Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on the Premier of Victoria to support farmers who are struggling through extended dry conditions.
Ms Sheed yesterday met with Premier Daniel Andrews to discuss the worsening fodder shortage in Northern Victoria, the lack of much-needed winter rain and skyrocketing water prices.
“Farmers in my electorate are becoming increasingly anxious about the extended dry conditions and what it will mean for their ability to grow fodder and feed their stock,” Ms Sheed said.
“Not only have they been sending fodder north to support drought-stricken areas in Queensland and NSW and are now left with depleted storages for their own use, the lack of winter rain and a predicted dry spring means the current crops in the ground could fail.”
Ms Sheed said while Northern Victoria was not in drought, it was important to be ahead of any potential crisis situation.
She said many irrigators across the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District were reliant on the temporary water market and would benefit from additional water being made available so they could grow out the fodder crops in the ground to a harvestable level.
“Too often Governments wait to see what happens next rather than planning for what could be an imminent crisis,” Ms Sheed said.
“We know there is water in the hands of the Victorian Government, whether through various water authorities, the Victorian Environmental Water Holder or other water savings.
“This is the time that farmers plan for the season ahead and how best to manage the dry conditions they are facing. We are hearing that some dairy farmers are already culling their herds because of the threat they are under from the impending fodder shortage.
“We’re all hoping for a good spring downpour, but in the meantime we need reassurance from the Government that the welfare of our farmers is high on their agenda and that the right mechanisms will be in place to support them.”
Riahn Smith 0419 138 978│firstname.lastname@example.org