the second driest continent on earth…
Sadly, the famous poem by Dorothea Mackellar extolling the harshness of Australia’s landscape is all too accurate. Australia is, in fact, the second driest continent on earth – following Antarctica. Droughts seem to be a common occurrence, but many farmers are saying this is the worst drought since 1902.
This week, 100% of NSW, nearly 60% of Queensland and large parts of northern Victoria have been declared to be in drought. The Autumn rainfall for 2018 was the second lowest since recording began in 1900, following a record breaking year of heat in 2016/17.
Farmers right down the eastern seaboard are having to hand feed their stock with hay and grain because there is no grass left. And that feed is having to come from South Australia. Some experts believe that by December, even that will be difficult as stocks of feed dwindle.
This may seem like a country problem, but when we consider that 93% of our food is grown by Australian farmers, not to mention wool and cotton for our clothing, it is an everybody problem. If it were a flood or fire – a natural disaster – the government would be stepping in with massive aid packages. But what could be a more natural disaster on the second driest continent on earth that drought? And whilst the government is starting to come up with packages, the problem is now so widespread that this just won’t be enough.
One organization that has been helping farmers in drought since 2013 is Buy A Bale. Since its inception it has delivered over 160,000 bales of hay to farmers – and stock – in need. Since starting with hay bales, the organization has now joined with Rural Aid and expanded to include gift cards to help feed the farmers and their families, and two innovative programmes – Farm Army and Farm Rescue.
The Farm Army programme is for people who would like to volunteer their time helping farmers. This is particularly aimed at tradies. It can often be difficult for farmers to get tradies in remote and rural areas and this initiative helps farmers keep their farms operational.
Farm Rescue is a little like the reality tv shows you sometimes see. You can volunteer your time to join a team helping out a farmer with whatever needs doing – hand feeding stock, mending fences, repairing buildings or equipment.
At Precision Health Spine and Sports Clinic we would like to do our part to support the farmers. We invite all our patients to please consider making a gold coin donation when you next visit the clinic. We will match dollar for dollar every donation by a patient. We would love to raise enough for at least 5 large bales of hay, so please be generous.
And if, over the coming weeks, you have an appointment on a Monday or Thursday you may be lucky enough to stumble upon a Bake Sale to help the cause. And who can resist a cupcake or a home made toffee…
So next time you visit the Clinic, have some coins ready to give those who keep this country fed a helping hand until this ‘opal-hearted country, a wilful, lavish land*’ sees fit to rain on them again.
* I love A Sunburnt Country by Dorothea Mackellar