Hay and molasses heading to Mingoola
NORTHERN New South Wales farmers will soon receive some much-needed drought relief with four trucks full of hay, molasses, bags of feed and food hampers.
Katrina Wood and Tim Newell have been organising a drought drive for Mingoola, west of Tenterfield.
“We have a property in Tenterfield, Wunglebung, and we have campers staying on our property and started raising money for drought by selling firewood to our campers,” Ms Wood said.
“Our neighbour has friends in the Mingoola area who said that area is really bad, and they haven’t received any help out there.
“So I contacted Tim and asked about running out to Mingoola. He’s been doing runs out to Bundarra (south of Inverell).”
Ms Wood said they have received donations from individuals, local Tenterfield businesses, Aussie Stair Company in Brisbane, as well receiving help from North Coast Drought Appeal.
Trucks have been donated by O’Connors Transport and Shoobridge Transport in Murwillumbah, as well as another truck from Glen Innes.
“I didn’t think it would get to the extent it did, but it just snowballed,” Ms Wood said.
“There is approximately 16 families so far that are going to be getting this feed. And we’re hoping to raise enough money to do another run.
“We’re hoping people will get on board and we can go a bit further west of Tenterfield.”
Ms Wood said this way people know their donations are going directly to farmers.
“People wanted to help but they were wondering where to spend their money.
“They were looking at a way to get their money directly to the farmer.
“I told campers that I they could buy a bag of feed and I could write their name on it with a love heart or something and give it to the farmers, and they loved that!”
Ms Wood said she and her partner Stu Haw, share stories of drought with the campers on their property.
“Over the October long weekend we had a really good group of campers, all from the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, and we asked them all to meet us for some beers,” she said.
“Stu went through that horrible drought in the ’90s and it’s almost like he has post-traumatic stress from it.
“We sat around and they started asking questions and Stu started answering them and he got emotional, it was emotional time for everybody.
“But suddenly it all became real and personal from them.”
The Murwillumbah Rotary will be hosting a barbecue lunch with some drinks while the feed in unloaded in Mingoola.
“There will be lunch, drinks and just some time off the farm,” Ms Woods said.
“People can talk to each other and realise they’re not alone.
“Just the chance for them to be able to drive home for one day and feel good.”
Tim Newell has done three runs out to Bundarra previously.
“Most of it has been the green tops of the cane trash. I know people that have been baling it and giving it away at realistic prices,” Mr Newell said.
“All the money is donated and the transport is donated. And I just do it on the weekend because they need a hand.
“I donated some to a farmer out there and then for the next two trips we just unloaded at his place.
“There were four families the second time and five families the third time.
“We put on a lunch and had a couple of beers and we sat around a fire and just gave them a bit of a break from it all.”
Mr Newell said he is not a farmer himself, but he is more than happy to help out.
“I’ve worked on the land since I was young, out on cattle stations in the Northern Territory and Western Australia,” he said.
“I’ve seen drought and I know a lot of farmers and I’m happy to help.
“But no, I’m not a farmer and it’s times like this when I think I’m glad I’m not.”
Bundarra cattle farmer David Lonergan was the first to receive a load of hay from Mr Newell.
“They very kindly bought up a couple of loads of hay for us, with some dog food and some groceries,” Mr Lonergan said.
“The first load was a bit of surprise. Brett Bugg, who owns the IGA in Murwillumbah, he comes out and does a bit of recreational shooting on the property, put us in touch with Tim.
“He knew we were in trouble with bushfires and the drought.
“This is our first year of owning this property.”
Mr Lonergan said the group came out with their families and they all had a nice barbecue.
“The second time I rang around the area and found a few other people that needed a bit of help,” he said.
“And we had a barbecue and it was really important because it brings the community together.
“We did the same thing the third time but I invited a different people each time.
“I think the biggest thing is we found out that we’re not out here alone and there are people out there to help you.”
Mr Lonergan said having the barbecues has been just as much help as receiving the donations.
“For me the few bales of hay have been very much appreciated but it’s been organising the barbecue and getting everyone together,” he said.
“I had a lady the other day who said ‘I realise I’m not alone anymore’.
“Tim and Brett have donated their homes for people down here who want get away for the weekend. And just knowing there are people who would open their homes like that.” Mr Lonergan said he has been overwhelmed by the support from the local community.
“People in the community wanted to donate but didn’t want to give it to the big charities because they don’t know where it goes,” he said.
“Personally I want to thank the community for what they’re doing because it’s really helping.
“It’s not going to save us but it just helps us, with morale as much as anything.”
Communities step up to support local farmers
BEAUTIFUL BALES: O’Connors Transport donated trucks to deliver hay to farmers in need.
Stu Haw, Tim Newell and Katrina Wood ready to donate some hay to farmers in Mingoola.