Struggling Coast farmers receive funding boost
FARMERS suffering through the driest cane season in more than 100 years say the Federal Government's $15 million boost to Drought Assistance Concessional Loans will help them get back on their feet.
During a visit to Maryborough on Friday morning, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced the multi-million dollar injection for Queensland farming businesses.
"Queensland Rural Adjustment Authority told us the $35 million already allocated for drought concessional loans could run out and they needed an injection of additional funds to meet the demand from farming businesses," Mr Joyce said.
"We have responded to ensure loans continue to be an option for eligible farm businesses."
Cameron Waters from the Maryborough branch of peak industry body Canegrowers said the loan scheme was "well liked and used" by farmers in the region.
"Our circumstances are not good right now, so it's positive to have that option," Mr Waters said.
"For people in the [farming] industry, it's good to know there is financial support."
Mr Waters said the region had not seen a growing season this dry since 1902.
He said although ex-tropical cyclone Debbie had brought rain to the region at the end of the growing season, it was too late to undo the damage.
"We're still looking at significant losses and in some cases total losses," he said.
"This year we've lost a third of our crop, that we know of so far. It [drought] can be devastating."