Future Drought Fund educating next round of leaders

Clare Adcock
By Clare Adcock
Updated January 18 2022 - 11:55am, first published January 15 2022 - 9:00pm
The program aims to help producers and communities deal with the effects of drought, from financial stress to mental health. Photo: File

The second round of the Future Drought Fund's Drought Resilience Leaders program has kicked off for the year, with eleven participants selected from the Maranoa region.

Eight mentors and three mentees from the Maranoa will participate in the program which "encourages learning and knowledge sharing to benefit Australian agriculture and the communities that depend on it."

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The Australian Government funded program will run for six months, consisting of online webinars and one-on-one mentoring, as well as providing participants with an invaluable networking opportunity.

Participant Robyn Bryant said she was really looking forward to seeing what she could learn from the program, as well as the opportunity to share her experiences with others.

"Part of the program is having a really good look at your current business and farming system," Ms Bryant said.

"It's also looking at our long term strategic planning and seeing how we can learn from other people, the potential changes that we can make in our business.

"What improvements that can we make that will make drought, in the long term, easier to cope with and easier to handle as a business.

"It's from both a financial side, in making sure that your business can continue running and you don't get into financial stress, but also from the emotional stress point as well and understanding the effects and impacts that drought has on your family life as well."

Drought Resilience Leaders program participant Robyn Bryant. Photo: AgForce

Mrs Bryant runs a property with her husband Greg at Mingoola, on the Queensland and New South Wales border, and another at Bollon in the South-West.

She hopes that the networks created through the program will be maintained well into the future.

"There's opportunity to meet lots of other people so, while the formal part of the program only runs for six months, I think the conversations will keep going for a lot longer."

Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the connections made throughout the program will benefit individual producers in the Maranoa region, but also whole communities.

"Farming skills, including drought resilience, are passed down from generation to generation. This program is about facilitating those connections to benefit farming communities here in Maranoa and participants sharing their knowledge and experience," he said.

"The mentoring program will continue nationally with 300 mentees matched with 250 mentors."

"The Drought Resilience Leaders program also has a series of webinars offered until June 2022 with a focus on drought, climate, and supporting resilience on farms and communities. Anyone can listen into these webinars."

Round one of the program saw participation from 143 mentees and 117 mentors throughout Australia.

Applications for round three will open early this year.

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Clare Adcock

Clare Adcock

Roma Journalist - Queensland Country Life

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