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Recovery and Resilience Farm Business Resilience Program
Monday 13 November 2023

In this edition

Latest news

  • Hailstorm Concessional Loans: applications closing 14 November

Events, programs and workshops

  • Creating an animal health plan: Rochester and Colac
  • MLA Updates: Sustainability from paddock to plate
  • Managing fire risk: tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update
  • Farmer day out at native fish hatchery: Arcadia
  • How good is this year's fodder? Free feed testing: Molesworth/Towong
  • Feed pads, renewable energy and more!


  • Farm fire preparedness toolkit and webinar recording
  • Feed testing: calculating the benefits
  • Making quality hay
  • Introduction to soil carbon eLearn – what you need to know
  • Farm Fitness Checklist
  • Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool
  • My Climate View


  • Victorian flood and storm support for farmers
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service
  • National Centre for Farmer Health
  • Health and personal wellbeing
  • Farm Business Resilience Program

Latest news
Hailstorm Concessional Loans: applications closing 14 November
pears on a tree: text reads: 23 March hailstorm support - applications for concessional loans closing soon

Applications close at 4 pm on 14 November 2023 for Concessional Loans available to support producers impacted by the 23 March hailstorm event.

Primary producers in the City of Greater Shepparton and the Yarra Ranges local government areas whose properties were directly impacted by the 23 March hailstorm or who suffered a significant loss of income as a direct result of the hailstorm event are eligible to apply for a Hailstorm Primary Producer Concessional Loan of up to $250,000 to restore or replace damaged assets, and meet general expenses incurred during the clean-up.

For more information, visit Rural Finance or call 1800 260 425.

For assistance in applying contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service on 1300 771 741.

Rural Finance administers this program which is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments through Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Events, programs and workshops

Creating an animal health plan: Rochester and Colac

Join Agriculture Victoria for a free workshop on developing an animal health plan for sheep (at Rochester) and cattle (at Colac).

At this interactive workshop you will identify local health issues and learn about their prevention and treatment option solutions to create an animal health plan for your flock or herd.


  • Local animal health issues and solutions to prevent and treat them
  • Creating an animal health plan
  • How your animal health plan is part of your biosecurity plan
  • The records you need to keep and the systems you can use to comply with regulation and the Livestock Production Assurance program.

Location: Rochester Shire Hall, 45 Mackay Street, Rochester

Dates, times and presenters:

Rochester – with Dr Frankie Collett, Rochy Vet Clinic

  • Thursday 16 November, 10 am to 1 pm
  • Register here

Colac – with Agriculture Victoria veterinarian Dr Hannah Manning

  • Tuesday 28 November, 10 am to 2 pm
  • Register here

More information: Agriculture Victoria events.

MLA Updates: Sustainability from paddock to plate

The MLA Updates are coming to Victoria and will be held in Bendigo on 23 November.

The MLA Updates is working around an umbrella theme of Sustainability from Paddock to Plate.

The day-long event will showcase solutions and technologies which embrace sustainability and help set Australia’s red meat and livestock industries up for success.

MLA’s AGM will also be held from 3:30 pm onsite at the showgrounds.

Location: Fosterville Gold Exhibition Centre, Bendigo Showgrounds

Date: Thursday 23 November

Register here

Managing fire risk: tools, tips, resources and a seasonal update

Every farm and farming business is unique and being well prepared for bushfires can assist farm businesses to recover faster.

Planning and preparing for the bushfire season includes identifying risks and undertaking tasks to prepare your farm ahead of the season.

Kylie Macreadie will highlight farm preparedness activities, along with tools and templates in the new Fire Preparedness Toolkit.

Dale Grey will discuss what the current drier climate drivers of the El Nino and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole are up to as well as current soil moisture, remote sensed plant growth and grass cutting.


  • Land Management Team Leader Kylie Macreadie
  • Seasonal Risk Agronomist Dale Grey

Location: online

Register: here

More information: email Climate Webinars.

Farmer day out at native fish hatchery: Arcadia

Have you ever wondered about the similarities between aquaculture and land-based production systems?

Join us for a social day off the farm as we visit the Victorian Fisheries Authority (VFA) native fish hatchery in Arcadia and tour around the newly developed facilities, built as a part of the Target One Million project.

Take some time to enjoy a day out and catch up with some neighbours!

Lunch is supplied.

Buses are available, leaving from Rochester and Cobram:

  • bus #1: Rochester to Arcadia (via Kyabram and Tatura)
  • bus #2: Cobram to Arcadia (via Numurkah and Shepparton)

Location: VFA Arcadia: 200 Ross Rd, Arcadia.

Date and time: Tuesday 5 December, 11 am to 2 pm

Register here

More information: email Tanya Dobrijevic or call 0429 353 649.

How good is this year's fodder? Free feed testing: Molesworth/Towong 

How does this year's fodder stack up for energy and protein?
Will it meet your livestock’s need?

Agriculture Victoria, Murrindindi Shire Council and Riverine Plains are offering two free feed quality tests for farmers to check the quality of their feed sources. There is a limited number of tests available, so we’re encouraging farmers to register now.  

After the results have been returned, Agriculture Victoria will host a webinar (Towong) and workshop (Molesworth) to discuss options to keep your stock as productive as possible.

Have your feed tested and attend the webinar or workshop to learn about: 

  • Feed test result interpretation
  • Feeding Livestock website
  • Basic feed budgeting
  • Flood recovery support.

Locations and dates:


  • Register here for a free feed test
  • Webinar, Thursday 7 December, 12:30 pm


  • Register here for a free feed test
  • Workshop, Tuesday 12 December, 5:30 pm 

More information: email Toni Dakis or call 0428 975 728.

Feed pads, renewable energy and more!

Join national experts and specialists on the latest technologies seen first-hand on-farm.

This free event will include interactive elements involving our special guests – short talks, a visit to three locations on the property and a panel session.

Topics covered will include:

  • Reducing the environmental footprint
  • Technologies and programs in reducing methane emissions
  • Australian guidelines for loose housing, cattle shelters and feed pads
  • Related climatic past and future trends.

Location: Leongatha South

Date and time: Wednesday 13 December, 9 am to 2:30 pm

Register here

More information: email Billy Marshall or call 0418 718 527.

Woman kneeling in paddock with hay beside, looking across at sheep grazing; Text reads: Now's the time to prepare your farm for the fire season

Farm fire preparedness toolkit and webinar recording

Agriculture Victoria’s new Fire Preparedness Toolkit is designed to assist farmers and land managers to prepare their farm for the fire season.

The toolkit contains checklists and templates to help farmers prepare their farm business, livestock, staff, and infrastructure ahead of the season.

Learning from the experiences of farmers that have been impacted by fire, the checklists and templates published in the toolkit were developed with input from farmers.

It incorporates key things that, when documented or identified as part of a preparedness plan, can ease the process of recovery after a traumatic bushfire experience.

For example, having a documented farm asset inventory can greatly assist in reviewing insurance cover before, as well as assessing loss and damage in the aftermath, of a fire.

Similarly, ensuring your farm documents are securely stored (on the cloud or off-farm) and on-hand, will help ease the pressure when it comes to seeking financial support or making insurance claims.

The Fire Preparedness Toolkit and other bushfire resources are available on the Agriculture Victoria website and should be used in conjunction with existing information and resources from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and your local council.

Webinar recording

A recent webinar recording stepped through the toolkit, covering topics such as farm asset inventories, checklists and action plan, saving documents and updating PIC and NLIS data. 

Listen to the Zoom webinar recording; use this passcode: Preparedness.

Feed testing: calculating the benefits

Feed is more than just hay or grain, it is the energy and protein content that is most important. It is critical to purchase feed that is appropriate for your stock and meets their nutritional requirements. A simple visual assessment of feed is not sufficient to determine quality.

By doing a ‘feed test’, you take the guess work out of feed supplementation and can accurately calculate the suitability of your feed.

A feed test will provide an analysis of the nutritional composition of your feed (be it hay, silage, grain or pasture). Metabolisable Energy (ME) is a critical component required by livestock and is one of the primary determinants of feed quality.


Making quality hay

There are two aspects to making quality hay, starting with quality forage, and curing the forage to the appropriate dry matter content in as short a time as possible.

When to cut forage for hay is a trade-off between quality and quantity. As the crop or pasture develops a seed head and reaches maturity the yield increases, however the quality declines.

The quality decline is a result of decreased metabolisable energy and crude protein, along with an increase in fibre. However, with cereal crops for example, it can be hard to cure if cut before the seed head has fully emerged.


Introduction to soil carbon eLearn – what you need to know

Soil carbon is critical for soil health, improving productivity, profitability and resilience.

This soil carbon eLearn module provides key information about soil carbon.

By building knowledge of soil carbon it will help provide an understanding of the potential mitigation options in managing climate change on-farm.

At the completion of this module, participants will have a better understanding of:

  • the soil health benefits of soil carbon
  • the difference between soil carbon and soil organic matter
  • the influence of soil type, climate and land management on soil carbon stocks
  • the impacts of agricultural practices on soil carbon
  • where to go for further information and resources.

View the eLearn here.

Farm Fitness Checklist

The Farm Fitness Checklist helps farmers assess where their business is at currently, and to identify areas and opportunities to strengthen their farm business.

It covers subjects including people management, skills and training, business planning and financial performance, emergency management, infrastructure, water supply, natural resource management, risk management, succession planning, off-farm activities and more.

Download the Farm Fitness Checklist from the Agriculture Victoria website.

Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool

Farmers can use the Drought Resilience Self-Assessment Tool (DR.SAT) to further assess their farm business resilience.

The tool includes climate projections and farm business resilience resources to support farmers strengthen their farm business.

My Climate View

The My Climate View tool helps farmers understand the historical, seasonal and future climate at their location to help them make informed decisions for their farm business.

It provides farmers with historical data (1961-2021), seasonal forecasts (1-3 months) as well as future climate projections based on the 15 years before and after 2030, 2050 and 2070, for a given location.

Victorian flood and storm support for farmers

A range of support measures are available for flood and storm-affected farmers. Information about these measures can be found at For any urgent animal welfare needs, please contact 136 186. 

Technical Information and decision-making support 

Agriculture Victoria is working with Victorian farmers and industry to prepare for, respond to and recover from natural disasters (including floods and storms) through delivery of technical information and decision-making support services to help farm business recovery including: 

  • Grazing, cropping and pasture management
  • Irrigation and horticulture system rehabilitation 
  • Soil erosion management  
  • Land management 
  • Animal health and nutrition  
  • Farm mapping and planning  
  • Water quality
  • Weed management.

As of 10 November, Agriculture Victoria has been involved in and supported the delivery of 360 recovery events engaging 3,724 farmers. This includes the delivery of 183 technical activities and engagement and attendance at 177 community recovery meetings and committees.

These activities provide tangible support and information to farmers recovering from floods and storms in a range of areas including grazing, cropping and pasture management, irrigation and horticulture system rehabilitation, land management, animal health and nutrition, climate and seasonal outlook and pest and weed management.

Farmers are encouraged to contact the Agriculture Recovery team on Phone: 0427 694 185 (Mon-Fri between 8.30 am and 5 pm) or Email

Rural Financial Counselling Service
Man standing in a paddock looking across at the sunset; text reads: Free financial counselling with the Rural Financial Counselling Service

Have you been impacted by recent floods, fires or dry seasonal conditions?

The Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) provides a free and confidential financial counselling service to eligible farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can help you to access available support, analyse your business situation, negotiate with lenders and develop strategies to improve your financial position.

Find your closest service here or call 1300 771 741.

National Centre for Farmer Health

The National Centre for Farmer Health is committed to supporting primary producers whose properties, livestock or crops were damaged or lost in the floods and storms through the delivery of initiatives to boost farmer mental health and wellbeing, including:

  • free access to online psychology support delivered by Lysn psychologists
  • distribution of mental health resources and support information.

Managing stress on the farm

Click to read or download this Managing Stress on the Farm book from the National Centre for Farmer Health website. You can also request free hard copies from the website.

Dealing with a stressful season

Stressful periods like floods, extended wet conditions and associated production losses often result in farmers themselves getting a bit stuck and operating at less than their best.

A key to recovery is to remain as healthy as you can and recognise that experiencing stress following extreme climatic events is normal.

The National Centre for Farmer Health has developed some quick tips to help you on the journey. 

Health and personal wellbeing

It is normal to have strong reactions following a distressing or frightening event and people can experience a range of physical, mental, emotional and behavioural reactions.

There are a number of support services available (listed below) to assist you and your family recover from the strong emotional or physical reactions you may be experiencing.

Are you concerned about your own mental health? Reach out to Lifeline for a safe place to talk on 13 11 14.

Available support includes:

Farm Business Resilience Program

The Farm Business Resilience Program is jointly funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund and the Victorian Government’s Future Agriculture Skills Capacity Fund.

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