December 10, 2020
Recent predictions that agriculture is “bouncing back” with a strong winter crop and a promising rainfall outlook are not being reflected in the local region.
The Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO) has been receiving increased inquiries in relation to drought support.
CEO Kristy Frahm said BIEDO had been connecting producers with the various services available to support them.
“This has been an extraordinary year with businesses facing drought and COVID-19, so government agencies and community groups are doing what they can to give people a hand up by providing assistance or information,” she said.
“BIEDO is committed to getting the message out there to as many producers as possible through our Hand Up database, so they can take advantage of these initiatives.”
BIEDO Project Officer Alan Broome has seen firsthand what is happening in the local region.
“Young crops are suffering under the hot dry conditions, or areas remain to be planted,” he said.
“Pasture growth from the October rains lacks bulk and is rapidly drying off or being eaten down.
“A producer advised that any rain ran off sloping country resulting in limited grass growth and he is now looking to resume supplementary feeding.”
DAF Senior Agriculture Extension Officer Damien O’Sullivan told a recent Ag Network gathering that the forecasts of a wet winter and spring under La Nina have failed to materialise “with some questioning if it will happen at all”.
Mr O’Sullivan said the Weekly Tropical Climate Note issued by the Bureau of Meteorology was one of the most comprehensive insights as to when elusive rain might fall.
Widespread media coverage of record crops and an end to the drought in the south seem to ignore the ongoing problems in Queensland, where surface and underground water supplies remained depleted in many areas.
While cattle prices have been at record levels, many producers’ have lacked the stock from several years of drought to capitalise on this situation.
Ms Frahm reminded Burnett producers there was a growing database of financial and support services available, as both the North Burnett and South Burnett regions remained drought-declared.
“As an example of the support available, QCWA have confirmed their Public Rural Crisis Fund is still open, and we strongly encourage farmers impacted by drought to consider applying for the Natural Disaster strand of up to $1000 worth of support should they require assistance,” Ms Frahm said.
Landholders affected by drought can also contact BIEDO on 0400-695-456 for a confidential chat.
For anyone experiencing emotional distress, Lifeline provides all Australians with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services on 13-11-14.
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