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Source: New Zealand Government

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has today classified the drought conditions in Southland and Clutha and Queenstown Lakes districts as a medium-scale adverse event, acknowledging the challenging conditions facing farmers and growers in the region.

“Southland and parts of Otago have been in the grip of an intense dry spell since the start of 2022 and the impacts of this are being felt,” Damien O’Connor said.

“This adverse event classification will unlock up to $100,000 in Government funding to support farmers and growers from now until October 2022.”

Rainfall on the South Coast has been the lowest since records began 50 years ago and some rivers are at levels only seen about every 80 years. Conditions are also very dry in the rest of Southland, as well as in Queenstown Lakes and Clutha Districts.

“The drought coupled with pandemic disruption to meat processing has contributed to added strain on people.

“Our primary sector is crucial to our economic recovery from Covid-19. While currently returning record exports, the sector is exposed to climatic events and where we can support them through we will, while also working in partnership to strengthen the climate resilience of the sector in future.

“The funding will go to the Southland and Otago Rural Support Trusts to help with both one on one support and community events, with extra technical advice also available from industry groups, including feed planning advice.

“Rural Support Trusts, Federated Farmers, other primary sector groups and councils have been meeting for some weeks and offering a range of support for farmers. This Government support means they can go that extra mile,” Damien O’Connor said.