November 3, 2023
AgForce Queensland is calling on residents to support organisations such as Rural Aid to help primary producers get back on their feet after recent bushfires.
The lobby group said the early fires had devastated more than 270,000ha of central Queensland and at least 50,000ha of the Burnett.
Another 10,000ha had been destroyed around the Dalveen region in the border country of the Southern Downs.
AgForce general president Georgie Somerset said the toll on farmers was immense.
“These fires have been very fast moving and have destroyed a lot of dry feed for our stock, which leaves people in that difficult position with animals and very few feed options,” Ms Somerset said.
“And unfortunately because of the season we’ve had, there’s not a lot of available feed in the area either. We’ve actually lost a lot of grazing country in the Carnarvon, the Burnett and now also in the Southern Downs area.
“Organisations like Rural Aid are very good at the logistics of actually getting the stock feed to where it needs to be and working with those people to make sure that they’ve got options.”
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries was co-ordinating fodder drops to beef producers but the scale of the help required meant extra assistance was now being sought from AgForce and Rural Aid.
Rural Aid and AgForce are also assisting with mental health support to affected producers.
Ms Somerset said a small donation to Rural Aid would help farmers feel supported.
“There’s a lot of decisions to be made, which is challenging for people,” she said.
“And Rural Aid also have counsellors, so by supporting Rural Aid people can know that they’re providing stock feed and some immediate support there, but this support can also be put towards psychologists that are on the ground in those areas.”
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the group was already on the ground providing support.
“Rural Aid was quickly able to switch on the fodder and well-being support that farmers need in this current bushfire crisis,” he said.
“With tens of thousands of hectares of pasture wiped out in the bushfires, many farmers and their communities will need ongoing disaster recovery support.
“We have been doing this since 2015 with the original ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign and we are asking people to support us now to continue this vital work.”
- Donations to Rural Aid can be made online