Help farmers in the New England-North West region battle the drought

DROUGHT: A glimpse of the drought in the New England-North West. Pictures: Top: Ren Simon, Chantelle Maree, Kelly Bridge, Kathy Gaynor, Tee Aye Ess. Middle: Lauren Lindfield. Bottom: Marilyn Smith, Tee Aye Ess, Ana Stasia, Fiona Margery, Chris Paterson.
DROUGHT: A glimpse of the drought in the New England-North West. Pictures: Top: Ren Simon, Chantelle Maree, Kelly Bridge, Kathy Gaynor, Tee Aye Ess. Middle: Lauren Lindfield. Bottom: Marilyn Smith, Tee Aye Ess, Ana Stasia, Fiona Margery, Chris Paterson.

New England-North West farmers are battling a crippling drought and they need your help to survive it.

The Northern Daily Leader, Namoi Valley Independent, Country Leader, North West Magazine, Armidale Express, Inverell Times, Guyra Argus, Moree Champion, Tenterfield Star, Walcha News, Border News and Glen Innes Examiner have joined forces with the charity Rural Aid and its Buy A Bale campaign to help New England-North West farmers as they fight to survive the challenging conditions. 

These Fairfax Media mastheads have also united with sister newspapers across the state to launch a NSW drought petition, which urges the state government to offer farmers relief on the cost of freight, fodder, water and Local Land Service rates as well as offer the collection of livestock genetics, and restocking/replanting loans after the drought breaks.

Scroll further down to see what the mastheads are doing with Buy a Bale.

More than 70 per cent of the North West, which includes Tamworth, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Walgett - and the Gwydir, Moree Plains and Liverpool Plains local government areas - is in drought or at the onset of drought according to the state government’s Combined Drought Indicator.

This system looks at rainfall, soil moisture and pasture growth. 

Here’s what the drought looks like in the New England/North West

Take a look at the North West 

DROUGHT: 70 per cent of the North West is in drought, or at the onset of drought. Source: NSW government Combined Drought Indicator (June 2018).

DROUGHT: 70 per cent of the North West is in drought, or at the onset of drought. Source: NSW government Combined Drought Indicator (June 2018).

On top of that, 29.4 per cent of this region is classified as borderline and likely to dip towards drought given the Bureau of Meterology’s forecast. 

It’s a similar story across the Northern Tablelands – which includes Armidale, Uralla, Walcha, Glenn Innes, Inverell and Tenterfield. 

Take a look at the Northern Tablelands

DROUGHT: More than 41 per cent of the region is in drought or at the onset of drought, and 58.3 per cent is borderline and also likely to move towards drought. Source: NSW government's Combined Drought Indicator.

DROUGHT: More than 41 per cent of the region is in drought or at the onset of drought, and 58.3 per cent is borderline and also likely to move towards drought. Source: NSW government's Combined Drought Indicator.

More than 41 per cent of the region is in drought or at the onset of drought, and 58.3 per cent is borderline and also likely to move towards drought. 

The unfolding situation has left paddocks full of dust, water resources dry or drying up and fodder being sourced from as far as South Australia at exorbitant freight costs.

NSW Central managing editor Chad Watson said the Fairfax Media mastheads had united to help make a difference.

Farming is such an important part of the New England and North West. We are partnering with Rural Aid to help the farmers who have been hit hard by the drought,

Managing Editor NSW Central Chad Watson

Rural Aid chief executive Charles Alder said hay trucks were already being organised to bring some relief to drought-stricken farmers. 

Buy A Bale truck on its way to a drought-stricken farm

“Rural Aid's drought program Buy a Bale has swung behind the dire need of farmers in the New England-North West and will over the coming weeks work to provide the assistance these farmers are calling out for,” he said. 

We need the people and companies of the New England-North West to get behind our work and help us buy the hay and water we need to supply,

Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder

How can you help?

Donate to buy hay, water and groceries

TOUGH TIMES: Main picture: Landholder Liz Coxhead with Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson on her property in April 2018. Top right: Cows stand hear a shrinking dam. Picture: Tee Aye Ess. Middle: A dog walks in a dusty paddock. Picture: Vicky Hawthorne. Bottom: Cattle being hand fed. Picture: Local Land Services.

TOUGH TIMES: Main picture: Landholder Liz Coxhead with Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson on her property in April 2018. Top right: Cows stand hear a shrinking dam. Picture: Tee Aye Ess. Middle: A dog walks in a dusty paddock. Picture: Vicky Hawthorne. Bottom: Cattle being hand fed. Picture: Local Land Services.

Funds raised for groceries will be used to buy gift cards at the farmer’s local supermarket. That way, the money raised in the New England-North West will go back into the region’s economy.

Money put towards water will be spent locally while hay will be sourced from outside the New England-North West and transported to farmers because of a lack of supply in the region.

Go shopping for a farmer

Rural Aid will then make hampers which will be distributed to farmers across the New England-North West.

Want to get involved at work?

Pop money in a barrel, or help fill a hay truck

Take on the challenge at work and see how far you can go. 

Businesses can also sponsor a truck load of hay. Sponsorship money will flow into the New England-North West account and be put towards supplies. 

Want to know more?

Take a look at the NSW drought with this interactive map

Press the + button to zoom in and then click on the suns to look at pictures from across the state.

Read more about the drought in the New England / North West