[30 January/The Country]

Minister for Agriculture and Rural Communities, Damien O’Connor, has declared a medium scale adverse event in respect of drought conditions in Southland and large parts of Otago (including Queenstown Lakes, Central Otago and Clutha districts).  The declaration triggers additional funding of up to $130,000 for the local Rural Support Trusts and industry groups to coordinate recovery support.  Mr O’Connor noted that some useful rain is predicted for later this week however the drought has already taken a toll on farmers which will take time for them to recover from.  Rain now will still take a month to translate into feed and many farmers are now well behind in their winter preparations.  The latest declaration extends drought classifications that have already been declared in the Lower North Island and on the West Coast of the South Island.