Top tips to keep up spirits
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.”
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.
TOUGH TIMES: During a drought, farmers' resilience shines through.
Calendar girls Marion Saunders, Loretta Robinson, Rachel Lamph, Libby Caton, Jude Masman, Lynette McManus, Jasmine Saunders, Pat Regan and Toni Garnsey.
Tanya, Glenn, Neville and Brad Hurley.
Glenn giving Brad Hurley a kiss.