The official drought period was due to expire on February 15 and has been extended to June because of widespread dry conditions.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced extra funding of up to $150,000 would go to local Rural Support Trusts, with $40,000 set aside for the North Canterbury trust.
The extra $150,000 means about $350,000 has gone towards supporting the work of the Rural Support Trusts. Farmers also have access to IRD flexibility for tax payments during the drought.
Rural support trust leaders have been working closely with farmers to monitor their well being and directing them to relief assistance as well as organising community events and one-on-one mentoring.
Farmers needing more support are being urged to call their local rural support trust on 0800 787 254, and Federated Farmers is operating a drought feedline on 0800 376 844.
According to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) weather forecasters are predicting that the El Nino conditions will continue through Summer and into Autumn 2016. El Nino 2015-2016 could rank among the four strongest El Nino events recorded.
Listen to an audio clip of Andy Fox a North Canterbury farmer giving tips on dealing with El Nino. Click here to hear the audio from the Farming Show.
About El Niño
- El Niño is an underlying climate pattern that can make weather extreme and variable
- El Niño is affecting different parts of the country in different ways over the summer
- El Niño is exacerbating drought conditions in the South Island
- It is here now, close to its peak, and will continue to have knock-on effects.
What to do about El Niño
- Stay informed, develop a plan and review as the season unfolds
- Set trigger dates or criteria for making decisions
- Talk to trusted advisors and peers and ask for help if you need
- Look after yourself, your family and your neighbours
- Stay in touch with MPI and agencies via the website to understand how this El Niño is unfolding in your region; and the probabilities of the most typical weather events.
- Download a PDF document or see the MPI website for more information: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/adverse-events/classifying-adverse-events-/preparing-for-el-nino/