Farmlands, Federated Farmers and Stuff team up to re-fence cyclone-impacted regions
With tens of thousands of kilometres of fencing needing to be replaced or repaired in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle, Farmlands, Federated Farmers and Stuff are calling on Kiwis to ‘Post Your Support’ as part of their plan to help farmers and growers.
The goal is to help to re-build the kilometres of fencing lost in Northland, the East Coast and parts of the Central North Island after the cyclone by supplying the fencing materials needed and the person-power to build new fencing quickly and to a high standard. Post Your Support is encouraging Kiwi businesses and individuals to donate $20 fence posts - each of which represents about a metre of fencing that will help farmers and growers get back on their feet.
Farmlands brings its buying power and extensive supplier relationships as a rural supplies farmer owned co-op, Federated Farmers its ability to mobilise farmers from across the motu to help, and Stuff its reach to all Kiwis who want to help farmers and growers get their businesses back up and running.
Post Your Support is launching with around $650,000 of funds already available - which will support up to 25 kilometres of fence repairs or replacement. Many times this sum is going to be required, given the thousands of kilometres of new fencing estimated to be needed.
Farmlands has kicked things off with $225,000 from its Cyclone Gabrielle Response Fund and Federated Farmers has contributed $150,000. Post Your Support is also already gaining support from across the sector with the Ministry for Primary Industries ((MPI) contributing $100,000, Silver Fern Farms another $100, 000 and FMG adding $30,000. Everyone can contribute to the fund by ‘buying’ a $20 fencepost at any of Farmlands 82 stores or online at: https:// shop.farmlands.co.nz/postyoursupport
The funds will be available to cyclone-impacted farmers and growers as a $5,000 grant "credit" to be used for purchases of fencing and growing structure materials, which will be made available at reduced prices via Farmlands. Grant applications can be completed online here.
Farmlands CEO Tanya Houghton spent a week in February in the East Coast region and saw first-hand the utter devastation of the land, the livelihoods, and the infrastructure in the region.
"So much has been destroyed but not the will of our farmers and growers to re-build and get on with life on our land. We’re going to act decisively and play to our strengths by helping to get new fences and growing structures up quickly for these communities," says Tanya.
"We’re already so grateful to our customers who have given so much to our Response Fund which will help us start this huge re-fencing task. We hope they will really get in behind ‘Post Your Support’, as a lot more fencing material will be needed to help get cyclone-impacted farms, vineyards and orchards back up and running.
"Every farming or growing business relies on fencing and growing structures for one reason or another. It’s critically important to manage stock and keep animals safe, protect crops, protect native plants and waterways, plus managing land and pastures effectively."
Federated Farmers will be drawing on its network of 24 provincial organisations to get the Farmy Army into the impacted areas (launching this weekend in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne) to provide the initial person-power to build fences quickly. In subsequent months, a network of contractors will be required to continue the work longer-term, as there is a mammoth task ahead. Federated Farmers will also be supporting the fundraising efforts every way it can through its network as well.
Federated Farmers, National President, Andrew Hoggard says that the organisation is "stoked" to work with Farmlands and Stuff on such an important response to help farmers and growers.
"We’ve got an army ready to get to work, and thanks to the generosity of donors, we’ve got the fencing material available that we need to start the huge task of rebuilding," Andrew says.
"I also urge people to get in behind this project by buying fence posts, as we’re going to need thousands of kilometres of materials."
"The Army started life as volunteer collective of people who wanted to help clear up and rebuild after the Christchurch earthquakes and it’s during crises on this scale where we can make a huge positive difference. We have volunteers ready to go from this weekend and we are looking for more who want to help over the coming weeks and months."
Stuff reaches more rural New Zealanders and is based in more rural communities than any other media organisation. These deep connections mean the organisation is acutely aware of the devastation caused by Cyclone Gabrielle and what a huge positive impact Post Your Support will have on impacted agriculture businesses. "Our journalists have been on the ground in Hawke’s Bay, the East Coast and Northland since the cyclone hit and we’ve been working to ensure the whole country understands what a significant disaster this is," says Stuff Chief Executive Sinead Boucher. "Post Your Support is a wonderful opportunity to make a practical and tangible difference to the lives and livelihoods of those directly impacted. By supporting our growers and farmers, we are supporting local communities and critical industries, such as food production, that are vital for all of us" she adds.
Farmlands and some of its key suppliers are also providing home bases for volunteers at Farmlands’ Hastings store and Gisborne-Wairoa where food and supplies will be on offer for the Army. Operations will kick off from 18 March, beginning with a hearty breakfast laid for the volunteers.
If any organisation or individuals are keen to get involved in any way, they should contact Farmlands or Federated Farmers directly. To join the Farmy Army, visit www.fedfarm.org.nz
For more information contact:
Simon Edwards | Senior Communications Advisor, Federated Farmers
Email: [email protected], Mobile: +64 (0)27 484 8892