28 Jul 2012

West Coast community rallies to help dairy farmer

3:30 pm on 28 July 2012

Support from the West Coast rural community has helped a farmer who lost almost half of his dairy herd in a freak storm last month to get back on his feet.

About 200 cows on farms inland from Hokitika died from hypothermia when temperatures plunged to below zero.

A long-established Kokatahi dairy farmer, Barry Paterson, was the worst hit, losing 180 of his cows.

Fellow farmer Tim Burden, who is one of those organising the support efforts, says the community rallied around in typical West Coast fashion with donations of cows as well as money.

He says about 85 cows have been donated from as far south as Harihari and as far north as Westport and about 80 of them are on the farm already.

Mr Burden says he believes Mr Paterson has bought 100 cows himself, so he's now back to where he was before the storm.

Mr Burden says businesses on the West Coast have also helped out.

Michael Curragh of PGG Wrightson says an auction they organised earlier this month raised about $46,000 from donated goods and services.