The second round of the Water for Fodder Program has been cancelled as a result of improved seasonal conditions across the Murray–Darling Basin.
Federal Water Minister Keith Pitt and South Australian Water Minister David Speirs said the program had been successful in supporting drought-affected farmers.
“While we’re not out of the woods yet, conditions are better than they were this time last year, which allowed us to make this joint decision,” Mr Pitt said.
“Fodder and water markets have softened with hay prices decreasing by 40 per cent in the Goulburn and Murray valleys since the start of the year.
“I recognise the program was a boon for local communities, with more than $11 million spent on main streets across the basin on supplies needed to grow and harvest these crops.
“And it was important to farmers with 85 per cent saying that growing a fodder crop during the drought had a positive effect on their mental health.”
He said the model of cooperation in delivering the program would be useful for future drought responses.
“The Federal Government is supporting the regions of the Murray-Darling Basin with a new $234 million package of 11 measures announced today (Friday, September 4) to put communities at the heart of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Speirs said the South Australian Government was proud to work with the Federal Government to deliver support to drought-affected farmers.
“The Water for Fodder Program was an historic agreement to help our drought-stricken farmers during their great time of need,” Mr Speirs said.
“Conditions across the basin have changed significantly since we first announced the program and we have decided not to continue with round two.
“As we always said we would review the program after the first round to assess water availability across the Murray-Darling Basin, protect South Australia’s water security and ensure there was no financial impact to Adelaide water users.”
Round one of the Water for Fodder Program had 60 Gl of water available for use in the 2019–20 water year.
Round two planned to have 60 Gl available for use in the 2020-21 water year.
The Water for Fodder program is part of the Federal Government's Drought Response, Resilience and Preparedness Plan.