Farmers now navigate the various forms of drought assistance that are on the table

David McKeon

David McKeon

GrainGrowers chief executive officer David McKeon says most farm businesses would “make it through” this drought without support.

However, he stressed there were a variety of businesses which were also under extreme pressure. And as such he has welcomed the state and federal drought packages.

Last week the GrainGrowers policy group met in Melbourne. During this gathering drought assistance discussions were on the table.

In fact, GrainGrowers was one of the first producer groups to urge primary producers not to “self assess.”

And since the policy group meeting additional drought assistance was announced in the form of the federal government package. 

“There are a variety of measures (available) and it can be overwhelming to understand what is out there and what farmers are eligible for,” he said. 

Mr McKeon said for those who feel like their business or family is under stress it is important to seek out assitance. And he said it was also vital to look closely at what was available. 

He urged primary producers not to dismiss their eligibility and to go through the processes.

And with the complexity of both the state and federal package, and the various levels of assistance, he urged people to seek out some help.

That may be in the form of rural financial counsellors or if information regarding farm management deposits was required an accountant might be able to help too. 

In addition to getting through the current tough period he said it was also vital that farm businesses could see forward and set up for the end of this season and into the next one. 

He acknowledged that there was a degree of complexity around the support measures at a government level and also identified that the support wasn’t limited to the federal and state assistance.

There were also charities and other groups which were working together to support those in the rural sector who were in need. 

“One of the challenges we face is the myriad of support measures that are available … it can, in some cases be overwhelming,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the fact that the net assets test for accessing the house hold assistance package is $5 million has been welcomed by many in the rural sector too.