Dry conditions stay on US visitors' minds

THE drought gripping the region will be the enduring memory for a group of US farmers on a tour through NSW and Queensland farming areas.

The group of 40 grain farmers and cattle producers were in Tamworth on Monday where they visited the Tamworth Regional Livestock Exchange and the Landmark campdraft at the Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre.

Ross Keane, from Quadrant Australia in Armidale which organised the tour, said the drought had been a “big wake-up call” for the visitors, who had never experienced such dry conditions back home.

“It has really hit home to them. They thought they knew what drought was, but this has really alarmed them,” he said.

The group also visited Andrew and Cindy Pursehouse’s Breeza Station while in the Tamworth area, before heading up to Yalgoo at Walcha, owned by Grant and Jo Nivison, and then on to Bald Blair at Guyra.

They are now in the Darling Downs and will leave for Cairns at the weekend to spend a day on the Atherton Tablelands before flying back to the US.

Mr Keane said it was the first trip to Australia for the farmers, who are being led by US rural broadcaster Max Armstrong, who has brought groups out for the past three years.

He said the drought and the challenges faced by farmers having to manage the dry conditions would be the enduring memory for the group, but Australian farmers’ reliance on exports had also been a difference they’d commented on.

Mr Keane said in the US, farmers weren’t nearly as reliant on overseas markets because they had such an enormous domestic market.

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