Veterinary services to support farmers in the North Island recovering from flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle will be provided through a new programme facilitated by the Veterinary Council of New Zealand.
The VCNZ initiative, Vets on Farm – supporting your recovery, has received $2.6 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to fund local veterinarians to provide on-farm advice and support.
This includes farm systems reviews and planning, disease sampling and testing, and herd health planning. Farm planning will focus on animal health and welfare.
VCNZ chief executive and registrar Iain McLachlan said veterinary clinics contracted by VCNZ will be contacting weather-affected animal farmers in Northland, Coromandel, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Tararua and Wairarapa.
“We will be trying to register as many clinics as we can and for them to then contact as many farmers as possible by the end of December. The ‘on farm’ work will then start in earnest in the new year,” McLachlan said.
Farmers interested in benefitting from Vets on Farm should get in touch with their local vet.
“Vets on Farm will help animal farmers following the extreme climate issues they faced in 2023, ensuring they have healthy animals and a plan for their continued welfare and productivity,” McLachlan said.
“Results from the disease sampling and testing will be hugely beneficial in understanding the impact the weather events had on animal health and production.”
He said another benefit from the project is reducing the risk of humans acquiring diseases such as leptospirosis, which has been seen to increase significantly after floods and cyclones. “It’s important to ensure animals in affected areas are healthy and disease free, as prevention is always better than a cure.”
For further information about other initiatives receiving support through MPI’s North Island weather events funding, visit www.mpi.govt.nz/north-island-weather-events-recovery-