Farmers count bushfire cost

Farmers are counting the cost of the NSW bushfire crisis as State Government impact assessment teams gain access to fire grounds.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is reporting that 6284 head of livestock have been euthanised or confirmed deceased in bushfires this season across NSW. A total of 5198 have been lost in South-East NSW since Christmas.

NSW Farmers President James Jackson said this figure is likely to rise in coming days as assessment teams and farmers gain access to other active fire grounds.

“The NSW Farmers Dairy committee is reporting that fodder and fuel is starting to make its way to dairy farms on the South Coast, which will be urgently needed,” Mr Jackson said.

“Dairy producers on the South Coast have had the most pressing need for immediate support and the DPI and Local Land Services have done a good job getting emergency fodder, generators and fuel into dairy farms in this region.”

“We also need to be mindful that the impact on horticultural operations will be extensive as well. The fires have impacted a wide variety of agricultural enterprises in NSW, from oyster sheds on the South Coast to apple orchards in Batlow and Bilpin and honey producers.”

NSW Farmers is working with government agencies and rural charities including Rural Aid to start to plan the transition from emergency assistance to recovery support.

“As always, farmers are out there helping their fellow farmers with fodder donations and community organisations are doing all they can to support everyone. But farmers do require immediate and ongoing assistance to keep livestock alive with water and feed supplies,” Mr Jackson said.

“Our priority is to work closely with the DPI and Local Land Services to ensure that farmers are getting the ongoing assistance they need.”

Farmers can report stock losses and infrastructure damage, and request animal assessment or emergency fodder or water for stock, by calling the Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline on 1800 814 647. People without phone access can send a direct message via the NSW DPI Facebook page.

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