2 May 2011

Volunteer 'farmy army' suggested for Hawke's Bay

1:42 pm on 2 May 2011

Officials in Hawkes Bay will push for last week's storm to be declared a medium scale adverse event, and want to organise a volunteer teams of local farmers to help with the clean up.

Up to 100 farms in a 5km-wide strip of coastal land between Cape Kidnappers and Porangahau have lost large areas of grazing land , along with stock, fences, roads and dams from slips and flooding.


Ministry of Agricultre, local body, Federated Farmers and Work and Income representatives were among those at a meeting called by the East Coast Rural Support Trust on Monday.

The trust's Hawke's Bay coordinator, Mike Barham, says an adverse event declaration would give residents and farmers greater access to Government assistance.

Mr Barham says the trust is also looking at organising a volunteer farm labour scheme, along the lines of the 'Farmy Army' that helped with the post earthquake clean-up in Christchurch.

He says they could help with such things as sowing grass and preparing for fence repairs.

Mr Barham said some of the damaged farms may never be the same again.

"These slips are just so deep ... you just can't put tracks across where these slips are, so the running of these farms will never be the same."

PGG Wrightson is offering seed for regrazing and fencing materials at cost and the Rural Support Trust will be approaching other agribusinesses to see what they can do to help, he says.

As at midday on Monday a state of emergency remained in place in the region.