Peak horticulture body, Growcom is encouraging growers to prepare their farm businesses during storm season to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather.

Growcom Senior Policy and Research Officer, Jane Muller said many growers are re-thinking their climate risk strategies following a decade of natural disasters that have affected Queensland’s horticulture industry.

“CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warn that we can expect more frequent and more intense extreme weather events in coming years,” she said.

“Some impacts of disasters cannot be avoided, but there are many things growers can do to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather, to mitigate climate risks and prepare for disasters.”

In the lead up to storm season, Growcom has released three new videos highlighting lessons learnt from Cyclone Marcia.

“At industry recovery workshops hosted by Growcom, David Groves, a mango, lychee, avocado and starfruit grower from Bungundarra, north-west of Yeppoon, shared his experience and lessons learned from the impacts on his family property from Cyclone Marcia in February 2015,” Ms Muller said.

“David covers three topics – wind breaks, sheds and managing tree crops – providing practical advice on what his family have found worked and what didn’t.

“He also covers their re-building strategies and how they have implemented changes on-farm to help limit their risk of property and crop damage from extreme weather events in the future.”

The three videos were produced through the Cyclone Marcia Agricultural Recovery Project funded by the Queensland Government and managed by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF). Growcom coordinated the delivery of the project in the horticulture industry.

The videos have been added to the Whatever the Weather page on Growcom’s website.

“Growcom’s Whatever the Weather initiative aims to make disaster preparation more do-able for horticulture growers,” Ms Muller said.

“It provides easy access to information and resources to help farm businesses prepare for extreme weather events. It also outlines recovery strategies for growers impacted by a natural disaster to help them get back on their feet sooner.

“The webpage includes information you can read through, links to recorded webinars, plus useful preparation checklists and planning templates.

“These resources have been developed drawing on current literature and feedback from industry disaster recovery officers and growers who participated in “Whatever the Weather” workshops held in major horticultural production regions around Queensland during 2014.”

Information and assistance is also available to growers on a purpose-built Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) website – Farmer Disaster Support. This site has a simple postcode and industry search function that provides a one-stop-shop of all industry specific, local, state, federal and not-for-profit assistance available.

Ms Muller also announced this year a natural disaster and emergency register. Growers can sign up online to receive electronic alerts about anticipated weather events through to post-natural disaster recovery information.

This service is free to horticultural producers via the Growcom website: www.growcom.com.au/projects/disaster-risk-mgmt