October 3, 2019
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation has announced a new on-farm counselling program with Rural Aid to support the mental health and well-being of dairy farmers.
There has been a 15 per cent drop in the number of dairy farms in Queensland and a 10 per cent drop in the volume of milk produced over the past 12 months.
“We are trying to weather a perfect storm at the moment,” QDO President Brian Tessmann said.
“The rising costs of production and the ongoing drought across most of Queensland and NSW has put a serious financial and mental strain on Queensland’s dairy farmers.
“While we’re working with processors and the retailers to get farmers a sustainable price for their milk these things take time and for some farmers it’s just too late”
QDO is working with the not-for-profit Rural Aid group to encourage farmers to register with Rural Aid.
“One of the first things we do with farmers is strategising and planning,” Rural Aid counsellor Jane McCollum said.
“It doesn’t have to be talking about feelings to start off with.”
QDO communications manager Sarah Ferguson said the organisation looked at several professional counselling services and evaluated them against what farmers needed.
“Certainly, a lot of other organisations do a great job in the mental health space, but we felt that our farmers could be best helped by the kind of on-the-ground counselling that Rural Aid can provide,” Sarah said.
“The enthusiasm and the lack of bureaucracy we’ve seen from the people at Rural Aid is such a welcome change.”
Any farmer or member of a rural community – not just dairy farmers – who are finding things difficult can give Rural Aid a call on 1300-327-624.