Building drought resilience through planning

BCG Chairman and Birchip farmer John Ferrier is encouraging local farmers to actively plan for drought by providing feedback to the Victoria Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, funded by the federal government’s Department of Agriculture Water and Environment’s 5 billion Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund initiative.

The Hub is actively seeking this vital information now. It will be used to facilitate on-ground applied research and activities that enable farmers, farm businesses and communities to be more prepared and resilient in times of drought. Its concerns include the vital importance of preserving and protecting the landscape.

“We need to get our heads around the idea that drought is not an ‘exceptional circumstance’ but part of the normal cycle of farming and plan for it, particularly as costs increase. This is why the Hub has been established to help us plan now so we can be resilient when drought next strikes,” John said.

“Planning now is important. The ability to plan relies on a clear head and time to be effective. The time to plan is not when we are amidst a drought, feeling stressed and uncertain. It’s too hard then” John explained.

Farmers, natural resource managers and rural communities can contribute by providing feedback at Hub events or by calling BCG ((03) 5492 2787). Feedback is sought on how groups consider what can be done:

  • in preparation for drought to ensure that farms, communities and landscapes are ready to cope with the coming challenges
  • to cope more effectively during drought
  • to recover from drought
  • during periods of uncertainty in and between seasons
  • to make the most from the good times and plan for drought times
  • to evaluate preparedness for the next drought
  • to improve planning tools, processes and indicators to make decisions
  • to fill knowledge gaps
  • to support personal struggles during and after times of drought
  • to improve required resources

“I encourage everyone in the community to provide feedback. The Hub will gather these thoughts, ideas and practices to assist communities through the tough times,” John finished.

There are five nodes of the Hub across Victoria led by the University of Melbourne from its Dookie campus. BCG is leading North West regional node of the Hub. Other partners in the Victoria Hub are Mallee Regional Innovation Centre, Food & Fibre Gippsland, Southern Farming Systems and Riverine Plains – together with Deakin University, Federation University, La Trobe University and Agriculture Victoria.

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