Communication and compensation were some of the issues raised by Canterbury farmers dealing with Mycoplasma bovis phased eradication at meetings in Ashburton in early November.

The meetings were part of a nationwide plan to garner feedback from farmers under regulatory control.

A similar meeting was held in Hamilton and others were planned for Invercargill and Oamaru.

Ministry for Primary Industries' Mycoplasma bovis director Geoff Gwyn said about 25 M. bovis-affected farmers attended two farmer meetings in Ashburton on November 9.


There were also managers from the newly established M. bovis Directorate, industry partners, as well as a veterinary epidemiologist working on the response and members of the MPI compensation team.

Read more Mycoplasma bovis stories here.

''Invitations to attend were sent to all farms in the region which are under regulatory controls.''

The meetings were closed to the public to give affected farmers the chance to have ''free and frank conversations with key decision-makers on the M. bovis response''.

Farmers shared stories about their personal experiences dealing with M. bovis and the response and then gave feedback or suggested solutions around some of the actions taken as part of the phased eradication response.

''It is clear that many have experienced difficult times as a result of the M. bovis outbreak.

''Farmers were provided the opportunity to suggest practical improvements they would like to see.

''Some suggestions will be able to be implemented fairly quickly, others will need to be looked into further before a decision can be made.''

Over the course of the two meetings, Gwyn said similar topics and questions were raised, such as communication and actions taken on individual cases.

There were also more general questions around processes, the reasoning behind decisions, compensation eligibility and the challenge of replacing ''like-for-like''.

Some of the recommendations to come from the Ashburton meetings included:

• On the first visit to a farm the ICP manager and farmer sit down to set out a plan for the 12 months ahead with indicative timeframes so response activities can be factored into farming activities.

• Field testing staff giving farmers a written receipt to confirm what action has been taken on their farm.

• Setting up an online portal for farmers to provide access to all the information held about their farm.

• Providing farmers with a handy one-page of contact people and numbers.

He said MPI's incident controller, Dr Catherine Duthie, also ran through actions that had happened as a result of farmer meetings held in Wellington:

• Flow charts for ICP managers to talk through with farmers to give them an indication of what they can expect.

• Direct point of contacts into the response for ICP managers to raise issues and answer questions.

• Publication of the National Plan for the response.

• Increasing the number of staff working on compensation claims.

• Establishing a liaison team for farmers under active surveillance.

• Establishing regional recovery managers.

The industry has established the industry-led DairyNZ Beef+Lamb NZ Compensation Assistance Team;

• Publishing a milk production example scenario.

• New compensation resources to cover a variety of different scenarios, which were due to be released.