Hay thin on the ground
Farmers plead for help
FOR Elizabeth Piggott, sourcing hay to feed her own cattle as well as those of her neighbours has proven a huge challenge.
With the whole of New South Wales drought declared, Ms Piggott feels her area hasn’t received as much attention and assistance as those further west.
“Bolivia west of us to Ashford, we’ve been doing it as tough here as some people out west,” she said.
“We’re running out of water and we’ve got no feed, we’ve been hand feeding for months.
“A lady rang me in tears one day trying to find hay for her cattle. She’s running
“At the time we only had a few days of hay left. Sometimes we have hay available.
“We haven’t had hay for a while – we’ve been keeping it for our cattle and we’ve had to find hay for our cattle.”
Ms Piggott said she contacted a number of charities trying to get hay for herself and others in the area.
“At the time there was some information saying Aussie Helpers had
“I also found some hay and asked if they’d pay for it.
“Brian replied saying we’re on a long list of farmers and when they found hay they would be in contact.
“I understand the charities are very busy, I’d just like to see some more help for people out here.”
Ms Piggott said good-quality hay was getting harder to find and prices were getting more expensive.
“Anybody who is producing hay at the moment, the irrigation costs are very expensive, power is ridiculously expensive, the costs of producing it are expensive, so hay prices are going up.
“There are quite a few people in the area struggling to find hay, and a lot of it is poorer quality and the cattle won’t eat it.”
Ms Piggott has been helping people to find hay, including Heather and Rick White from Shannonvale near Glen Innes.
“We have a cattle property with about 60 head,”
Mrs White said.
“(Ms Piggott) put us on to a carrier and he was able to secure some and we got 58 bales.
“We were down to our last couple of bales, so we really needed it.
“It’s been hard to get feed, that’s for sure.
“I have contacted some of those charities but haven’t heard anything back.
“They say Glen Innes hasn’t been as bad but it’s still not good. This year is when it started getting really bad.”
Ms Piggott said there were many families straining to get by in the drought.
“We’re working from
daylight till 9pm to get everything fed and keep everything working,” she said.
“I have kids as well and they work on the farm and sometimes they miss school to help on the farm to keep things going – as do a lot of other kids, missing out on things to keep things going on the farm.”
She said many people were still waiting on government assistance as part of the Farming Household Allowance.
“They’re just so slow at responding,” Ms Piggot said.
“There are people that have applied but there hasn’t been any confirmation of what they will receive.
“There are people who have applied and their applications are still sitting there for six to seven weeks.
“The initiatives in place are good when they do finally get money from them, but anyone that has been calling out for help for three or four months, well they’d be starving wouldn’t they?”
RUNNING OUT: Elizabeth Piggott from Bolivia, New South Wales, said she has a week’s worth of hay remaining and is struggling to get help from charities.
Kate, Elizabeth and Allan Piggott.