Farmer giving hand to others struggling during drought

All it took was a chat over a cup of coffee for Shoalhaven farmer Leeanne Oldfield to decide she needed to help out her fellow farmers.

Without delay the Nowra to Dubbo Drought Relief Drive was established. To date more than $20,000 has been raised, in addition to numerous donations of feed for stock, groceries and everything in between.

“It’s bigger than I ever expected. Really it’s because the town has just gotten behind it. I think it’s just time to give back and help the farmers,” Ms Oldfield said.

As a farmer herself, Ms Oldfield said she had already cut her stock back to 40 per cent. However, she said she considered herself lucky because her property was on a river plain.

“I’ve been fortunate and I want to help the farmers who haven’t,” she said.

Department of Primary Industries data released recently shows almost 22 per cent of NSW is suffering intense drought, 40 per cent is in drought and nearly 38 per cent is drought-affected.

As word of the drought relief drive had spread, Ms Oldfield said she had already fielded calls from as far as Carcoar from farmers asking how they can get some help with feed. On Monday morning, Ms Oldfield said a Wellington lady had rang with a similar request.

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The Nowra to Dubbo Drought Relief Drive will be held on August 27. Ms Oldfield said she is also considering holding anther one in either September or October and taking supplies to Gunnedah.

On Saturday, a family fun day at Shoalhaven raised more than $6000 towards the Nowra to Dubbo Drought Relief Drive.

“We’ve had hay donations, we’ve received cheques from individuals in the community,” Ms Oldfield said.

She said it was “quite an eventful day” and she was amazed by the Shoalhaven community’s support.

“When we drive into Dubbo I hope to do a live feed and then they can see how big this has got,” Ms Oldfield said.

Ms Oldfield praised the local sponsors who made the family fun day “bigger than expected”. However, she also encouraged more donations as she hopes to reach her target.

Family fun day host Kim Treyvaud said they were inundated by donations from people “who you would not expect”.

“The Aussie spirit is at 150 per cent,” she said.

“Everybody has helped steer the message, the whole community is pulling together for these farmers.”

Anyone who wants to follow along with the drive or make donations can do so through the Nowra to Dubbo Drought Relief Drive.

Donations to the drought drive can also be deposited directly to BSB 732 668 and account number 500 383.

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