Farmers facing financial stress and mounting pressure on-farm and exacerbated by the increasingly dry weather, should reach out for help as should agricultural contractors, advises Rural Contractors New Zealand.
RCNZ President, Steve Levet says with the on-going dry in many areas around the country – on top of the lower forecast milk price –could see some farmers feeling overwhelmed and under huge pressure.
“However, there are things on farm that have to be done – no matter what – such as supplementary feed and crop harvesting,” Mr Levet explains. “Contractors are professionals and are especially set up to help out when these jobs need to be done on-farm.”
He also encourages farmers who may be having trouble or struggling, due to the dry conditions and/or prospect of a lower payout, to acknowledge that there is a problem and to talk to someone.
“The same goes for contractors who are feeling under the pump. It is crucial that in times of stress they communicate with support networks— including advisors, rural professionals, other farmers and contractors as well as family about what’s going on.”
Mr Levet reiterates advice given recently by others – including the Rural Health Alliance and Federated Farmers – that dealing with stress and feelings of helplessness on your own will only make it worse. It is also important that those in the rural sector keep an eye out for others who may be suffering from stress and if appropriate, see if they can help in any way or encourage that person to seek help.
“If possible, take some time off the farm and/or contracting to get a different perspective on life and remove yourself from what is causing you stress.”
He says reviewing where you are at with your business regularly is important. As is communicating regularly with your support network – including talking to friends and family.
“It is also worth remembering that farming and contracting has always been a cyclical business,” Mr Levet adds. “She might be dry now and dairy prices down, but it will rain again and milk prices will start rising.”