New Zealand dairy farmers may have to dispose of their milk after earthquake

Some New Zealand dairy farms that remain without power, or those that cannot be reached by tankers due to road closures may need to dispose of their milk following an earthquake on Monday, according to Fonterra.

The New Zealand dairy processor also confirmed all its staff are safe following the earthquake and there is no major damage to any of its manufacturing sites.

Road around the town of Kaikoura on country’s south island have been damaged or are blocked by landslides, meaning there are approximately 30 farms in the area that may not have their milk collected

Meanwhile, other dairy farms around the country may have late collections as tankers are rerouted.

Fonterra’s Farm Source Chief Operating Officer, Miles Hurrell, said that the processor is doing its best to reach everyone who is due for collection immediately.

“With power out and phone lines down in some areas, that includes putting Farm Source teams on the road to go door-to-door to try to update those farmers with the latest information.

“We’re extremely relieved to confirm there are no injuries to any of our staff around the country, and our focus continues to be making sure we can contact and support as many of our farmers in affected areas as we can,” he said.

Most of Fonterra’s manufacturing sites around the country are fully operational today and processing milk as usual, according to Chief Operating Officer for Global Operations, Robert Spurway.

“We will continue carrying out safety assessments over the course of the day but at this stage we are comfortable there are no significant structural concerns or on-going impact on the normal running of our business,” Spurway said.

This has been a frightening event for many of our communities and our thoughts are with those who are suffering losses.

Federated Farmers of New Zealand is the primary point of contact for farmers who want to request or offer assistance.

The group is working with farmers and other volunteers in an effort to offer assistance to those affected by the earthquake, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson Katie Milne said.

“In these situations, a lot of people want to offer support but it’s not always clear who needs it, especially in an area like this where power and communications outages make contact so difficult.

“And we are already directing help out to those who have contacted us and asked for support.

“What we need first and foremost are farmers with their own tools and who can be self sufficient to work on farm houses in bad repair,” she said.

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