Jims a friend of my uncle, now a friend of mine, and lives in NSW between Tamworth and Narrabri, they served in Vietnam together and he got in touch with me in May to see if I had any ideas on getting through the drought, through either agistment or available hay, as we also have cattle in Qld.
At that time he was already hand feeding cattle, knowing a tough winter was ahead of him, and any rain wouldn't grow the necessary grass as it was too cold (the soil and grass just go to sleep for winter).
Jims a proud man and has never had to ask for help ever, but he has run out of money and his facing at least another 2-3 months of no rain and hungry cattle, if they survive that long.
We too are feeling the drought, it is just starting to bite here in SEQld, and are starting to feed cattle, but this is about Jim.
Jim is up before daylight, travelling 86km to one paddock, then the pattern continues all day until he finally gets home after dark. His most recent load of hay at the end of July came from Albury/Wodonga, and cost about $6500 for 37 big square bales - that was the last of his money, he's now searching for hay in South Australia but doesn't know how he's going to pay for it.
Below is a text he sent me a few weeks ago;"Hello Andrew, As you can see these cattle are severely stressed. Whilst NSW gov has indicated support it appears that the terms and conditions are going to be extremely difficult to be met and most of us could fail to get any meaningful benefit out of it. Anyway back to the real situation I am facing, feed has to be sourced now from SA. This is going to push the cost of getting feed to here to almost prohibitive costs and I am afraid my funding has now been all used up.
This now means when I run out of this feed my cattle will start to die. We have nothing left in the paddocks for them to eat so down here it is all hand feed. As you know I lost a very good cow on Monday night calves are hitting the ground and in order to save the cows I will have no choice but to put down calves otherwise the alternative is that they will both die needlessly. Sorry mate I am getting a bit choked up. I am just so bloody tired. I will have to close mate."
Well I promised Jim I would look into this crowdfunding to at least get him the next truckload or two of hay sorted and take that off his mind - lack of sleep and all of this stress he has started having Vietnam PTSD again and thats the last thing he needs.
I don't know about the tax side of this crowdfunding stuff and don't really care, it will all go to Jim and then into hay. He is very appreciative of the hay runs that are going on out there but in reality, each farm only gets a enough hay to last them a few days by the time it is shared around.
Theres lots of farmers like Jim out there and they all need our help - any money left over will be shared with his neighbours so they can all try and get through this together.