Connecting with farmers and providing them support through the dry is the aim of Salvation Army Rural Chaplains Dianne and Rusty Lawson.
They are currently travelling as part of the R U Aware We Care initiative in the New England and North West Slopes and Plains.
Following a successful fundraiser across the region a couple of weeks ago, The Salvation Army is distributing funds and hampers to drought affected landholders in the area at Navigating the Drought Forums.
Rusty and Dianne will also be visiting other communities in the north of the state over coming weeks and months.
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Dianne said in the past seven months they have covered many communities in central west and north west NSW, often spending about two hours with farmers doing face-to-face visits.
“Sometimes we spend a day attending forums and meeting with landholders in one place other times we may spent a few days and visit with people. A farm visit is a chance for us to either work alongside a farmer, or sit and have smoko with them listen as they tell us what it is like for them right now,” she said.
“We have gone from connecting with two to three farmers a day to approximately eight farmers a day in our area.”
During these visits, Dianne said they are finding a lot of landholders are extremely tired, and are having to make tough decisions regarding livestock and cropping.
“When people are tired, accidents seem to happen more readily. Often the willingness to continue seems to be disappearing,” she said.
To help through these difficult times, the Salvation Army is offering assistance to farmers with household living expenses.
“Often people have some off farm income that disqualifies them from Household Assistance Package and although their wages may not be great they have marginally more income the on FHA,” Dianne said.
“At this point in time, a lot of the off farm income is being utilised in feeding and caring for stock. What we offer can relieve some of those bills that cannot be deferred.
“We can also offer assistance to contractors and farm workers whose income is dependant on landholders.”
If you would like to assist farmers please donate at salvos.org.au/ruralsupport.
Funds received are allocated to farmers via EFT transfers or Universal Gift Cards thus enabling the farmers to shop locally.
If a farmer needs help go to: salvos.org.au hit need help button and select Chaplaincy Rural Support and log details as directed.