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Support still available for bushfire-affected producers

South Australian red meat producers impacted by summer bushfires in late 2019 and early 2020 can still access Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) Back to Business one-on-one support program, which has now been extended to the end of this year.

The program allows producers in fire-affected regions to access three free sessions with a local farm business consultant to help put their business back on track.

To date, the program has been used by more than 40 producers across South Australia, with 9 consultants being engaged to assist affected producers.

Livestock SA Project Manager Greg Cock said the initiative has been beneficial for many producers throughout the state who suffered devastating bushfire damage.

“There are so many things to do and think about post bushfire and it can be overwhelming,” Mr Cock said.

“The one-on-one sessions provide the opportunity to work through short and long-term priorities to help get the property back in business.”

Having a fresh set of eyes on-farm has helped review business management and bushfire planning processes for sheep producer Steve Morgan.

Steve and his wife Lucy accessed MLA’s Back to Business program after the summer bushfires damaged half of their 400-hectare property located near Vivonne Bay, Kangaroo Island. He saw the service advertised through the Ag KI Facebook page.

“We lost quite a bit of pasture and 15 kilometres of fencing but luckily, didn’t lose any of our stock,” Steve said.

“I saw the list of consultants available for the service and there was a great range of people to select from depending on the support you needed.

“I had previously worked with farm management consultant Nic Kentish on low stress stock handling and know him to be hands-on, so I registered for the service and booked in my first session with him in May.”

As Steve is in Kangaroo Island and Nic is in the Adelaide Hills, they completed the first two sessions of the program in one trip.

“Nic helped us take our eyes off the day-to-day grind to look at the bigger picture of planning ahead,” Steve said.

“We discussed how the fire may have affected soil health and how to improve that going forward.

“He also helped me look at options to include more fencing or shift fencing on the property.”

Nic provided Steve with an action plan of tasks to follow up on immediately, in three and six months and longer-term for general farm management and bushfire recovery.

“With Nic’s help I was able to identity bushfire grants I was eligible for and begin to use this funding to help get my business back on track,” Steve said.

Places in the program are limited and applications close on Wednesday 30 September 2020.

For more information or to register for the service visit livestocksa.org.au/industry-initiatives/bushfire-relief/ or call or email Livestock SA at 08 8297 2299 and admin@livestocksa.org.au.

4 September 2020 Media Type: Media Release / Industry Dev: Bushfire Relief /