The struggle continues on the land - but there is also hope, and heartfelt solidarity from across the divides of profession or location. Our farmers and their supporters share their thoughts with the NDL.
Eighteen years ago I moved to this area and fell in love with a farmer. Little did I know the journey that lay ahead would be filled with daily struggles and hard times.
Our family has endured the floods, where we lost everything we owned, and now the last five to six years of drought.
Nothing can prepare you for life on the farm. Every day is a love-hate relationship.
The last few years I have watched the grass turn from green to brown and then slowly to nothing at all, leaving nothing but the clouds of dust that shroud our land and all it touches.
There are the mouths to feed and finding money to feed them. Firstly there are the seven humans to feed, then came the 60 lambs, a calf - and when the grass was gone, all of the livestock.
The normal daily, weekly and monthly bills never stop rolling in. There is no year 11 or 12 here, so we have no choice but to find the money to pay for boarding, which is awfully expensive but necessary if you want your child or children to finish their education.
Sometimes we have to stand by and watch helplessly as animals and all we have worked for die around us. Even though there is feed like pellets, hay and lick there, they just give up ... there is nothing we can do ...
We fight on each day and hope lives in our hearts that things will improve. Generations of families have lived and loved this land I now call home and, despite the hardship, the struggles and financial and emotional pressures, I as a farming woman will keep going on.
Marie Sweedman, sheep farmer, Texas.
"I love rain so much."
Oscar Swan, 7, from a Merriwa cattle farming family, in his notebook.
Got it all wrong
You have it all wrong and you are killing our agricultural industry. You are throwing money into a funding bucket where you have the lid on so tight people cannot get into it, pure and simple.
I work for clients in Tenterfield and across the east coast of Australia and predominately our client base are farmers, and I have ONE client that is receiving farm household allowance ...
At what point are we going to ensure the assessment or eligibility for farm support is reasonable, fair and effective?
You can add to the fund bucket all day long, but if farmers are not eligible for the payment you are reaching no one and helping only a few.
Our government need to apply more attention to the assessment process to ensure all of our farmers are getting some form of support - regardless of what they did yesterday and how they performed in the last 12 months, it's now that counts. Without it, agriculture in Australia will not survive.
Kristen Lovett, director, KLAS Business + Accounting, Tenterfield
Never give up
"There is nothing like an Australian farmer. They can bring great Aussie food to our supermarkets, houses, kitchens and then finally to our tables, where excellent food is shared around encouraging conversation, caring and family time. I understand how hard it is for you all right now and no words can express the gratitude I have for you all ... I understand you have had to make some hard sacrifices to make ends meet and that's what hurts me the most. All I can do is keep praying and hoping that rain, lots of rain, comes your way. Never give up 'cause we all care, more than you will ever know. Once again, thank you very much for all you do and have done and will continue to do for years to come.
Gayle Bloomfield, former chef,
'Waiting for rain'
For many months we've had no rain,
The ground starting to crack,
Every morning I pour the grain,
Looking at the dirt track.
Animals malnourished, so sad,
Their thin ribs I see,
We're running out of time,
They're dying, like the trees.
There is no rain that's falling down,
The dry ground haunting me,
The once green field, now desert brown,
Such pain that I can see.
The overwhelming pain I feel,
Knowing I can't provide,
I am slowly losing my will,
My fate I can't decide.
Every night I lay awake,
Praying for falling rain,
Hoping for everyone's sake,
That rain will end our pain.
Sometimes I wish to end my life,
I often wonder how,
But we have suffered through this strife,
Too long to give up now.
Ruben Sherriff and Grace Lawless, young cousins with family on the land
All in the mind
Sometimes the depressing elements of drought make you feel like giving up and questioning your future in farming.
At what point is enough ... enough? Day in, day out, farm feeding tasks continue, fencing repairs, machinery breakdowns, bills to pay, no income, increased financial strain. The juggle of it all takes its toll.
Yesterday, another decision made. Cattle needed multi-vitamin treatments. But when we start to stop making decisions, it becomes a problem. Just make a decision, right or wrong. It is the decision-making process that will keep us going during these tough times.
Sometimes I do question the workload, the financial burdens, the emotional and physical strain. It is at this point that I need to remind myself of why.
Why do we keep nutting away at it? Why do we persevere? Why? Why? Why?
To protect and secure the future of agriculture in our nation. To ensure Australian food security is sustained. To hold onto a legacy and an industry that we love. That is why!
My family simply love Hereford cattle. They have a passion for breeding quality cattle and producing the desired product. When you see the passion in their eyes and hope for a future, you mutually fight the fight alongside them.
I took a photo in the stockyards yesterday: a beautiful mob of baby calves, quietly waiting for the process of their treatments and then to be returned to their mothers in the dry, desolate paddock again.
I like this photo because I see hope. I see farm production. I see the future of agriculture in its rawest form.
The dust swirling in the background significantly depicts working conditions, yet I am grateful to still breathe every day. Focusing on what I am grateful for in my life gives me the strength to face the struggles, the decisions and the adversity in my path.
Conditions are horribly tough on-farm in a drought; it is how we react and respond within ourselves that is the key. We cannot control the weather and many other aspects of farming, but we can control our own thoughts and reactions.
Karen Weller, Winton cattle farmer