All primary producers in the district can come along to the Tenterfield Showground this Sunday, August 19 or next Thursday, August 23 and help themselves to a free large round bale of hay and a dry feed lick block, in a show of community support for those drought-afflicted.
The donation of hay came about from a number of Lismore residents approaching National Party candidate Austin Curtin on how they could help those farther west in the electorate. A meeting between Mr Curtin and Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty last week put the plans in motion for Tenterfield Shire Council to bring up 40 large round bales of rhodes grass from the coast, with another 40 to be collected next week.
When in Lismore Cr Petty said he was also approached by a man who said he was ‘just a pensioner’ and he and his pensioner mates would like to do what they could to help. Cr Petty said he wasn’t going to knock back any support and so a box trailer load or two of small bales may also be on offer.
The blocks are courtesy of the Salvation Army. Local Salvo Joel Soper said there is a lot of support available from his organisation; people only have to ask. Along with household expenses the Salvos can also help those needing to bring in potable water. A motion to waive the $120 fee for taking potable water will be presented to next week’s council meeting, allowing the Salvos’ support to stretch further.
The two collection days at the showgrounds are planned to be social affairs where farmers can come and not only talk about the weather but learn about the support mechanisms which are in place.
“It will be a good opportunity to sit down and have a yarn,” Cr Petty said.
“There’s a bale of hay for any rural producer whether you have cattle, sheep, alpacas or something else. Everybody deserves a bale of hay, whether you have 10 head or a 100.
“We just want to ease the burden a little bit. Farmers are a proud lot, but it’s time to be beyond that.”
People will be on hand from 9am to 3pm on Sunday to help load the bales, and the Salvos are putting on a sausage sizzle at noon with drinks and ‘smoko’ available throughout the session.
Thursday’s gathering will kick off a bit earlier with breakfast put on from 8am. Lismore MP Thomas George will also be stopping by to hear farmers’ stories first-hand.
Mr Soper said any townsfolk who wished to contribute to the drought effort can do so through the Salvos store on Crown Street. Farmers seeking support can also inquire through the store.