IT MIGHT have been pouring rain yesterday, but fires remained at the forefront of farmers’ minds as a new fencing fund was announced in Tamworth.
NSW Farmers’ Association president Fiona Simson launched the fund to help landholders repair or replace the more than 3500km of fencing known to have been damaged by bushfires in NSW in the past few weeks.
Ms Simson said fencing was an “expensive and time-consuming” process, with materials for just one kilometre of fence costing roughly $2000 to $2500.
All money will go directly towards the cost of fencing materials.
Ms Simson said farmers making a claim for funding would have to get it verified by BlazeAid – the charity providing volunteers to help with fencing – or one of the association’s regional service managers.
BlazeAid is setting up camps in fire-affected areas of the state, including Coonabarabran, to help put up new fences, but affected farmers without a team in their area will still be able to access funding.
Money will be allocated according to the kilometres of fence lost and the association hopes to raise at least $50,000.
“How much money they get will depend on how much we get in,” Ms Simson said.
She said insurance costs were prohibitive for farmers and many could not afford to cover fences as well as their other assets.
Farmers who want to access money from the fund need to register with the association by February 28 at www.nswfarmers.org.au.
Applications will then be assessed for eligibility, and all those eligible will be pooled to determine the allocation of funding.
Donations to the fund can also be made at the association’s website.
“Most farmers out there at the moment would think every little bit helps,” Ms Simson said.