Last week I said the Victorian government cannot forget about the needs of bushfire impacted communities when it hands down its forthcoming state budget.
Despite the upheaval our communities are going through in battling the coronavirus, there are still many people who also have to deal with the aftermath of last summer's bushfires.
It is important that as a farming community we also do not forget those who are now rebuilding their lives.
That's why the VFF will move to the next phase of supporting bushfire impacted farmers with financial grants from our Disaster Relief Fund.
From next week, fire affected farmers can apply for a grant of up to $3000 for infrastructure items such as fencing, pipes, troughs, seed, fertiliser and stockyards.
I am looking forward to seeing the outcomes the VFF grants program will have, just as I saw firsthand the impact of our fodder drive in the immediate aftermath of the fires.
These funds have been made available thanks to the generosity of the public, including small farm enterprises and larger commercial businesses.
The spirit these donors have shown is the same spirit that helped deliver feed to 80,000 animals immediately after the fires.
We had hundreds of farmers, transporters and community organisations rise to the occasion to donate their fodder, time and transport.
It was a mammoth task for all involved, with the VFF receiving up to 400 calls a day and acting as a conduit between farmers and the support they required such as counselling, animal welfare services and government assistance.
But it doesn't stop there.
Be it drought, bushfires or coronavirus, farmers must work together to always ensure that we have got each other's backs.
- David Jochinke is the VFF president