Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Hope in Red Witch Fight

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Hope in Red Witch Fight

Article excerpt

Emily Smith

emily.smith@dailymercury.com.au

FARMERS who have lived two years in quarantine after red witchweed was found on their properties have a glimmer of certainty in their future.

Since July 2013, the six Farleigh cane farmers and one cattle farmer have copped sky-high labour and loss of production costs dealing with the outbreak.

The witchweed does not harm sugarcane, but needed to be contained for the threat it posed to grain crops.

But last week a National Management Group made up of government, Grain Producers Australia, Canegrowers and the Cattle Council agreed on a funding strategy for the weeds' eradication.

The industry groups would fund 50% of the costs while State and Federal Government would foot the remaining 50%.

They also upped their initial funding commitment of $4.75m to $5.8m over 10 years.

Farmer Neiola Vella said the progress was a relief, but they still had questions.

"Everyone was relieved to have some certainty about our future," Mrs Vella said. …

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