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Drought-stricken Farmers are in an endless pit of financial strain

By Alanna Tomazin

A severe lack of rain has caused one of the worst droughts to hit the Central West region in decades.

Currently 100% of the Central Tablelands has been declared in drought.

Farmers are faced with many issues, the reality being that most can not even shower and wash clothes on a daily basis.

Just one load of clothes to the laundry mat in town, is costing a whopping 16 dollars.

Farmers have struggled to put food on their own tables, with all money being put towards farming expenses such as feed and keeping livestock up to sale yard standards.

If stock do not receive quality feed, condition can be lost which means the animals are not worth as much when it comes to sale time.

Farms across the Central West have turned brown and dry. IMAGE: MATILDA QUERA

This has pushed drought-stricken farmers into an endless pit of financial struggles and with no rain predicted for spring, the devastation of the big dry may only get worse.

Local Beef Cattle farmer Matilda Quera, runs a property on the outskirts of Bathurst where she has found it hard to care for her 200 head of stock in this dry period. 

“This drought is starting to really hit home, these days a sound of a vehicle means feed time to the cows, it’s heartbreaking to see them so hungry,” she said.

 

She also said it was very difficult to source good quality feed at the moment, and if you could source it, it’s very expensive.

Full load of hay being delivered to drought-stricken farmers in the Central West. IMAGE: SCOTT ARMAS

“To roll a B-Double through the gate of decent quality hay, you’re looking at anything from about 9 to 12 thousand dollars.

Mrs Quera among other farmers have ordered costly trucks in on a regularly basis over the last 12 weeks. 

“I’m roughly spending 1500 to 2000 dollars a week to keep my animals alive, and I’ve got a lot of work to do,” she said.

 

Mrs Quera explained some of the other financial struggles currently faced by farmers.

This continuous financial strain caused by the drought, has seen no income coming in until the end of next year for farmers and their families.

Mrs Quera said the farming community were lucky enough that there were people out there trying to help by fundraising and donating. 

“Some great effort has been put in by the charities around such as Aussie Helpers, Drought Angels and Buy a Bale to name a few.”

“These guys are actually holding the rural community together.”

Matilda’s property in some desperate need of rain. IMAGE: ALANNA TOMAZIN

She believed this was the dire situation that everyone seemed to be in at the moment.

“Everyone is just sort of hanging on and hanging on and hanging on… but you know, it’s just going to get to a point where people just can’t hang on anymore.”

 

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