How to help farmers survive the drought

DROUGHT: A glimpse of the drought in the New England-North West. Pictures: Top: Ren Simon, Chantelle Maree, Kelly Bridge, Kathy Gaynor, Tee Aye Ess. Middle: Lauren Lindfield. Bottom: Marilyn Smith, Tee Aye Ess, Ana Stasia, Fiona Margery, Chris Paterson.
DROUGHT: A glimpse of the drought in the New England-North West. Pictures: Top: Ren Simon, Chantelle Maree, Kelly Bridge, Kathy Gaynor, Tee Aye Ess. Middle: Lauren Lindfield. Bottom: Marilyn Smith, Tee Aye Ess, Ana Stasia, Fiona Margery, Chris Paterson.

Drought-stricken farming families across the state are reaching out for help as they try to survive the unrelenting drought.

Buy A Bale is being inundated with requests for assistance, and donations to the NSW campaigns – a partnership between Fairfax Media and charity Rural Aid – are more important than ever.

The Buy A Bale Hunter, New England-North West, Western NSW and Southern NSW campaigns have collected $1,026,842 – but $980,000 of that is from the Hunter campaign which started in February. Most of that money has already been spent on Upper and Lower Hunter farmers.

The New England-North West campaign, which launched on June 13, has raised $26,000.

Southern NSW has collected $12,200 since June 15, and Western NSW has gathered $8642 since June 14.

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Donations are critically important, particularly because of the high cost of feed and the cost of transport from interstate to the NSW border.

Rural Aid chief executive Charles Alder

Rural Aid has been forced to source hay from Queensland and South Australia due to a lack of supply in NSW.

The NSW government’s donated freight subsidy is only offered within state borders, so campaign funds have to pay to move the hay from interstate to the border.

This is costing up to $7000 per truck load, depending on where the hay is located. 

Farmers are still asking for help. Some farmers are telling me they are spending hours every day chasing hay and cotton seed - it’s getting very scarce.

Charles Alder

Rural Aid founder Charles Alder said many parts of the state had been in drought for more than two years, and farmers out west had not recovered from previous droughts. 

He also said the drought was taking an emotional toll on farming families. 

Take a look at the drought across NSW

“If people want to help, they can pick up the phone and call a farmer and tell them that they care,” Mr Alder said.

“They can also jump in the car and go to a small country town and spend some money there – the communities are suffering just as much as the farmers.”

This story Buy A Bale donations off to fine start as demand for help grows first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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