Hay on way

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE - By Alana Chris­tensen

. . . In­ver­gor­don farmer Leanne Rovers and Ba­rooga Lions Club pres­i­dent and north­ern Vic­to­rian and south­ern NSW Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Relief co-or­di­na­tor Linda Ry­der stand in front of one of six trucks loaded on the Rovers prop­erty on Fri­day. More than 100 trucks filled to the brim with hay ar­rived in north­ern NSW at the week­end to help drought-af­fected farm­ers. To read the full story, and for more Alana Chris­tensen pho­tos,

One hun­dred trucks loaded with 4000 bales of hay have trav­elled more than 1000 km to put smiles on the faces of NSW farm­ers bat­tling drought con­di­tions.

The lat­est Lions Club Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Relief hay run saw hay, care pack­ages and food de­liv­ered to farms across the re­gion, with trucks head­ing to farms in Bro­ken Hill, Nyn­gan, Tam­worth, Wal­gett and Gunnedah across the week­end.

A to­tal of eight trucks ar­rived at Leanne and Eddy Rovers’ In­ver­gor­don prop­erty late last week to be loaded with hay as part of a strong re­sponse from the lo­cal re­gion.

A to­tal of 17 from the lo­cal area were loaded to the brim with hay for farm­ers be­fore set­ting off across the bor­der.

Ba­rooga Lions Club pres­i­dent and Need For Feed Dis­as­ter Relief north­ern Vic­to­ria and south­ern NSW co-or­di­na­tor Linda Ry­der said the re­sponse from lo­cal farm­ers and towns­peo­ple had been in­cred­i­ble.

‘‘It’s all about giv­ing (drought-af­fected farm­ers) a bit of breath­ing room,’’ she said.

‘‘It just helps to show them that some­one out there cares and is think­ing of them . . . the re­sponse is amaz­ing.

‘‘The com­mu­ni­ties are just com­ing to­gether and it’s an in­cred­i­ble re­sponse.’’

With the hay runs only get­ting big­ger — Ba­rooga Lions Club mem­ber David Stil­lard said the lat­est hay run was three times the size of the pre­vi­ous run to north­ern NSW — the need for hay has con­tin­ued to in­crease.

‘‘There’s vir­tu­ally no hay in the south­ern Rive­rina and north­ern Vic­to­ria, it’s all com­ing from the West­ern District and South Aus­tralia,’’ Mr Stil­lard said.

‘‘Ninety per cent of hay has to be pur­chased . . . that’s why we need cash do­na­tions.’’

Ul­ti­mately, as the hun­dreds of trucks made their way north to the farms, ev­ery­one agreed that it was a re­ward­ing and emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence for all.

Mrs Rovers said she and hus­band Eddy didn’t hes­i­tate to put their hand up for an­other hay run, with the cou­ple un­der­tak­ing their third. She too said the event had helped her meet some in­cred­i­ble peo­ple.

‘‘I had a woman who drove all the way from Yar­ra­wonga to just drop off a do­na­tion. She dropped it off, hopped back in her car and headed home,’’ she said.

With rain fall­ing at their prop­erty on Fri­day as hay was loaded onto trucks, Mrs Rovers said she hoped the rain would be yet an­other thing they could bring to their north­ern neigh­bours.

‘‘We’ll hitch it onto the truck and hope­fully take it with us,’’ she said.

■ To do­nate to Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Relief or vol­un­teer for fu­ture hay runs visit: need­for­feed.org

Lend­ing a hand . . .Ba­rooga Lions Club sec­re­tary and Need for Feed Dis­as­ter Relief as­sis­tant sec­re­tary Dar­ren Laf­fan (back left), Ba­rooga Lions Club mem­ber David Stil­lard (back right), Ba­rooga Lions Club pres­i­dent and Need For Feed Dis­as­ter Relief north­ern Vic­to­ria and south­ern NSW co-or­di­na­tor Linda Ry­der (front left) and Bel­mont Lions Club mem­ber He­len Schultz.

Stack­ing . . . It was a busy day of load­ing at Leanne and Eddy Rovers’ In­ver­gor­don prop­erty last week as they pre­pared to join the 100-truck hay run to north­ern NSW. Lions Club vol­un­teers have been pur­chas­ing hay across the district to send to drought-af­fected com­mu­ni­ties.

Help­ing oth­ers . . . In­ver­gor­don’s Leanne Rovers and Ba­rooga Lions Club pres­i­dent and Need For Feed Dis­as­ter Relief north­ern Vic­to­ria and South­ern NSW co­or­di­na­tor Linda Ry­der say the hay runs are al­ways a won­der­ful but emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence.

Al­most ready to roll . . . More than 100 trucks were as­sem­bled for the hay run to north­ern NSW, de­liv­er­ing more than 4000 bales of hay to drought af­fected farm­ers.

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