Community rallies behind rural crusade to help drought affected farmers

A rural campaign to help Australian farmers  survive the challenging conditions has lead to the community raising more than $6000.

The Western Magazine, along with the Daily Liberal, Narromine NewsNyngan Observer, Wellington Times, Central Western Daily, Parkes Champion Post, Forbes AdvocateMudgee Guardian, Lithgow Mercury, Young Witness and Cowra Guardian have joined forces with the charity organisation Rural Aid and its Buy A Bale campaign last month to help Western NSW farmers.

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The Buy A Bale Western NSW campaign is raising money to buy hay, water and groceries for farmers in need through an online portal. Since the Western NSW campaign began a total of $6611.40 has been raised.

“It’s effectively raised enough money for the first truck load of hay,” Rural Aid founder Charles Alder said.

PITCHING IN: Sir Ivan Fire affected farmers received bales of hay last year after Dubbo-based Transforce Logistics joined forces with Rural Aid and the Buy a Bale program. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

PITCHING IN: Sir Ivan Fire affected farmers received bales of hay last year after Dubbo-based Transforce Logistics joined forces with Rural Aid and the Buy a Bale program. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

He said it was great to see areas really embracing the cause and embracing the need to support their community

“At the end of the day we need people to believe, not only in their farmers, but their local community and the local ability to stand up and face drought,” Mr Alder said.

“And always remember their community is the only thing outside their family that they’ve got.”

Mr Alder said they are still sourcing hay but the numbers are becoming less and less in terms of hay availability. 

He said there was almost no hay left in NSW and South Australia was getting harder to source from, while western Victoria was stockpiling for themselves.

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Mr Alder said he spoke with a hay trader who told him that grain is being shipped from Western Australia.

“So that’s pretty desperate,” he said.

“While hay stock piles are reducing, we’re still able to source hay out of Queensland and we’ve got plans over the next week to bring in almost 1000 bales into NSW.”

“Although 1000 bales isn’t a great deal compared to the demand that’s required.”​

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The charity are starting to organise volunteers to go and stay on farms and do practical farm-house jobs. Some of these have included fencing, painting and repairing on the farm.

“So that when the drought breaks and farmers are able to get back on their feet, at least they’ve done something productive with the downtime,” Mr Alder said.

From July, 1, five Rural Aid counsellors will begin to work with farmers and industry specialists across the state.

At the end of the day we need people to believe, not only in their farmers, but their local community and the local ability to stand up and face drought.

Charles Alder, Rural Aid

“They will be visiting farmers and working with NSW Local Land Services and other mental health and community organisations to provide conversations and assistance with farmers,” Mr Alder said.

Farmers tell their drought stories…