SA Drought Hub helps Riverland prepare for drought

The South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (SA Drought Hub) has appointed Zoe Starkey (pictured right) as its new Loxton Node Coordinator.

The appointment comes as Australia enters an El Niño event that is generating drier conditions and an increased possibility of drought.

Based at the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) Loxton Research Centre, Ms Starkey has extensive experience in agricultural facilitation and engagement, having previously worked as a Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator with the Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board.

Living on a mixed cropping and sheep property with her husband and two sons, Ms Starkey has first-hand experience of managing a farm during dry times.

“With the country drying out this spring, it’s crucial that producers, and anyone else working in the agricultural and horticultural sectors, are supported,” Ms Starkey said.

“One of my main roles is to give people access to practical information and tools for drought preparation and bring them together to learn from each other.”

Hub Director Dr Stephen Lee said that Ms Starkey will drive projects that benefit farmers and communities across the agricultural spectrum, including the crop, livestock, horticulture and viticulture industries.

Dr Lee noted that Ms Starkey is also the hub’s Node Coordinator Team Leader, responsible for overseeing activities across the hub’s six Nodes in Roseworthy (where it is headquartered), Loxton, Minnipa, Orroroo, Port Augusta and Struan.

“The SA Drought Hub is supporting dozens of projects that are helping producers build their drought resilience and preparedness,” he said. “Zoe is uniquely positioned to raise people’s awareness of what’s going on and how it can help them, not only in the Riverland, but also across the state.”

One example of the work being supported by the hub in the Riverland is a project on “Improving climate resilience by matching irrigation to almond canopy size and water use”. PIRSA through the South Australian Research and Development Institute recently published a video summarising the project, which can be viewed at https://youtu.be/CCuzHnQYbyE.

Producers looking for information or resources that can help them prepare for dry times and drought should contact Ms Starkey at zoe.starkey2@sa.gov.au.

Those in other parts of the South Australia can find contact details for their regional Node Coordinator at sadroughthub.com.au/about/#team.

Led by the University of Adelaide in partnership with PIRSA, the SA Drought Hub is one of eight hubs established across Australia through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. The hub brings together a dynamic network of primary producers, industry groups, researchers, government agencies, universities, agribusinesses, Traditional Owners and others to strengthen the drought resilience and preparedness of farms and regional communities in South Australia.

Media contact details