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Tas farmers seek more fed flood funds

AAP logoAAP 22/07/2016 By Andrew Drummond

Tasmania's farmers are calling for natural disaster relief from Canberra as they battle a bleak future, citing irreparable flood damage including the loss of generations of livestock breeding genetics.

More than a month after swathes of agricultural land was left underwater, the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association has made a desperate plea.

"Given the social, economic and environmental impacts it is not unreasonable to call on the federal government to treat it as (a total loss due to a natural disaster) and provide the financial resources to help those impacted get their lives back," president Wayne Johnston said on Friday.

In addition to ruined crops and dead livestock, in some cases paddocks have been left with rivers through them or gashes from uprooted trees, while topsoil has been buried by up to a metre of shale.

"The damage is extensive and in some cases will not lend itself to reclamation or repair," Mr Johnston said.

"What cannot be rebuilt easily is the lost genetics that has been washed away by the floods, the generations of breeding that have been undertaken to maximise production, the lost animals that for farmers are often part of the family."

The cost of remediation works would stretch into scores of millions of dollars, the farming spokesman added.

"As we move forward it is very clear that the way we did things in the past is no longer sustainable and we need to adopt new management approaches, particularly around river banks," Mr Johnston said.

The floods of early June have sparked a warning from Flood Recovery Taskforce coordinator Peter Edwards for Tasmanians to look after their mental health needs.

"It is common for people to have a strong reaction following a traumatic event like the ... floods and support is available to help people with their reactions," he said on Friday, urging people who are struggling to seek help from one of many community agencies.

State government funding is being made available for more recent flooding at Huonville, south of Hobart.

Premier Will Hodgman on Friday said six homes and 17 businesses in the small township sustained flood damage as the result of heavy rain and melting snow last Friday.

Residents forced out of their homes will be eligible for grants, along with farmers needing to transport stock and feed.

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