Farming during drought or drought-like events is always tough on the mental health of those involved and their families, writes Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president Alan Wills.

We are well into drought-like conditions here in the Rotorua/Taupo area.

Pasture covers are low and by now, people should have all culls and any excess animals off the farm.

For many it will mean a short milking season with probably not much production coming in from the end of April.

Advertisement

Farmers will have a focus on cow condition, the amount of supplement available, and the fact that frosts from now on will slow down pasture growth. It is known as a late drought and can be a stressful time for many.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

Farming during drought or drought-like events is always tough on the mental health of farmers involved and their families.

Our industry is not for the faint of heart. We are dependent on weather patterns and product prices. Life throws up challenges we could do without. In continuing dry periods, we need to review our farm situations regularly.

I have heard some people say to survive a drought, and a late drought at that, requires courage and the ability to look ahead.

I want to address my point about courage. Your courage is so important now. Courage is what you need to employ if things are beginning to weigh on your mind.

If you can no longer focus or are becoming inward-looking and withdrawn you need to talk about it openly with someone you trust.

Maybe you are trying to live up to expectations we all naturally impose upon ourselves.

During droughts or drought-like conditions, please be aware depression is very real.

Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president Alan Wills. Photo / Supplied
Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president Alan Wills. Photo / Supplied

Stress is very real. If your situation is beginning to affect you, please reach out to a supportive person or please contact one of the local or national mental health agencies.

Do not bottle your emotions up. You are of no use to anyone if you become
unreachable.

Please understand you are not in this alone. Virtually every farmer is where you are or has been there. Use your courage to reach out for help.

During these weather events, I find looking forward helps.

Yes, it is difficult now, but we need to be proactive and organise our way through the winter and in four months we will be well into the spring with new life and new growth.

Where to get help:
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.