As back-to-back years of La Nina and flooding rains finally come to an end, we’re preparing—and bracing—for El Nino, and our sunburnt country once again.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s recent long-range forecast confirmed widely held expectations that we’ll potentially see a warmer, drier summer as they issued an El Nino watch.
It’s hard to believe that it was only five years ago, that 99% of NSW was declared drought affected. But, while Eastern Australia has enjoyed—and endured—consecutive wet years, it’s important to remember that one quarter of Queensland’s land area has been in drought for more than six years.
El Nino also brings increased probability of bushfires. Today’s lush bush across Eastern Australia could easily become not just a tinderbox but a powder keg for farmers next summer.
We’ve all been through so much in recent years but the devastating impacts of drought and bushfires—from environmental, to economic and the extreme human toll—are forever scorched in our memories.
Aussie farmers are tough and resilient—and they know there’s no such as thing as perfect climate forecast. But so many are completely shattered from fighting through the last three years—and are still digging deep, every day.
And to really boil the pooch, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) recently announced that it was considering the impacts of El Nino coinciding with our ongoing macro-economic conditions.
The reality of high inflation and interest rates, increasing production costs and decreasing prices for crops is that some farmers may be forced off their land if their property values drop with drought and they’re unable to service their loans.
The drought and economy’s impact on our nation’s food security could see many Australian families—already struggling with the cost of living—pay even higher prices for their groceries. And the brutal truth is that some, including farmers, will go without.
It’s extraordinary. We could all be in for a cluster foxtrot, folks.
As farmers are working hard to take advantage of the expected neutral weather cycle and prepare before Australia’s next extreme weather event hits, we’re also preparing by strengthening our services and our relationships with farming communities.
Aussie farmers are the last people to ask for help. But when they do need it, we’re here for them—wherever, whenever and however they need us.