Concern over dry

THE chairperson of the Hunter LLS (Local Land Services) said she was “very, very concerned” about the increasing drought situation gripping the region.

Gloucester’s Susan Hooke said many local farmers and others in the wider Hunter region were struggling, with feed and water supplies diminishing fast.

Drought coordinator Tim Johnson visited Gloucester last week.

Mrs Hooke said he had left with a clear picture of how bad the situation was.

“It’s absolutely savage,” she said.

“A lot of people have told me it’s the worst drought they’ve seen since the 1960s.

“It’s also been far more sudden than previous droughts. The low rainfall last year has combined with the savage westerly winds, which just suck any moisture away.”

Mrs Hooke said farmers were barely coping as it became more expensive to buy feed for their stock and dams started to dry up.

“I was speaking to a dairy farmer at Firefly last week who said a dam he installed 22 years ago that had never previously let him down had run dry,” she said.

“There’s no food and no water and the feed that is being shipped in is expensive. The Manning River is saline up past the Wingham Bridge.”

The Hunter LLS, which only formed in January, is midway through developing a policy to assist primary producers suffering through the drought.

Mrs Hooke said in the interim, the LLS was lobbying both the State and federal governments to ensure farmers received the necessary support.

“We need to make sure the respective ministers are kept fully informed of what is happening,” she said.

“That’s where farmers can out help as well.”

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