Ashburton District mayor Donna Favel says a new group is being formed to help bring together the council and local agricultural and health authorities in response to MPI’s ‘surge’ in the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme.
“We have been dealing with it up until now,” he told Rural News. “We have been in touch with all affected properties where they are on NODs (notice of direction), RPNs (restricted place notice) or infected properties since the very early stages.
“We are keeping in contact with those people and supporting them and they have a contact person within Rural Support who they talk to.
“Obviously as time goes on there will potentially be more people. We will have to upgrade and we have the resources to be able to do that.”
Government is funding that support, Bateup says.
“They are really on board. We are making sure there is support available for all the affected farmers and we will gear up as we need to.”
The $886 million set aside for the M. bovis plan includes funding for ‘acute farmer support’ for those infected, funding for a rural mental wellness programme and Rural Support Trust funding, a spokesman for Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says.
Bateup says gearing up may mean bringing more people in. “The trusts have a number of people who are dealing with general day-to-day issues. So within their teams most of them should be able to provide the extra support needed.”
There may be some upskilling on what the disease is and the effects of the process.
“But generally it is supporting people. Our people have a history of supporting people through all sorts of adverse events and troubled times they have experienced. So this is another adverse event where people will need support and our people are skilled and trained to provide that support.”
The farmers he has spoken to are bearing up.
“I have been working in Waikato with small numbers. Obviously in Southland and Canterbury the numbers are much larger.
“Every individual handles it differently so there is no one-size-fits-all. It is just helping them through the process and how things are going for them. Just having a place for them to go for constant support is pretty important.”
The Rural Support Trust can be contacted on 0800 787 254.