Major investment in the rebuild of flood-affected communities will be crucial for the livelihoods of many Victorian and NSW farmers, according to Rochester, Vic, dairy farmer Tom Acocks.
At the peak of the flood on his northern Victorian farm, a significant portion of his property Riversdale was underwater from the flooded Campaspe River, while a levy bank erected within hours of the water arriving saved the Acocks' feedlot.
Mr Acocks said communities needed "strong leadership" from governments in the wake of the natural disaster.
"This is such a widespread event, which is unprecedented and to me, I think the response from government needs to be unprecedented as well," he said.
"Our roads are stuffed, we've got people who need to move around, we've got farmers who are tired and businesses under stress so we really do need a collective effort from government."
His property is three kilometres south-east of Rochester and received an additional half a metre of water more compared to the region's last major flood in 2011.
"We lost about 150 hectares of crop, which was all forage and a bit of wheat and canola," he said.
"The direct impact to farmers along the river has been quite severe, but the damage in town has been huge.
"People have been affected by river flood, which has caused damage to crops from a long, wet winter, coupled with a significant event in town which has damaged houses and businesses."
The dairy milks about 700 cows, while other beef and dairy cattle were moved off-property and onto agistment paddocks in the wake of the floodwater arriving.
"There is money in mud, but the best thing about the drought is we know what the weather is going to do everyday," Mr Acocks said.
"In this part of the world, dust isn't a bad thing if we can still feed our cows, but it's a double-edged sword because we've had too much of a good thing.
"It's hard when you spend a lot of money on inputs and you don't get a return on it."
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