OPINION: Just as Southland farmers were receiving praise from local authorities on their improved winter grazing practices, new photos surfaced of cows knee-deep in mud.
Parts of Southland received almost triple their normal September rainfall, a heavy dumping of snow, and a further 70 millimetres of rain last week.
The Southland Rural Support Trust is coordinating a range of initiatives to help boost farmer morale.
"The challenging weather has occurred during a busy time of the year and is taking a physical and mental toll," says Trust chair Cathie Cotter.
"We're encouraging farmers to get off-farm for a couple of hours to take a breath and reflect on how well they have coped."
"These events will help farmers realise they are not alone and are all facing the same challenges," she says.
The Southland Rural Support Trust, with the support of other organisations, is holding seven brunches between 13 and 22 October.
Free workshops, co-funded by the Ministry of Health and Rural Women NZ, are also being held across Otago and Southland from 9 to 13 November to help rural women prioritise their wellbeing and thrive.
They're being facilitated by Southland dairy farmer and former Dairy Woman of the Year Loshni Manikam and will offer practical tips and advice.
"I know how hard it is to prioritise looking after your wellbeing, especially when constant rain and snow create extra work on-farm," says Manikam.
"Women are central to the success of many farming businesses and families, and you can't run on an empty tank."
Thriving Southland, funded through the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is hosting a free event in Invercargill on 22 October featuring guest speaker Melissa Clarke-Reynolds.
It will focus on helping farmers achieve positive outcomes through connecting with others and being innovative during periods of change.
Motivational speaker Tony Christiansen is also fronting a series of events in Oamaru, Balclutha, Gore and Winton between 3 and 5 November.