Farm Tracker to give government "full impact" of drought

REACH OUT: Beverly Houterman from the Rural Financial Counselling Service has encouraged farmers to submit information on their land. Photo: Mariam Koslay.
REACH OUT: Beverly Houterman from the Rural Financial Counselling Service has encouraged farmers to submit information on their land. Photo: Mariam Koslay.

A counsellor has called on farmers to submit updated conditions of their land to the NSW Department of Industry (DPI) to ensure the government understands the drought’s “full impact”.

This comes after the Upper Lachlan was classified as ‘drought onset’ earlier this year due to the low amount of rainfall in the region.

Currently, the DPI are asking farmers to submit conditions via the NSW SPI Farm Tracker app which records factors such as rainfall, crop performance and livestock conditions.

“The more farmers that do this reporting, the better the government will understand the hardships farmers are facing,” Beverly Houterman from the Rural Financial Counselling Service said. 

“The DPI will then use the information to update their monitoring records and their publications of seasonal conditions.  The government will then have a clear understanding of drought conditions and the hardships.”

Currently assistance for farmers is based on concessional loans, managed by the Rural Assistance Authority.  

According to Ms Houterman, in tough conditions, many farmers do not want to take on more debt, even if it is at concessional rates.

“Farmers are becoming concerned as the conditions on their farms get worse the availability of feed, and the increases in the costs will mean they have to de-stock at very low sales prices,” she said.

“If they have to get rid of breeding stock, it could take years to recover, or they may not be able to recover at all.”

The counsellor believes higher usage may result in additional financial support. 

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