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Farmers calling for change to drought declaration policy

This week, some parts of regional New South Wales have experienced their 56th consecutive week of bone-dry conditions.

For some farmers, it’s the driest it’s been in more than 110 years when records began.

Estimates show 19.5% of the state is currently in drought, with further areas put on drought watch and now farming groups are calling on state and federal government to reinstate the policy of drought declaring.

The policy, scrapped in 2013, would trigger emergency cash and subsidies for farmers if a drought was declared. Instead, a new system of interest-free loans was implemented to pay for sheds, water silos or water storage measures to help farmers in times of crisis.

But farmers say these measures don’t work or are merely a temporary solution.

President of NSW Farmers Federation Derek Schoen tells Warren Moore alongside reintroducing drought declarations, it’s vitally important to improve water infrastructure for farmers.

“Drought is very insidious, it slowly creeps up on you and before you know it, you’re in this terrible dilemma… you’re in treadmill you just can’t get off.”

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