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Several south-east Queensland regions have been declared no longer in drought, but farmers say it will take more than a period of heavy rain to reverse years of hardship.

While torrential rainfall triggered flooding that devastated south-east regions and several farming communities, other agricultural areas have benefitted from the recent deluge.

Heavy rainfall since October last year has seen drought declarations revoked in 11 Queensland regions.

Eleven new LGA’s have been declared drought-free but years of hardship have taken a toll on farmers. (9News)

Cattle farmer and regional president of Ag Force south-east Queensland, Belinda Callanan said while the rainfall has brought a newfound optimism to farmers, it will take more than one period of rain to get growers back on their feet.

“It’s a long road to recovery it’s not a one year fix however it is exciting, people do have moisture in their paddocks,” she said.

“In areas, optimism is there, commodity prices are good, cattle prices are strong.

“The industry is sitting quite well at the moment, it’s onwards and upwards.”

Ms Callanan said mental health issues exacerbated by financial stress have been rife in south-east communities. (9News)

But the Toowoomba farmer said many had been battling years of uncertainty due to the arid conditions and crop losses, with several farmers forced to sell their properties or seek alternative employment.

“The last few years have been really tough, year on year out with the well below average rainfall and high deficiencies and water shortages,” Ms Callanan said.

“A lot of financial stress and mental well-being issues.

“People don’t want to be a doomsayer but a lot of people do have long term debt.

“It definitely doesn’t rain money.”

Eleven regions have had their drought declarations revoked, bringing the declared drought zone from 64.7 per cent of Queensland to 61.1 per cent. (Queensland Government)

Drought declarations have been revoked for the LGA’s of Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council as well as the Fraser Coast, Gympie, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Toowoomba and Scenic Rim area.

The Southern Downs, Somerset and South Burnett regions have also been declared drought-free.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner said while flooding had wreaked havoc on several agricultural regions, the recent rainfall had also restored natural water sources and irrigation supplies in others.

Flooding in south-east Queensland devastated some regions but the increase in rainfall replenished others. (Nine)

“While we acknowledge that some producers have suffered significant damage from the severe rain and flood events, the positive is that natural water courses and stock and irrigation water storages have been replenished, along with excellent pasture growth that will see us through to the next wet season,” Mr Furner said.

He added people still experiencing the effects of drought would still be eligible for grants through newly introduced assistance schemes.

“If a producer is experiencing difficult conditions in an area that is not drought declared, then they could apply for an Individually Droughted Property (IDP) declaration,” Mr Furner said.

“This gives them the same access to our drought assistance as an area declaration.

“Droughts and floods are part of our climate cycle and now is the time to start preparing for future droughts.”

Several farmers have been forced to give up their careers and livelihoods after years without rain. (9News)

Ms Callalan said despite the years of hardship, she still has high hopes for the future of south-east Queensland agriculture, and has been waking up to green grass for the first time in years.

“It’s just nice to wake up and actually see green grass for a change it’s really unusual waking up at the end of April and seeing new grass, paddocks with crops in them,” she said.

“Things are looking up.”

Source: 9News

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