Drought has inflicted major financial, social and environmental costs on farm businesses and communities in the Loddon Shire, with many farmers and their families facing challenges in the current dry conditions and the seasons ahead.
Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership (BLPCP) has joined forces with Loddon Shire Council, North Central Catchment Management Authority and the Victorian Farmers Federation to host a one-day professional development workshop on Wednesday 20 April 2016 at Powlett Plains & District Community Hall to support local farmers to respond to the dry season and the ongoing changes in farming conditions.
This event has been funded through the Victorian Government’s Drought Response Package and will be delivered at no-cost to participants.
Loddon Shire Council Acting CEO, Marg Allan said drought was a momentous challenge for any agricultural business and the ability to make informed decisions early was key to the sustainability of local farms and the industry.
“It’s important to take the time now to learn more about drought and predicted changes in the weather to ensure good strategies are in place for your farm and business before conditions worsen,” said Ms Allan.
“We know many residents are doing it tough. Through this initiative we want to make sure our farmers have access to reliable information so they can make the best decisions for their families.”
The workshop will cover a broad spectrum of topics including crops, planting and land management, managing stock in a challenging season, rural financial counselling, drought employment programs and mental health.
The workshop will feature presentations from industry experts, including:
Dale Grey - Seasonal Risk Agronomist, Department of Economic Development Jobs Transport and Resources
Dr David Rendell - Director and Veterinarian, Livestock Logic
Tracey Harbridge - Project Officer Drought Employment Program, North Central Catchment Management Authority
BLPCP Executive Officer, Eileen Brownless said farms were often a family business and when faced with drought the health and wellbeing of the family can be significantly impacted.
“Emotional and financial stress can take its toll during a drought and it’s easy to feel isolated when you’re trying to run a business and raise a family at the same time,” said Ms Brownless.
“Many people are reluctant to speak up or don’t know how to seek help.
“That’s why it’s important to equip locals with the skills to help their family and friends by identifying the signs, offering support and directing them to professional services who can provide assistance.”
All workshop attendees will receive a participant pack filled with additional information and resources.
The Zonta Club of Bendigo is also supporting the event recognising the work of women in farming communities. Pamper packs will be available to the first 20 women to register, thanks to Zonta Club of Bendigo’s Women of Achievement Award recipient, Val Campbell, to promote wellbeing for women affected by drought.
Contact Loddon Shire Council Economic Development Officer, Christine Coombes on (03) 5494 1251 before 5pm, Tuesday 19 April 2016 to register.