27 Sep 2010

Southland farmers face losses of $50m after snowfall

10:04 am on 27 September 2010

Federated Farmers estimates Southland farmers are facing losses of $50 million after last week's big snowfall.

The organisation has been meeting with rural support groups assisting the region's farmers to find out what help is needed.

Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson says there has been a 20 to 25% fall in the amount of milk collected from dairy farmers last week and sheep farmers are also very badly hit.

Mr Nicolson says there could be as many as 500,000 lambs lost as a result of the weather.

He says 10% of breeding ewes may also have been lost in areas where the snow didn't thaw.

The snow storm has been declared a medium level adverse weather event by the Government, triggering taxation relief and funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide welfare support.

Mr Nicolson told Morning Report that farmers are not expecting handouts but do expect to receive the same Governmental support that others would receive in similar circumstances.

Federated Farmers Southland field officer Julia Christie says volunteers will be sent to farms on Monday, delivering food parcels and providing information to farmers.

They will also use the visits to find out what people need most and how they can be helped.