Rural Communities and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by Mycoplasma bovis.
“Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries about bank debt and how best to meet the challenges of improving our waterways and meet New Zealand’s climate change commitments.
“To that end I’ve spoken to the Rural Support Trusts and alongside our Mycoplasma bovis partners we’ve set aside an extra $250,000 to help with their work talking to farmers on the ground.
“The trust will develop a plan for using the money.
“The RSTs do a fantastic job and are well placed to deliver additional help.
“They’re experienced and practical people who can coach farmers through difficult times,” O’Connor said.
RST national chairman Neil Bateup said the money is welcome and will help a farming sector feeling the pressure, despite strong prices for its products.
It is yet to be decided how the money will be allocated.
“We’ll need to have a look and see where can benefit the most,” he said.
Farmers are dealing with a lot of uncertainty, whether it be over agriculture’s inclusion in the Emissions Trading Scheme, the Government’s freshwater proposals or changes around the banking sector, which have come on top of public perception of them that is not always positive, he said.
The cumulative effect is taking its toll on some because it’s easier to deal with one problem than a number of them all at once.
As a result some regional support trusts have recorded a recent increase in the number of people contacting them.
People who need help, advice or just someone to talk to can call 0800 787 254. Support is free and confidential.