An application has been lodged with the Ministry for Primary Industries seeking a medium-scale adverse event designation for Otago.

Yesterday, Otago Rural Support Trust chairman Gavan Herlihy said, if accepted, it would enable the trust to access funding to assist in the recovery phase of the "quite major event''.

It would also mean access to emergency funds through the welfare system and the ability to access some "tax smoothing'' that might be necessary because of changes in stocking rates.

The ministry has three classifications for adverse events - localised, medium scale and large scale.


While the Taieri Plain had been "majorly affected'' by the flooding, the request also included Clutha, Central Otago and Waitaki, Mr Herlihy said.

In its request, the trust asked the appointment of a recovery co-ordinator be included. Their principal role would be to work with Federated Farmers in the administration of a service matching feed and grazing requirements with availability.

The major challenge over the next few weeks would be for farmers to manage and plan their spring feed budgets, Mr Herlihy said.

With some farmers having seen feed "float off their properties'' and others not able to access paddocks for some time, that gap would have to be filled by supplementary feed.
The trust also announced an initiative to fund access to a consultant to assist in feed budgeting, up to the value of $500 per farm.

A second initiative concerned those farmers identified as requiring clinical professional assistance to help confront the challenges.

If assistance was not available on a timely basis through the public sector, the trust, on a case-by-case basis, would consider funding up to $500 to access commercial clinical assistance, he said.

DairyNZ has organised several flood recovery events to discuss and advise farmers on critical issues and options in dealing with the aftermath.

The meetings, at the Henley Community Centre and the White Horse Inn at Milton today at 12.30pm, and Clutha Vets in Balclutha tomorrow at 12.30pm, were open to all farmers, not just the dairy sector.


Otago Federated Farmers territory manager Nick Abbott said phones were "frantic'' yesterday with calls about the organisation's feed and grazing service.

Federated Farmers had a spreadsheet of farmers offering grazing or feed, and those requiring it, the aim being to match them up.

• Anyone requiring assistance should contact Federated Farmers on 0800 327-646 (0800 FARMING).