Community & Business

18 January, 2024

Barra farm in ruins, insurance denied

A BIBOOHRA barramundi farmer has been set back over $1.5 million and has been denied insurance after recent flooding destroyed his entire operation.

By Ellie Fink

Barra farm in ruins, insurance denied - feature photo

When the banks of the Barron River broke last month, farmer Rodney Ingersoll was met with gushing water that went through all his barramundi ponds and his house. 

Within a day, Rodney lost over 50,000 barramundi and 70,000 red claws, and now has a crocodile living in one of his ponds eating what remained. 

“It was such a mess with bits of loose metal and drums, pumps … everything had gone everywhere,” he said.

Despite the extensive damage, Rodney was denied insurance and will now have to fork out what he can to rebuild his business which is only just over a year old. 

“It’s because it was a flood event, not a cyclonic one. It may be covered (under insurance) if it’s a cyclone event, but they won’t cover the flood,” he said.

“As an environmental scientist with multiple degrees and experience in this kind of thing, I believe they can’t make that call themselves, and that is why I recommend the government to make the call or somebody with the degree because I can’t be the only one saying this.

“Everyone’s insurance companies are making their own decisions, and I think that is unfair for us, so I think the government, or some higher body, needs to say what it is so the insurance companies stop making that call.”

Despite being rejected by his insurance company, Rodney has remained positive in rebuilding his home and his business, spending the past month clearing the ponds that aren’t crocodile-infested and gutting his home. 

He also caught the remaining barramundi and sent it to market in hopes of making some form of income. 

Members of the community have banded together to help Rodney get back on his feet, donating new furniture, a Christmas tree and money to a GoFundMe set up by his friends. 

He said that in such a dark time, he was grateful for the support, particularly from a woman named Maria who delivered him a Christmas tree.

“This lady by the name of Maria bought me a Christmas tree, and I had never met her before,” he said. 

“I broke down when she left. She broke me with so much kindness and made me remember that it was Christmas. She has become my friend from that.”

Going forward, Rodney will continue to clear his property, with his main priority getting the crocodile out of his pond. 

“The first clue he was there was the huge croc slide from one end of the pond to the other, and then my dog Aria won’t go anywhere near the pond, which she usually does,” he said. 

“I have rung the Department of Fisheries, and now I am just waiting to hear back because it is limiting everything I can do out here.

“I need to drain the river fish, take everything out, and repair it.

“But in the future, I still see this place set up to be an education centre with aquaponics and big greenhouses and it looks like now we will be talking about floods.

“The floods won’t stop me from moving forward with that vision and I have learned now to put things on higher ground. Now, we move forward.”

To donate to Rodney’s GoFundMe, visit 


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