Stuff - Recovery package to get farmers hit by cattle disease back on their feet faster

A recovery package to help farmers get back to business faster after being cleared of Mycoplasma bovis has been announced.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O'Connor outlined the package, which will give farmers access to assistance with compensation claims, online tools and extra support from the Rural Support Trust, on Tuesday.

The new compensation assistance team, put together by DairyNZ and Beef + LambNZ, is made up of rural professionals who can work with farmers on their claims.

The $400,000 cost of running the team is funded through the national Mycoplasma bovis (M bovis) response.

Simplified compensation forms and guides and an online calculator to work out milk production losses will go live soon.

The package also gives Rural Support Trust services a boost, with 80 members completing training to provide crucial welfare support.

And in addition to the Acute Recovery Team, regional recovery managers will join centres in Invercargill, Oamaru, Ashburton and Hamilton to help farmers develop a tailor-made recovery plan.

The announcement of the package, rolled out by the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Beef+LambNZ, was made on Bryce and Julie Stevenson's beef farm in Wairarapa.

The couple are restocking after eradicating M bovis and Ardern acknowledged dealing with the cattle disease had been "extremely tough" for many farmers.

"Losing herds, pets and years of stock genetics built up over decades is an incredible hit to take for New Zealand's one shot to protect our national herd and economic base," she said.

"For those families whose farms have been cleared of Mycoplasma bovis, restocking marks an important turning point – it allows them to begin moving forward again.

"The Government remains committed to phased eradication, which is progressing well, and to helping farmers get back to business," Jacinda Ardern said.

O'Connor said the response was making good progress in its world-first eradication attempt.

"Today places a spotlight on the resilience of our primary sectors and those who work in them, with the focus on support for farmers who are helping to rebuild the national herd to full strength.

"It's important to remember that confirmation of newly identified properties does not mean the disease is spreading. It means we are tracing historically infected cattle and milk movements, many of which occurred before the disease had been discovered," he said.

"Working closely with our farming industry partners, the Government remains confident eradication is on-track and we have a good chance of success. I thank all farmers who have helped get us to this point."

Of New Zealand's 24,000 farms, 74 have been infected to date with 36 subsequently destocked and cleared of Mycoplasma bovis.