When Fonterra farmers were impacted by devastating floods that hit the Canterbury region in May, the Co-operative’s Emergency Response Team swung into action.
It was some of the worst flooding the region had seen in a century, leaving many farms under water. Roads and schools were closed and people in the worst affected areas (including Fonterra farmers and site employees) were evacuated from their homes.
Farm Source Regional Head for Canterbury Tasman Marlborough, Charles Fergusson assessed the situation for Fonterra farmers.
“Some were facing significant stock, feed and equipment losses.”
That’s where being a part of Fonterra can really make a difference. Our Emergency Response Team (ERT) is a group of specialists who train every month, picking up medical and mechanical skills along with management of emergency situations.
Local ERT members as well as those from other parts of the country arrived to pitch in on the worst-affected farms. Stuart McPherson, who helped co-ordinate the ERT response says in just one morning’s work at Lee-Anne and Norm Stewart’s Greenstreet Farm, “the team would have plucked debris from around 6-7km of fence line”.
Asked how he felt about the ERT being on farm to help, Norm said it was “absolutely amazing. Gives me goose pimples to be fair. I reckon it’s about 300 man hours, with 30 of them here for five hours. It’s taken a big chunk. Much appreciated.”
For the first time, the ERT was also joined a member of Fonterra’s Health and Wellbeing Team. Cate Hampton, Occupational Health Nurse and Rehabilitation Advisor for Farm Source, travelled with the ERT and worked alongside the Rural Support Trust to provide further support to farmers.
You can read more about the ERT’s co-operative spirit here.
Lee-Anne and Norm Stewart, Greenstreet Farm owners