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Warning about snakes on the plains Farmers are reporting increased snake sightings as floodwaters force the reptiles onto higher ground. Sarah Thompson from the NSW Farmers Rural Affairs Committee said many members were reporting an increased number of snake sightings as a result of the flooding, which had also reduced access to veterinary treatment. “Just yesterday one of our members said she saw three black snakes near her place in a really short space of time, and it’s been like this for a while, they’re just trying to escape the water like we all are,” Mrs Thompson said. “It’s a worry because people with dogs or who are going out to ...
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State’s chance to fulfill Christmas wish The state government is being asked to give farmers some Christmas cheer by fast-tracking work around the Port of Newcastle. Earlier this month a bill that would enable the development of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle passed the NSW Parliament, meaning farmers were closer than ever to substantial savings on freight costs. NSW Farmers Modernising Rail Taskforce chair Matt Madden said the onus was on the state government to proceed with bureaucratic work to unlock that potential. “By swiftly proceeding with the work around the Port of Newcastle, the state government could offer a little hope coming ...
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Extra road repairs welcomed

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Extra road repairs welcomed NSW Farmers has welcomed additional manpower to repair ruined rural roads, but says flood-proofing for the future must be on the agenda. On Tuesday NSW Regional Roads Minister Sam Farraway announced the NSW Government would deploy 200 people and heavy machinery from across the state to the central west and Murrumbidgee to assist with the mammoth task of reconnecting the road network. According to local councils about 10,000km of roads had been flood-affected, leaving communities to deal with more dangerous conditions and longer travel times in rural areas. The situation was placing enormous strain on an already stretched agricultural ...
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Women helping drive Farmers success Australia’s largest farm advocacy body is celebrating six years of consecutive membership growth, driven in large part by women taking on leadership roles. Bucking the downsizing trend among member-driven organisations, NSW Farmers branches are growing and an increasing number of leadership roles are being filled by female farmers. NSW Farmers Regional Service Manager Catriona McAuliffe said one of her branches – at Harden – was entirely run by women. “They say if you want something done, get a country woman to do it, and our ladies are certainly getting things done,” Mrs McAuliffe said. “Women have always played ...
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NSW Farmers statement on flood funding NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin has thanked the state and federal governments for rolling out the next stage of natural disaster response funding. On Friday recovery grants to help begin immediate clean-up and recovery costs, and to repair extensive damage, were increased from $25,000 to up to $75,000 for primary producers. Rural landholders were able to apply for grants of up to $10,000. The grants were made available to all of the local government areas (LGAs) that had been disaster declared since September 14. Mr Martin said it was a positive move, but warned there was still a long road ahead. "The ...
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Call for urgent increase to flood support NSW Farmers says there needs to be an urgent increase in emergency payments to flood-affected communities with more than half of the state's local government areas enduring a flood disaster. The federal government's $25,000 emergency payments for primary producers were just one third of the $75,000 offered to farmers impacted by earlier floods, and with roads in disarray many communities will struggle to rebuild without greater support. NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said the federal government needed to mobilise defence personnel to support urgent road repairs so farmers could harvest what remained ...
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Farmer survey reveals extent of flood impact A survey of the state’s flood-affected farmers has found significant losses across many regions, leading to massive costs as most of the damage is uninsurable. More than two-thirds of respondents to the NSW Farmers Flood Impacts survey were experiencing flooding for their second year in a row, with more than three-quarters saying they had planted less than half of their usual winter crop this season in response to the wet weather. NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said the financial impact was set to be enormous, with harvesting efforts delayed by several weeks as floodwater continued to wreak havoc on ...
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Secret water buyback deal slammed The state’s peak farming group has slammed secret water buyback plans that will hurt rural communities in NSW. On Friday afternoon The Land revealed state water ministers had agreed to almost 50 gigalitres of water buybacks at last month’s Ministerial Council meeting, with most of that water coming from NSW. According to The Land , Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water staff revealed the decision was to secure 46GL of surface water and 3GL of groundwater “through strategic purchases” to meet water recovery targets under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. It is understood 10GL will come ...
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Councils should back cuts to red tape NSW Farmers CEO Pete Arkle has criticised environmental politics holding up rebuilding efforts across the state, saying we need less talk, more action. At present, landholders seeking to harvest timber on their properties need to go through a duplicated approvals process at a state and local government level, reducing supply of hardwoods, delaying rebuilding efforts, and driving construction costs higher when people can least afford it. In response, NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders introduced legislation to enact changes to the Private Native Forestry Code, which would see dual consent requirements dropped ...
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Farmers welcome Port of Newcastle outcome A bill that will reduce damage to country roads and help the state’s farmers save money has passed the NSW lower house. NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said farmers were poised to save up to $2.8 billion over the next 30 years thanks to a bill introduced by Independent MP Greg Piper, which would effectively “unshackle” the Port of Newcastle from an earlier deal struck by the Baird Government. “We have been supportive of plans to better utilise the Port of Newcastle, and release it from the artificial barriers that are holding back its potential,” Mr Martin said. “Farmers in the north west have had their ...
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Strong biosecurity requires clear targets Farmers have welcomed the federal government’s move towards a sustainably-funded biosecurity system, but say the days of passing the buck need to end. Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt announced a public discussion paper seeking ideas on a long-term sustainable biosecurity funding model, something NSW Farmers Biosecurity chair Ian McColl said farmers had long been calling for. “The biosecurity threats not just to our food and fibre production but to our entire economy are quite serious,” Mr McColl said. “We have been arguing for some time that we need sustainable funding and a long-term view of biosecurity ...
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Wild weather prompts milk dumping Dairy farmers across the Central West are dumping milk after torrential rain this week worsened an already serious flood situation. Road access across the region has been reduced and trucks can’t access farms to collect milk, NSW Farmers Dairy Committee chair Colin Thompson said. “I’m having to dump milk because my place is completely cut off, and I’m not the only one,” Mr Thompson said. “It’s already been a terrible time for farmers, and this extra drenching is just exacerbating the problem with power outages, cuts to phone service and roads closed or seriously damaged. “This is a continuation of challenging times for ...
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Tackling the growing food security issue Food security is a growing problem for Australian families, according to a new parliamentary report, with remote communities the worst affected. The Food production and supply in NSW report, from the NSW Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Environment and Planning, found food supply disruption was a driver of food insecurity, and that remote communities were unfairly burdened by the problem. NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said there were some promising ideas in the report, including getting more ‘ugly’ produce on supermarket shelves, but he warned words alone would not tackle the problem. “We’ve seen ...
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Farmers slam supermarket giant over prices Flood-affected farmers have rejected supermarket calls to cut their prices, saying they have nowhere left to go. Skyrocketing costs of energy, fuel and fertiliser, rising inflation and interest rates and successive natural disasters have left many farmers desperately clinging on to their businesses as they try to produce food for Aussie families. Yet major supermarket Coles decided to turn the screws on suppliers, The Australian reported this week, discouraging them from asking for a price rise. “All businesses will incur impacts to the cost of doing business at some point,” a note from Coles to ...
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Avoid fatal mistakes in wet conditions The state’s peak farming body is warning people about the dangers of bogged machinery, with three fatalities so far this year. High input prices and a wet season has made this season’s crop one of the most expensive ever, and with flooding likely to reduce the amount that can be harvested, the risk of getting heavy machinery stuck in a paddock is high. NSW Farmers Grains Committee chair Justin Everitt said there had been three fatalities involving the recovery of bogged vehicles or machinery, but the number of injuries and near misses were unknown as they were often not reported. “We know people will feel under the ...
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‘Reckless’ freeze on pest control a threat to biosecurity NSW Farmers has called on the state government to resume pest animal control on public land by the end of the week, or face major biosecurity risks. After learning that shooting had been halted by the state government, NSW Farmers immediately contacted relevant Ministers voicing concerns that pest animals were not being treated as a serious problem. “Putting an immediate halt to pest control efforts is like trying to put out half a fire, they’ll simply come back again and in larger numbers,” NSW Farmers CEO Pete Arkle said. “The state government has spent good money trying to tackle ...
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Budget fails to tackle key issues NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin says while the first Labor Budget contains promising announcements, rural communities will be “bitterly disappointed”. The Treasury papers reveal the cost of living is set to increase with gas and power prices to skyrocket over the next two years, and long-term water spending has been slashed while the trapdoor has been set for water buybacks. “It may seem strange to talk about drought while much of the state is in flood, but farmers know Australia goes through a cycle of wet and dry – this is precisely the time we need to be planning ahead for drought,” Mr Martin said. “Critical ...
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Online traceability forum for farming community The state’s farming community will get a chance to hear directly from NSW Agriculture Minister Dugald Saunders and Dougal Gordon from the NSW Department of Primary Industries about traceability reforms in the sheep and goat industries. Prompted by a foot and mouth disease scare, Australia’s agriculture ministers unanimously agreed to national traceability reform, including an move to a mandatory electronic ID system. NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said Annual Conference provided in-principle support for reform in light of heightened biosecurity risks, but wanted to see important conditions met. ...
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Payments for power lines recognise impact on farmers The state’s peak agricultural body says power line payments are an important step towards recognising the losses of rural landowners. The NSW Government has announced rural landowners would be paid $10,000 a year for 20 years for every kilometre of new transmission lines built on their property – a total of $200,000, with the annual payments indexed to CPI. NSW Farmers Energy Transition Working Group chair Reg Kidd said while transmission lines were a hot topic for affected landowners, these payments were an important step in recognising the impact energy infrastructure had on farmers. ...
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‘Wet drought’ to cost hundreds of millions There are fresh calls for urgent financial support for farmers impacted by flooding, with the damage bill to wheat alone expected to exceed $150 million in the Moree area. According to NSW Farmers, several agronomists were predicting ‘conservative’ losses of 120,000 hectares of wheat with an estimated value of between $108 million and $192 million as a result of widespread flooding in the Moree-Walgett-Narrabri area, with fears of ongoing financial turmoil once the skies clear. The dollar value of the damage is on top of the $42 million it cost to grow the crop, which is now drowning beneath floodwater ...
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