WHEN LOCH resident Janie Stace decided to do something to help drought affected farmers in New South Wales, she had no idea how big her ‘Dubbo Drought Drive’ would become.
Originally planning to drive up to Dubbo on her own, with her ute and trailer loaded up with stockfeed, Janie’s now found herself at the helm of a huge operation involving three semi-trailers carrying over 60 tonnes of feed, as well as other essentials for farmers in need.
The haul has been collected in the space of just three weeks, after Janie put the call out for people to sponsor a bag of sheep or cattle feed via the ‘Crazy For Ewe’ Facebook page, and started reaching out to businesses like MG Trading in Korumburra, asking them to reserve a space in store to collect donated stockfeed and staple items such as mineral blocks, milk powder and dog food.
A sheep grazier herself, Janie said she was compelled to do something after seeing the ravages of drought on a trip to Tamworth earlier in the year.
“A girlfriend and I went to Tamworth in January and there was no feed and no animals. And then when we did a bit of research, we found out how bad it was and rang around to see who needed help, and Dubbo was it, so we thought, let’s do that.”
Janie set up the Crazy For Ewe Facebook page along with a team of six other farmers from across Gippsland, keeping the motto ‘from little things, big things grow’ in mind.
“You just have to think, OK, we can’t save everything, but if we can save some, if we can stop a farmer having to find feed for two weeks, three weeks, it’s worth it,” she said.
“Although they are far away, this is where everything comes from. This is where your wool comes from, this is where your meat comes from, this is where your crops come from.
“If we don’t look after these farmers, then we’re essentially going to be paying 10 times more for everything.
“But it’s not about us. It’s about those who are just living through the hell. It’s just heartbreaking. You can’t help everyone but the ones that you can help, you can give everything to them that you possibly can.”
The Crazy For Ewe team has been blown away by the community’s response, which has included over 600 bags of stockfeed donated across farm supplies stores in Pakenham, Lang Lang and Korumburra, and over $14,000 in cash donations from across Gippsland.
“The community response has been amazing. Absolutely amazing. Everyone has jumped on board. The trucks have been donated. The fuel has been donated. No one has said no.”
Manager of MG Trading in Korumburra Warren Lawry was happy to see plenty of locals supporting the drought drive by donating goods to the Crazy For Ewe pallet instore.
“It’s great to see the community spirit, and we’re glad to help in any way we can. Without Aussie farmers, we’d be out of a job.”
The Dubbo Drought Drive will be setting off from various sites across Gippsland, including Korumburra, on August 25.