NSW farmers ‘cautiously optimistic’

NSW farmers are “cautiously optimistic” about the future now that the state is officially out of drought.

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NSW has broken free from a historic run of drought for the first time in nine years, state Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan announced.

The end of the drought was good news for farmers across the state, NSW Farmers Association president Charles Armstrong told AAP.

“This is something we’ve been looking forward to for ten years and to finally get there is significant,” he said.

With some of the state still marginal, the mood amongst farmers was cautiously optimistic, Mr Armstrong said.

“With 10.8 per cent of the state in marginal drought, it won’t take much to slip back into drought,” he said.

“But to go to 0 per cent from 99 per cent in 2003 is a huge turnaround and we’re hoping it will continue into the coming years.”

While the state appeared to be on the brink of a bumper $2.85 million winter crop, Mr Armstrong said farmers would not be entirely certain of a good crop for a couple of months, and some areas were now at risk from flooding.

“Farmers remain very cautious,” he said.

“We’re just hoping conditions dry out with sufficient time to harvest crops.

“If everything goes according to plan, farmers will be on their way out of dire circumstances.”

The decade-long drought had taken an emotional toll on the farming community, Mr Armstrong said. “It’s been tough.

“A lot of people have suffered different stresses because of the drought – mental stresses, financial stresses and physical stresses.

“There’s been a lot going on behind the scenes.”