy rain in the area since June of last year.

There has been no heavy rain in the area since June of last year. Photo: RNZ / Patrick Phelps

While most drought declared areas of the South Island have received some rain, North Canterbury has had little relief this year.

To provide some social support for farmers, Beef and Lamb is hosting the first Pub Club this evening at the Hawarden Tavern, with the aim of getting locals talking through what is and isn't working during the dry conditions.

Its extension manager for the Northern South Island Ian Knowles said the club was targeting people who do not normally go to formal events or seminars, but still needed fresh ideas to get through the drought.

"At the moment it's looking at immediate solutions where they can plug that gap in feed supply, and make sure they get stock through the winter.

"But we will look at continuing the Pub Club if it's successful, to have a discussion around how they can get through the lambing period and those other crunch periods of the year.

"If it works well and farmers engage... then we'll likely carry on running these events.

"Lots of conversations happen in and around pubs, but what we're trying to do is provide a bit of structure and actually crunch some numbers so people go home with some good ideas of what it's going to cost them and what the benefit might be.

"I think this is probably the first [event] of its kind to actually bring together people in an environment they're comfortable about, [and] actually talk about some business and some common sense things - not just pub talk."

He said this evening's meeting at Hawarden Tavern starts at 5.30pm and farmers could still register on the Beef and Lamb New Zealand website.

Another Pub Club event is planned in Cheviot next Wednesday.