A report published by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) today has confirmed the lived experience of many farmers – that 2019 was the driest and hottest year on record for Australia.
The report comes as Australian farmers continue to manage a record-breaking drought, and battle bushfires which have devastated hundreds of farms.
National Farmers’ Federation President Fiona Simson said there’s been no escaping the challenges of the past 12 months.
“2019 was a horror year for so much of the industry, with an escalation in the long-running drought bookended by devastating floods and fires,” said Ms Simson.
“The bushfires of the past few weeks have laid bare just how hot and dry 2019 was.”
Ms Simson said the human impact of the past year has been significant.
“Whether it’s the drought or the recent bushfires, dry conditions are pushing many of our farming communities to the brink.
“It’s a situation that grows graver each day, and shows no signs of abating. We need an unprecedented response from government to help famers manage these unprecedented conditions.
“These farmers and their communities are tough, but they need all our support to weather this and rebuild from it,” Ms Simson said.
Ms Simson said it was important to remember that the impact of bushfires will be felt by those in drought – well beyond the fire zone.
“The fires will increase demand for already scarce fodder resources for drought-affected farmers and it’s important that Government’s response is coordinated across both the drought and the fires.”
Ms Simson said the future for agriculture remained bright, despite present challenges.
“It’s been a sobering start to the 20s for Australian agriculture, but I’m confident the coming decade will be an exciting one for our industry.
“How we support our farmers to rebound from these challenges will dictate our success over the next 10 years. It’s critical we invest now to capture the growth potential of Australian agriculture,” Ms Simson concluded.