Hay thin on the ground

Farm­ers plead for help

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - CAS­SAN­DRA GLOVER Cas­san­dra.glover@ru­ral­weekly.com.au .

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

180 breed­ers.

“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

$2.5 mil­lion.

“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?”

PHOTO: FILE

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Kate, El­iz­a­beth and Al­lan Pig­gott.

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