Farmers in drought stricken parts of the country will receive Government funding amid concerns about the dry season's effect on dwindling feed supplies.
It hasn't rained in parts of Taranaki since October and a fast growing drought has been declared in that region, and parts of Wellington and western Manawatu-Whanganui.
Today Agriculture and Rural Communities Minister Damien O'Connor agreed the drought was an 'medium scale' adverse event and pledged $160,000 to help with the possibility of further assistance in the New Year.
The classification triggers financial assistance from the Government.
Rural Support Trusts will receive the funding to pass on to farming communities, and may be eligible for more assistance include tax flexibility and income assistance.
The announcement comes after growing concerns from Taranaki milkers that their income was being slashed thanks to bone dry conditions.
Milking has reduced because of a lack of grass and some graziers had run out of feed.
Taranaki Rural Trust chair Mike Green this week said the conditions were "extremely worrying".
"We don't usually see conditions like this until late February," he said.
O'Connor said regional leaders in Taranaki had asked him for support, and he will be visiting workers today.
The Ministry for Primary Industries will continue to monitor the conditions across other dry areas and farmers and growers are urged to contact their Rural Support Trust for advice.
Federated Farmers Taranaki president Donald McIntyre told Newstalk ZB the support would help farmers feel as if they weren't on their own.
He said there hadn't been a weather pattern like this in Taranaki for 40 years.
"Most farmers today have not experienced anything anywhere near this. Some of the old guys are starting to roll the tales out of how this compares,' he said.
Recognition of the drought by the Government was "huge".
"Because it gives the farmers in the worst affected areas, and the whole province, notification that they are not alone and the Government is recognising the fact (and) that they will support them through this tough time," he said.
"Farmers need a lot of support for their own welfare and their family welfare. A lot of farmers are drying cows off and their income is going to stop so there's going to be a large deficit in their operating budgets, so there's going to be a lot of issues so far as that's concerned."
Farmers seeking support should contact their local Rural Support Trust on 0800 787 254 or visit rural-support.org.nz.