All businesses feeling effects of the big dry

LOCAL businesses are locked in an “adapt or die” cycle as the crushing drought continues to impact on all corners of the community.

Just like our farmers, rural-sector businesses are being forced to look at product innovation and changing service delivery models to cope with a downturn in business – and water.

Tamworth Business Chamber president Tim Coates said a raft of local businesses – from plumbers to abattoirs – had already made fundamental changes to cope with the big dry.

“Tamworth businesses are obviously not drought-proof and when you wind the clock back six or seven years when Chaffey was at 12 per cent, you’ll see that,” Mr Coates said.

“It got to the point where a lot of businesses were going to close their doors if they didn’t adapt.

“Out of that experience, a lot of local companies changed and they’re having to do it again.”

He said he had “absolute confidence” in the local business community adapting to the challenges of the drought.

“Business is being impacted by the drought, there aren’t as many dollars around, but every time Tamworth is faced with a challenge, it finds ways to overcome it,” he said.

While many businesses are grappling with a customer downturn, others are clamouring to meet demand.

Furney’s Stockfeeds manager Jenny Saunders said the critical feed shortage had made timely supply almost impossible.

“We’ve got an 18-day delay for any bulk-load supply ... demand at the moment is just massive,” Ms Saunders said.

“We are servicing our normal clientele but we’re also having to service a whole lot of outer regional areas.

“There’s a lack of everything – hay, grain and any type of manufactured product for livestock.”

She said she was selling lucerne-hay for $16 a bale – precisely the same price she was paying for it.

“The feed shortage isn’t just hurting farmers, it’s hurting owners of other animals like horses,” she said.

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