Drought relief for farmers

Drought relief for farmers

June 2016 | Elizabeth Douglass

WHAT DO Meander Valley farmers do when they run out of feed for their stock?

On TV and in novels, rural life is a network of family, friends, neighbours and fellow farmers who rally to offer advice and assistance whenever things get rough.

But in real life these networks can be incomplete or inadequate to help.

If there is a long-ongoing drought, chances are that other farmers in your area are facing the same difficulties as you are.

So what do you do and where do you go?

Well, if you haven’t already sold off your stock, then you can access the Tasfodder website www.tasfodder.com.au. Free to register or advertise fodder for sale across the state, this website was set up in collaboration with Tasmanian Farmers & Graziers Association and the Tasmanian Government in response to the current drought.

It is hoped that it will eventually provide an ongoing means of connecting buyers and sellers of fodder, Tasmania-wide.

However, for many farmers, the drought has already cost them more than they can afford. So what do they do then?

Tasfodder accepts donations of fodder and provides connections to other organisations that offer financial and emotional support.

Rural Alive and Well (1300 4357 6283) can be found at www.rawtas.com.au and provides 24/7 outreach for rural Tasmanians as well as working within communities to combat mental health issues.

Rural Business Tasmania www.ruralbusinesstasmania.org.au offer financial counselling and access to the Rural Relief Fund. Hardship grants of up to $2500 are available on application through their website.

If there is a bushfire or flood, emergency relief is quick to come and charitable organisations such as Rotary provide superb assistance in both fundraising and accessing those in need in local areas.

But drought is another problem – its effects can be with us for a long, long time. Like a Juggernaut, farmers are supposed to be able to see it slowly approaching and have time to get out of its way.

But if they can’t?