3 September 2018

Farmers welcome short-term relief but long-term vision is desperately needed

Community groups in south west Victoria are now invited to apply online for grants of $1,500 to run events and initiatives that address mental health and wellbeing.

The grants are being made available as part of the ‘Look Over the Farm Gate’ program, a $100,000 commitment from the Victorian Government to assist in the long-term recovery from the 2018 St Patrick’s Day fires in south west Victoria.

“While the immediate emergency fire response has concluded, communities in south west Victoria are still working on the long-term recovery required after such devastating fires. These grants will fund events and initiatives that bring communities together, give people a break off farm, and encourage everyone to look out for their neighbours and for themselves,” said Adam Jenkins, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President.

Natural disasters have a prolonged and profound effect on regional communities, and the recovery process often requires a range of responses. The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) responded immediately to the fires with a Fodder Drive that donated 19,250 bales of fodder to fire-affected farms. The VFF then partnered with BlazeAid and Aussie Helpers to deliver over $80,000 in farm re-fencing and family support. The VFF is proud to contribute to the next stage of the ongoing disaster recovery in the form of Look Over the Farm Gate community grants.

From today, community groups can apply for grants of up to $1,500 by going to www.lookoverthefarmgate.org.au. In special circumstances, larger grants may be available.

“Look Over the Farm Gate is a great opportunity for community members to support each other through different events and initiatives. We hope these grants can help south west Victorian communities not only recover from the fires, but come back even stronger” said David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation President.

“We encourage community groups to think creatively about what their communities need right now to take a mental health break and to support one another” said Mr Jochinke.

Look Over the Farm Gate is a health and wellbeing initiative made possible by the Victorian Farmers Federation, Agriculture Victoria, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Country Women’s Association, Country Fire Authority, and National Centre for Farmer Health.

Media Contacts:
Adam Jenkins, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria President, 0437 008 806
David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation President, 0427 834 524
Heather Smillie, Look Over the Farm Gate Coordinator, 0400 874 589

About the VFF
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is dedicated to representing the interests of farmers and making a positive difference to their businesses and communities. We strive to create an environment for our members, our farmers, that enables profitable, safe, sustainable production to ensure an enduring social licence in a community that respects and values the sector.