Government releases funding to support South Canterbury farmers

The Government will provide funding to support South Canterbury farmers affected by the recent heavy rain and flooding, while the farming community is also rallying to help out.

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor has declared a medium-scale adverse event for the district, which will see up to $50,000 in funding made available to support farming communities.

"Two weeks of solid rain has resulted in severe disruption, putting tremendous pressure on our farmers, and they need to know that the Government is there to support them," he said.

"The dreadful weather has affected milking and pick-ups, with damage to pasture, fencing, races, stock water and irrigation systems."

Ministry for Primary Industries field-staff, who have been providing advice and assistance on the ground, have yet to determine the full extent of the damage and loss.

However O'Connor said staff had advised that in these circumstances an adverse event should be triggered, which unlocks funding to speed up the recovery process.

Some farms in the area have been badly affected after the Rangitata River flooded.
Some farms in the area have been badly affected after the Rangitata River flooded. Photo credit: Newshub

"I've agreed that up to $50,000 should be made available to the South Canterbury Rural Support Trust to help provide backing to help these communities on the road to recovery, including pastoral support and specialist technical advice."

Some of the $30,000 of funding received for the West Coast flood event in May was also still available for use and whether more funding was needed would be assessed over the coming days.

Meanwhile, offers of help for those affected were coming in from the farming community via the NZ Farming Facebook page.

"If you hear of anyone needing someone to help clean up when this water buggers off, let me know. Son and I not super busy next week," said one farmer. 

"Many hands make light work, even if just clearing debris off fences so they can be repaired."

Another offered grazing for horses or stock that may be in need of respite from flood-affected areas.