IF there's one good to come from a severe and protracted drought, it's that it could prompt long-term, positive change.
That's the thinking behind a new toolkit an Inverell area team and their advisers have launched recently.
The newly launched box of books, DVDs, soil testing kit and refractrometer was "about giving hope to farmers", Carbon8 co-founder Helen McCosker said.
Carbon8 is a non-profit initiative aiming to help farmers boost their soil's carbon profile to 8 per cent - and enjoy the benefits such as better moisture retention.
Mrs McCosker said, put simply, "your soil is like a sponge: the higher the carbon in the soil, the bigger the sponge".
"We live in a harsh environment and, seeing the landscape as it is, it really makes you think about what you can do to make things different," she said.
"These are some really wonderful resources: stories of farmers that have actually gone from drought to changing their landscape in incredible ways."
Mrs McCosker, an accountant, and husband Mike, a farmer - have a Wallangra beef property; with artist Kelly Jones, they formed Carbon8 to offer long-term solutions to drought.
They've also started Regener8, a digital publication on people and methods that support and regenerate the ecosystem, soil, food chain and communities.
They're seeking donations from city supporters to cover the cost of the box, saying gifts of money, food and hay to farmers were also welcome but short-term.
"It's a toolkit for farmers that will just give them a whole heap of fantastic resources if they've been thinking and have heard about regenerative agriculture ... a perfect start," Mrs McCosker said.
"It doesn't matter what type of farmer you are, everyone has been smashed [by drought], without a doubt.
"It's been really devastating on so many levels for us ... but knowing what we know about regenerative agriculture [is] what inspires me to get up in the morning ...
"We know all the incredible things that will happen once the rain comes.
"As our catchphrase says: 'Take heart, for the earth's ability to restore and regenerate has been vastly underestimated.'"
- Visit carbon8.org.au