SUPPORT: The newly re-formed South Burnett Drought Committee is led by Karen Seiler and will directly work with farmers and rural support services.
SUPPORT: The newly re-formed South Burnett Drought Committee is led by Karen Seiler and will directly work with farmers and rural support services. Contributed

Committee formed to give farmers best fight against drought

A GROUP of passionate rural professionals have joined forces to ensure South Burnett farmers have the best drought support possible.

The Drought Committee led by Karen Seiler will make sure the South Burnett rural community access all of the available help.

"It's an opportunity to bring people together in smaller locations and to have services accessible to them,” she said.

The group is based off a similar committee which met once a quarter more than eight years ago during the last drought.

The committee will glean from the wealth of knowledge from members including retired farmers and representatives from BIEDO, AgForce, the rural farm counselling service, QRIDA, Centrelink, the South Burnett Regional Council and R-Health.

"These are people dealing directly with farmers who have an idea of what is happening out there,” Ms Seiler said.

The group will put together events to bring the services and information to the rural community.

They plan to hold 'Bugger the Drought' community events during November in Burrandowan, Mondure and Booie.

"It's important to make it happen in those smaller communities,” she said.

This will be an important break from the regular farm schedule.

"People get so busy in the day-to-day drought management that farmers have to do,” she said

"It's very demanding and difficult to get away because you work at home, when you're farming there's no relief.”

With stress-levels high and most farmers are more focussed on managing stock than putting in drought support applications.

"Any help that they are entitled to, even having the rural financial counselling service may help with getting paperwork together for a farm household support application,” Ms Seiler said.

Ms Seiler encourages people to keep in touch with their neighbours.

"When people are so busy trying to survive it's very easy to not keep those social supports up when there's that much to do,” she said.

South Burnett Regional Council drought portfolio holder Kathy Duff said there was a lot of different types of drought assistance out there.

"A lot of farmers are not accessing the assistance they are eligible for,” she said.

Around 24,000 farmers are eligible for the drought package, but only 7000 are accessing the farm household allowance.

"They don't know about it and are too busy to access it because they are focussed on keeping their cattle alive and finding water,” Cr Duff said.