Emergency help for fire affected farmers

Emergency help for fire affected farmers

fire• Emergency fodder drive announced for Victoria’s fire affected farmers

• Funded by Victorian Coalition Government and coordinated by the VFF

• DEPI animal welfare teams and field officers helping with recovery efforts

Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh today announced the Victorian Coalition Government and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) will work together to deliver an emergency fodder drive for fire affected livestock owners.

Mr Walsh said the Victorian Coalition Government will provide funding and the VFF will co- ordinate the effort which will help stock owners in areas where fire had destroyed pastures and other feed supplies.

“The total loss and damage caused by the fires is not yet clear but we do know that a number of landholders have lost a large amount of pasture and it is essential they receive emergency supplies,” Mr Walsh said.

“The Victorian Coalition Government has a long standing agreement with the VFF to fund the cost of fodder coordination and distribution in the event of fires or other emergencies.

“We activated that agreement today and the VFF is now appealing for donations of fodder for farmers affected by fires north of Melbourne, near Shepparton and in parts of Gippsland.

“These areas are principally: Mickelham, Kilmore, Lancefield, Gisborne and Romsey areas; Wunghnu and Bunbartha north of Shepparton; and the Yarram, Buchan, Orbost, Bonang, Lindenow, Gifford and Morwell areas of Gippsland.” VFF President Peter Tuohey said anyone with spare fodder to donate was urged to contact the VFF on 1300 882 833.

“Our priority is getting local donations of fodder on the ground as quickly as possible,” Mr Tuohey said.

“We’re also seeking agistment and will be establishing a register on the VFF website identifying who, where and what is available.”

Mr Walsh said animal health teams from the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) were already visiting affected properties to conduct impact assessments and assist with animal welfare needs.

DEPI is coordinating fire recovery efforts for affected rural landholders from the State Agricultural Recovery Centre at the Attwood Incident Control Centre and has agricultural recovery teams working out of Attwood, Tatura, Traralgon, Bairnsdale and Orbost.

“Our field crews are providing animal welfare support to stock owners, collecting details of loss and damage and liaising with other government agencies to ensure affected landowners received rapid support,” Mr Walsh said.

“Animal health staff have priority access to fire affected properties to help landholders with animal welfare needs, as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Landholders with urgent animal welfare needs should contact the DEPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

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