Drought assistance for farmers

The Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, has extended the drought assistance period for farmers to the end of June.

Farmers in parts of the East Coast of the South Island have been suffering drought conditions for the last year or more. They have had very little rain for a year. This is partly because of the El Nino effect which brings dry weather. However, last weekend it rained steadily and, this time, the rain fell where it was needed – in North Canterbury. Paddocks started to show green grass instead of brown earth. More rain is needed and the very hot temperatures for the rest of the week will not help. The drought is not over yet.

Last year, Cheviot in North Canterbury received 337.6mm of rain. Compare this with Auckland which has on average around 1700mm.

It is very stressful for farmers who have to sell their animals because there is no grass. Mr Guy has provided more financial assistance to the local Rural Support Trusts. These trusts help farmers who are stressed by the drought. There is also some taxation support available, like postponing tax payments.

For more about El Nino, listen to February 8 2012.


• drought – opposite of flood
• Primary Industries – e.g. agriculture, forestry, fishing (industries from the land or sea); secondary industries are manufacturing (changes are made to primary products e.g. furniture from trees)
• extend – make longer
• El Nino – during an El Nino, the ocean in the Pacific gets warmer
• steadily – continuously
• paddocks – fields
• a Trust – like a company
• postpone – delay until later

Note: pronunciation and spelling of drought (it rhymes with ‘shout’). Compare with other ‘ought’ words e.g. bought, fought (they rhyme with ‘sort’).

Note: primary means first e.g. primary school comes before a secondary school

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