Farmers urged to look out for drought support and themselves

Farmers urged to look out for drought support and themselves


Opinion
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NSW Farmers continues to work with the government to provide a farmer perspective on drought assistance packages.

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While we all know that a prolonged dose of rain is the only real drought antidote, I would like to take the opportunity to remind the farming community there is a broad range of support available should you need it.

Firstly, the Australian government has established the Farm Household Allowance (FHA) that provides a regular payment to help with day-to-day costs.

Coupled with the support of a Rural Financial Counsellor, farming families can receive an FHA payment for up to four years while sustaining the farm through the drought.

The association is pleased the Department of Agriculture is seriously considering the recommendations of the independent FHA review released earlier this year to simplify the application and reporting, and improve communication to the broader farming community.

There has also been an expansion of the low interest loans available through the Regional Infrastructure Corporation.

Meanwhile, the NSW government has drought transport subsidies, emergency water infrastructure rebates and low and no interest rate loans available through the Farm Innovation Fund.

Perhaps most importantly though, as this drought persists, is the network of support officers operating across the state that can provide advice, support, and identify options for farmers.

This network includes services to support wellbeing and aid farmers and their families to access health services.

NSW Farmers partnered with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, R U OK? and Australian Community Media at AgQuip this week to launch a new campaign called 'We're off and running for mental health', which aims to provide more information to farmers about accessing support for good mental health.

NSW Farmers continues to work with the government to provide a farmer perspective, so that existing and any future programs for farmers during drought deliver the right support at the right time.

Please take the time to check out the NSW government's Drought Hub or the NSW Rural Assistance Authority for more information and to check up on your mental health.

- Wayne Dunford is chair of the NSW Farmers Drought Taskforce.

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