About 80 farming families in Cobar, White Cliffs, Wilcannia and Tippoburra have received a helping hand thanks to the generous support from the Lions Club in Victoria.
Earlier this month a convoy of 18 trucks as part of the Victorian Lions Club Need for Feed project delivered nearly 400 bales of fodder to the north west NSW communities.
Need for Feed was established in 20016 in response to the drought and bushfires in Victoria and now each year the Victorian Lions Clubs prepare for the potential bushfire season by collecting donations of fodder from right around the state, and if not required by them try to put most of it to good use to help others.
Last year they took 13 semi and B Double loads to the fire area at Dunedoo.
NSW Farmers Association regional services manager for west Caron Chester had only just been speaking with farmers in those areas about the dire situation there when she received a call from the Lions’ Club asking where they can help.
“It was serendipity for the Lions’ Club to ring me up and ask where they could help with the hay drop,” she said.
“I’d only just been speaking with farmers from those areas about the drought.. some of them haven’t had rain for 18 months. They’d been feeding out and spending tens of thousands of dollars.”
The hay run to White Cliffs, Wilcannia and Tippoburra was held on the weekend of March 11, with the Cobar run occurring last weekend.
It is so dire out in those areas that Ms Chester described it as “drought conditions.”
“The farmers were so grateful to the Lions Club… they all said they wanted everyone to know just how grateful they were,” she said
“And on an emotional level it helps because it’s recognition of just how bad it is.”
Ms Chester said farmers had gotten rid of their livestock but have kept their basic breeding stock because that’s all they can afford to feed.
“One lady told me she went to the bank to get a loan just to feed her stock,” she said.
A special barbecue was put on by the Wilcannia community to say thanks to the truckies and organisers.
“The barbecue was amazing.. and I think it was good for both the farmers and truck drivers,” she said.
The Victorian Lions’ Club will do another convoy drop after Easter.