The NSW Minister for Agriculture has ducked questions about potential funding for farmers during the upcoming drought season.
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Tara Moriarty spoke at the Orange Agricultural Institute on September 8 about the need for those in the industry to "have a plan in place" for when drought impacts their communities.
"Start making your plans now if you haven't already," she said.
"Producers, farmers and people working across agriculture ... they're used to going through these seasons and pretty much all farmers would have been through this before. They need to plan early."
But when asked if there was funding available for producers who had pre-empted dry times by setting up a stock containment area, Ms Moriarty skirted around the question.
"For the moment, people need to plan. Farmers know that things get dry and that they are getting dry," she said.
"They are tracking the weather and understand this stuff well before anyone else does.
"We're asking them to prepare and have their plans in place now. We're working through plans and things that might be needed if and when that might be required, but people need to put their plans in place now."
Without a definitive answer, the question was then asked again.
And once again, no clear-cut response was afforded.
"These are the plans that people should be putting in place," Ms Moriarty added.
"People are well aware that droughts come and go and we've had a number of wet years and now we're heading into some dry years and people need to have these plans in place."
Also on hand to answer questions relating to the current drought conditions being experienced across the state was the Department of Primary Industry's agricultural climatologist, Anthony Clark.
He said there was "always" a worry that a repeat of the 2018/19/20 drought would occur.
"We do have, unfortunately, quite a dry forecast, Mr Clark said.
"We have concerns for the next six months. Beyond that, it wouldn't be professional to forecast that far ahead."
Following on from Ms Moriarty's opening comments about farmers needing to make a plan if they hadn't already, Mr Clark was asked if it was too late to start making a plan.
"I would expect most farmers always have a drought plan," he added.
"They've got a framework that they work in and plan. It's really a matter of dusting it off and revaluating it."
Mr Clark said sections around Dubbo were already experiencing "drought events".
But he noted areas of the Central West's south-east were "enjoying quite wet conditions" and that there was a "mixed bag" across the region.
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