Drought case study – Wallacedale

Title: Help is Available - Don't Go It Alone
Vision: Liz Jordan and dairy cows on farm

Liz Jordan — dairy farmer — Wallacedale:

'When we started here on this farm in '90, very early '92, we bought the farm late '91 and took over in February I think, or January '92. We bought 320 acres and milked about 140 cows that we grew. We grew that herd. We bought 90 and grew that herd very quickly to about 140.'

'We had to renovate, what had been many decades before, an old dairy. Had no money. The bank wouldn't lend us money even for an overdraft. So, we couldn't put fertiliser on that first year which absolutely shocked us.'

Vision: Milking shed and equipment. Liz Jordan cleaning equipment and cattle entering.

'And, there was nothing but sorrel and onion weed on the farm. It was really bad. All the fences fell down within the first two years and yeah, we were a mess.'

Vision: Liz Turner milking cows.

'It was terrible. We had four little children and life was really tough.'

Vision: Cows entering shed and being milked.

'We managed to scrape through somehow, and then of course we were hit by drought, and that's around the time that we applied for the Interest Rate Subsidy. And I found the Rural Financial Counsellors were just amazing. They helped me sort out all my financials so that I could put in place the program I needed to get my assistance. If I didn't have that assistance, especially in these times of drought, there is no way through a drought that I would have coped.'

Vision: Liz Turner and farm scenes.

'We've upgraded the dairy several times. We've put in feed pads. We make our own compost. We're converting to organic. Our concentration is on our soil and our nutrition, and we follow that all the way through. If you keep those basics in mind you'll always have good production, good quality milk, and that's what we focus on.'

Liz Turner speaking:

'So, there was my two sons, my partner, and my neighbour who works for us, and is just — they were all just wonderful. And, yeah, we have the same focus and work as a team, that's how we get by.'

Vision: Farm scenes.

'I think all farmers need to understand that they are very valuable to this country.'

Liz Turner speaking:

'And that people, even though everyone doesn't seem to be aware of it, this country would not survive economically without them. They play such an important part in everybody's lives, that they're just a necessary fact of Australia getting ahead.'

Vision: Liz driving on farm - Liz Turner speaking:

'I used Rural Financial Counselling as a method of survival in a time of drought. We are in a bad time of drought now. A lot of you people are suffering whether you're in grain, beef, sheep, horticulture, whatever it is. Don't be proud. This is not — this is nothing to be ashamed of. It's nothing to be proud about either. It is a tool that you may use. Go to Rural Financial Counselling and get the assistance you need. Don't go it alone.'

Slide: Rural Financial Counselling Service contact details

Victoria State Government

Speaker: Authorised by the Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne

Page last updated: 23 Aug 2021