Is it just me or does everyone hate that while we celebrate another good beach day, farmers are on their knees begging for rain?
Peter Donelan is the former principal of Siena Catholic Primary in Sippy Downs, his son Damien and daughter- in-law Georgina have 11,000 acres at Talwood between Goondiwindi and St George. They run cattle and do some cropping when weather permits. It’s been three years since they last had a crop to harvest and this year has been the driest since records began in 1902, so again, there will be no cropping and no feed for cattle.
Earlier this year Damien made the devastating decision to sell his breeding livestock.
Just in time, a friend from out west rang with a proposal. He said Damien could agist on one condition. He and Damien have both bought bull dozers and with a massive chain between them, 12 hours day, two days a week, together they rip mulga trees out of the ground as feed to keep the cattle alive. It’s a 500 km return trip Damien makes twice a week.
It’s a long time since the farm has supported Damien’s family, so in his spare time he does contract fencing.
The fencing, out of interest, is a high netting wire fence that keeps dogs, pigs and kangaroos out. Ten kangaroos eat the same feed as one beast, so if you have 2000 kangaroos on your property, 200 head of cattle potentially go hungry.
The Darling Downs looks as dry as the moon right now and the top soil doesn’t stand a chance.
Peter Donelan is desperately worried about his son’s family and he knows they are not alone.
So how can we help? Well, Peter has an idea.
Last week Peter rang Top Catch Charters in Mooloolaba. He told Trent from Top Catch about his son and wondered if Trent might offer Damien a discount on a day of fishing.
Trent did not hesitate. So today Peter and Damien are heading out off Mooloolaba for a day of father son bonding on the water, to forget about life for a while.
Peter thought if prompted, others might do something similar. Do you know a farming family you could offer respite to? Are you going away and could offer your home for a free beach getaway?
There is no organisation behind Peter’s plan, just a hope that people might act on their own to reach out.
If you can spare cash, go to www.adoptafarmer.com.au via Rural Aid. If you want to help a farming family directly try contacting a church, Rotary Club or CWA branch in any drought affected area, I am sure they will find you a family in need of a break.
We can’t make it rain nor can we feed a farmer’s cattle. But we can show them care.