Today I have asked the Minister of Agriculture to officially declare a drought and enable support for farmers in Clutha, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.
“The situation has snuck up on farmers in Clutha and is getting worse. I have written to Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor asking him to declare a drought and enable some short term relief for Clutha farmers,” Mr Walker says.
“NIWA’s Drought Index shows that Clutha is dry and is headed to drought very fast without substantial rain soon.”
“March was the second hottest since NIWA records began in 1909 and very dry. Balclutha had 17mm, or 29%, of normal March rainfall and it was the fourth-lowest rainfall since 1968.”
“The rain is also extremely isolated, with hilltops receiving far more rain than the lower-lying areas.”
“Farmers are already having to look out of the area for upcoming winter grazing and they have already had to start using their supplementary feed.”
“Farmers are doing the best they can to deal with the current situations, but as dry conditions continue, the situation is getting worse.”
“The Government needs to act immediately and support these farmers.”