Farmers Battling Through Extreme Conditions06 February 2014
AUSTRALIA - Farmers living in the Central Tablelands and New England areas of New South Wales have been preparing and actively making decisions to manage drought for more than 12 months, NSW Farmers Association said.
To highlight the current situation and gather evidence about decisions farmers are making, NSW Farmers is liaising regularly with farmers in these areas.
NSW Farmers spokesperson Mitchell Clapham from Mudgee in the Central Tablelands said farmers were actively making decisions about stock but with the Central Tablelands becoming increasingly dry, many producers were doing it tough.
“With no decent rain and run off since January 2013, many super fine wool growers in more challenging country are living a hand-to-mouth existence due to the substantial increase in the cost of fodder following extreme weather conditions,” he said.
“Cattle producers in our region are a bit better off because they have put fodder away but many are now reaching the end of their stores. They have been hand feeding since mid winter last year and without rain on the horizon, there seems no end in sight.
“Many cattle producers have sold off what they can and are now locked into feeding what they have or giving them away at bargain prices,” Mr Clapham said.
Meanwhile in the New England, NSW Farmers spokesperson Sonia O’Keefe from Walcha said that the extremely dry conditions were starting to bite farmers in her region with farmers spending on feed and transport starting to sky rocket.
She said the lack of rain through 2012 and the extremely hot and dry conditions last year had meant that any moisture from storms in November 2013 had all evaporated and producers were back at square one.
The information being gathered by the association is being collated to ensure the Minister and government agencies in the region are fully aware of the impact conditions are having on farmers.
Last year, NSW Farmers wrote and met with Minister Hodgkinson, Minister Humphries and Troy Grant as the Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources about seasonal conditions.
Mr Clapham said that farming was about managing the risks of the climate including during dry times and during a drought.
“Our climate is unpredictable which is why farmers are always looking at ways to prepare for the unexpected. Sometimes you can do all you can but at the end of the day, you can’t make it rain.
“My understanding is that the process for getting some type of support from the state government takes three months. If we have to wait three months for a trickle then many people in my region are going to be in a dire situation. It needs to be livened up,” Mr Clapham concluded.
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