Fed Farmers looks for solutions to help Australian counterparts

Harry Taylor 6 plays in a load of Cotton Seed on the family farm in New South Wales

Dry conditions are expected to continue for the next three months.

There have been reports of farmers shooting cattle and hand-feeding animals because the ground is too dry for grass to grow. Others have been forced to shoot starving cattle. "They are shooting them because they just can't afford to feed them any more", said Ms Tash Johnston, co-founder of charity Drought Angels.

The US will subsidise farmers and buy unsold crops, among other measures; farmers growing soybeans, sorghum and wheat will get the most aid.

However, the state government has refused to officially declare the drought a natural disaster akin to a flood or bushfire and ignored an offer of military help.

Australia's most populous state was declared entirely in drought on Wednesday and struggling farmers were given new authority to shoot kangaroos that compete with livestock for sparse pasture during the most intense dry spell in more than 50 years.

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The Sunday Telegraph this week reported the federal government will give hardest-hit farmers $12,000 in two lum-sum payments from September in addition to a modest welfare payment of $295 welfare payment.

US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently said the USDA will act to assist farmers facing trade damage from "unjustified retaliation". "Despite this large natural variability, underlying longer-term trends are evident in some regions, and these are likely to be climate change related". "We recognise that. It's a very volatile and often capricious climate and Australian farmers are resilient, they plan for drought, they are good managers but it can become really overwhelming", said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

At the end of July, the state government increased its drought assistance to more than $1 billion dollars.

"I think the only problem is it was probably a little bit late coming for some people".

4 / 4 Some parts of New South Wales have experienced the lowest rainfall on record over the past year. "They didn't act fast enough", Col Barton, whose family has been on their farm east of Gunnedah since 1938, told AFP.

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