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REPORT

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Farmer Resilience

There’s a lot of discussion about how to best build the capacity of farmers to both cope with and adapt to challenging times, and to be able to take advantage of emerging opportunities. This is often described as building the resilience of farmers. Farmers commonly experience multiple challenges, often at the same time — for example, in 2020, many have experienced drought, bushfires, floods and the impacts of COVID-19 on availability of agricultural supplies and labour availability, all within a short space of months. At the same time, some have seen new opportunities emerge as markets and supply chains have changed due to COVID-19.

While the importance of building farmer resilience is well recognised and often discussed as critical to ensuring the success of future agriculture in Australia, there remains a lot of work to be done to identify the types of on-ground actions and processes that are most effective for supporting and building the resilience of farmers. We are one of many groups in Australia and internationally who are contributing to the rapidly growing body of knowledge in this area. We focus on translating the theory of resilience into on-ground measures that can be used by organisations to guide action and investment. Examples include: Working with the NSW Rural Resilience Program, we developed methods for measuring and monitoring the resilience of farmer across NSW. Our first report on this was produced in 2015, and you can also check out presentations of the findings here and find out more about how the Rural Resilience Program has been using the methods developed here. In 2020, we are again partnering with the Rural Resilience Program and will be producing an updated report examining resilience of NSW farmers.

We will continue our work examining farmer resilience as a core part of the activities of the Regional Wellbeing Survey team.

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