CHEAP loans for farmers form the centrepiece of the government's $1-billion drought-relief package, but they've been met with mix reactions as many farmers are already saddled with extreme debt.
Two weeks ago, Tamworth farmer Kevin Tongue was in Canberra to meet with politicians and pitch many of the ideas announced in the package, including the small business loans and $1-million grants to councils.
"I don't know if they listened to us or had this in the pipeline, but at least we've got some answers," Mr Tongue said.
Farmers will be able to get two-year interest-free loans, with interest-only payments in years three to five, and interest and principal payments for years six to 10.
"It will certainly be a help, but many farmers don't want another loan, they've got enough they're already servicing now," Mr Tongue said.
"A lot are at their wits' end with loans. I know a farmer who is looking to sell a portion of his property because he's had a gut full."
Although the loans weren't ideal, Mr Tongue said they were the best solution to a difficult situation. However, it was hard to say how the loans would be patronised locally.
"One hat doesn't fit all of us, everyone is in a different situation," he said.
Completely interest-free loans are not an option as it would violate Australia's free-trade agreements.
"That would be seen as subsidising our farmers, and then the other countries would put tariffs on our products," Mr Tongue said.
Farmers who have already accessed the more than $200 million in drought loans approved since 2014 will be able to renegotiate the terms to include the two-year interest free period.
"The government is being as flexible and understanding as possible," Mr Tongue said.
"It's all a help. We're in a predicament that we've never been in before and we're going to have to learn a lot of hard lessons."
New England MP Barnaby Joyce said he was certain the interest-free loans would be an advantage to many on the land.
"Hopefully this sees them through to the end of the drought," Mr Joyce said.
"I acknowledge there is always more to do, but I hope people also acknowledge that we fought for further drought funding and we got it."