IT’S not often that a group of farmers meet to talk about their struggles but that’s what happened at family-owned property “Bullarer”, 54 kilometres outside of Scone.
Farmers here, like the rest of the Upper Hunter, have been hit hard by the recent drought and it’s hoped that a donation of $200,000 from mining company Glencore to Rural Aid’s Buy A Bale campaign will provide some relief and encourage other companies to step in and do the same.
About 40 farmers and their families gathered with representatives of Glencore, Rural Aid and Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen to talk about the assistance that is out there and thank Glencore for their contribution.
Operations manager at Glencore’s Mangoola Open Cut mine Tony Israel says the company opened their pockets following a conversation with Mr Johnsen earlier in the month about what could be done to help drought-stricken local farmers.
“My chief operating officer, Ian Cribb, contacted our local member, who then contacted the Buy A Bale campaign and that’s where it started,” he said.
“From then it was elevated through to Glencore’s global head of coal, Peter Freyberg, who wholeheartedly supported it and provided a $200,000 donation.
From then it was elevated through to Glencore’s Global Head of Coal, Peter Freyberg, who wholeheartedly supported it and provided a $200,000 donation.
“We are all doing it tough – 80 per cent of Glencore’s land is under agriculture.
“I’m really proud to be here today to be part of this program.”
James and Karen Carter are fourth generation farmers and have run the 1260-acre cattle property “Bullarer” at Stewarts Brook for 28 years.
Mr Carter says Glencore’s donation has brought the local farming community together – something that hasn’t happened in a long time.
“It’s also given us a little bit of hope,” he said.
“Before this we weren’t getting anything and we couldn’t find any help anywhere.
“And, before we found out about Buy A Bale, we didn’t think there was any help out there.
“It means we can keep our core breeding herds for a little bit longer.”
“It’s given us that little bit of hope to keep carrying on and it means we can keep our core breeding herds for a little bit longer”.
James Carter – “Bullarer”
Rural Aid’s Tracy Alder said the impact the charity is having on farmers was “overwhelming”.
“It’s also gratifying because we know we are making a difference and we will be able to continue making a difference with that big injection of funds from Glencore,” she said.
“So we will be here in the Upper Hunter for a while to come yet.”
Mr Johnsen welcomed the contribution and reminded the farming community that they need to talk to each other but also put up their hand if they need assistance.
“There is assistance out there, but we don’t know what we don’t know,” he said.
“I’m very thankful for Glencore for making this donation and the emotional impact it has in particular in lifting the spirits of farmers is enormous.”
Mr Johnsen said following the NSW Government’s announcement this month of a new Drought Transport Fund to provide a $20,000 low interest loans to help with transport and water costs, there has been over 200 loans granted.
“In the Upper Hunter about three weeks ago there were nine new applications in one week and one of the things we are trying to do is ease the application process so that it isn’t too hard,” he said.