Don’t forget farmers after storm: industry

As recovery efforts continue in Queensland’s worst cyclone-hit townships, agricultural groups are urging those in charge not to forget the state’s farmers.

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Yeppoon, which copped the brunt of the storm as it made landfall as a category five system, is a diverse horticultural region that produces tropical fruits, sweet potatoes, pineapples and mangoes.

Meanwhile, there are some 31 dairy farms around Rockhampton and central Queensland.

The storm tore roofs torn off farmhouses, destroyed irrigation equipment and ruined crops as it passed through this area.

There has also been significant damage through the Callide Valley, where cotton, grain and herbs are produced.

Then there’s the added concern of livestock health, with wet conditions increasing the likelihood of conditions such as mastitis.

“We appreciate the severe damage that has hit the towns of Rockhampton and Yeppoon,” Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation president Brian Tessmann said.

“But we need to ensure that farmers and small outlying communities aren’t forgotten.”

While it’s still too early to know the full extent of the damage across these agricultural zones, AgForce Queensland’s general president Grant Maudsley said initial reports suggested some areas appeared to have been hit hard.

“We know members in places throughout the Callide and Burnett, as well as Yeppoon, Rockhampton, Gympie and the Southern Coast regions, have suffered significant damage to both homes and property infrastructure,” he said in a statement on Monday.

He said the group would survey its members in coming days to get a better idea of damage to agricultural land, crops and livestock.

Queensland Farmers’ Federation chief executive Dan Galligan said flooding associated with the cyclone would also create long-term challenges for farmers.

“The recovery effort will be enormous,” he said.

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