Agriculture Victoria has established an Agriculture Recovery Team to support farm businesses recovering from Western Victoria’s New Year Eve fires.

The communities of Poolaijelo and Langkoop in the south-west Wimmera were hardest hit by a fire that started in South Australia, near the border with Victoria, as a result of a car fire on Friday 31st December at 1.30 pm. Weather conditions caused the fire to spread east into Victoria, crossing Fergusons Rd, near Ryans Rd and into the Meereek State Forest, with over 7,000 hectares of grassland and scrub burnt.

Advice issued earlier today confirmed that the fire is now under control, although firefighters continue to patrol the fire ground and are working on blacking out the fire ground.

The recovery efforts, which will include one-on-one technical advice and support, will be delivered by Agriculture Victoria technical specialists, led by Agriculture Recovery Manager Heather Drendel.

Ms Drendel said Agriculture Victoria field teams have been on the ground working with farmers to manage animal welfare issues and had completed loss and damage assessments of farm assets and stock losses in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

“The team is now focussed on providing ongoing support to impacted producers to help them with their recovery journey.

“We’ve been able to contact most impacted producers in the past week to complete outstanding damage and loss assessments, however, I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t heard from us to call Agriculture Victoria.

“If farmers would like any ongoing support, they will be assigned an Agriculture Recovery Team member who will work closely with them to provide advice and support,” said Ms Drendel.

Agriculture Victoria extension staff can provide primary producers with information and advice on feed budgeting, livestock health, pasture recovery, soil and gully erosion, fencing repair and replacement, land classing, and sediment management and removal from farm dams to maintain water quality.

Recovery information packs have been prepared and mailed out to producers this week.

The Agriculture Recovery Team is working closely with other local stakeholders, including the West Wimmera Shire Council and the Rural Financial Counselling Service, to coordinate local support to affected farmers.