Friday, February 3, 2023
HomeNewsRural Aid: Reality of farmland destroyed by flood

Rural Aid: Reality of farmland destroyed by flood

- Advertisement -

For Aussie farmers, the devastation of drought is well-known, but a recently shared photo has shed new light on the horrific realities for the many farming families torn apart by this year’s floods.

In the distressing image, provided exclusively to news.com.au, a lamb lies dead in a decimated pasture, its rib cage exposed. In the background, lifeless crops can be seen once crushed by floodwater and now lying limp and dry.

It’s a sobering wake-up call for those who believed the devastation would end when the floodwaters receded – but it also reveals how the average Aussie can help.

Scott Darcy, the farmer who owns the land where the horrific photo was taken, told news.com.au of the “massive devastation” his Forbes property endured in the NSW floods earlier this year.

“It was the biggest flood the Lachlan Valley has seen for lifetimes,” he said.

“The losses are in the hundreds of thousands – maybe millions. Some farmers won’t ever recoup from it.”

Mr Darcy said his family – which consists of his wife Jackie and daughter Heidi – was cut off from the rest of the country by floodwater for more than seven weeks, after a record 230,000 megalitres of water spilt from the Wyangala Dam.

“Our three amigos dealt with a lot of stuff during the flood. Sandbagging, moving stock, moving product out of the way of the water,” he said. “Watching the bodies of our lambs floating in the floods, that was the most gut-wrenching thing.”

His pasture paddock was destroyed, packed solid by more than a metre of floodwater, and may remain untillable for years.

Last week, Mr Darcy received a welcome helping hand, in the form of a donation hay bale dropped on his doorstep in time for Christmas.

The Buy A Bale campaign, run by Rural Aid, was created during the Millennium Drought, when much of Australia’s farmland was dried out beyond recognition. Earlier this year, it was revived to tackle the opposite but equally devastating problem.

Mr Darcy said he was able to keep his remaining 1800 sheep live by feeding them “once every four or five days” with the hay delivered by Rural Aid – which was picked up by a friend, after Mr Darcy’s truck was deregistered when he couldn’t take it for a roadworthy while flooded in.

The delivery was just once of more than 700 bales – 480 tonnes – of hay delivered by ten road trains to Forbes last week, but Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said more was needed.

“The return of the Buy A Bale program is in recognition of the fact that 2022 has been the year of the flood,” Mr Warlters told news.com.au.

“The water has receded, and it’s now that all of the hard work truly begins. People have to pick up the pieces and get their land back into some semblance of order. It’s not just their home, it’s also their business, and losing just one of those would be difficult enough.

“We certainly don’t cast any judgment on people for having their attention focused elsewhere, but we believe we need to keep these floods front of mind.”

Alongside Buy A Bale, Rural Aid provides Aussie farmers with financial and mental health support, sending their counsellors directly to the farm gate to make sure rural families have access to care. They predict the funds required to support flood affected communities will exceed $50 million.

Story Credit: news.com.au

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular