A Waikato Regional Drought Committee has been officially formed at a meeting in Hamilton today to help co-ordinate relief to farmers and others affected by the drought conditions affecting the region.
The committee will be chaired by Environment Waikato chairman Peter Buckley, himself a north Waikato dairy farmer.
A number of sub-committees are in the process of being formed to handle specialist areas such as farmer welfare and animal feed, banking and finance, and animal welfare.
A key message that emerged from today’s meeting of various agencies involved with agriculture was that farmers needed to seek help as early as possible to help them avoid running into more problems.
"Put your hand up early if you need help," Mr Buckley advised farmers in comments after the meeting.
"If farmers look for assistance promptly when they’re running into problems there’s a much better chance of agencies being able to provide effective help.
"All the Government, council, industry bodies and other agencies represented at the meeting are all very keen to help with support."
Mr Buckley stressed the main contact point for farmers needing help remained the Rural Support Trust, whose free calling number in the Waikato is 0800 787 254.
The trust may be able to help directly or provide advice on where farmers should go to get further assistance.