Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas has revealed a plan to establish an agricultural recovery manager to help farmers in the wake of the widespread storms and floods which hit Victoria this month.
Ms Thomas told the media during a visit to Gippsland on Monday Bairnsdale-based Agriculture Victoria project leader Darren Hickey had taken on the role of recovery manager .
Mr Hickey will assist farmers by providing technical advice for issues including stock health, nutrition and feed budgeting, fencing, pasture recovery and grazing management.
Mr Hickey has coordinated Meat & Livestock Australia's More Beef from Pastures program in Victoria, an initiative created to help graziers bolster beef production and weight gain through better farm management.
More than 490 stock died due to the flooding in central and West Gippsland, which left some farming communities without power for more than a week.
Ms Thomas said the floods destroyed more than 250 hectares of crops, 5500 hectares of pasture and more than 620 kilometres of fencing along with 91 structures including sheds and farm buildings.
"Storms and floods over the last weeks have hit our farmers hard, along with the flow-on impacts of power and telecommunications outages and road blockages," Ms Thomas said.
"We're supporting affected communities, including specialised work with our agricultural community, providing landholders with advice, referrals and impact assessments."
Ms Thomas said about 750 farmers across Victoria had requested government assistance since the storms.
The announcement comes days after the state government requested the assistance of 120 Australian Defence Force personnel from the federal government to help with the clean up after the storm.
It followed growing criticism towards Acting Premier James Merlino from people affected by the floods and power outages, who claimed the government was slow to respond to the disaster.
During her visit to Gippsland, Ms Thomas will meet with dairy farmers Matt and Nadine Gleeson, Boolarra South, who experienced power loss, phone outages, and lost four kilometres of fencing.
She will also visit the Stuckey family, Flynn, who lost 150 hectares of newly sown pasture.
Landowners can phone Agriculture Victoria on the VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 for advice on horticultural, livestock and other agricultural issues.
For more information about available assistance, flood or storm-affected farmers can visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/floods.
Farmers can also contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1800 686 175.
The story Recovery manager to help farmers affected by Victorian floods first appeared on Stock & Land.