RAIN ONLY RELIEF: Rebates for freighting fodder would help farmers but the only thing that will fix the drought is rain.
RAIN ONLY RELIEF: Rebates for freighting fodder would help farmers but the only thing that will fix the drought is rain. Bev Lacey

Farmers hope for fodder freighting rebate in drought relief

MILLIONS of dollars in drought-relief funding is set to be included in next week's Queensland budget.

Although rain is the only thing that will offer relief to struggling Southern Downs farmers, there is hope some of the $34.6 million in funding will be allocated to covering fodder freight costs.

The government will commit to the same amount of funding promised in the 2017 budget despite eight council areas no longer being drought declared after recent rain.

The Southern Downs, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley council areas are entirely drought declared. Banana, Isaac, Whitsunday and Charters Towers are partially declared. Almost all western and southern Queensland council areas are entirely drought declared.

Dairy farmer Peter Cavanagh, who is based at Berat near Allora, said it was the driest conditions he'd ever seen going into winter after 69 years on the property.

Every little bit of support helped but funding would not be the saviour for farmers, he said.

Mr Cavanagh said decent rain was what farmers needed, but funding would be most useful on his property if it helped cover expenses for freighting fodder.

"It's concerning when you haven't got the feed in the paddock and feed is extremely dear, but a bigger problem is finding it,” he said.

"The only way it would help is if I can source fodder at a distance and get some freight rebate.”

Member for Southern Downs James Lister said subsidising freighting in feed and freighting out stock was a good place to start.

He would also like to see low-interest loans made available and direct support for local businesses.

"It's not just the farmers that hurt, if they stop producing because of the drought they're not spending in the local businesses, they're not spending on machinery,” Mr Lister said.

Mr Lister said he would not allow Warwick and the Southern Downs to be overlooked in funding allocations as he is hopeful the government will recognise producers in the region are badly affected.

"There's plenty of farmers there that have a shed full of fodder crops that they can't plant,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said much of the state remained in desperate need of help.



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