Dairy farmers now equipped with new fire toolkit designed by CFA
Dairy Australia Managing Director Ian Halliday said many dairy farmers in Gippsland had bushfire survival plans and suffered less damage.
Dairy Australia and CFA have joined forces to help Victorian dairy farmers prepare for fire threat on their farms.
The pilot project has resulted in the 'Prepare your dairy farm for fire threat' toolkit, which provides a comprehensive checklist to protect farmers, their families and all areas of the business. It also includes recovery tips to reduce disruption to the dairy business after fires.
The project has come about thanks to the willingness of Gippsland's dairy farmers to share the lessons they learned during the 2009 fires with Dairy Australia and CFA. Their experiences and current CFA information form the basis of the toolkit, designed to help dairy farmers develop a plan that considers preparation, response and recovery.
All Victorian dairy farmers have been sent a copy of the toolkit, which has involved extensive collaboration with GippsDairy, Baw Baw Shire Council, the Lions Club, Department of Primary Industries, dairy manufacturers and United Dairyfarmers of Victoria. A short video, which takes dairy farmers through planning tips step by step, has also been created to accompany the toolkit and both are available at this link and this link.
Dairy Australia Managing Director Ian Halliday said that many dairy farmers in Gippsland had bushfire survival plans and suffered less damage and disruption to their business as a result.
"We wanted to share what they learned and provide some practical examples specific to dairy farms," Mr Halliday said. "For example, one dairy farmer planted 10 hectares of millet intending to provide summer feed for his herd, however the millet provided an effective firebreak, saving machinery and the 100-year-old farmhouse."
"A key to minimising the impact of fire or any emergency situation on business and ensure farmers can return to normal as soon as possible, is to think ahead and be prepared." CFA Community Safety Director Lisa Struzenegger said that according to research conducted through the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, farmers and agricultural workers were some of the least likely to leave their property during a bushfire.
"The research showed us we needed to equip dairy farmers with the right information and advice for their needs," she said. "Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world and Victorian dairy farmers need a bushfire survival plan to help protect their family, staff, production facilities and livestock."
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