According to The Australian Financial Review today, Longreach grazier and businessman James Walker is attempting to diversify. He has applied to build a 15 megawatt solar photovoltaic project on his property to bring in extra money.
He has teamed up with Canadian Solar and has been shortlisted to receive funding from the federal government's Australian Renewable Energy Agency to build the solar farm, which could deliver enough power to deliver 7000 Queensland homes.
Mr Walker is not alone with a push into solar. Indian energy giant Adani, which is trying to build the $16.5 billion Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, confirmed on Wednesday it is exploring solar projects in Queensland and South Australia.
More than 120 millimetres of rain has fallen on Mr Walker's Camden Park property over the past week, filling up his nine dams and local creeks. Other towns in south-west and central-western Queensland have also been blessed with some decent rain.
The unexpected rain was a welcome relief, but it wasn't nearly enough to convince Mr Walker to buy stock and re-start his cattle business, which he sold out of in 2013.
Mr Walker said there would have to be good follow-up rain in the next month to have any sizeable impact on his decision to stay out of cattle. The number of farmers who have de-stocked over the past few years has also pushed up the price of cattle making it harder to get back into the game.
AgForce chief executive Charles Burke, who leads the rural lobby group in Queensland, said the recent rain had raised hopes, but farmers were being realistic about their future prospects.
"There has been some wonderful rain in places and the colour of the ground has gone from red to green. It has not given farmers false hope. In fact it's given them hope," he said.
"But as the saying goes one or two falls don't break a drought. There has not been enough to convince farmers to re-stock."
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