A series of events aimed at bringing farmers together to deal with the drought have been postponed, prompted by the coronavirus threat.
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TOM LEE/STUFF Rural Support Trust Chairman Neil Bateup says the trust is looking at alternatives to make sure farmers are supported through the drought.

Rural Support Trust Chairperson and Waikato farmer Neil Bateup said the events were a critical part of the trust’s plan to support those working on the land.

“It is very disappointing but the way things have played out, we’ve had to review the situation.”

There were nine events in total planned for the Waikato in March. The trust had been able to hold the first four but the others have been postponed.

The trust wanted to use the events to supply farmers with some advice and help, if needed. It was also just a chance to get off-farm and socialise with others.

“But farmers can still support one another. Go and see your neighbour, meet in smaller groups. The drought is still there and we’ll just have to keep monitoring things.

Dairy NZ, which has its head office in Hamilton, is looking at alternatives to run its events too.

Some included regular discussion groups while others were focussed on helping farmers through the drought too.

In a statement, Dairy NZ said providing advice to its farmers is its top priority.

“We are constantly reassessing, so our advice will be updated with the escalating situation.

“We are sharing updates with our farmers through social media and will be sending an email to farmers with links to advice and support.”

It has set up a new section on its website to show the most up to date information and advice “on being a good employer and on DairyNZ run events”.

“We are also looking at alternatives for getting people together such as webinars.”

Livestock Improvement Corporation, also based in Hamilton, said it was also looking at asking its staff to work from home.

The dairy farming sector research and development organisation was reviewing all government information to ensure it could support its farmer shareholders and its staff to keep them safe.

“We have a business continuity plan in place to ensure we can continue delivering our products and services to farmers and keep them informed of any impacts to their business,” it said in a statement.

Chobani, the Greek yogurt marker, plans to become a publicly traded company in 2022. In preparation for an initial public offering (IPO), the company filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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