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 Reaching out  . . . Lincoln University students and Handy Landys members, secretary Jessica Hill (left), chairwoman Paige Harris and treasurer Mac Thomson, are keen to lend a hand to farmers in need and were at South Island Agricultural Field Days held at Kirwee on March 29 to 31. PHOTO: DAVID HILL

By DAVID HILL

The Handy Landys are heading to Kaikoura.

The keen group of Lincoln University students are heading to Kaikoura to lend a hand with on farm quake repairs.

They are planning an expedition to Kaikoura during April 28 to 30 to help farmers affected by November’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake and are keen to reach out to farmers in the Hurunui district and anyone else in need.

Some of the students were at South Island Agricultural Field Days at Kirwee, during March 29 to 31, on the Lincoln University site to promote their cause.

The Handy Landys was established last year and is the rural equivalent of the Student Volunteer Army, established in Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake, treasurer Mac Thomson said.

“We had a really successful year last year and it’s shaping up pretty good this year.

“We usually only go within an hour or two from Lincoln, but now we want to get out and help more farmers.”

Chairperson Paige Harris said helping farmers was “a lot of fun” and a good networking opportunity for the students.

“It keeps our practical skills up which is part of our course requirements and it’s all voluntary, so it doesn’t cost the farmer anything.”

She said the Handy Landys have some sponsorship to cover costs and the students were working in with TeamAg (the partnership between Federated Farmers, Ministry of Primary Industries and other industry bodies) for the trip to Kaikoura.

The volunteers would receive a health and safety briefing and instructions from TeamAg on arrival at Kaikoura.

“It’s been interesting talking to farmers here at the field days – some of them ask ‘how much does it cost?’

“But we are here because we are going to be the next generation of farmers, so why not be the ones to help out where it is needed now,” Paige said.

The Handy Landys put on a barbecue and a few drinks when the work is finished to get to know the farmers and to boost morale. Secretary Jessica Hill said she had a personal reason for wanting to help, having grown up on a dairy farm in the Waikato.

“My father has struggled with mental illness and it was hard to get help, so this is a way I can help make a difference for farmers in a similar situation. It would be really cool to get this into the North Island.”

For more information about the Handy Landys go to www.handylandys.co.nz or email handylandys@lincolnuni.ac.nz.