Alan Broome and Kristy Frahm at the agriculture forum on August 2.
Alan Broome and Kristy Frahm at the agriculture forum on August 2. Tobi Loftus

New group focusses on disaster support data

A NEW agriculture group will focus its efforts on mapping seasonal data around what is grown and produced in the South Burnett, to be used for data relief funding.

BIEDO chief executive officer Kristy Frahm and agriculture expert Alan Broome shared the plan to a group of about 100 farmers and industry experts at the third meeting of the South Burnett Community Agriculture Network in Wondai last Wednesday.

"The group came about for a few different reasons,” Ms Frahm said.

"Alan Broome had spoken to me last year and said if we are ever faced with a natural disaster in the shape of a 2011 or 2013 flood we'd have to gather data on damage and crop losses in a short space of time.

"He said we'd be struggling to do that as that information is not gathered and updated in a way that it used to be.”

Mr Broome said collecting the data was about supporting farmers.

"In 2011 we had a major rain event that went across the Burnett and affected practically every farm, there was tremendous suffering out of it,” he said.

"We got a fair bit of assistance coming out of the Federal Government, but in 2013 when we had another major event, things changed and we were declined assistance.

"The government had changed the rules and you now had to meet a criteria, you had to come up with specifics with the data.”

Ms Frahm said the network had approached the University of Southern Queensland's Institute for Resilient Regions and was working with them to come up with a solution.

"We're working with USQ to see if we can come up with a framework or a model to enable us to gather data about what is being grown and where, and how to go about updating that seasonally, as per the winter and summer crop,” she said.

"It needs to be time effective and cost effective ways, but we're still nutting out the finer details.

"Where it's at at the moment is we're looking at using some of the readily available satellite mapping and input from agronomists and farmers on the ground.”

Ms Frahm said she hoped the project would be able to gather data from industry groups, as well as farmers on the ground.

She said the data could also be used for more than just disaster relief.

"It could be used for a range of things, including as a tool to promote the region to potential industries or businesses or advocacy for any reason, for funding or improvements,” she said.

Ms Frahm said it was great to see so many farmers attend Wednesday's network meeting.

"Everyone was just so passionate about what they're doing, it was the most uplifting evening,” Ms Frahm said.