Hay de­liv­ered to drought-hit

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION - By Alana Chris­tensen

Vic­to­rian farm­ers are lend­ing a hand to their north­ern coun­ter­parts, step­ping up to cart hay to drought-rav­aged farm­ers in NSW.

The do­na­tions come as farm­ers across NSW and Queens­land bat­tle one of the dri­est sea­sons on record, with 99 per cent of NSW de­clared drought­striken, forc­ing farm­ers to re­duce stock num­bers, cart in feed and, in some ex­treme in­stances, re­sort to feed­ing stock onions to get through.

Run through Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Re­lief, the July 27 to July 29 hay run saw a to­tal of 621 round and large square bales trans­ported from Har­row (80 km south-west of Hor­sham) to the NSW re­gion by a host of vol­un­teers.

Wunghnu farmer Don Sofra, who helped drive one of the trucks to the up­per Hunter Val­ley last week­end, said he was shocked at the state of the re­gion.

‘‘You’ve prob­a­bly got more feed on your kitchen ta­ble than th­ese blokes have,’’ he said.

‘‘A lot of them said they haven’t had any sig­nif­i­cant rain since Novem­ber . . . they were pretty grate­ful, there’s a few farm­ers that are a bit down and out at the mo­ment.’’

Cov­er­ing thou­sands of kilo­me­tres, the event saw every­thing from hay, trucks, diesel and time do­nated to give a leg-up to those do­ing it tough.

De­liv­er­ing to a drop-off point in Den­man (135 km north-west of New­cas­tle), In­ver­gor­don farm­ers Leanne and Eddy Rovers said it was not just farm­ers, but the whole com­mu­nity who were ap­pre­cia­tive.

‘‘It was un­be­liev­able, it was a dif­fer­ent world . . . I don’t know how they get out of bed in the morn­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘We heard peo­ple have been very ap­pre­cia­tive.

‘‘It was a re­ally good trip up. Peo­ple see you and they know what you’re do­ing and ev­ery­one toots at you. It was very hum­bling.’’

Ms Rovers said a to­tal of 68 farm­ers had reg­is­tered for fod­der, while more than 80 fam­i­lies had re­ceived do­nated ham­pers with every­thing from gro­ceries and dog food to per­sonal items do­nated to lend a help­ing hand.

Driv­ing more than 2500 km across the week­end, Ms Rovers said more than 1000 litres of diesel was used in just one truck, lead­ing to a gen­er­ous do­na­tion to help the cause.

Need­ing to re­turn a truck to a truck­ing com­pany in Mel­bourne full of diesel, she said it took just one call to ACT Pe­tro­leum owner Col Richard­son, who of­fered to do­nated 500 litres of diesel to fin­ish the truck’s jour­ney down the Hume.

With more hay runs planned in the fu­ture, in­clud­ing one at the end of this month, Ms Rovers and Mr Sofra said they hoped more peo­ple could throw their sup­port be­hind NSW and Queens­land farm­ers.

The wors­en­ing cri­sis has seen the NSW Gov­ern­ment dou­ble its drought-re­lief sup­port to $1 bil­lion as Fed­eral De­fence Min­is­ter Marise Payne of­fered up the as­sis­tance of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force to as­sist with de­liv­er­ing fod­der by truck or plane to farm­ers. ■ Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Re­lief is seek­ing do­na­tions and vol­un­teers for an up­com­ing hay run to NSW. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit: need­for­feed.org

Hay, we’re here for you . . . A to­tal of 621 bales were do­nated to farms in the Up­per Hunter Val­ley re­gion.

Go­ing the ex­tra mile . . . From the hay col­lec­tion point in Har­row in Vic­to­ria’s west, to the Up­per Hunter Val­ley, more than 1000 km was driven to de­liver the feed.

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