Drought and depression – reach out for help

Dairy Connect Farmers Group president and Gloucester farmer Graham Forbes
Dairy Connect Farmers Group president and Gloucester farmer Graham Forbes

The merciless drought that has sucked the life out of farms in the NSW Upper Hunter across a large swathe of farmland in three states was battering the normally optimistic outlook of primary producers in important farming regions.

This is the message from advocacy group Dairy Connect Farmers Group president and Gloucester farmer Graham Forbes who called on the NSW Department of Primary Industries and other relevant State bodies to be conscious of the psychological toll drought was having on our farmers.

“We have nothing but praise for the excellent NSW DroughtHub package and the $300 million special drought assistance fund established in NSW but we need to be alert to the toll its takes on dairy producers,” Graham said.

Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan called on all farmers and their families to seek out support and help where necessary, whether it be from their friends, neighbours, local communities or government agencies.

“We are extremely concerned about the mental health outlook for farmers many of whom have been use to enjoying very productive seasons year after year in these normally productive regions but this is not the case at the moment,” Shaughn said

“Dairy Connect also wants to urge farmers who have been hit by the economic and agricultural consequences of the season to not hesitate to reach out for help.”

“Farming families need only go to the NSW Government website ‘DoughtHub’ website at https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/droughthub/wellbeing for contact details of agencies standing by to assist.” 

General drought information and support in NSW may be found at https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/droughthub

Large swathes of NSW and Queensland have not had decent rain in months with the Hunter Valley particularly hard-hit.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast heatwave conditions persisting through south eastern Australia in coming weeks.

“Dairy Connect is working with government, industry and stakeholders to attempt to bolster farmers' drought preparedness.”

Farmers under duress may also obtain information at the Hunter Local Land Services at https://hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au/