Hail damage to Granite Belt farms estimated at $50 million

SOUTHERN Downs Regional Council has a preliminary estimate of $50 million worth of damage to crops and farms across the Granite Belt after last week's hail storm.

Acting Mayor Ross Bartley said there were reports that last Monday's hailstorm was the worst for 20 years with some vegetable farmers finding whole paddocks completely decimated.

"Council has talked with farmers and the preliminary estimate of damage we have is up to $50 million and could even exceed that figure. This amount would include crop loss, infrastructure damage, replanting of crops and income loss.

"The damage is extensive and I had a tour of some farms yesterday accompanied by Cr Vic Pennisi who knows these areas very well.

"Tomato growers have been very hard hit with a peak crop ready for Christmas mostly shredded. Vineyards have wide-spread damage as well which of course affects future wine production."

Cr Barley said council would help affected farmers access State Government or Federal Government disaster relief funding.

"We have been in contact with the State Government Minister for Agriculture John McVeigh as well as Federal Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott and Federal Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce.

"I emphasised the enormous economic impact the hailstorm has had immediately and into the near future."

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