Sending hay to Lightning Ridge
In these droughts, there is no grass or feed of any kind covering the ground - just dust. Farmers must resort to feeding all of their stock hay and grain to survive.
After hearing a radio interview talking about how bad the conditions were in the Lightning Ridge area, John Burton, the founder of Burton Contractors decided to send up two truck loads of hay to help the farmers with a third truck load currently being organised.
In organising these hay drops for John, I have been able to talk to a wide variety of farmers and the difference these drops make to their spirit is amazing. I am aiming to send two more trucks full of hay to help the farmers of Lightning Ridge and surrounds and say thanks for feeding this great nation!
A large round bale of hay cost $70 each so please consider donating a bale from yourself, your family or your business. Perhaps half a bale or whatever you can afford. I will be delivering this hay and will ensure that all of the farmers know exactly who donated the bales that they take home with them.
Please consider helping these wonderful people who work 365 days a year in awful conditions just to provide food for us.
It was so fantastic to be able to get up there to meet everyone that I have been liaising with over the past 8 months, but at the same time it was so sad to see the area so dry. I could not get over the dust and complete lack of ground cover.
I was flown to Lightning Ridge by the very generous Graham Burke, the owner of Burke's Transport in Bathurst. Graham has his own Piper 6 seater plane and we flew out from Bathurst Airport at 4am. Landing at Lightning Ridge Airport 2 hours later, exactly at sunrise was magical. Through the generosity of a local resident, we were chauffeured from the airport to Doug Wilson's farm. The hay had already been trucked to Doug's farm, where Doug had kindly donated his time, tractor and farm as a distribution centre for the hay. We started up the BBQ and the surrounding farmers started arriving soon after.
Sadly, you could see the farmers coming from a couple of kilometres away because of the dust cloud that each vehicle created. Despite the awful conditions, I have never met such a resilient bunch of people in all my life. All of the farmers I met were so unbelievably friendly and welcoming. The stories they shared with me over a breakfast sandwich were heartbreaking but so inspirational. It certainly put all of my issues into perspective.
Every farmer asked to pass on their heart-felt appreciation for the hay that has been donated to them through this fundraiser. They were astounded when I rattled off the names and locations of each donor, struggling to accept that the love and support is coming from all directions, and all walks of life.
So thank you again to everyone who donated to the fundraiser. Your money has gone directly into bales of hay that went straight on to the back of these struggling farmer's utes, trucks and trailers.
To top all of this off, Lightning Ridge received about 100mm of rain over Christmas/New Year which is sprouting some ground cover and pasture. There is still a lot more consistent rain needed for it to make a difference but if we all continue our rain dancing, I am hopeful that they will receive the much needed rain.
What this means though is that it has been challenging to get the truck loads of hay up there. One truck has arrived already and has been unloaded and the other two trucks are ready to head up there. With the black soil roads in the area, a little bit of rain can see the trucks getting bogged so the timing has to be perfect! As soon as the third truck has arrived, we will begin the distribution amongst the farmers and you will see lots of photos coming through.
Thank you again for all of your support, this could not have been done without you!
Thank you to everyone who has donated so far. You are all amazing.