For the first time in 33 years, the IHC has decided to suspend crucial aspects of its Calf and Rural Scheme, due to the real risk of spreading Mycoplasma bovis.

IHC's National Fundraising Manager Greg Millar spoke to The Country's Jamie Mackay about the tough decision, saying there was "no other choice we could make."

"We really were concerned about the livelihoods of those mostly dairy farmers who've supported our scheme over 30 years, and we just couldn't go ahead and risk their livelihoods."

The IHC Calf and Rural Scheme was supported by the late Sir Colin Meads and Millar says the All Blacks legend was hands-on when it came to promotion.

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"He was involved right from the beginning, and not just as someone from a distance, he would be in there shifting calves and talking to farmers and saying 'come on, get in behind this project.' "

The IHC Calf and Rural Scheme has been able to make a difference to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and particularly those people living in rural communities. The suspension means the Scheme now has a $1 million void to fill.

Millar acknowledges it has been a tough year for many farmers due to Mycoplasma bovis but he says the rural community has always been incredibly supportive of the Scheme and he hopes people will be able to help out this year with a virtual calf pledge.

If you are interested in supporting the IHC through the virtual calf scheme, you can find out more at the website: www.ihc.org.nz/pledge
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