Currently, drought is impacting 99.8 per cent of the state and the lack of rain has led to crippling conditions for many primary producers.
At the start of this year, Bathurst couple Grant and Chezzi Denyer signed on to be ambassadors for Rural Aid to help bring awareness to the plight of farmers and raise funds to help them during their time of need.
Recently, they flew to a Brewarrina property with Rural Aid’s Farm Rescue program to lend a hand to a primary producer who has been struggling with the drought.
The Denyers helped rebuild the shearers’ quarters and also heard from farmers just how tough times had become.
“He [the farmer] was at that drastic situation where he was pushing the shrubs over with a dozer so the sheep can eat the leaves off the shrubs,” Mr Denyer said.
“That’s the only form of feed he had left. That’s breaking point. He certainly can’t afford to buy bales of hay.”
He [the farmer] was at that drastic situation where he was pushing the shrubs over with a dozer so the sheep can eat the leaves off the shrubs.
Rural Aid ambassador Grant Denyer
Mr Denyer said the landscape in Brewarrina, and much of the state, was “torched” with “skinny stock just hanging on”.
“There’s just not a speck of feed on the ground,” he said.
Mr Denyer said farmers were spending thousands of dollars each week to keep their property’s afloat.
“They’re trying to gamble on whether to hang onto their stock or get rid of them all,” he said.
“Often it takes five years to recover from one bad year of drought so it’s a really long, drawn-out, painful process for many farmers.”
Mr Denyer said the drought was not only taking a financial toll, but also an “incredible emotional toll and mental toll”. We’re afraid they’re not putting their hand up for help and the mental health situation is at a critical level,” he said.
Mrs Denyer said as they were flying west to Brewarrina, the difference in landscape and lack of feed was “extraordinary” when comparing it to Bathurst.
“There’s no water in dams, it’s all red dust,” she said.
Celebrity chef Miguel Maestre was also among those in the Farm Rescue group and he cooked up a feast for the volunteers.
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