The growing impacts of drought

16 OCTOBER 2007

A leading Charles Sturt University (CSU) and NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher is warning of dire consequences for Australia’s land, environment, farming industries and rural and regional communities in the face of the crippling drought. Professor Deirdre Lemerle, Director of the EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, says, “The current drought is having huge negative impacts on the Australian environment, its people, and our capacity to feed ourselves. Lack of water has drastically reduced local food production and food prices will go up for consumers.” Professor Lemerle also warns that “Australian farmers are highly skilled at drought management, but the droughts of the last few years are amongst the worst on record and are severely testing farmers' resilience. Drought is reducing land managers capacity to protect the environment and make a profit from production. Social and economic effects are causing depression, family disintegration and many other social costs. Government and industry must support land managers if Australia is to be self-sufficient in food production and for agriculture to remain environmentally sustainable," says Professor Lemerle.

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