It's a long and still cautious road for Patoka farmers Jeremy and Sharron White who expect to welcome 100 bulls onto their property tomorrow after seven months without stock because of the Mycoplasma bovis scare.
The Whites sent 700 bulls to the slaughterhouse in November after their herd became the first in the North Island known to be infected with the disease.
The couple have effectively had no income for those seven months and are still to be fully compensated.
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But they are treading warily, even as their property is clear as a risk.
Sharron White worries about whether the replacements bulls, trucked from the South Island where almost all of the M. bovis discoveries have been made, are themselves suspect.
The Whites' property has been cleared by the Ministry of Primary Industries, as has the shipment of the bulls to the North Island. More cattle will arrive soon as they try to replace their stock and get the property back up to speed.
They are waiting for financial relief, after the Government announced farmers whose stock is culled will get most of their claim within four to 10 days and a "fully verified" claim would take two to three weeks.
"We'll see," said Sharron White.
The couple revealed at a public meeting a few days before Christmas that theirs was the sole North Island property were M. bovis had been confirmed. The disease was first detected in North Otago last July.
They had had their grazing unit for just two years and all of their bulls, which had come from the South Island, had been slaughtered.
Rural Support Trust Hawke's Bay representative Lon Anderson told the meeting the couple's "entire farm management and lifestyle [had been] turned upside down".
The couple confirming the outbreak was described by the then-outgoing Federated Farmers provincial president, Will Foley, as a "courageous move". The property was in lockdown at the time with no certainty about their farming future.
Monday's announcement that the Government planned to eradicate the disease revealed three outbreaks in the North Island — the others in Manawatu and Waikato — and 38 in the South Island.
New Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay provincial president Jim Galloway, of Raukawa, west of Hastings, said there are "mixed feelings" about the eradication plans.
"Farmers are saying it is a good thing if it can work," he said. "They hope it will work, but it might not. It is scary."
Te Pohue farmer and former Federated Farmers national president Bruce Wills says he's "confident the industry is united" in the decisions made so far, and numbers being culled are less than 1 per cent of the national herd. Hawke's Bay has an estimated 8-10 per cent of the country's beef cattle, but dairying in the region is much smaller, at about 1 per cent of dairying nationally.