22 Jan 2018

Drought-hit farmers urged to stick together

8:10 pm on 22 January 2018

The rural support trust is urging farmers affected by drought to stick together and not to be afraid of getting help.

Dry land and cows, parched land in central North Island.

Dry land and cows, parched land in central North Island. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The drought across Taranaki, western-parts of Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington and the Grey and Buller districts of the West Coast are classified as a medium-scale adverse event.

Other parts of the country are also starting to experience very dry weather.

Rural Support Trust national chair Neil Bateup said it was important farmers started looking ahead to next season, as production could not be compromised.

He said difficult decisions needed to be made and this was when support from others was crucial.

"Coming together in groups and realising that everyone else is in the same boat."

Mr Bateup said sharing ideas on how to get through and talking about it helped keep morale up.

"Having a plan takes some of the pressure off because you know where you are going."

Mr Bateup said it was probably easier for farmers to cope with drought now than a few years ago.

"There is more support there (now) if farmers put their hand out for it.

"Farmers are learning to cope," he said.

The fact that it has been earlier in the season than normal for drought has been difficult.

"A lot of farmers can actually cope with a normal drought which tends to be around February-March, rather than in December.

"It has put a bit more pressure on being so early."