It seems such a short time ago that QDO provided its first report on its Industry Recovery and Resilience Project (IRRP) funded by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in response to Cyclone Debbie.
How quickly our need for an IRRP can change from cyclone damage to drought.
Funding for this program was specifically for dairy farmers in the Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley region. As the name suggests these projects have the scope to assist farmers in many aspects and across all stages of their business. Improved skills in business management and how to gain finance are just a couple of ways that an IRRP aims to give in-the-pocket results for farmers as they face an almost never-ending cycle of weather-related disasters – not only cyclones and flooding but drought and feed shortages.
Through the workshops run in Beaudesert, Marburg and at the QDO AGM and Forum, QDO spoke with 86 farmers affected by Cyclone Debbie.
QDO project officers Torie Harrison and Damien Ferguson followed up the workshops with phone calls and one-on-one on farm session, so that almost 95 per cent of all dairy farmers in the region were contacted and offered assistance.
A follow-up survey showed that farmers need ongoing financial analysis of their businesses, assistance with developing a business action plan to help improve the financial position of the farm and improve their resilience and preparedness for future weather or market risk.
While the Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley have been hit with a double whammy of the cyclone followed by the drought, it is other regions, namely the Darling Downs where we need to extend this project.
QDO is seeking that funding to extend the project so that those facing severe financial hardship caused by the high cost of feed and the ongoing drought conditions in regions like the Downs can also have a chance to recover.