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HB Rural Advisory Group working hard to support farmers


The Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group will do all it can to support drought-impacted rural communities, following today’s Government announcement of a move to alert level four and a national lockdown.

Made up of representatives from rural and primary sector agencies, the Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group is working closely with Hawke’s Bay Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.

Co-Chair Wade Nilsson says the needs of the rural community are the group’s utmost priority. The group will contact those particularly impacted by the unprecendented drought conditions, and who need urgent help.

“Our ability to do some things may have been impacted by these further restrictions announced today, however we are working hard to find ways to support people," says Mr Nilsson.

The rural community, particularly in Central Hawke’s Bay, faces unprecedented drought conditions, they need help urgently. Some communities are also affected by Bovine TB stock control.

“We are going out to reach these people to confirm what they need, such as relief and support for water and feed shortages, animal welfare and stock issues. For those we aren’t in contact with, you can still contact our 0800 RURAL HELP number.”

The group will conduct surveys via phone rather than face-to-face, to maintain physical distance in line with the Government’s recommendations around the Covid-19 threat.

Co-Chair Wade Nilsson says the situation has been changing daily and urges farmers to check in on their neighbours, as much as possible, to see how they are and offer support if required.

“The rural community is in the middle of a severe drought, along with other significant pressures such as Covid-19. The rural community know how to rally together and support each other. We urge people to do just this and look after each other.”

Mr Nilsson said anyone needing support could contact the East Coast Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP for free and confidential advice, or visit

Those wanting to buy or sell feed could check AgriHQ’s feed noticeboard at

He said farmers could also find out if they qualified for financial assistance from the recently established Farm Business Advice Support Fund, a new initiative funded by banks and the government offering support for farmers struggling with farm debt.

For more information on the Farm Business Advice Support Fund, visit

For more information on dealing with dry conditions, visit


The next Hawke’s Bay Rural Advisory Group meeting will be held this Friday 27 March.

23 March 2020

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