Support for primary producers

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Rural Resilience Program has staff located across NSW, who work closely with partners such as the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, Rural Financial Counsellors, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) and Local Lands Services, to deliver initiatives tailored to the particular needs of the community and provide support by way of appropriate referrals.

The Rural Resilience Program leads educational, personal and business resilience building activities and work to ensure there is an informed and cohesive approach to supporting farmers across various agencies.


We listen to our farming communities, learn about their issues and needs and also about what other services and opportunities are available. Where appropriate we link farmers into existing services and initiatives. If particular services do not exist then wherever possible, we work with our community partners to create new initiatives and opportunities.

Visit Rural Resilience Program for more.

Rural Resilience Officers and Rural Support Workers provide information on support available for farming families and can connect them to relevant service providers. If you need assistance please contact your nearest Rural Resilience Officer or Rural Support Worker.

Rural Resilience Officers and Rural Support Workers


Location based

Contact number


Danny Byrnes


0400 374 258

Ted O’Kane


0427 781 514

Amanda Glasson


0438 082 731

Caroline Hayes


0407 971 675

Jen Haberecht

Coffs Harbour

0400 160 287

Ellen Day

Broken Hill

0427 639 761

Karen Sowter


0400 869 136

Peter Brown


0437 671 459

James Cleaver


0408 687 165

Farm Family Gatherings

There may also be opportunities to work with your local Rural Resilience Officer or Rural Support Worker (see above) to have a Farm Family Gathering in your area. These “gatherings” are an opportunity for support services such as financial, production and emotional/physical health providers to share knowledge and experiences with farming communities. They are also a great opportunity for farmers to share knowledge of the impact of adverse events on them personally and how they are coping. These gatherings have proven to lift the spirits of people when they realise that “they are not in this alone!”

Support for farmers

Local Land Services

Local Land Services delivers quality, customer-focused services to farmers, landholders and the community across rural and regional NSW. Local Land Services is one statewide organisation offering integrated services, delivered regionally and tailored for each community, industry and landscape.

Local Land Services helps secure the future of agriculture and the environment for NSW communities. The Local Land Services team is here on the ground when it matters, with knowledge, networks and experience. Its programs and partnerships grow farm productivity and healthy environments. Its services and partnerships play a vital role in helping to protect against pests, diseases and environmental threats while we connect our customers with the best services, advice and networks. Contact your Local Land Services today on 1300 795 299.


Rural Financial Counselling Services (RFCS)

The Rural Financial Counselling Service NSW provides free and impartial rural financial counselling to eligible primary producers, fishers and small rural businesses who are suffering financial hardship, and who have no alternative sources of impartial support, to manage the challenges of change and adjustment.

Norther region 02 6662 5055
Southern region 02 6452 5850
Central region 1800 940 404

Depending on where you are located, ring one of these numbers to get contact details of your nearest Rural Financial Counsellor.

For other RFC offices visit NSW Rural Assistance Authority or call 1800 678 593.

Farm Household Support

The Federal Government Department of Human Services provides help for farmers and their families experiencing financial hardship. To be eligible you must:

  • be a farmer or the partner of a farmer. If you are the farmer you must contribute a significant part of your labour and capital to the farm enterprise based on specific criteria
  • meet an income and assets test
  • be willing to undertake a Farm Financial Assessment
  • be willing to enter into a Financial Improvement Agreement to help you improve your financial circumstances

Farmers Assistance Line or phone 132 316

Office of the Small Business Commissioner

Small Biz Connect is a quality, personalised and highly subsidised business advisory program for small businesses in NSW, including agribusinesses.

Phone 1300 134 359 to find your nearest adviser and make an appointment.

The Rural Assistance Authority

Farm Innovation Fund

The Farm Innovation Fund is an incentive-based initiative to assist farmers to identify and address risks to their farming enterprises, improve permanent farm infrastructure, ensure long term productivity and sustainable land use plus assisting to meet changes to seasonal conditions.

The availability of loans is subject to funds being available. No loans will be offered beyond the allocated funding. Applicants should contact the Authority prior to lodging an application.

A loan of up to $250,000 is available at very competitive interest rates

This program is funded by the Australian Government and delivered in New South Wales by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority.

Farm Innovation Fund or phone 1800 678 593.

Regional Investment Corporation

From 1 July 2018, farmers will need to apply to the RIC for the Commonwealth’s farm business concessional loans. The RIC will offer two loan products for farm businesses – Farm Investment Loans and Drought Loans.

For more information about the loans and eligibility requirements please contact the RIC on 1800 875 675 or visit the RIC website.

Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program

The NSW Government is also offering farmers assistance with assessing their financial situation and future operations through the Farm Business Skills - Professional Development Program. This program forms part of the NSW Drought Strategy.

The Farm Business Skills - Professional Development Program provides primary producers with:

  • the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills to build improved resilience and adaptability in their agricultural business
  • exposure to new ideas, tools and techniques
  • a range of products and services that engage the wide diversity of skills, knowledge and experience within the agricultural business sector
  • a focus on building the skills and knowledge of agricultural business to manage risk, financial and business planning or decision making capacity

Participants can receive a subsidy of up to 50% of the total cost of professional development activities to a maximum of $5000 for the first person from the farm business across eligible programs.

Additional members of the farm business management team can also apply for support for up to an additional $1000 per person for a maximum of four people to a maximum of $9000 for the farm business over the five years of the program.

You are strongly urged to seek advice and application assistance for these schemes from your local Rural Financial Counsellor – see above for contacts – DO NOT SELF ASSESS.

Drought Assistance Fund

The purpose of these low interest loans is to facilitate sustainable primary production in NSW. Eligible applicants up to five years of principle only repayments Interest rate is 0% Principle must be repaid within seven years.


  • Transport of livestock, fodder and/or water
  • Water and fodder infrastructure
  • Banking of genetic material of livestock


  • Own and operate a farm in NSW
  • Business has a ABN and operates as a sole trade, partnership trust or private company
  • Business is negatively impacted by drought
  • Under normal conditions, the owners and operators earn more than 50% of income from Primary production
  • Owners and operators of the business do not have more than $1,000,000 gross of off farm assets

For more information about eligibility and criteria please contact the Rural Assistance Authority or call 1800 678 593.

Animal Welfare Transport Subsidy

A subsidy on the transport of stock is permanently available to primary producers where:

  • animals are at significant risk in terms of animal welfare
  • there is little or no feed and/or water available - this includes both pasture and stored fodder
  • animals leave the farming enterprise permanently
  • the enterprise demonstrates a significant financial need

NSW RAA or phone 1800 678 593

Transport of Donated Fodder

100% of the cost of transporting donated fodder is available to transport providers associated with community groups

Farm Debt Mediation

The Farm Debt Mediation Scheme makes it compulsory for banks and other creditors to offer mediation to farmers before commencing debt recovery proceedings on farm mortgages. A neutral and independent mediator assists the farmer and the creditor to try and reach agreement about current and future debt arrangements

More information from:

  1. 69 913 000
  • Your local Rural Financial Counsellor

Australian Tax Office (ATO)

Profit from forced disposal or death of livestock

You can elect to spread profit earned from the forced disposal or death of livestock over a period of five years.

Alternatively, you can elect to defer the profit and use it to reduce the cost of replacement livestock in the disposal year or any of the next five income years. Any unused part of the profit is included in assessable income in the fifth income year.

If you are forced to shear your sheep a second time in the same financial year there may be an opportunity to carry forward the income from the second shearing

You can elect to spread or defer profits if you dispose of stock or stock dies because:

  • land is compulsorily acquired or resumed under an Act
  • a state or territory leases land for a cattle tick eradication campaign
  • pasture or fodder is destroyed by fire, drought or flood and you will use the proceeds of the disposal or death mainly to buy replacement stock or maintain breeding stock for the purpose of replacing the livestock
  • they are compulsorily destroyed under an Australian law for the control of a disease (including bovine tuberculosis) or they die of such a disease
  • you receive official notification under an Australian law dealing with contamination of property

For more information on this contact the ATO or your accountant.

Financial Hardships Tax Provisions

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has a range of options for farmers experiencing financial hardship such as deferred payment plans.

More information can be found on the ATO website via the Financial hardship and Drought help pages or by calling 1800 806 218.

Office of the Small Business Commissioner

Small Biz Connect is a quality, personalised and highly subsidised business advisory program for small businesses in NSW, including agribusinesses. Call 1300 134 359 to make an appointment with your local business advisor.

NSW Farmer Association

NSW Farmers Association is a membership organisation representing farmers across NSW. The NSW Farmers advocates on behalf of the NSW industry on key issues that affect farming businesses including biosecurity, farm trespass, animal welfare, imports and product labelling. The Committee is made up of farmers from across the state, who work throughout the year to ensure the views of NSW farmers are being heard, both at the state and national level.

NSW Farmers or phone 9478 1000.

NSW Farmers Drought Network

NSW Farmers’ Drought Network has launched a page to provide service information, links to assistance and services to individuals and families conducting, directly or indirectly, primary production businesses that are being impacted by drought conditions in NSW.

Australian Pork Limited

APL is a unique rural industry service body for the Australian pork industry. It is a producer-owned company delivering integrated services that enhance the viability of Australia’s pig producers. The organisation aims to enhance opportunities for the sustainable growth of the Australian pork industry by delivering integrated marketing, innovation and policy services along the pork industry supply chain. APL pursues opportunities for the industry at both the domestic and international level.

Australian Pork Limited or phone 1800 789 099

NSW DPI Feed Quality Service

Feed Testing is an integral part of good animal nutritional management to achieve the best and most profitable results.

The Feed Quality Service is unique in Australia; it is the only feed testing laboratory that integrates feeds evaluation, ruminant nutrition, and pasture and crop research with commercial feed testing and has links with development officers to package research and related information generated by the service.

FQS currently provides a range of analytical services to internal research programs, external research and commercial organisations, and private individuals (farmers) using both wet chemistry methods and Near Infrared (NIR) Spectroscopy

FQS also reports calculated feed quality parameters including Metabolisable Energy (ME; ruminants), Apparent Metabolisable Energy (AME; poultry) and Digestible Energy (DE; pigs, horses & fish) (Appendix 3).

For more information contact 1800 675 623 or

Dairy Australia

Tactics for tight times

Dairy Australia has produced this webpage for farmers on activities and supportive resources available to all farmers who are facing challenging circumstances.

Tips, tools and resources

  • Taking Stock Tool - The Taking Stock tool was developed for dairy farmers to use in conjunction with trained advisors. It helps farmers assess the current financial and physical health of their dairy farm businesses. Dairy NSW will have trained advisors available for one on one assistance. Dates to be confirmed.
  • Contact:
  • Dairy Cash Management Planner
  • Feed Budgeting Tool - with such a dry start in autumn and slow planting, fodder resources have been used earlier than normal. This tool will help you plan for your feed budget and look after your ryegrass and set up for spring to optimise production.
  • People in Dairy - resources that help farmers manage their teams, be resilient and plan ahead.
  • DairyBase - find out how you can use DairyBase to identify opportunities and make effective decisions on your farm including an annual farm performance review.

For more information contact Dairy Australia on 1800 004 377 or visit:

Health and wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

For access to local mental health services contact the organisations listed below.

  • The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) - provides a range of information services to individuals, communities and service providers to link rural and remote people to the help they need. This includes information on where to access services, common mental illnesses and how to keep mentally healthy, as well as the Glove Box Guide to Mental Health. To find the location of your nearest RAMHP Officer call 026363 8444 and they will advise you where you nearest counsellor is.
  • Kids Helpline - phone 1800 551 800 telephone counselling service 24 hours, seven days a week.
  • Community Mental Health Line- phone 1800 011 511
  • Mensline Australia - phone 1300 789. 24 hours a day, 7 day telephone counselling for men.
  • Beyondblue - depression information line phone 1300 224 636
  • Lifeline131114
  • Australian Red Cross - provides personal support during a disaster and an outreach service to affected households. Contact 1800 660 066 or (02) 49413200 in the Hunter area.
  • Black Dog Institute - phone 9382 4530

The Salvation Army

For personal support contact the Salvation Army Rural Chaplain:

  • Central NSW Captains - Jon and Leah Belmonte 0401 690 877
  • Western NSW Majors - David and Robin Pullen 0419 013 320
  • Northern NSW Majors: Rusty and Di Lawson 0417 797 785
  • Southern NSW Majors - Max and Karen Smith 0428 650 915

St. Vincent De Paul Rural Task Force

Provides personal support, farm visits, advocacy, clothing and some financial assistance phone 02 9560 2666.


  • Kerry Kempton (based at Tocal) Technical Specialist Dairy 0427 114 602
  • Peter Havriant (Based at Wagga) Development Officer, Dairy 0269 381 806 on 0418 540 076 on
  • Jayce Morgan (Based at Tamworth) Development Officer for the Pork Industry 0428 416 518

Useful links and information

DroughtHub Management information.

Managing in drought