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How long should farmers hold on to their stock?

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Think, plan, act and continually reassess the situation is the advice to farmers in North East Victoria facing a very tough season from veterinarian and Nationals Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes.

Dr Sykes said, “The die is cast, at best we can look forward to an OK season but in all probability it will be a tough next 6-8 months with pressure on domestic and stock water supplies, stock feed and crops.

“Previous experience in the 1982/83 and 2002/03 droughts have highlighted the importance of farmers assessing their situation now, making appropriate plans based on whether further rain falls or not, then implementing the plan and most importantly continually re-assessing the plan in the light of changing circumstances such as stock water availability, stock prices and feed prices.

“A key decision is to decide which classes of stock to sell or feed. My advice, particularly for people who do not own valuable breeding stock is to sell and sell early whilst stock are in good condition and prices are still relatively good.

Dr Sykes continued, “DPI staff are already conducting forums on stock feeding and drought management and Local Government are also conducting drought response meetings.

“I met with representatives from Councils throughout North East Victoria last night and they are committed to helping farmers and local communities survive the forthcoming tough time. The Councils also intend to seek State Government support to help fund public forums and other activities.

“Centrelink are also right on the ball and with most of the area already declared to be experiencing Exceptional Circumstances, significant assistance measures are already in place. These measures include interest subsidies up to $100,000 in any one year, living allowance of up to approximately $740 per fortnight and Local Government rate subsidies.”

Dr Sykes also highlighted the importance of farmers and their families maintaining off farm interests.

He said, “A game of tennis, a chat over a cuppa at a CWA meeting or at the local Neighbourhood Centre or a beer with mates at the pub are all good ways of keeping a positive mental approach.

“The Hume Corridor Community Health Service is also ready to assist, having already conducted a series of meetings in the Benalla and Strathbogie Shires earlier this year (after which it rained!)

Dr Sykes also encouraged people to continue to support local businesses by shopping locally.

He said, “Tough times impact on the whole community and it is essential that we support each other and shopping locally is important as local businesses can hurt just as much as farmers in tough times.”

Dr Sykes concluded, “These tough times which we are about to face are what the academics call “character building”. I am confident that if we all support each other and our local communities then we will end up being stronger and better for the experience with no need for any more so called “character building” experiences for at least 10 years.”

Helpful contacts
Centrelink 13 23 16, ,
Rural Counselling 5761 1611,
Hume Corridor Community Health 5736 6366,
DPI Benalla 5761 1611,
Bill Sykes (03) 5762 2100 or 0427 624 989


Written by Greg Naylor

8 September 2006 at 7:01 pm

Posted in media release

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