Dairy farmers across the Hastings and Manning are grateful for donations of hay as they continue to battle through drought.
Over the next three weeks, three b-double trucks will deliver over 100 tonnes of hay to strugglings farmers as the result of a partnership between Rotary and Real Dairy Australia.
Hastings dairy farmer Bob Baker said the hay will be a welcomed relief to farmers across the region as they continue through the ongoing struggle of drought.
«We are optimistic about the future of farming but this drought has hit some farms on the coast as well,» Mr Barker said.
«We have never had to purchase hay for our animals so to have already purchased three semi’s of fodder this calendar year is hard.
«We are grateful and thankful for this hay and know other local farmers are as well.»
Mr Baker said to buy hay is one thing but to have to pay the inflated rates due to increasing demand is another kick in the teeth.
«Hay is getting more and more expensive and with freight costs on top even purchasing hay is getting to be unaffordable – but what else can you do?» he said.
«We are all so grateful for organisations like Real Dairy Australia and Rotary and the wider community who continue to help us.
«This hay and support shows we are not forgotten and that we will get through this together.»
Wauchope Rotary’s Reg Pierce said while it is known that farmers out west are doing it tough there are also farmers closer to home who are struggling.
«Through our work with the drought relief effort we have been able to donate and distribute approximately $1.7 million to farmers across our Rotary district but it is concerning to hear more and more farmers closer to the coast are battling as well,» Mr Pierce said.
«Every single day I get phone calls from people who are at desperately seeking assistance and it is heartbreaking getting a glimpse into the battle they are fighting through.
«We know this hay will only help temporarily but knowing we are able to make a real difference even for a small amount of time is priceless.»
Mr Pierce said Rotary was approached and together with Real Dairy Australia, from October 10, 16 farmers across the Hastings and Manning will receive hay for their animals.
«We were approached and through Rotary Australia World Community Service we were able to fund the hay coming,» he said.
«The farmers who are getting the hay have also decided among themselves how the hay is getting distributed.
«We will assist in any way we possibly can and will continue to do so until the drought breaks.
«We know the drought is hitting everyone hard and it is easy to mistake a few drops of rain for the drought breaking but the reality is our farmers are doing it tough and Rotary is here to help in any way we can.»
Dairy consultant, Mark Livermore has been instrumental in the partnership with Rotary and say the first truck to arrive has been well received.
«Today we have delivered an hay lifeline to our local farmers with a dollar value of around $18,000,» Mr Livermore said.
«This will then be followed by at least two more hay runs to the area to help farmers in the Manning and wider Hastings region.
«We know our farmers are doing it tough and it is critical that we as a community continue to rally behind them to get them through.»
Mr Livermore said the hope is that the hay runs can continue with the support of community groups like Rotary and the wider community.
«We hope these hay runs can continue and we will be seeking support from the community to help ease the cost to our farmers who are battling.»