While Australians have been shocked by the scale of destruction caused by the current bushfires, the true horror awaits many farmers on their return home or during the cleanup process.
Buildings and fences have been destroyed, crops lost, and livestock have perished. Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie told ABC radio’s RN Breakfast the bushfire crisis would “devastate” the national herd, and there are fears up to 100,000 livestock could be lost.
The figures are almost too great to grasp. AgriWebb Co-Founder John Fargher knows the personal impact all too well, having heard the stories firsthand from customers. “There are people who have lost everything,” he says. His own family hasn’t escaped unscathed, with his father-in-law’s property hit by the Kangaroo Island fires losing all fences and livestock.
In the face of this crisis, Fargher and the AgriWebb team were keen to contribute to the recovery. After receiving a number of offers from the AgriWebb Community, he realised AgriWebb was well placed to make a difference.
Since 2014, farm management software company AgriWebb has built a community of more than 3,500 farmers. As of January 8, 167 AgriWebb users had farms under threat of fire, with some 409,000 livestock at risk and more than 200,000 hectares burned. Those numbers will only rise.
In the past, AgriWebb has helped a number of farmers suffering through drought find assistance via its AgriWebb Community Facebook Group. Most recently, AgriWebb Co-Founder and Chairman Justin Webb provided agistment for 220 livestock on the family farm in Victoria, for a severely drought-affected customer in NSW.
Today AgriWebb is launching The AgriWebb Community – Helping Hand Project so fire-affected farmers – whether they’re AgriWebb users or not – can get the help they need.
“We know there are people out there who want to lend a hand,” Fargher says, “so we decided we could drive a community project to help connect these people with those who need help.”
We know there are people out there who want to lend a hand, so we decided we could drive a community project to help connect these people with those who need help.
Farmers can register at agriwebb.com/helping-hand-project to assist other farmers, while those affected by bushfires can register for help – whether they need labour, agistment, feed or machinery. “From there, our team will match up those who can help with those who need help,” Fargher explains.
Fargher hopes the wider farming community gets on board. “Nobody understands the needs of farmers like farmers,” he says. “They have the equipment, supplies and know-how to make a difference, and roll up the sleeves to quickly make an impact.”
Nobody understands the needs of farmers like farmers, they have the equipment, supplies and know-how to make a difference, and roll up the sleeves to quickly make an impact.
AgriWebb is also helping its customers get the financial assistance they are entitled to and is building a fence line measurement tool so farmers can calculate the loss in fence infrastructure for insurance claims. “The idea came from one of our customers on Kangaroo Island who lost every fence line on his farm and rang up to ask how we could help. We want to clear any hurdles farmers face in an already tough time. This simple tool will save our customer hours of time in calculating the losses” Fargher says.
For people who aren’t farmers but still want to help, AgriWebb encourages a donation to Burrumbottock Hay Runners. “Before the fires even started, they were doing a great job delivering hay to get farmers through the drought which continues to devastate large parts of Australia,” says Fargher. “Their work continues to help so many people in need through drought, flood and fire”.