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Running a 40-acre vegetable farm surrounded by creek bank in the picturesque Mount Tarampa, Steve and Regina Hannant have experienced flooding before. But, the SEQ flooding event in March 2022 took a massive toll.

Steve and Regina Hannant on their vegetable farm

In early March 2022, Steve and Regina were about to plant their winter crop of Chinese cabbage, red cabbage, red and green butter lettuce, and cos lettuce.

“We were all ready to plant, we actually rallied around and got right into it to get things done early, because we wanted to try have a holiday this year,” Steve says.

In the week prior, the couple had packed up the car to do just that. But when the weather started taking a turn for the worst, they had second thoughts.

“I said, ‘I better just wait and see what this system does’ because I knew it was coming,” Steve explains.

“That’s the worst part. You love to see the rain, the rain is beautiful, but whenever you hear rain coming and thunderstorms and lows and troughs, you start getting nervous.”

In the days following, heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding across the Somerset region. While Steve and Regina were able to save their machinery, the farm was severely damaged.

“The first thing we did when the water went down was, we went for a walk. I was hoping a few acres might have been saved, but the whole lot was under,” Steve says.

They estimate they lost 80% of their quality topsoil which is irreplaceable. 

Steve and Regina Hannant's damaged property after SEQ flooding

“That topsoil takes years and years to build up to being soil that’s healthy and grows good produce. You can’t get that back,” Regina says.

Assessing the damage, Regina admits they considered whether they’d ever be able to recover.

“At first I said, ‘Do we sell and get out of the place? Or do we take a year off and get work elsewhere and let the farm have time to recover?’ That’s initially where the mind goes, but Steve is fourth generation so it’s more complex than that. There’s such a connection to the place. People think you’re mad and say, ‘Why don’t you just get out of there?’ but it’s not that simple,” she explains.

Experiencing floods before, the Hannant’s had accessed disaster recovery funding through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) in the past. When the funding announcement was made, Regina headed straight to the QRIDA website and applied for the initial $15,000 Extraordinary Disaster Assistance Recovery Grant.

“We’re grateful we were able to get the $15,000 upfront. Having the funding is a massive help,” Regina says.

“Whenever I see people, I ask them if they’ve heard about the grants and tell them to get online and look it up,” Steve explains.

Losing five weeks of their winter crop season, Steve has been working overtime to get the farm ready for seedlings to arrive.

“Basically from when the water went down, I’ve sat in a tractor moving dirt for four weeks solid. This season is going to be an uphill battle,” Steve says.

“It could be 12 months before we’re recovered,” Regina says.

However, the pair are resilient. After repairing more of the farm, Regina says they’ll be applying for the remaining $60,000 of the grant.

They’re ready to rebuild, and as Steve says, “I’m too stubborn to let mother nature beat me like that.”

Disaster recovery grants and loans are available to eligible primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations affected by the South East Queensland Rainfall and Flooding, 22 February – 7 March 2022.

For more information on the disaster assistance available, including guidelines, visit our disaster recovery webpages for primary producerssmall businesses and non-profit organisations.

QRIDA administers financial assistance to disaster affected primary producers, businesses and non-profit organisations under the joint Commonwealth / Queensland Government funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018. 

Last updated
12 April 2022