- Heavy rain caused severe damage to farms
- Some farmers say it will take years to repair damaged properties
- State and federal governments are providing flood assistance
He’d know; it’s the third time since 2011 his property in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley has flooded.
“The good thing is we got through those floods and we probably come out stronger,” he said.
“We put things in place from a risk-management point of view to get through those things, and we’ll come out stronger from this one. It just takes time.”
Mr Stock said last week’s floods peaked at the same level as 2011 and 2013.
“It’s devastating, to be honest,” he said.
“[There are] no internal fences left. The majority of our boundary fencing [is] gone.”
The floodwater also cut roads and power to the property, meaning milk could not be transported or stored.
“We would have tipped out 5,000 to 6,000 litres of milk,” Mr Stock said.
“The tally will be huge. I don’t think we’ll come out of this for anything less than $100,000 if you take in fences, feed cost, dumped milk, repair to our driveway.
Dozens of volunteers from the nearby Our Lady of Good Council school have been at Mr Stock’s farm standing up fences, clearing paddocks and, most notably, lifting spirits.
“[They are] people that we’ve known for a long time, people that we’ve known for a couple of years, people that we’ve just had to opportunity to meet today,” he said.
“This will go so far to getting us back to being a running farm again.”
Scenic Rim crops ruined
In the neighbouring Scenic Rim region, farmer Fraser Macfarlane is pumping water off his sodden fields.
The heavy rain overfilled his dam and breached a levee meant to protect his crops.
His nearly 50 acres of organic soybeans, sweet corn and green beans have been transformed into a wetland — a home for ducks and corellas.
He has watched two-thirds of his annual income drown, but he remains upbeat.
“One of our banks has agreed to going interest-only for a year and I’m asking our other bank for the same thing, so that’ll make a big difference,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“Every bit of outgoing [money] we can reduce makes it that much easier to keep going.”
He said he had not had time to look at the government assistance available to flood victims but would take any help that was offered.
The state and federal governments have announced a wave of financial assistance for flood-affected farmers.
Producers from 15 local government areas can access grants, which cover a number of things, including household essentials and home repairs for the uninsured.
Crops were ready for harvest
Scenic Rim Deputy Mayor Michael Enright said it was a particularly bad time for farmers to be flooded, with many crops ready to harvest soon.
“When it comes to harvesting the product, you’ve spent all the energy and time and resources in getting the crop out of the ground and provided the best growing environment,” he said.
“So all of the cost has been sunk into the produce at that stage and no income is received until that is harvested.”
He said the flood crisis highlighted the importance of farmers in a functioning society.
“I think we saw through this week a shortage of milk as well as many other fresh vegetables,” he said.
“Our farmers play a vital role in the wellbeing of our whole population and I think if people realised the impact that natural events like the floods have and the impact it has on providing fresh food to our population, then I think they would be in a better place to understand the impacts it has had on our farmers.”