The Federal Government has spent $6.3 million on corn, hay and feed to support local farmers, while also supporting a new grain market, as part of a $16.4 million stimulus package announced by Treasurer Scott Morrison.
The $16 million has been allocated to help farmers get their business back on track and to help meet the $4 billion in debt repayments that farmers must take out to meet their debts.
The Corn Belt Corn Belt region covers about 300,000 square kilometres and covers an area the size of South Australia.
Farmers who use feed grain will have the chance to sell some of their grain at a new feed market set up in the city of Townsville.
Mr Morrison said the Government was making it easier for farmers to sell their grain, but the plan is to also allow farmers to keep some of the profits from their own feed.
“This is about ensuring farmers have the resources they need to keep their businesses going and keep feeding people,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
Mr Dyer said he would continue to sell corn at the feed market, but not to farmers who would have to take out loans to cover the debts they incurred as a result of the financial crisis.
“It’s a huge amount of money and I’ll be looking for opportunities where it’s good for the economy, and not just for my own self-interest,” he said.
Mr Morrrison said he was confident the money was being spent on the right things.
“There’s a lot of people out there who are struggling to get their businesses back on and to support their families,” he told reporters at the Townsville city hall.
“We want to see that all the funds are put to work to support those who are getting ready to move out of poverty.”
Mr Dyers Corn Belt neighbour, Paul Dyer, is excited about the boost to his livelihood.
He said he had had to take a pay cut to make ends meet to make the $2,000 in payments he has had to make to get a loan to cover his debts.
“I can’t see a situation where I can’t get through the year without some income,” he explained.
“So I’m quite happy with that.”
The Townsville feed market will open on September 15, 2018.
Mr Varn said he believed farmers could sell some hay and corn at a feed market to help offset their debt repayment.
“You can buy a bag of hay and a bag and sell that to someone who is in a position to sell that hay to feed,” he added.
“That will put the pressure on those farmers to get out of debt.”
Mr Varna said he hoped the feed markets would attract some more investment and encourage more farmers to leave their farms.
“These are people who have put their life on the line for the benefit of our economy and we need to ensure that they are able to do that and be able to provide for their families in this way,” he argued.
The Government is providing $1.8 million in funding to help small business through the economic downturn, while a $200,000 loan has been set aside to assist farmers with their repayments.