Nyngan farmers may benefit from new NSW Drought Transport Fund

RAVAGED BY DROUGHT: White Cliffs as encountered by NSW Farmers' Association regional manager Caron Chester in March. Photo contributed.
RAVAGED BY DROUGHT: White Cliffs as encountered by NSW Farmers' Association regional manager Caron Chester in March. Photo contributed.

Sky-watching farmers in the Bogan region are being offered help in keeping their livestock alive as drought consumes their properties.

The state government is offering them low-interest loans to help pay for the movement of fodder, water and stock.

The state government has introduced the NSW Drought Transport Fund that offers up to $20,000 in low-interest loans, with a two-year interest and repayment-free period.

State Member for Dubbo Troy Grant reports that the application process for the new fund will be streamlined through the NSW Rural Assistance Authority to “make it easier for farmers”.

“I encourage the region’s primary producers to visit droughthub.nsw.gov.au to view the full range of assistance measures available.” 

Mr Grant said freight costs were proving financially debilitating. “On my recent travels throughout the electorate, I have seen first-hand the impacts that the dry conditions are having on our farmers and their families,” he said.

“The costs of transporting fodder, water, or to move stock, is crippling our farmers.”

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair announced the new fund earlier this week.

Mr Blair revealed more than a third of the state was “struggling with drought or conditions approaching drought”.

“My colleagues..have expressed particular concern for the Hunter, Central Tablelands, Central West and in the Far West of the state,” he said.

“Primary production is the lifeblood of the communities in these regions and when farmers are struggling, the whole community feels the impact.

“This additional step in our drought strategy will allow farmers to better manage core breeding stock, which will in turn enable a more rapid recovery when conditions improve.” 

The NSW Drought Transport Fund forms part of the NSW Drought Strategy, which includes the Farm Innovation Fund for on-farm infrastructure improvement and drought preparation work.

The Farm Innovation Fund has approved $54 million in low-interest loans for farmers this financial year. 

Last month farmers applied for loans totalling $9 million, representing one of the biggest monthly calls on the Farm Innovation Fund since it began in 2013.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared the first three months of 2018 the driest first quarter since 1986.