8 December, 2021
Rural Aid offering farmers support
Following the recent deluge of rain and flooding, the charity Rural Aid is reaching out to farmers who have been adversely affected mentally.
In some areas, the downpours have filled water storages and tanks to the highest level seen the 2011 floods, 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. “
Mr Warlters said some farmers have told Rural Aid this season’s crop was the best they had 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 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 online here.