Lyn Neeson knows the impact a drought can have on farmers, she's lived it.

That's why she's working with the Ruapehu and Whanganui Rural Support Trust to help struggling farmers get back on their feet after this year's early dry.

The trust was one of 13 that has been set up around the country after the 2013 drought, funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

Ms Neeson said farmers were experiencing real issues around stock welfare and it was having an impact on them and their families emotionally, physically and mentally.


"When circumstances are happening beyond control that can be huge for the farmer."

On December 22, the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities, Damien O'Connor, declared a fast-growing drought in parts of the lower North Island and announced a $160,000 funding boost to trusts in the affected areas.

Ms Neeson said the Ruapehu and Whanganui trust received $30,000 of that, which allows them to work with as many farmers who put their hand up for help.

"We can arrange recovery facilitators, who are all experienced farmers themselves, to work one-on-one with struggling farmers to find solutions and offer a fresh pair of eyes.

"We also work with accountants and banks to assist the farmers financially and look at IRD relief and flexibility around tax."

Ms Neeson said this drought was a lot different to the 2013 one because it has come after a record rain season and the main contributors had been extensive heat and wind, and only parts of the lower North Island have been affected.

"The dry hit in December which is a lot earlier than usually and means that the decisions that farmers are usually having to make in February/March, they are having to make now."

For the last 30 years, Ms Neeson and her husband Alex have farmed ewes and cattle on 1300 hectares of steep hill country at the junction of the Ohura and Whanganui Rivers.

She said they have experienced their fair share of problems being on isolated land and an area that was prone to floods and slips.

"What's important for people to know is that we are farmers ourselves, we've been there and there is no judgment and it's all confidential.

"We find that once farmers open up and start to talk it's a huge relief for them."

The Ruapehu-Whanganui Rural Support Trust is already working with one dairy farm and three sheep and beef farms. When the 2015 flood hit they were supporting 180 farms in the region.