NSW Farmers applauds the Minns government’s new $250 million Drought Ready and Resilient Fund, designed to assist farmers in preparing and responding to drought conditions. NSW Farmers’ President, Xavier Martin, said the clarity the government has provided early in the drying cycle will help farmers with making their business decisions.
“These loans, announced before the drought hits hard, help farmers to make proactive decisions. Farmers are always subject to climate variability, and having faced significant drought and disaster impacts in recent years, know that having a plan and some certainty as to how best to prepare for adverse conditions is critical,” Mr. Martin said.
The new Drought Ready and Resilient fund will provide low-interest, fixed-term loans of up to $250,000 to establish critical infrastructure while also aiding in cash flow management for critical on-farm drought management tasks, particularly for livestock producers.
“For the first time, farmers will be able to access the loans for operational activities, including purchasing fodder and stock transportation costs.”
NSW Farmers is also pleased to see an invigorated focus on the Farm Innovation Fund, with the $120 million balance being reallocated as the Drought Infrastructure Fund.
“This will aid the grain sector to increase on-farm storage and also potentially support the horticulture sector to expand their critical water infrastructure and storage needs. NSW Farmers congratulates the Minns Government for its proactive and forward-thinking approach to drought management.”
“There are communities in NSW who fortunately are not as yet drought-affected, but the DRRF is incentivizing farmers in these communities to participate in planning and preparedness measures to improve response and recovery times,” Mr. Martin said.
However, for those who have seen drying conditions for some months and have already expended considerable funds for fodder and transport, this loan opportunity may be beyond them. We encourage the government to recognize that drought has a slow creep and request the Minns Government to be vigilant and open to additional support if conditions deteriorate further.
“We encourage the Government to also keep a strong focus on the support and extension services provided through LLS and DPI as these are equally critical to the resilience of farmers, farming families, and their communities,” Mr. Martin concluded.