South Australian farmers and their families impacted by the dry conditions will be provided assistance through the State Government’s appointment of up to eight Family and Business Support scouts.
The program will be modelled on the successful FaB Scout program deployed during the Millennium Drought in 2009/10.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said up to eight experienced mentors and business counsellors will be based in or near the most affected regions – the upper Eyre Peninsula, Murray-Mallee, upper North and the pastoral district.
“Since the State Government’s Dry Conditions Working Group met last month, much needed rain hasn’t arrived, leaving our farmers and communities in parts of the state facing drought conditions,” said Minister Whetstone.
“The FaB Scouts will provide on-going support for those who need it. Just having someone care enough to walk down the driveway and see how things are going, and then be able to provide an experienced, confidential and independent ear and counsel can make the world of difference.
“I know first-hand what the FaB Scouts program offers particularly in the Millennium Drought with the feedback I received that this program saved lives, relationships and families.”
The State Government is introducing a number of extra measures to support farmers during this challenging time, including:
- Working with Livestock SA to create a fodder register to connect fodder with those in need;
- Undertaking an extensive fodder audit;
- Working with industry to undertake further workshops on animal nutrition and animal health, managing soil erosion and planning for next season;
- Coordinating a donation register and determining how South Australian farmers can access this support;
- Liasing with SA Health to coordinate support services in the affected regions, utilising existing health and wellbeing services available across Australia; and
- Implementing ‘buy local’ campaigns through Brand SA to support the dairy and pork industries impacted by a lack of fodder.
“While we’re not experiencing the same level of drought as that occurring in Queensland and New South Wales, there are areas of our state right now that are considered drought-affected,” Minister Whetstone said.
“This is why the State Government is working with industry and support services to put a range of measures in place to assist those who need a helping hand now and to support others in their preparations and management plans for next season.”
The FaB Scouts will work closely with the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which is also assisting farmers with applications for the Federal Government’s Farm Household Allowance Scheme.
Those people requiring advice or assistance can contact the 24-hour Agriculture and Animal Health and Welfare Hotline on 1800 255 556.