Kerang farmers fighting to recover from severe floods: “We lost a lot.”

Kerang farmer, Ian Kidman, was impacted by severe drought followed by floods in 2022.

Flood is one of the most feared disasters on the land. The scale of the damage is massive, the clean-up is long and arduous, and insurance coverage… forget about it.

But what happens when a severe flooding event occurs in the immediate wake of several seasons of crippling drought. The answer is: total devastation.

This is precisely what Kerang farmer, Ian Kidman, faced in the aftermath of the flood crisis that bore down on the northern Victorian region in October 2022.

“The first two years were drought. You couldn’t afford water. I planted all the property to oats. The dry set in, we lost a lot,” he said.

And then came the floods. With many local farmers suffering severe infrastructure damage, local contractors simply couldn’t keep up with the demand for such widespread and significant repairs.

With significant damages to the region, recovery efforts were slow.

In May 2023, 22 Rural Aid volunteers travelled to Kerang from all over Australia to roll up their sleeves and get some much-needed fencing work done. Beyond the physical rebuilding, the impact the support had on the emotional well-being of the affected farmers was remarkable.

Rural Aid volunteer, Peter Holland, said the change in demeanour of the farmers over the course of the week-long support mission was undeniable.

“You meet the farmers, they’re a bit down. Then by the end of the week they’re chatting, they’ve got a little bit of a gleam in their eye,” he said.

For Rural Aid volunteer, Alan Wong, it was the insight into the realities of farming life that he found particularly eye-opening.

“It’s been quite a lot to look at the damage and just to see what we can do to help out. I’m learning a lot of what life is like out here,” he said.

Rural Aid volunteers travelled to Kerang in 2023 to help local farmers rebuild damaged fencing.

And for the Kerang farmers who benefited from the helping hand of Rural Aid volunteers, the sentiment is one of deep gratitude.

“It’s a wonderful initiative and the people involved should be congratulated,” said Ian.

It can be a long road to recovery for farmers like Ian, and there are still many rural communities feeling the impacts of the consecutive disaster events and challenging seasons of the past few years. Your tax-deductible donation can help keep Rural Aid’s vital financial, volunteer, resource, and counselling assistance programs operational, and get farmers the support they need to get back on track.

Please show your support to our mates in the bush this Tax Time, and make it count for our farmers… and for you!