Santa's bush sleigh is set to bring cheer out west

A fodder drop of 573 donated bales of hay was distributed to drought-affected farmers in north-west NSW last weekend.
PHOTO: BUY A BALE WEBSITE
A fodder drop of 573 donated bales of hay was distributed to drought-affected farmers in north-west NSW last weekend. PHOTO: BUY A BALE WEBSITE

A fodder drop of 573 donated bales of hay was distributed to drought-affected farmers in north-west NSW last weekend.

There were 14 truckloads of hay organised by the Buy A Bale program, with the full cost of transport covered by the NSW government under its transport assistance for donated fodder program.

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair and Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries were on hand to help with the distribution and met with local farmers.

Buy A Bale CEO Charles Alder said farmers in the Lightning Ridge district, who received the donated hay, had little feed in the paddocks.

"They can use the hay to help keep their stock going a little bit longer," he said.

"They're hoping for rain in the next week, where they'll get some feed off the ground, but that won't be ready for weeks."

Mr Alder said more than 30 farmers received 12 bales of hay each.

Farming families also received Christmas vouchers worth $65 at their local supermarket and a pamper pack.

"Many farmers are suffering financially, and even though the vouchers and pamper packs are small things, it shows that people are still thinking of them," he said.

"Some farmers feel like they're not being supported or listened to, but this just shows people are continuing to think of them."

Mr Alder said having Mr Blair and Mr Humphries out there with the farmers was wonderful.

"Mr Blair spent five and a half hours with the farmers. I think both of them went away with a lot of feedback and information - which is just great," he said.

"A lot of the farmers discussed drought, fees and financial assistance."

Mr Blair said farmers in the north-west were doing it tough, with some parts of north-west NSW continuing to experience extreme drought conditions.

"This hay will provide welcome relief for farmers at Lightning Ridge, Walgett, Collarenebri and Goodooga, who have been doing it tough with limited rain in recent years resulting in the heartbreaking loss of crops and in some cases almost total destocking," Mr Blair said.

This is the fifth hay drop that has been distributed in the Lightning Ridge area in more than two years. The 200 tonnes of hay was sourced from NSW farmers in Casino on the north coast and Berrigan, near the Victorian border.

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