STOCK are starving, the paddocks have turned to dirt, debts are rising, and there’s not even enough water to have a shower or wash the dishes.
Currently, drought is impacting 99.8 per cent of the state and the lack of rain has led to crippling conditions for many primary producers.
At the start of this year, Bathurst couple Grant and Chezzi Denyer signed on to be ambassadors for Rural Aid to help bring awareness to the plight of farmers and raise funds to help them during their time of need.
Recently, they flew to a Brewarrina property with Rural Aid’s Farm Rescue program to lend a hand to a primary producer who has been struggling with the drought.
The Denyers helped rebuild the shearers’ quarters and also heard from farmers just how tough times had become.
“He [the farmer] was at that drastic situation where he was pushing the shrubs over with a dozer so the sheep can eat the leaves off the shrubs,” Mr Denyer said.
“That’s the only form of feed he had left. That’s breaking point. He certainly can’t afford to buy bales of hay.”
He [the farmer] was at that drastic situation where he was pushing the shrubs over with a dozer so the sheep can eat the leaves off the shrubs.Rural Aid ambassador Grant Denyer
Mr Denyer said the landscape in Brewarrina, and much of the state, was “torched” with “skinny stock just hanging on”.
“There’s just not a speck of feed on the ground,” he said.
Mr Denyer said farmers were spending thousands of dollars each week to keep their property’s afloat.
“They’re trying to gamble on whether to hang onto their stock or get rid of them all,” he said.
“The problem is when you get rid of all your stock, is when the rains do come you can’t afford to restock.
“Often it takes five years to recover from one bad year of drought so it’s a really long, drawn-out, painful process for many farmers.”
Mr Denyer said the drought was not only taking a financial toll, but also an “incredible emotional toll and mental toll”.
“There’s a lot of farmers out there who aren’t doing very well, we’re afraid they’re not putting their hand up for help and the mental health situation is at a critical level,” he said.
Mrs Denyer said as they were flying west to Brewarrina, the difference in landscape and lack of feed was “extraordinary” when comparing it to Bathurst.
“There’s no water in dams, it’s all red dust,” she said.
Celebrity chef Miguel Maestre was also among those in the Farm Rescue group and he cooked up a feast for the volunteers.
Nominations for Black Tie and Boots Ball are open
IT can be hard to ‘switch off’ from the relentless drought, but the upcoming Rural Aid Black Tie and Boots Ball may be the opportunity some farmers have been looking for.
The Denyers, along with Macquaire Medi Spa, have donated six double passes to the ball on Saturday, August 11.
The community is encouraged to nominate a Central West farmer who is doing it tough and would love a great night away from the property.
Tickets include canapes, dinner, live entertainment, dancing, competition and games, and a whole host of fantastic prizes with auction and raffles throughout the evening.
All proceeds from the evening will go towards the establishment of a dedicated Central West rural mental health counsellor.
If you know a deserving farmer, who will be free on the night to attend, make a nomination below.
Nominations close at 11.59pm on Sunday, August 5.
Tickets to the ball can also be purchased online.