Adverse Event Information and Support for Farmers

Classification of Large Scale Drought - North Island, Top of the South Island, North Canterbury and the Chatham Islands

The Minister has classified the drought as a large-scale adverse event because of its intensity, its spread across multiple regions, and because some of the usual risk management options have been disrupted by COVID19.

What support that will be made available will depend on a community's needs and rural initiatives already underway. Keep in touch with your Rural Support Trust via 0800 787 254 if you need assistance. Psychosocial support for farmers and growers, and their families will be available, as well as Rural Assistance Payments where income does not meet essential living needs, late deposits and early withdrawal from the income equalisation scheme, and access of up to $5000 of professional recovery advice for affected primary sector businesses for long term planning and recovery once drought conditions ease.

MPI Feed Coordinators

Farmers needing assistance to find feed to buy can register with the Feed Coordinators. This is a willing buyer - willing seller match system. Please note, there is no free or subsidised feed available through this service. If you are unable to purchase more feed, please get in contact with the Rural Support Trust via 0800 787 254 who will talk through your options. 

Note - farmers will not receive assistance from the Feed Coordinators without a Feed Plan in place. This is important as feeds like Silage, Baleage and Hay are in very short supply and you will need to look at how to incorporate feeds you may not have traditionally used like grain, straw and maize stubble baleage into your system. This is a free service offered through Beef + Lamb and DairyNZ, supported by MPI, AgFirst and Federated Farmers. You can also have a feed plan you have put together with another trusted advisor. If you have a self-completed plan, we recommend speaking to the Beef + Lamb and DairyNZ service to sense check this first. 

To register with the Feed Coordinators - please complete the form here and someone will be in contact with you. 

If you have feed to donate or sell, you register using this form here. Please consider listing your feed for free with AgriHQ's Feed Noticeboard or a paid listing on Trademe as buyers will only be matched with you by a Feed Coordinator based on their need, and these other avenues provide the ability for farmers to help themselves first. 

Otago and Southland

Prior to the flooding, we were aware that many farmers in these provinces had been battling against the climate this season to get feed in front of animals for the winter and next year. Federated Farmers have since pulled together a group of technical experts to discuss options and sense check what this would mean for animal health, farm systems management and your finances before pulling the information into a toolkit for you to use. This is available here now. The local recovery team will be working on events and online education tools to compliment this toolkit which aims to empower you as farmers with options while you still have time ahead of winter to minimise the impact this season will have on the next.

Government Support

When adverse events occur, whether a local scale emergency declaration in an area or a medium scale event or larger that is declared by the Ministry for Primary Industries, certain recovery measures (depending on the scale of the event) are available. For more information on this assistance, click here .

Rural Support Trust

The Rural Support Trust is there to help, working along side you, in a natural disaster such as a drought. They can help with your application for financial assistance, provide support, and connect you to other services should you need them.  Call them on 0800 787 254 or click here  to go to their website. All calls are free, local, and confidential. If they don't answer first go, leave a message and they will get back to you. This line is open to all rural people, not just farm and business owners.


The DairyNZ website has tools and information for managing your dairy farm through drought as well more tools on planning ahead. They also have resources for farms experiencing low pasture growth due to high rainfall and how to future proof your system for coming seasons. 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has an Extreme Dry Management Tool kit available on their website for drystock farmers, as well as additional information on animal welfare, supplementary feeding, and planning ahead.

Staff Management

As is the case in these situations, due to the financial hardship of drought, you may need advice on what to do with staff if you can't continue to pay them during this period. For our members, you can call 0800 327 646 who can connect you to the Member Employment Lawyer free service. Alternatively, you can see the redundancy and other employment factsheets available on our employment page. For non-members, you can contact the Rural Support Trust for more advice and information or an independent lawyer.