Self professed 'townie' Jacky Braid is having a go at raising calves, but in this case it's a virtual kind.

Advocacy group IHC, which supports people with intellectual disabilities, has lost $1 million worth of funding, after Mycoplasma Bovis put an end to its Calf and Rural Scheme.

To make up some of those funds, it has introduced a 'virtual calf' scheme, where people can donate money to buy a virtual calf.

Braid learnt about both the Calf and Rural Scheme and it's suspension by following Craig Hickman, a dairy farmer from Ashburton, on Twitter.

Advertisement

"They'd explain they would raise these calves and they'd sell them and the money would go to IHC," Braid said.

"I thought that's very nice, I can't put a calf in my backyard but hey, that's cool you guys."

This year Hickman tweeted that because of M. bovis, the Calf and Rural Scheme was suspended.

"IHC stood up and said 'we're not going to do this this year," Braid said.

"It means losing $1m it's better for the farming community who have backed it up for 30 odd years,"

"It's such a huge thing for them to do," Braid said.

Lindisfarne College ESOL teacher Jacky Braid mobilised her Twitter follows after M.Bovis forced IHC to give up its Calf and Rural Scheme. Photo / Supplied
Lindisfarne College ESOL teacher Jacky Braid mobilised her Twitter follows after M.Bovis forced IHC to give up its Calf and Rural Scheme. Photo / Supplied

To try to make up some of the funds, IHC introduced a virtual calf scheme, where people could donate $300 towards a 'virtual calf.'

"I thought it would be quite fun for those of us who aren't farmers to actually participate, why don't we do a virtual calf?"

Advertisement

So she put out a tweet, hoping to raise enough for two calves.

Seven calves later, Braid and the twitter community she is a part of has raised $2100 for IHC.

People as far away as the US and Austria have donated.

IHC said in a press release it had been working with the Ministry of Primary Industries since the M. bovis eradication scheme was announced by the government.

IHC National Manager Fundraising Greg Millar said they had looked at ways of keeping the scheme running, but decided it was too much of a risk.

"We have a real obligation to do what is right for New Zealand farmers, their livelihoods and long-term sustainability," Millar said.

The rural scheme has been running for 33 years and raises $1 million for IHC annually.

So far IHC had only reached 15 per cent of its annual fundraising target.