When up to 200 farmers were affected by the June 2015 flood in Whanganui, Lyn helped with things as varied as tracking down an available digger to helping manage farmers' finances.
Adverse events like floods, droughts or snow have been the Rural Support Trust’s bread and butter. But now, more work is done during what Lyn calls “peace time”.
“Peace time work helps farmers through a crunch time – from financial issues to managing a divorce, we see a whole range,” says Lyn. “Rather than being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we now have a proactive role.”
Lyn says often when people are under stress, relationships become strained – whether that’s personal relationships or those between contract milkers or sharemilkers and farm owners.
“We often send a facilitator to help talk through any issues farmers have or they can point people to further help,” says Lyn.
“We don’t go along and solve people’s problems. We listen and give ideas, we help work through problems with people.”
Help with finances
Common calls are around finances. “We had a young couple contact us who’d gone contract milking. They’d been severely affected by an adverse event and didn't have the experience to manage income issues, after farming during a good period,” says Lyn.
“After the adverse event, everything came tumbling down and they didn’t know what to do. We have talked to all the people involved in their business, from farm owner to the accountant. We’ve helped develop a system for them to follow and they can now move forward.
“It’s really rewarding to help someone like that. Now they have a plan and are paying off their debts.”
This article was originally published in Inside Dairy May 2016