So much hope invested in that weekend rain front: and much disappointment followed. Inevitably, though, this drought is going to be with us for a long time to come.
Even when the rain deficit corrects itself, farmers will be carrying a drought-induced financial deficit on their books, perhaps for years.
Since Alistair and I moved our farming business from Western Australia to NSW in 1997, the drought and/or flood years have almost equalled the good production years. We have learned not to count on good years, or bemoan the bad ones.
In Australian farming, it’s a matter of putting emotion aside, looking calmly at the cards you’ve been presented, and playing them with as much skill as you can muster. However, circumstances sometimes take you to places where past knowledge no longer counts.
For many, this drought is one of those events. In which case, it’s time to look outward, and see what support is available. There is a lot of ‘noise’ around where to seek information about the drought so I have put together a list to help us all navigate our way through the clutter.
Apart from the practical help this list represents, I think it also represents a breakdown of the rural-urban divide. There are many outside agriculture thinking about this challenge.
It would be preferable that the drought never was, but since it’s here, let us be appreciative of the work being done to help farmers and the businesses that rely on them get through this crisis in the best shape as possible.
Animal Welfare Transport Subsidy:
- A subsidy on the transport of stock is permanently available to primary producers where animals are at significant risk in terms of animal welfare. www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/rebate-on-road-transport
- 100 per cent transport subsidy available to community groups or other organisations transporting fodder for the benefit of multiple primary producers. www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/rebate-on-road-transport
Mental Health Support:
- An extensive range of services to support mental health are available. The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) - is a good entry point. Call 02 6363 8444 to identify your nearest RAMHP counsellor.
Long term support measures - NSW:
- Farm Innovation Fund – NSW Rural Assistance Authority. Helping primary producers identify and address risks to their farming enterprise.