British cousins to learn of big dry Down Under

THE crippling drought conditions bearing down on the region are beginning to gain international attention, with a BBC production crew flying in to Tamworth to document the plight of local farmers.

The Sydney-based team, made up of English journalist Phil Mercer and Scottish cameraman Matt Leiper, touched down on Wednesday afternoon and spent some time with deputy mayor Russell Webb surveying the parched land on his cattle, wheat and sorghum property west of Tamworth.

British Broadcasting Corporation, the equivalent of the ABC, is expected to air the two-and-a-half minute segment early next week.

In addition to prime-time TV, the story will feature on the BBC World News website and on BBC radio, which reaches a whopping 180 million listeners per week alone.

When asked if the British were aware of the drought’s enormity, Mr Mercer said he believed they were beginning to, but added they were consumed with their own extreme weather events, which have included severe flooding in recent months.

While here, Mr Mercer spoke with the councillor about the economic and emotional toll facing farmers and their families, as well as his thoughts on the Abbott government’s recently-announced drought relief package.

Yesterday the duo investigated the “supply end of things” at Armidale saleyards before travelling to meet with the vice-president of the NSW Farmers’ Association, Richard Chamen, at his farm near Currabubula.

The team was expected to fly back to Sydney last night.

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