A new government fund to help farmers through the worst drought in living memory is a welcome boost, but more help may be needed, according to the dairy industry.
The 2020 Drought Recovery Advice Fund allows farmers to apply for up to $5000 to pay for advice to help them recover from the current drought and plan for any future water shortages. However, the fund is capped at $500,000 nationally.
The money can be used for a wide range of drought-related business and technical advice, including stock water best practice, feed management systems, strategic and financial planning, sustainable land management and technical advice on soil, pasture or animal production.
Dairy NZ welcomed the new grant, but says it highlights the need for long-term solutions and greater investment in water storage. General manager for farm performance Sharon Morrell says any farmers who need feed support should apply for the fund, as it is crucial to set up for winter and the 2020/21 season now.
“It’s promising to see the Government starting to move in this direction with water storage schemes recently announced for both Northland and Hawke’s Bay – but what is really needed is a coherent and coordinated National Water Storage Strategy,” she says.
Farmers can apply for funding by completing an online form and emailing it to the Ministry for Primary Industries by June 12.
Info and application forms: Go to mpi.govt.nz and search for ‘2020 drought recovery’.