The State Government has today convened a working group with key industry stakeholders and support agencies to discuss the challenging seasonal conditions farmers and communities are experiencing in parts of South Australia.
The working group features representatives from Primary Producers SA, Grain Producers SA, Livestock SA and Rural Business Support, together with officials from Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), Department of Human Services, Department of Environment and Water and the Bureau of Meteorology.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the next eight to ten weeks will be critical in determining how the season finishes.
"Over the next two months farmers will have a greater idea of whether there is adequate pasture growth early enough to get livestock producers through," said Mr Whetstone.
"It is important government and industry work together to monitor how the South Australian growing season ends and have a plan around what support farmers and communities impacted by drought-like conditions are likely to need.
"The State Government is committed to building and supporting our regions so it is important we work with industry to assist farmers impacted by drought-like conditions affecting areas of the state."
There is a wide range of assistance available to support farmers experiencing hardship, including:
- Rural Financial Counselling Service delivered by Rural Business Support;
- Farm Household Allowance available from the Commonwealth Department of Human Services;
- Farm Business Concessional Loans available from the Regional Investment Corporation;
- PIRSA Animal Health Officers are available to provide technical advice on maintaining animal health; and
- Farm Debt Mediation through the Small Business Commissioner.
"A number of pastoral areas of South Australia, such as the Eyre Peninsula and the Mallee, are facing a second season with minimal rainfall and it is important government works with industry and support agencies around support required.
"It’s important to note the recent rains hitting Adelaide and some regions are unlikely to have much immediate impact on feed in the most stressed agricultural areas given how late in the season these rains have come.
"Many of our farmers are prepared and doing all they can to manage these dry seasonal conditions.
"By government and industry working together we can better target our joint efforts and resources to those who need a helping hand.
"I reiterate the importance for those people who are experiencing hardship to not self-assess the eligibility for financial assistance – speak to Rural Financial Counselling services first who provide a free independent, confidential and professional counselling service for farmers and farm dependent small businesses."
More information on the services and assistance available, refer to the PIRSA website at www.pir.sa.gov.au.