EARLY RISE:

■ Gen­er­ous do­na­tions of hay on the way to fire-af­fected farmers

Mansfield Courier - - Front Page - By PAM ZIERK-MA­HONEY

Mans­field Vic­to­rian Farmers Fed­er­a­tion (VFF) sent six trucks and trailer loads of hay to the fire-af­fected re­gion of Cor­ry­ong, with hopes of pro­vid­ing re­lief to both farmers and an­i­mals in need.

THE re­sponse for stock feed to fire em­bla­zoned ar­eas fur­ther north east in Vic­to­ria has been over­whelm­ing.

Hay by the vir­tual truck loads has been flow­ing from the Mans­field re­gion and be­yond to the fire af­fected ar­eas since late last week.

Vic­to­rian Farmers Fed­er­a­tion (VFF) Mans­field branch pres­i­dent, James Te­han, or­gan­ised hay do­na­tions and trans­porta­tion on be­half of the VFF mem­bers and on Thurs­day six trucks and trail­ers left Mans­field headed for Cor­ry­ong.

“There is just one prob­lem in that we can­not get the trucks into Cor­ry­ong without an es­cort and the way the fire sit­u­a­tion is we may have to off­load at Tal­lan­gatta,” Mr Te­han said.

“Trucks so far go­ing into the Cor­ry­ong area have had to be es­corted through the fire zone.”

Mr Te­han said the cost of fuel for th­ese trucks will be sub­sidised through the VFF.

Craig Wed­lock has been in con­trol of or­gan­is­ing the trucks and trans­porta­tion on be­half of the VFF and said he knows of many truck­loads of hay which have al­ready gone, with much more to come.

“We had seven ve­hi­cles leave on Thurs­day and they met up with an­other eight at Be­nalla which came from Mel­bourne and its sur­rounds,” he said.

“I also know of 15 trucks that left from over around Devenish way last week­end and an­other five that left from Mans­field at the same time.

“But this will be an on­go­ing sit­u­a­tion for af­fected farmers as they will need feed right into the win­ter months – al­though cur­rently it is ur­gent, it is not a short term, feed now sit­u­a­tion.”

Booroo­lite farmers Craig and Barb Jones were also help­ing out with hay do­na­tions and trans­port­ing and they too left on Thurs­day with at least two more trucks of feed.

“We do­nated truck­loads of hay to the far north­ern drought af­fected farmers last year and now we are help­ing those closer to home af­ter th­ese fires,” Barb said.

“But we have to think be­yond just feed­ing what stock re­mains.

“We have to think about where the re­place­ment stock for th­ese farmers will come from.

“With most of the stock breed­ing ar­eas be­ing af­fected by th­ese fires there will also come a time when there will be a short­age of good stock to re­place the needs of farmers.

“The im­pact of th­ese tremen­dous fires will go on for some time.

“But we must also be very grate­ful for the gen­eros­ity of our lo­cals, the do­na­tions of stock feed and money for th­ese thou­sands of peo­ple who have been ei­ther burnt out or left with lit­tle and no in­come.”

The VFF will con­tinue to ac­cept do­na­tions of hay which can be ei­ther dropped off at a hold­ing pad­dock on Howes Creek Road or can be picked up.

To or­gan­ise pick up or drop off hay do­na­tions call ei­ther James Te­han on 0419 559490 or Craig Wed­lock on 0408 697529.

PHOTO:Pam Zierk-Ma­honey

PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Ma­honey

HELP­ING HANDS: Driv­ers line up in front of the con­tin­gent of trucks be­fore set­ting off on Thurs­day head­ing for the fire af­fected ar­eas of Tal­lan­gatta and Cor­ry­ong.

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