What a beautiful sight… 2000 bales of hay delivered and stacked in Tamworth NSW this week. Although tinged with sadness and pain due to the burden of drought, 250 farmers found pleasure in that single moment.
The moment that the realisation overcame them… knowing that the Australian people cared about the future of our agricultural industry. Knowing that they cared about them. Knowing that their hungry livestock could be fed for another few days without more cost upon them. Knowing that those few bales gave some temporary relief. Knowing that they could fuel their tractor or ute to feed them. Just knowing that people care. Farmers literally felt that support here in Tamworth.
Buy A Bale is a program initiative of Rural Aid. It is a charitable campaign of providing drought assistance to farmers. There has been enormous support nation-wide for this valuable cause. The Hay Mate Concert held in October at Tamworth, raised $2.8 million in drought relief for farmers. With thanks to music artist John Farnham and guests for this generous support.
The trucks loaded with the donated hay, finally made it to Tamworth… bringing a load of hope to our local farmers. Buy A Bale organisers, Jobs Australia Enterprises and Doing It For Our Farmers… also distributed Caltex fuel cards, working dog food and calf/lamb milk powder to the very appreciative farmers.
I was one of those fortunate and grateful farmers this week. As my husband and I drove into the old saleyards, converted to the temporary “Rural Aid – Buy A Bale” hay drop zone, I was overwhelmed with the arousal of bittersweet relief.
We have had it very tough in this drought, mainly due to the widespread effect across the state. We are physically tired, mentally drained and almost financially exhausted. But we are holding hope now, we have had a couple showers of rain in the last few weeks.
Although we had almost recovered from the 2012 drought… sadly we were hit again too soon. Like most farmers we put our Drought Management Plan into action. We reduced livestock numbers quite significantly and retained about a third of our herd to feed this year. The burden of cost has been enormous but that is a decision we made to retain our core breeding herd, to save over 25 years of genetics in our cattle.
Currently we have only 260 cattle and 200 lambs on our 2800 acre grazing property. Trying to be positive, there are good things that result from a drought though. We only keep the best of our livestock, so going forward, the best quality remains in our stud herd.
But as we drove into the “Hay Zone” this week, I started to think about the Australian people reaching into their own pockets to give so generously to the farmers. We are a lucky country, to have so many people that are kind and caring and empathise with others. I watched as the volunteers loaded trucks with hay, spoke with farmers and distributed items. Such thoughtful and caring people.
Whilst my husband tied down the hay, I walked over to the tent to meet the 2 lady volunteers nearby. I learned this mother and daughter came from Cessnock and I valued their conversation and the fact they were volunteering their time and travelled to assist farmers. Thank you to Tania and Mackenzie Pringle for allowing me to take their photo, as a true representation of the kind-hearted Australian spirit surrounding us all in this drought. I imagined myself, one day being able to do this for another community and give back this kind support to help another.
Thank you to Rural Aid and all the men and women volunteering their time to assist in the hay delivery and to the businesses that donate their trucks, machinery and their time. And thank you to each and every person that has contributed in any way to the drought relief… through time, effort or donating their hard-earned money. Your support is truly appreciated and provides more than the value you think you have actually contributed.
It is this nation-wide support that gives me the inner strength mentally to face the daily battle on farm. Personally, I have never seen drought relief to farmers before this year and I have been farming all of my life. It has amazed me that so many people want to support our industry and secure the future of our domestic food chain. So thank you one and all.
Take care, Karen.
P.S. The biggest ever hay drop for drought affected farmers… see this video link on Prime 7 news.
“Could a greater miracle take place
than for us to look through each other’s eyes
for an instant?”
~ Henry David Thoreau