Have a say on making the bush more drought resilient

Have a say on making the bush more drought resilient

Agribusiness
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What changes are needed so farming businesses can stay profitable in drought and to safeguard the natural resources on which agriculture depends?

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As a farmer, it is hard to watch the daily media, listen to my mates' struggles and to watch my hometown, Stanthorpe, strain from the impacts of years of drought.

But it makes one thing clear to me.

In a country where scarce and variable rainfall is a characterising feature of agriculture, we need to focus more on building our preparedness for, and resilience to, drought.

We need a plan to help our farming businesses, and industries, and the rural and regional communities that depend so much on a profitable farming sector, to be more resilient to the impacts of drought.

Australian farmers are innovative and our communities are determined to support each other to get through the tough times.

This will be the agricultural community's opportunity to help shape government policy on how best to invest $100 million each year - Brent Finlay, Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee chairman

This strong foundation places Australian agriculture and our communities in a good position for continued growth while also adapting to changing conditions and circumstances.

So we need to ask ourselves, what can we learn from current conditions, and our previous drought experiences, to ensure we are better placed next time a drought hits?

What changes are needed to ensure more farming businesses can remain profitable through drought and to safeguard the soils and other natural resources on which agriculture depends?

What can be done to help adapt to a changing climate, how can we capitalise on these opportunities?

How best can communities adapt to changing circumstances and remain viable during extended periods of drought?

Brent Finlay

Brent Finlay

The Australian Government's Future Drought Fund will invest $100 million each year, beginning in July next year, in projects to improve drought preparedness and resilience.

The first step in developing the fund is to prepare the Drought Resilience Funding Plan - an important key document to identify the priorities to guide the government's investment in drought resilience.

Throughout November, myself and another four committee members, will be seeking feedback on the draft funding plan.

Consultation meetings start this week, kicking off a national program in Brisbane, then Charters Towers, Roma and Darwin.

We want to hear thoughts from producers, farm sector service providers, rural accountants, local government representatives, or anybody with an interest in agricultural communities and their resilience.

You don't even have to be based in a rural area.

The meetings are to gather your ideas on the changes we need to become more prepared for droughts and more resilient to its impacts.

This will be the agricultural community's opportunity to help shape government policy on how best to invest this $100 million available each year under the Fund.

Droughts are an inevitable and recurring feature of Australia, so we need to do the grunt work now to help farmers and communities be prepared for when the next drought hits.

Your voice is needed to help make sure we get the funding plan right.

Find out how to get involved at the Department of Agriculture's website https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/future-drought-fund.

  • Brent Finlay is a former president of the National Farmers Federation, AgForce, and the Traprock Wool Association who chairs the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee. He has 40 years' experience in agriculture and is now also involved in a manufacturing, importing and retailing business.
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The story Have a say on making the bush more drought resilient first appeared on Farm Online.

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