The Hawke’s Bay’s drought relief fund, which was set up by local government leaders to help farmers through one of the region’s worst droughts in living memory, is now open for applications.
Lochie MacGillivray, who co-chairs the Rural Advisory Group – the lead Civil Defence agency for the drought response – says farmers with a critical feed shortage can apply for help with the transportation costs of getting feed to Hawke’s Bay.
“But we must be clear – the grants will not pay for the feed itself. This cost will need to be covered by farmers.”
“While the recent rain is welcome, it hasn’t broken the drought. The farming community is still faced with a significant feed deficit and challenging decisions about stock management. When temperatures cool, grass growth will be minimal. Winter is going to be difficult for many farming families.”
The fund is open to farmers with at least 20-hectare properties, who are in a position of need, and everyone who applies must have a feed plan that confirms this need.
Farmers are eligible for a maximum grant of $400 for properties between 20 and 150 hectares, and $1350 for properties greater than 150 hectares.
Mr MacGillivray said the fund was designed to support as many people as possible through the winter by making a contribution to the cost of transport.
“We want to do our very best to support our farming community with the funds available.”
To apply for a drought relief fund grant, go to https://bit.ly/3h48yCN
To date, the fund has accrued $1 million including contributions from the New Zealand Government ($500k), the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council ($200k), Central Hawke’s Bay District Council ($50k), Centralines ($50k), and Hastings District Council ($200k).
The funds are held in Trust by the Hawke’s Bay Disaster Relief Trust.
The group had also launched the Give a Little ‘Digging Deep for our Farmers in Drought’ appeal as a way for the Hawke’s Bay community to support farmers. It currently sits at $10,234. To donate go to www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/diggingdeep.
The Rural Advisory Group is made up of farming leaders, councillors, the East Coast Rural Support Trust, Ministry for Primary Industries, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and the Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.