Virus adds to woes of North Canterbury farmers

Cameron Henderson
Cameron Henderson
The uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic is adding yet another headache for North Canterbury farmers.

Federated Farmers North Canterbury president Cameron Henderson and North Canterbury Rural Support Trust chairman Andy Munro say dry conditions, the ongoing effects of Mycoplasma bovis and coronavirus, and this week’s 5.1-magnitude earthquake near Culverden are creating uncertainty.

‘‘The effects of the virus seem to be changing day to day as we have seen with share markets and travel bans,’’ Mr Henderson said.

Andy Munro
Andy Munro

‘‘The forestry sector and seafood sector seem to be feeling the greatest pain, followed closely by the meat sector.’’

The dairy industry appeared to be faring the best as markets seemed to be more stable, and drought conditions had probably helped keep prices up.

‘‘Luckily, our main market in China seems to be getting on top of the virus, so it would be great to see a return to normal trading happening soon.

‘‘Things are dry, but most farmers seem to be surviving OK.’’

The Rural Support Trust was exploring ways to help people stay connected now that large gatherings were being cancelled, Mr Munro said.

‘‘I went to the Cheviot A&P Show [11 days ago] and it was a good event, and a good chance for people to catch up and have a chat.’’

It was important for people to get out while they were able and support local businesses and the wider community.

‘‘It’s good that people are being proactive and postponing or cancelling overseas trips.

‘‘I would encourage people to get along and support your local coffee shop and local businesses. It’s a matter of everybody being aware and thinking of others, and try to support each other.

‘‘Hopefully, we can get rain and at least that will take drought out of the equation.’’

He reminded people help was available by phoning the trust on 0800787-254.

‘‘Too often people think they are the only one in that situation, but as soon as they look out the door they realise everyone else is in the same boat.’’

-By David Hill

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