The best time to prepare for drought is before it happens.
There is no “right way” of getting ready for drought but there are people and organisations you can talk to confidentially about your options. They can help you action your drought plan as conditions dry and recover sooner as conditions improve.
This is the accessible text transcript of a video for farmers and their families on who can help and how when it comes to drought.
Video begins: Farming is a business, and drought is one of the many risks farmers face.
There’s no one right way of preparing for, managing through and recovering from drought. But there are a range of people and organisations worth talking to about your options before you make decisions.
You can talk to your bank about things like farm management deposit accounts or lending options.
You can turn to other professionals too. Agronomists can work with you to boost production, and accountants can advise on ways to diversify income or limit losses.
Your local, state and federal governments can also help. Some offer farm business planning, research and climate tools, tax deductions or rebates for dams, silos and fencing.
You may be eligible for income support, loans, financial counselling and mental health services.
Your farm industry group can show you what other farmers are doing, and you can connect with your community though local organisations.
Everyone has a role to play. So visit Recovery Connect to find out who can help and how.
Everyone has a role to play
You can get Australian Government assistance at any time to prepare your farm business for drought. You can also access rural support programs and services if you’re in hardship.
Your state or territory government can help too. For information please visit their website.
Your local government may be able to:
- refer you to other resources and programs
- provide hardship assistance such as waiving penalties or offering instalment plans.
You can talk to your bank about:
- your financial position
- funding activities and assets to help you withstand drought
- using a Farm Management Deposit account to smooth out cashflows and build up reserves
- deferring scheduled loan or credit card payments
- waiving fees and charges, including break costs on early access to term deposits
- consolidating debt to help make repayments more manageable
- restructuring your existing loans
- obtaining extra finance to help cover cash flow shortages
- increasing emergency credit card limits
- supported exit strategies and succession planning.
You can talk to your agronomist about:
- reviewing your farm’s exposure and vulnerability to drought
- applying what you learned during the last drought
- improving soil fertility, retaining moisture and limiting erosion
- using water more efficiently
- increasing storage
- changing cropping practices
- changing grazing practices
- easing pest, weed and disease pressures.
You can talk to your financial planner and accountant about:
- preparing and reviewing your farm business plan
- planning for your family’s financial needs and goals over the short, medium and long term
- advice on how to respond to future challenges and opportunities
- advice on taxation and business structure
- options for managing pricing, costs, products, risk and alternate income sources
- the future of your business, including exit strategies and succession planning
- financial skills training
- referrals to specialist business advisers for complex matters
- accessing government drought support and complying with relevant obligations.
You can talk to your farm legal specialist about:
- business structuring, planning and risk management to prepare for drought
- taxation and farm financial transactions
- managing disputes with lenders or financial hardship related to your business
- representation in farm debt mediations as well as other debt negotiations.
Your agriculture industry organisation/representatives can help you with:
- information about how other farmers are preparing for drought
- drought support and tools available to your business
- problems you face accessing help
- ways to reduce your costs or protect your assets
- business literacy and skills development training
- mental health information and strategies.
You can talk to your local Research and Development Corporation about:
- strategies to reduce drought impacts on your business
- practical advice to make your farm business more productive, profitable and sustainable.
Your local community and charities can help you:
- stay connected socially, through community groups and events
- learn from others in similar circumstances
- with tips and tools to cope with stress
- with financial assistance
- with low-cost counselling and/or other services.