IT’S tragic! The ravages of drought and fire have hit our farming cousins in other parts of the state and beyond hard this year.
And, as they always do, the Wonthaggi community has answered the call.
Organised the Wonthaggi Lions Club, contractors got together at the weekend with landowners Tony and Teresa Cuzzupi to cut and bale 30 acres of hay, for the ‘Need For Feed’ initiative and more local hay is expected to follow.
Tony and Teresa own a farming block on the edge of town and usually sell the standing hay, but this year they found a better use for it.
“We’re in god’s country here, it is as green as you could ask for, but if you drive even just an hour out the other side of Melbourne, you can see how dry it is,” Tony said.
“The farmers over there are struggling, the drought has really bitten hard and they need some help.”
The donations are being organised by the local Lions whose Pakenham branch has been running the emergency relief program, Need For Feed, for a couple of years.
Need for Feed supplies emergency fodder, household goods and transport to farmers in need across the country. They have delivered almost a 1000 truckloads of hay worth, over $8 million since they started.
Wonthaggi Lions Club member Colin Willmott is organising the effort. He says that now the bales are rolled up, they should be getting to the farmers who need them most first thing in the New Year.
When Glen Alvie dairy farmer Ian Hitchings got wind of Tony’s donation, he offered his machinery free of charge, as well as his son Ben and his grandson Tom to do the work.
“We are so fortunate to live here, and we are chuffed to be able to do something to help the people who don’t have it as good as us, even if it is just giving emotional support to them and showing that there are people here helping,” Ian said.
All up, it made 158 bales, and Colin said that they are looking to send even more up to the drought and fire-stricken areas.
“One hundred properties were burnt out up there yesterday, and there’s been 1000s since these fires started. They need our help,” Colin said.
“We’re now looking for more farmers in the area who can spare a few surplus rolls, it would go a long way whether it’s five, 10 or more.”
Anyone who is interested in donating hay or volunteering for the program can call Colin on 0408 579 477.
Hay Mate – Wonthaggi Lions Club help out