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Farmers Take Stock After Storms

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Mia Dugdell, with Lachlan 18 months; Santina and Malcolm Schmocker, and Tony Dugdell ... Tony grows avocados, peaches, plums and nectarines at his Minmore Fruits property; the storm destroyed his nets and badly damaged his crops

March 9, 2018

Over the past few years, the South Burnett Regional Council has had to organise both Drought Recovery and Flood Recovery barbecues and information sessions to help ease the pain of natural disasters in the area.

This time around it was Storm Recovery events, after wild storms whipped through the region on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

The recovery get-togethers, in Kumbia and Mondure, were designed to get important information out into the community about the different kinds of assistance available, as well as provide an opportunity for farmers to get together, chat and unwind.

southburnett.com.au attended the Kumbia session, which was held on February 25.

A big crowd filled the upstairs supper room at Kumbia Memorial Hall to hear speakers from a number of support groups, enjoy dinner and network.

One example of the pain shared by local growers was the story told to us by local avocado farm manager Ashley Perkins.

His 90 acre avocado farm was lashed by a hail storm with a 100 per cent loss of crops.

The trees were also badly damaged, with about 160 lost completely … blown over by the strong winds.

Ashley’s been working hard on the property since the storm, trimming damaged branches and clearing debris.

He hopes the trees are slowly starting to recover but he’s not sure it will be enough to guarantee a crop next season.

“It all depends on how much growth we can get on before August and September,” he said.

Ashley’s story was by no means unusual on the night, with other farmers talking about the cost of replacing netting and the impossibility of affording crop insurance.

Unfortunately, the South Burnett did not qualify for Federal Government disaster relief despite the loss of crops and damage to homes and sheds because the damage to public infrastructure was less than $400,000.

This made the Storm Recovery dinner even more valuable to local residents.

The Kumbia Kindy ladies were working hard in the kitchen ... from left, secretary Desiree Crawford, treasurer Gayle Carroll, Chantelle Whiteman and Melissa Beil

Sister of Charity nun Sr Christine Henry with "Lady Kenya" and BIEDO CEO Kristy Frahm ... Sr Henry has spent the past 11 years with Downs & West Community Support visiting farm families as far west as Thargomindah

South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell and Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff with Kumbia QCWA members Mollie Kratzmann and Catherine Woodham

Karen Seiler, from Red Earth Community Foundation, and Cr Ros Heit

Mark Beil and Ashley Perkins looked after the barbecue

Adam and Jules Entwistle, from Kumbia, with former South Burnett councillor Damien Tessmann

Cr Danita Potter spoke about the South Burnett Suicide Prevention committee

New rural chaplain Jim Hodge with former rural chaplain Neville Radecker

Cr Kathy Duff and Neville Radecker thanked the members of the Kingaroy Men's Shed for their help on local properties and introduced new rural chaplain Jim Hodge and his wife Judy to the audience

The Kumbia Memorial Hall supper room was filled for the Storm Recovery evening


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