VISITORS: Rural Aid General Manager Wayne Thomson, FaB scout Steve Whillas, Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone and Member for Flinders Peter Treloar.
Rural Aid’s ‘Buy a Bale of Hay’ campaign has reached Cowell, with road trains bringing $50,000 of hay to the area on the weekend.
Rural Aid General Manager Wayne Thomson, Minister for Primary Industries and Regions Tim Whetstone, Minister for Flinders Peter Treloar and newly appointed Family and Business Scout Steve Whillas were there to meet local farmers.
The ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign used donations to purchase the hay from farmers in Lock.
Mr Thomson told those at the hay drop that $8500 of the donations came from a primary school in Nhulunbuy, Arnhem Land.
He said it was emotional to see Australians helping Australians from opposite sides of the country.
The hay drop was the fourth in South Australia since the campaign began accepting registrations from the state.
Mr Thomson said Rural Aid had committed $1 million to South Australia before Christmas, and he would be “rattling the tin” with corporate business in the state to double or even triple the figure.
Lock farmer Micheal Hancock was involved in the trucking of the hay across the Eyre Peninsula.
He said up to 20 trucks were coming in and out of Lock each week as part of the campaign.
The opportunity to sell their hay has been a blessing for many farmers in the area, with frost having a major impact on this year’s harvest.
Some have had their entire wheat crop damaged by the frost, and would not be able to afford to donate.
Selling their hay to help drought-affected farmers 100 kilometres down the road has been beneficial for both areas.
“There’s people here who have pretty much been financially saved by this,” Mr Hancock said.
The hay drop gave Minister Tim Whetstone the opportunity to speak to farmers and members of the Franklin Harbour District Council.
He said he was there to remind and inform locals of the services and charities available for those in financial difficulty, and to acknowledge the hardship in the area.
He said his role was “listening to what people would like to express to me,” and mentioned water infrastructure as an area for improvement.
Council Chief Executive Officer Chris Smith expressed frustration to the Minister over the difficulty of accessing state funding.
The council is hoping to access grants to fund the Coolanie water scheme.
Minister Whetstone said the Primary Industries and Regions Department would not be funding the project, and that he had offered the department “to be a coordinator and help administer” federal funds and other grant applications.
He suggested farmers access state funding individually for on-farm water storage infrastructure.
Source: Eyre Peninsula Tribune