Top tips to keep up spir­its

The Western Star - - RURAL WEEKLY -

A DROUGHT is one of the tough­est chal­lenges a farmer can face. It chips away at their fi­nances, emo­tions and men­tal health.

But in the face of these chal­lenges, their re­silience shines through.

Ru­ral Weekly has put to­gether some tips from folk from the land on how they stay strong dur­ing the dry.

1. TAKE IT DAY BY DAY

Texas farmer Cathy Hamel says she and her hus­band John take each day as it comes.

“We just go day by day. You can’t look too far ahead,” Mrs Hamel said.

“You can’t plan things be­cause you have to see if it rains first.”

2. RE­MEM­BER THAT ONE GOOD SHOWER CAN TURN EV­ERY­THING AROUND

Elle For­garty from Palmer Val­ley Sta­tion says just 50mm of rain can “turn the sit­u­a­tion around”.

“I have been through a few droughts in cen­tral Aus­tralia and I know even­tu­ally it does change.”

3. AN­I­MALS

Many peo­ple have pets and an­i­mals that keep their spir­its up dur­ing the drought.

For Cond­abolin farmer Brad Hur­ley, it’s his pet don­keys Glenn, Tanya and Neville.

“They are my drought re­lief,” Mr Hur­ley said.

“When they’re not work­ing they’re in my house pad­dock, purely for my en­joy­ment.”

4. COM­MU­NITY SUP­PORT

For some farm­ers, know­ing they are not go­ing through the hard­ships alone can be enough to keep them go­ing.

Bun­darra cat­tle farmer David Lon­er­gan re­ceived a load of hay from a small lo­cal group from Mur­willum­bah. The group vis­ited again and brought more hay for farm­ers in the Bun­darra area.

“The sec­ond time I rang around the area and found a few other peo­ple that needed a bit of help,” Mr Lon­er­gan said.

“And we had a bar­be­cue and it was re­ally im­por­tant be­cause it brings the com­mu­nity to­gether.

“We did the same thing the third time but I in­vited dif­fer­ent peo­ple each time.

“I think the big­gest thing is we found out that we’re not out here alone and there are peo­ple out there to help you.”

5. GET OVER YOUR­SELF

Ru­ral Weekly colum­nist Den­nis Hoiberg says the best thing peo­ple can do is put their ego aside and ask for help.

“We all strug­gle at dif­fer­ent times of our lives,” Mr Hoiberg said. “Some­times what we have to do is ac­cept we’re strug­gling and reach out, whether it’s to a friend, an ac­coun­tant, an agron­o­mist.

“Our egos get in the way some­times and we refuse to ad­mit we’re in trou­ble. So put your ego aside and ask for help.”

6. BUILD FOR THE FU­TURE

Deon and Lane Stent-Smith have used their time dur­ing the drought to make ex­ten­sive im­prove­ments on their western Queens­land prop­erty, Shan­don­vale Sta­tion.

“You can’t work in black soil when it’s rain­ing, so the best time to do your work is in the dry,” Mr Stent-Smith said.

“I al­ways knew it would rain again. It al­ways goes in cy­cles. If it’s dry for a cou­ple of years it will be wet for a cou­ple of years. It’s al­ways one way or an­other.” 7. GET GLAM­OROUS

Wear­ing noth­ing but swim­mers, work boots, wide-brimmed hats and a smile, mem­bers of the Carinda sew­ing group in far north­west New South Wales posed in dried-up riverbeds and shear­ing sheds for a drought re­lief cal­en­dar.

The racy photo shoot was a chance for many of the women, in­clud­ing the cal­en­dar pho­tog­ra­pher Sue Cur­rey, to have a break from their farms, where many of them are feed­ing starv­ing cat­tle ev­ery day.

PHOTO: ISTOCK

TOUGH TIMES: Dur­ing a drought, farm­ers' re­silience shines through.

PHOTO: SUE CUR­REY

Cal­en­dar girls Mar­ion Saun­ders, Loretta Robin­son, Rachel Lamph, Libby Ca­ton, Jude Mas­man, Lynette McManus, Jas­mine Saun­ders, Pat Re­gan and Toni Garnsey.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Tanya, Glenn, Neville and Brad Hur­ley.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Glenn giv­ing Brad Hur­ley a kiss.

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