On the farm: rural news updates

1st July 2020 | Eativity editors

Federal and State Government funding will offer some support for farmers, many of whom are still struggling with what some experts say is the worst drought on record. Meanwhile, in the bellwether seat of Eden-Monaro, farmers are demanding action on climate change.

Federal future drought funding announced

The Australian Government has invested $3.9 billion in the Future Drought Fund. Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud says this long-term investment will make $100 million available each year to help farmers and communities become more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought. 

The Future Drought Fund’s programs will start to roll out from this month. The programs aim to give farmers and communities the tools they need to prepare for, manage and sustain their livelihoods during droughts.

The programs have been developed based on advice from an independent committee which was led by Brent Finlay, a fourth-generation farmer, and input from communities and industry during 2019’s national consultation tour on the Drought Resilience Funding Plan.

“We are funding farm business planning, greater access to information for decision-making, adoption of research and technologies and building the drought resilience of natural resources such as soil and vegetation in agricultural landscapes,” Littleproud says.

More help for drought-stricken NSW farmers

The NSW Government has announced $310 million in emergency drought relief for 2020-21 in recognition of the ongoing drought conditions in regional NSW and to uphold a commitment to helping farmers make it out of the worst drought in living memory.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro says renewing current support measures will provide drought-affected communities across regional NSW with the certainty they need to make important stock and business decisions.

“I’m all too aware that some of our hardest hit communities feel like they’ve been forgotten due to the bushfires and COVID-19, and that rain in recent months may have left some people in the city with the impression that the drought is over,” Barilaro says. “My message to farmers and regional communities still battling this drought is that you are not alone.”

This funding brings the NSW Government’s total drought support and water security commitment to close to $4 billion.

Climate change primary concern for Eden-Monaro’s farmers

Eden-Monaro’s drought and bushfire-stricken farmers are demanding that candidates in the area’s upcoming byelection commit to meaningful climate change policies.

In an open letter published in local newspapers today, nearly 60 primary producers from across the electorate say they experienced the impacts of climate change first hand when they battled the worst bushfires in living memory over summer.

Eden-Monaro needs a representative who understands the threat that climate change poses to their livelihoods and is part of the solution, the farmers say.

The signatories are supporters of the non-partisan climate movement, Farmers for Climate Action. They say they don’t want to take sides in the political process but rather are asking candidates to acknowledge the enormous threat that climate change is posing to farmers and the communities they support, and commit to doing something about it.

“The time to act on climate change is now,” says Farmers for Climate Action CEO Wendy Cohen. “Eden-Monaro needs a representative who will advocate for new jobs and opportunities in the electorate as part of a national transition away from fossil fuels.”