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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Email: wcma@wcma.vic.gov.au
 
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)

Article

Drought program leaves lasting impression on Wimmera farming family

Oct 12, 2017
 
Glenn and Pauline Margetts Glenn and Pauline Margetts

Wimmera farmers Glenn and Pauline Margetts from St Helen’s Plains weren't sure how they were going to cope after consecutive years of drought in 2013 and 2014. Pauline says 2013 was really tough, with people who’d farmed in the area their whole lives saying it was one of the worst droughts they’d ever seen.

“We didn’t get hardly any harvest income that year, then who would have thought we’d be unlucky enough to get two of those years in a row.”

Pauline, who works off farm to supplement their income, says she worried about leaving Glenn on the farm by himself.

“I hated him being out here by himself for those long days one end watching the crops die, it was really tough.”

They say when the Wimmera Drought Employment Program came along in late 2015, it made the world of difference to their family.

“We knew Glenn had to get work but it was hard to find a job where he could still come back to the farm to do the jobs that had to get done without being penalised. One morning I heard on the radio that Wimmera CMA were offering farmers jobs, it was great because the program was so flexible.”

 
Drought Employment ProgramDrought Employment Program members

The drought employment program was part of the Victorian Government's Drought Support Package. The Wimmera program employed and trained more than 30 people from a range of backgrounds including farmers, farming contractors, agricultural business owners and people working in the agricultural sector. Participants were aged from their early 20s through to their late 60s.

Glenn says the program meant participants could look out for each other, instead of just looking after himself. It also meant he was able to get off the farm.

“I knew a few of the others in the program and so I knew I had a bit in common with them. We’d talk about the same stuff, mostly farms,” Glenn says.

“It was good to go and put up a fence or spray some weeds for the CMA and be thinking about something different. Plus, if you needed two days off to go and drench sheep it was no problems. You could have your days off then go back and still earn a few dollars. It was really handy.”

Pauline says the program did more than provide income; it helped boost morale and supported farming families trying to cope with the impact of drought.

“You could see Glenn’s morale and mood change, which was fantastic. He was a lot happier in himself and he would be talking about what others were doing. He had a bit more spring in his step.”

Watch Glenn and Pauline’s story on our short film Drought's Lasting Impression: One Family's Story