IN SEARCH OF GREENER GRASS: Sheep escape from a paddock in search of more feed due to drought conditions.
IN SEARCH OF GREENER GRASS: Sheep escape from a paddock in search of more feed due to drought conditions. Robyne Cuerel

New opportunity to help farmers with drought

AS PADDOCKS turn to dust, Southern Downs farmers are being urged to consider alternative options like applying for a permit to graze cattle on the side of the road.

The Southern Downs Regional Council has called applications under the Stock Route Management Act 2002, in recognition of the current dry conditions and the fact that the region is not currently drought declared.

Yangan farmer Peter May said many farmers were "in trouble" due to drought-like conditions.

"It's severe at the moment, we've been hand feeding them too," he said.

But time is running out, as farmers only have until May 10 to apply.

"By law, applications must be received within 7 days of the public notice, meaning applications must be received by 10 May 2018," a council spokesperson said.

But don't whip out your electric fence just yet: getting a roadside grazing permit means cutting through some serious red tape.

To be granted a permit, applicants must provide evidence of public liability insurance cover of $20M.

They must also pursue an Individually Droughted Property declaration for their farm.

Some farmers are still unaware their properties are not officially in drought.

Mr May was surprised to learn the Southern Downs region was not drought declared.

"Aren't we? I would have thought it would have been drought declared," he said.

Mr May said roadside grazing opened up more land for cattle and sheep to feed on during drought conditions.

Applications may be made in writing, electronically or orally. Council asks for applications to be emailed to mail@sdrc.qld.gov.au.

Applications will be assessed for safety to road users and other considerations on a case by case basis.


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