Rural Aid Australia, Media Release, 1 December 2021
Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, is reaching out to farmers who’ve been affected by recent rain and flood events.
Much of Australia’s east coast has undergone a drenching in recent weeks, with more rain predicted in coming days.
The downpours have filled water storages and tanks to the highest level seen in decades. But the wet conditions have also hindered many farmers trying to harvest their winter crops.
Flooding has also swept away fencing, crumbled vital roads and damaged infrastructure.
Rural Aid counsellors and community representatives have been visiting impacted areas and phoning flooded-in farmers, as part of a community-wide response.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the rain has received mixed welcomes.
“It’s fantastic to see our water storages filled to overflowing after so many years of bone-dry dams and empty creeks,” Mr Warlters said.
“The memories of crippling drought are still very raw, so to have an abundance of water is a joyful experience that many farmers have spent years wishing for. But as is often the way in Australia, droughts are chased away by flooding rains.
“Some of our farmers have told us this season’s crop was the best they’d ever had in the ground. But just days out from harvest, the rain dealt their crops a fatal blow. They’ve had to watch their year’s income get washed away, or ‘sprung and shot’ growth before they could get in with the harvester.”
Rural Aid Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager Lauren Stracey recently visited farmers in the Forbes region with the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.
“Some of our farmers who’ve endured disaster after disaster say that this flood has ‘floored them’,” Ms Stracey said.
“If farmers are facing a disappointing harvest, it’s important to take a moment to recognise how tough that is. It’s devastating to make it to the eleventh hour and to then have the rug pulled from under your feet. Farmers need time to process losses like these. This might mean spending some special, dedicated time with family or taking time off the farm to recharge their batteries.”
Farmers are encouraged to reach out to Rural Aid if they need assistance.
Rural Aid can provide wellbeing assistance through its free counselling program or financial assistance and fodder support.
Rural Aid can be contacted on 1300 327 624 or by going online to www.ruralaid.org.au