Warning: Worst of drought yet to be felt
STUART Armitage, 60, has been a farmer all his working life, and the drought he is living through now is one of the worst he's seen.
The farm he lives on with his wife and son is 80km west of Toowoomba in the Cecil Plains, and has been in his family for four generations.
Mr Armitage said the drought had hit him and his family hard, and he expected it would take years to recover.
"This drought has reduced our ability to produce by 30-50 per cent," he said.
"One or two bad years you can handle, but this drought is becoming more of a disaster than a drought.
"In terms of the long-term effects (of the drought), we haven't even seen the start of it."
Along with the drought, all too often comes the depression of the farmers whose livelihoods are being threatened.
Mr Armitage said this was what farmers needed support for the most.
"There's the depression and the isolation that goes through the drought," he said.
"People aren't going out because they don't have the money.
"I'm not asking for a handout because farming is a business, but I think we need to get more rubber on the road as far as depression and trying to hold communities together."
Overall, Mr Armitage wants the farm to be in a better condition than it's in now when it comes time to pass it down to the fourth generation - his son Tyson.
"My son made a commitment to come and work on the farm for a living," he said.
"Our motto is sustainability - leave it in a better condition than it's in now."