The Federated Farmers national president has taken the rare step of making a commercial endorsement after an insurance company's move to help farmers weather the storm of sheep losses in bad weather.
Don Nicholson says the Livestock Catastrophe Policy launched by FMG is one of the first practical measures to emerge from devastating storms in Southland and South Otago, of which he was among the victims six months ago.
"Last September's storms were the worst weather I've ever experienced," he said in a Federated Farmers media release this week. "Not only was our lamb crop devastated but we lost invaluable capital stock in ewes about to lamb."
"I faced a significant reduction in income with my farm's profit potential massively reduced. It was hugely negative for the balance sheet once you factored in the loss of capital stock and equity."
There had been no insurance product to reduce farm business risk, but FMG had since come up with a "balance-sheet protector" and "great risk management tool," he said. "Other insurance products exist in agriculture, covering damage from hail or extreme frosts on crops for example, but last September's storms exposed a real hole in the insurance market covering livestock losses."
While the initial demand is from sheep farmers, it provides a basis to expand to other livestock.