WA drought pilot wins national award

Media Statement from Terry Redman

•State Government wins national prize for economic development
•Drought Pilot Program helped more than 900 farm businesses plan for the future

A pilot program to help Western Australian farming families prepare for drought has received national recognition.
The Pilot of Drought Reform Measures won the national Strategic Planning Award, at the Economic Development Australia awards presentation in Cairns.
Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman congratulated those involved in the innovative two-year project.
“WA farmers are today better equipped to manage the burden of drought and build more resilient rural businesses and communities as a result of this collaboration between the Federal Government and the WA Department of Agriculture and Food,” Mr Redman said.
The Drought Pilot Program involved seven measures to help farm families, businesses and communities prepare for and respond to drought. These included farm business planning and management training; income support and community grants; and mental health support.
 
“It was tested in its first year of operation - in 2010-11, with a ‘one in 100 year’ drought affecting parts of the State, and provided those in need with targeted assistance,” the Minister said.
Central to the success of the Drought Pilot Program were the ‘Plan, Prepare and Prosper’ workshops, developed by the department to build farmers’ business capacity.
“The benefits of this have been far reaching,” Mr Redman said.  “Farm and pastoral businesses, the families who run them and the communities which they are part of, are stronger and better able to deal effectively with the increasing frequency of dry seasons.
“Exit surveys showed participants felt better prepared for drought, had greater confidence in implementing business plans and had increased confidence in the future of farming.”
The Minister said while the Drought Pilot Program had concluded, the State Government had continued its commitment to building farm resilience by extending the Business Capacity Building workshops in 2012-13.
“The new suite of workshops includes a refresher workshop for past participants and I encourage WA farm businesses to take advantage of this opportunity,” he said.
 
Fact File
•During Drought Pilot Program, 994 businesses completed farm planning workshops
•Included northern graziers, broadacre producers, irrigation and dairy farmers

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