A “HEARTWARMING” dinner was held at Loomberah Hall on Friday to show support for and solidarity with local farmers.
The event attracted about 150 people from on and off the land, who enjoyed hot meals, companionship and a surprise guest appearance from poet Murray Hartin.
Loomberah Hall Committee president Derani Barwick said the group had decided to organise the event “because morale is low and everyone is feeling the pain of the dry weather”.
“We wanted to put a night on for our farming community to say, ‘We’re here for you – let’s get together and have a nice meal and a laugh’,” Mrs Barwick said.
Scone-based Rural Resilience Program co-ordinator Caroline Hayes heard about the event and secured the last-minute services of Hartin.
“Part of what we do is networking, regional engagement and wellbeing, and this very much fits under that aspect,” she said.
Mrs Hayes said the hall committee was “very progressive” and the area’s residents “really proactive”.
“They are very much people who are very community-minded, who really try and help themselves.
“I thought this was fantastic – a golden opportunity to give them a bit of leverage in what they’re doing … for us to endorse it and make it a little bit extra for the guests.”
Mrs Barwick said Hartin “made us laugh, he made us cry, and Rain From Nowhere, particularly, is so relevant to what we’re going through at the moment.”
A sheep and cattle producer herself, she said the drought was “tough for everybody”.
“That’s whether they’re feeding or making that really hard decision as to whether or not to offload stock.
“If they’re going to feed, is that going to be available? It’s getting harder and harder to source, and then there’s the cost of it.”
She said there was also “an air of frustration”.
“The fact that we haven’t been drought-declared at this point is quite disappointing.
“We feel like we’re doing this on our own and they’re not acknowledging how hard this is.”