Drought declared in entire state of New South Wales

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Drought has affected Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, and Farmers are struggling to afford even feeding their animals officials have confirmed.

New South Wales produces about a quarter of Australia’s agricultural output. It has been officially listed as “100% in drought”

The state and federal governments have provided A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding.

The money is intended to assist farmers who are struggling with failing crops, water shortages and the cost of feeding animals.

“There isn’t a person in the state that isn’t hoping to see some rain for our farmers and regional communities,” said NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned that the country had become a “land of drought”.

Less than 10mm (0.4in) of rain was recorded in parts of NSW in July, officials said. Drier than normal conditions are forecast in the coming months.

Mr Turnbull said farmers recognised that drought was “part of the Australian climate”, but they needed support.

Farmers in NSW were spending up to A$10,000 per truckload of hay to feed their animals, he said.

“What we have to is make sure the government backs them in when the times get as tough as they are now,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation earlier this week.

More than half of neighbouring Queensland is also in drought, while parts of Victoria and South Australia are also experiencing dry conditions.