A mammoth effort from volunteers in Victoria to provide drought relief to farmers in central west NSW has been labelled a huge success, organisers say.
On the weekend of August, 26, the 12 volunteers from Victoria travelled to Yeoval to distribute 52 tonnes of stock feed, mineral blocks, dog food, milk powder and pre-paid visas to 52 farmers within the district.
Organised by Crazy for Ewe, which is a social media drought relief page, the volunteers’ three trucks and three utes were loaded to the brim with the aid.
Victorian companies sponsored fuel so that they could make the trip to Yeoval.
Little River Landcare and members of the Yeoval community pitched in to provide labour efforts, including loading the drought aid onto the farmers utes.
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A Wellington butcher donated sausages for a community barbecue that day, which was cooked by local residents.
Crazy for Ewe’s Janey Stace said the day was “very humbling.”
“We were just glad that were were able to help,” she said. “And we’re glad that Yeoval found us, we didn’t find Yeoval.”
Going to the small rural town, the volunteers were able to meet with local farmers.
“There was some beautiful people who were telling us about what was happening on their farm, how they’ve destocked (due to the drought),” Ms Stace said.
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While there was some very sad stories heard that day, there was also uplifting stories too.
“It puts into perspective of just how hard these people are doing it,” Ms Stace said.
“It’s really important we’ve made that connection we’ve Yeoval and it’s good they know that there is people out there who care about them.”
All of the drought support was donated by Victorian residents. Some were able to buy a bag of feed which was distributed that day.
A child care centre in Frankston, Victoria, also sponsored a $350 bulker bag, which is 800 kilograms of sheep or cattle pellets.
“There was a whole team behind what happened (in Yeoval),” Ms Stace said.
“It was a big team effort.. two ladies even organised an auction that raised just over $10,000 that paid for the pre-paid visas. There has been a lot of people working behind it.”
Ms Stace said after seeing media reports of the NSW drought, people within her Victorian community wanted to help but didn’t know how.
“All we were doing was connecting the dots and bridging the gap,” she said.
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Ms Stace knows first-hand how trying these times can be during drought.
Although they are lucky to have access to grain that is still resonably priced, she said hay will become an issue.
“We’ve really struggled to find hay down here because everything has been taken north. So that’s going to be the flow on effect,” Ms Stace said.
“If we don’t get a good spring break we’re going to be in a fair bit of trouble in Gippsland.”
It’s really important we’ve made that connection we’ve Yeoval and it’s good they know that there is people out there who care about them.Janie Stace, Crazy for Ewe
Ms Stace said some flow on effects from this drought will be higher grain and freight prices, and agricultural jobs affected.
“There’s no sheep to shear, so shearers can’t work but they’ve got families to feed as well,” she said.
“There’s so many things that all hinge on our farmers doing well.”