On Friday May 3, the Cowell Combined Probus Club invited Jasmin Piggott, welfare and drought relief coordinator for the Franklin Harbour District Council to speak to us regarding her role in the district.
Jasmin spoke on how she endeavoured to visit every farm in Cowell, both large and small, advising what assistance farmers have available to them during this very difficult time.
Council did not have a list of farmers and farms so she has been doing a lot of driving finding out where they are.
Jasmin, along with others, has organised quite a few family days to assist in providing relaxing, fun things to do such as sandbar cricket, which she would like to see continue in the community in future, fun runs/rides, family days and barbecues.
There have also been workshops about getting through the drought, looking after stock through drought, drift management, water management and health and safety to name a few.
A big need that has been expressed was for a permanent doctor in the town and for improved mental health services.
At present there is a twelve week wait for a counsellor.
Insurance was also another issue.
Farmers can insure crops against hail and frost but have not been able to get insurance for drought in the past.
In answer to some questions Jasmin advised that the drought is also affecting main street business because of a lack of spending.
Thankfully, so far this year, Cowell has had a good influx of tourists who boost the town's economy.
The oyster industry is also facing their own class of drought and are also able to access help now available.
Lack of water is also an issue with carting water costing between $500-800 a truckload.
Council have just received a grant for creating a water scheme in the near future.
Cowell Probus group consists of ex farmers, wives of farmers and town folk.
The former are well aware of what going through a drought is like and the town folk found it very informative to learn what farmers are going through and to become more aware of fundraising events advertised in school newsletters, council newsletters and shop windows.
President Mike Talbot thanked Jasmin on behalf of the group for her very well presented information session and wished her and all who are affected by the drought all the best for the future.
Jasmin, her husband and her family are one of the farmers who are going through these tough times and member expressed their appreciation of the empathy and positivity she is providing as she visits many people to point them in the right direction to receive the assistance they need.