27 Mar 2016

A helping hand for Waikato dairy farmers

9:06 am on 27 March 2016

A community relief milker scheme has been set up to help stressed and under-pressure dairy farmers in Waikato.

Organic milking teat cups.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Many farmers around the country are feeling the pinch from one of the lowest milk payouts in years.

Waikato regional councillor Stuart Husband, who is also Federated Farmers' Morrinsville chair, helped start the scheme.

There was a real need for farmers to be able to get a break and spend time with their families but tough financial conditions made that difficult, Mr Husband said.

Locals formed the idea that qualified milkers could offer their time to give farmers a break, in exchange for things such as a piece of meat or some milk rather than a monetary deal, he said.

That would mean farmers could take some time off without worrying about having to pay for someone to cover them.

It was all about communities helping communities, he said.

"It'll enable guys that are in huge financial difficulty to get away and have some of that much needed time with family and take focus back on their life, and just have a bit of time to themselves to realise 'what's important in my life'."

Mr Husband has been inundated with offers to help farmers who are under pressure, including offers of people's baches for farmers to stay at.

He said he had not yet had anyone approach him about using the scheme but he believed it was not widely known about.

Farmers who want help can contact Stuart Husband on 027 233 0030.

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