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Farmers urged to share their experience with M.Bovis eradication efforts

21 June 2019 - ADC - Ashburton District farmers are being encouraged to share their experiences and concerns about M.bovis disease and the eradication programme so that more can be done to advocate and address issues.

The Ashburton Regional Advisory Group, chaired by Ashburton District Mayor Donna Favel, met today to discuss what is being done in the district to support farmers affected by the disease. The group are calling on farmers to continue sharing their experiences with them.

The group were joined by guests from the Farmer Assistance Program and representatives from financial institutions, who were invited to speak at today's meeting.

"We are actively seeking insight from a range of different groups and industry bodies to gather a whole-of-district understanding of the implications of what is happening in our community and what can be done better," Mayor Favel said.

"The feeling out there is that some farmers have a lack of confidence in what is happening, and we want to help address those concerns by learning about their experiences and exploring what we can do to help. That is the purpose of this group."

Acting Regional Manager for Ministry for Primary Industries Eradication Programme, Sharon Ritchie, commented, "Having this group means we get to hear farmers' concerns at a local level. This information enables us to more effectively target our resources.

"Bringing people together also means we can collaborate and develop fresh approaches. For example, some local experienced farmers who went through the M. bovis process have created a group of mentors to help farmers who are now entering the programme themselves."

Representatives from the district's financial institutions told the group today that farmers should make sure they are as prepared as possible for culled stock reimbursements by keeping accurate, up-to-date herd records.

"Completing your records and having verifiable evidence on hand can make a big difference in the settlement claim process, so it's imperative these records are kept," Mayor Favel explained.

The latest report from the field shows that of 25 confirmed properties for M.bovis in Ashburton, 20 are cleared and five are active. 

The number of properties under a Notice of Direction stands at 20, while a further 67 have been revoked. Eighty properties are under Active Surveillance. 

The Ashburton Regional Advisory Group was set up in April to support members of Ashburton's rural community affected by Mycoplasma bovis. It includes representatives from the Ashburton District Council, Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Federated Farmers, Rural Support Trust, and Ashburton Hospital.​
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