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Goulburn Valley farmers help with drought relief

By Alana Christensen

One hundred trucks loaded with 4000 bales of hay have travelled more than 1000km to put smiles on the faces of NSW farmers battling drought conditions.

The latest Lions Club Need for Feed Disaster Relief hay run saw hay, care packages and food delivered to farms across the region, with trucks heading to farms in Broken Hill, Nyngan, Tamworth, Walgett and Gunnedah across the weekend.

A total of eight trucks arrived at Leanne and Eddy Rovers’ Invergordon property late last week to be loaded with hay as part of a strong response from the local region.

A total of 17 from the local area were loaded to the brim with hay for farmers before setting off across the border.

Barooga Lions Club president and Need For Feed Disaster Relief northern Victoria and southern NSW co-ordinator Linda Ryder said the response from local farmers and townspeople had been incredible.

‘‘It’s all about giving (drought-affected farmers) a bit of breathing room,’’ she said.

‘‘It just helps to show them that someone out there cares and is thinking of them ... the response is amazing.

‘‘The communities are just coming together and it’s an incredible response.’’

With the hay runs only getting bigger — Barooga Lions Club member David Stillard said the latest hay run was three times the size of the previous run to northern NSW — the need for hay has continued to increase.

‘‘There’s virtually no hay in the southern Riverina and northern Victoria, it’s all coming from the Western District and South Australia,’’ Mr Stillard said.

‘‘Ninety per cent of hay has to be purchased ... that’s why we need cash donations.’’

Ultimately, as the hundreds of trucks made their way north to the farms, everyone agreed that it was a rewarding and emotional experience for all.

Mrs Rovers said she and husband Eddy didn’t hesitate to put their hand up for another hay run, with the couple undertaking their third. She too said the event had helped her meet some incredible people.

‘‘I had a woman who drove all the way from Yarrawonga to just drop off a donation. She dropped it off, hopped back in her car and headed home,’’ she said.

With rain falling at their property on Friday as hay was loaded onto trucks, Mrs Rovers said she hoped the rain would be yet another thing they could bring to their northern neighbours.

‘‘We’ll hitch it onto the truck and hopefully take it with us,’’ she said.

■To donate to Need for Feed Disaster Relief or volunteer for future hay runs visit: needforfeed.org