Tasman fire: Ag Minister on what farmers need to know

The Minister of Agriculture says the Government will do all it can to help support farmers and growers affected by the Nelson fires.

The massive blaze in the Tasman District is now into its sixth day with winds of up to 50km/h expected to fan the flames.

Damien O'Connor told Magic Talk's Rural Exchange getting the blaze out is a challenge, describing it as a "big, mean fire".

However, he praised the the work being done.

"It's a very co-ordinated effort, alot of agencies are working together. It's impressive to watch, but sad to see," he said.

He said the fulll extent of the damage to farms isn't known.

"Some farmers have been affected, not too many big commercial operations, but there are some," said Mr O'Connor.

"We've had fences bowled over to bring in fire breaks, so stock control is a big issue."

"Once we have the fire under control we can talk about getting things up and running."

Meanwhile latest information from MPI said crews have been working hard to rescue animals and stock.

"Where possible, animals are being tended to in place, which is less stressful for them. Crews are working behind the cordon where they can, taking food and water and in some cases bringing animals back to the Richmond Showgrounds," MPI response manager Charlotte Austin said in a statement.

"One of three farms in the area had its 150 cows and 50 calves moved to a less vulnerable part of the farm. From another property 10 pigs and piglets were rescued and taken to the Showgrounds, and household pets have also been taken there.

MPI said donations of food to the Richmond Showgrounds have been plentiful and there is currently no urgent need for more.

Anyone who is worried about animals inside the cordon or near the fires should contact 0800 008 333

The Government on Friday announced $50,000 funding for the Rural Support Trust to help farmer affected by the fire.

Assistance measures can include:

Resourcing for rural recovery co-ordination.

Resource for on-farm farm clean-up. This could involve the co-ordination of volunteers or the use of Enhanced Taskforce Green.

A boost for the local Rural Support Trust to help serve their communities with pastoral care, including organising local events and arranging recovery facilitators who work one-to-one with farmers and growers.

Technology transfer activities and events.

Other usual recovery measures, which may include tax flexibility and income assistance options, can be made available as appropriate.