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Immigration restrictions are continuing to be a headache as calving starts in North Canterbury.
Federated Farmers North Canterbury senior vice-president Rebecca Green said she had endured a 60-day wait to get a farm worker approved by Immigration New Zealand to work on the Cheviot farm she contract milks with husband Blair, after no locals applied for the position.
On the positive side, the Government’s relaxing of visa rules meant a farm worker they already employed has had his visa extended from 12 to 24 months, ‘‘which is really great’’, she said.
‘‘It’s tough for a lot of people. It’s just very stressful and very hard for my husband and our workers who are having to carry the extra load.
‘‘A lot of farmers don’t have the workers that they need, but we just have to soldier on and get through.’’
Despite the drought and the recent heavy rain events, Ms Green said the farm was ready for calving after some late-season grass growth and the cows were in good condition.
‘‘Calving is under way and if we don’t get too many more adverse weather events, we will be fine.
‘‘That second lot of rain probably hit Hurunui worse than the [May 31] flood event, but we have just got to try to do the best we can.
‘‘We still care about our animals and our people, so it’s about making sure we are all OK.’’
A netball injury meant Ms Green was out of action for calving, but she had managed to find some casual workers to step in.
‘‘But otherwise everything is looking good.’’
While the farm was next to both the Hurunui and Greta rivers, it had come through the rain events without too much damage, aside from the Greta River flooding a pump, some debris and broken fences.