Key agricultural bodies have joined together to run a series of events in drought prone areas of Tasmania aimed to strengthen community resilience.
The event series is being delivered through a partnership between the TAS Farm Innovation Hub, Tasmanian Women in Agriculture, Rural Alive & Well, Rural Business Tasmania and Rural Youth Tasmania, with funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.
TAS Farm Innovation Hub Director, Sandra Knowles, said the events were a crucial element in supporting communities already feeling the impact of dry conditions.
“We know that parts of Tasmania are already suffering from drought and farmers are having to make difficult decisions to protect their businesses including reducing livestock numbers, downgrading crops and increasing supplementary feeding of their animals,” Ms Knowles said.
“This can take a huge toll on faming families and the broader community and we know that some parts of Tasmania need support now.
“The TAS Farm Innovation Hub has partnered with other agricultural groups with strong connections on the land to deliver important climate and drought information specific to the north east region.
“These events will also help build social connection, bring communities together and strengthen support networks to ensure a stronger and more resilient community during the difficult dry conditions.”
Rural Alive & Well (RAW) Engagement Manager, Lauren Harper, said strong and connected communities were essential to building individual’s mental fitness to navigate life’s challenges.
“Our rural industries are facing many challenges related to destocking, present drought conditions and the rising cost of living (and business) – in amongst just the everyday pressures that life and family presents,” Miss Harper said.
“RAW is looking forward to being part of a great community event with the TAS Farm Innovation Hub and our other industry partners, there’s sure to be something for everyone.”
The Chair of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture (TWiA), Deb Morice, said it was great to see a positive outcome from a new partnership between the key agricultural groups.
“These events grew from a number of conversations with the TAS Farm Innovation Hub over what we could do now to support farming families already doing it tough and prepare others for future dry conditions,” Mrs Morice said.
“Time is of the essence so it was fantastic to see everyone rally together to develop this event series which will really have an impact in those rural communities.
“Having lived in the north east for 15 years, I am excited to attend this first event and chat to as many families as possible throughout the evening.”
Rural Business Tasmania, CEO, Elizabeth Skirving, said representatives from the key agricultural groups would be on hand on the night.
"We look forward to hearing how we can assist the community as they prepare for future challenges."
Rural Youth Tasmania CEO, Karen Robinson, encouraged farming families in the north east to go along.
“A sense of connection and community makes an enormous difference in our lives, regardless of the situation, and Rural Youth Tasmania is looking forward to this event for this reason,” Ms Robinson said.
“We hope as many people as possible are able to come along, enjoy the evening and make new connections or build on those already in place. We are appreciative of the TAS Farm Innovation Hub and our other industry partners for organising this event.”
The first event will be held at the Winnaleah Football Club on Thursday, 29 February from 6pm and includes a free BBQ.
It will feature a presentation from Tom Remenyi, a climate scientist with more than 10 years’ experience in translating and communicating climate models and information. Tom’s presentation will include weather and climate information specific to Tasmania’s north east to assist farmers prepare and adapt for the future.
Marek Matuzsek from Ag Logic will also share insights from a project to create drought management tools for farm managers in the north east of Tasmania.
Bookings can be made through the TAS Farm Innovation Hub on firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, 27 February.
Future events in other areas of Tasmania will be announced soon.
The TAS Farm Innovation Hub is one of eight hubs nationally funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. The hub is based at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) at the University of Tasmania and delivered through an extensive network of industry and community partners.