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The government’s announcement last
week that it aims to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand is a
mixed-blessing for our district. While it is welcome news for our beef and
dairy industries for the long term, it heralds more uncertainty for farmers
over the next couple of years.
The important thing to
remember is that you’re not alone in battling this disease. It has been
heartening to see the collective response to helping our farming community. The
support offered at last week’s special meeting, hosted by Federated Farmers,
showed just how much there is on offer for farmers and their families.
I urge anyone who needs
assistance to reach out, whether to a neighbour, family member, friend or their
GP. If you know someone who is struggling, let them know that you’re there for
them and encourage them to seek help.
There are plenty of
organisations ready to provide industry support too. For advice and support specific to our
district, contact the Rural Support Trust hotline in the first instance – 0800
RURAL HELP (0800 787 254) which offers advice and support. The Mid Canterbury Rural Support Trust is
well connected to Ashburton District Council, with Councillors Peter Reveley in
the role of Chairman and Selwyn Price recently taking up the position of
DairyNZ has a wealth of
resources available on its website to help answer any questions you may have. There
are also a number of channels available for farmers and farm workers to help
maintain their wellbeing, such as the Farm Strong website and Farmer Support
ANZ and Westpac have announced
financial packages for farmers to help them stay on their feet and ultimately re-establish
their herds. This assistance is available immediately, including access to
short-term funding and suspension of principal repayments on loans.
This isn’t the first time our
district has faced difficult times and it isn’t likely to be the last. I know
the people in our community are strong, resilient, caring, supportive and compassionate.
Now is the time to come together and show that compassion and empathy for those