Without rain farming and grazing is getting to the point where farmers and graziers will have to start walking away from what has been their livelihoods. This reality was driven home to Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce members on their recent visit to deliver animal feed and other necessities to the people of the Gwydir Shire in the New England region of NSW.
‘Some of the people have 5,000 acres and now have no animals on the land, another person I spoke to said if the rain doesn’t come they will walk away in May,’ said Mullumbimby Chamber president Jenelle Stanford.
Mullumbimby and Bangalow Chambers of Commerce have been supporting farmers and graziers in Bingara and the Gwydir Shire since last year raising funds and sending out feed for cattle and horses as well as care packs and food hampers.
The Mullum Chamber estimates they have spent around $20,000 assisting drought stricken farmers in the Gwydir Shire with another load of necessities costing around $10,000 being taken up last week.
Local community digs deep
At the pre-Christmas trivia drought fundraiser in December the Mullum chamber raised around $3,000 and filled well over a truck with bales of animal feed.
Needing another 170 bales to fill the second truck of animal feed being sent up Jenelle sent an email to chamber members asking them to come on board to buy the last of the bales needed.
‘I was overwhelmed by how many people responded and donated bales and money – so our loads were well and truly full,’ she said.
Finally two trucks and a trailer were packed tight and ready for the delivery run starting out from Mullumbimby’s Coop.
‘A big shout out to Maddie and Tony at the Coop for sorting all this out for us; I kept changing the order right up until we were loading,’ said Jenelle.
‘Also, a big thank you to Byron Shire Council for the use of their trucks and drivers Alex Dichira and Steven Scott.’
The convoy of trucks headed off around 5am followed a little later by the cars. After a 5 (for cars) to 6.5 (for trucks) hour drive they arrived at the farm that is being used as a depo to coordinate the distribution of donations.
‘As we arrived at the farm Monte the bull got a whiff of the feed on the trucks and followed us in and we also got to see a few of the calves that we saved by sending out calf milk,’ said Jenelle with a huge smile.
Apart from the feed the Mullum Chamber also took up a range of fresh food, clothes donated by Mullum InStyle Living, hampers and care packs.
‘We over spent a bit on sending up the last convoy, so we are still fundraising to cover the final costs as well as continuing to support these farmers in need,’ said Jenelle.
‘All the farmers were so grateful we are helping and continuing to do so.’
If you are interested in donating to the drought relief fund you can deposit money into the Mullumbimby Chamber via BSB: 722744, account number: 100125743 or look out for the donation buckets at local shops.