9 Apr 2018, 6 a.m.
STATE government has announced a new, low-interest loan to help farmers manage their livestock in the grip of a big dry.
The NSW Drought Transport Fund will provide up to $20,000 in low interest loans, with a two-year interest and repayment free period.
It will complement existing transport subsidies for the cost of transporting donated fodder within NSW and transporting stock off a property for animal welfare purposes.
Minister for Primary Industries, Niall Blair said the fund would help eligible farmers pay freight costs for fodder, water, or to move stock to agistment.
“Farmers have told us they need this help and the NSW Government has heard them loud and clear,” Mr Blair said.
More than a quarter of the state is struggling with drought or conditions approaching drought.
The Hunter, Central Tablelands, Central West and in the Far West have copped it the hardest.
“Primary production is the lifeblood of the communities in these regions and when farmers are struggling, the whole community feels the impact,” Mr Blair said.
“This additional step in our drought strategy will allow farmers to better manage core breeding stock, which will in turn enable a more rapid recovery when conditions improve.”
The wider NSW Drought Strategy includes a rural resilience program, rural support workers and financial counselling, and the Farm Innovation Fund for on-farm drought preparedness work and capital improvement.
The Farm Innovation Fund has approved $54 million worth of low-interest loans this financial year, with almost $9 million worth of loans applied for in March alone, and more than $200 million since its inception in 2013.