The coronavirus pandemic impacting the world has made the recovery and rebuilding efforts in bushfire-affected areas of SA even more challenging.
But, support and resources for those recovering are still available for producers affected by the fires that burnt through Kangaroo Island, Cudlee Creek and Keilira in late 2019 and early 2020.
With producers already isolated in rural areas, the further social distancing laws due to coronavirus may slow down the recovery process further.
Many rural communities are concerned they will be forgotten by federal and state authorities that have had to shift their priorities towards the pandemic.
Mental health and business support for those affected by the bushfires is of vital importance to ensure the communities can continue to recover.
Livestock SA is partnering with Meat & Livestock Australia to help deliver its Back to Business initiative to fire-affected South Australian livestock producers.
The Back to Business initiative provides producers in fire-affected areas with support from local farm business consultants to help rebuild their businesses.
In March, MLA funded several group information sessions to support those who were affected.
These sessions provided information to assist in rebuilding, while also providing a platform for affected communities to come together to support one another.
Producers who attended the face-to-face workshops mentioned it was a great opportunity to reassess their business structure and their long-term goals, while also exploring succession planning and the possibilities of business partnerships.
As these events cannot be held face-to-face anymore due to coronavirus, MLA and Australian Wool Innovation are organising webinar sessions to ensure producers still get the support they require.
These webinars are held every Tuesday at 1pm until mid-June, discussing topics such as farm infrastructure, pasture recovery, mental health and wellbeing and the redevelopment and rebuilding of herd or flock structure.
The Back to Business program also provides producers with access to three free one-on-one sessions with a local farm business consultant tailored to their business, who is selected by Livestock SA.
Sheep, cattle and goat producers located in fire-affected areas who can demonstrate they have been affected by fire are eligible to apply for this service.
Livestock SA continues to work with organisations such as AgKI and PIRSA to ensure affected producers are able to access the state government grants and funding they need.
There is still $3.5 million in government funding available to cover ferry costs for the next six months for those who want to support fodder and building material delivery to areas of KI.
Bushfire support resources are available on the Livestock SA, PIRSA and MLA websites.
– ANDREW CURTIS, Chief Executive Officer, Livestock SA