Hawkes Bay vet awarded for outstanding work supporting 'struggling' farmers following Cyclone

Hawkes Bay vet awarded for outstanding work supporting 'struggling' farmers following Cyclone

Anyika Scotland is a Hawke’s Bay vet who grew up on a Sheep and Beef farm in Patoka.  

On the night of February 13th, she and her family woke to huge rainfall and extreme winds. The house was completely surrounded by water, ankle-deep and rising.

What she did in the following weeks to help farmers deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle, earnt Anyika an award from the Sheep and Beef Cattle branch of the NZ Veterinary Association.

Scotland told REX Weekend hosts Hamish McKay and Rebecca Greaves it all happened so quickly.

"A lot of it is a blur now," she said.

A lot of animals suffered following the cyclone and damage to roads and tracks means many farmers or emergency services couldn't access paddocks or livestock immediately following the extreme weather.

"Stock losses were quite significant on many properties…there were animals that unfortunately did suffer and had to be put down because of it."

Due to the unfortunate timing of the cyclone, a lot of dairy farms, in particular, struggled, many of which weren't able to get any produce off the farm due to lack of access to milk tankers, and then subsequently faced the challenge of cows drying off.

"I was on one farm and they literally had enough diesel for one more day and they had to still dry off all their cows so they only just scraped through, it was pretty stressful for them over that time."

Scotland reiterated the sentiment that there is a shortage of vets in New Zealand, particularly in rural areas and that there is a lot of pressure on the industry as a result.

"We do have more vets coming through this year, they have upped that but we are struggling with numbers.

"So far the farmers just haven't had enough financial support…access is still an issue, infrastructure is a massive problem and they need more financial support.

"We've got farmers who are struggling and I am really worried about them."

She told McKay and Greaves there isn't going to be an overnight fix for the problems farmers are currently facing but will require a significant increase in investment of time, money and resources over a long period of time to move back in the right direction.

Listen to the full chat between Hawkes Bay Vet Anyika Scotland, Rebecca Greaves and Hamish McKay above.

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