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