Assisting fellow farmers is the motive behind Brendan Farrell’s drive to deliver hay to stock producers struggling with drought conditions across much of Queensland and north-western NSW.
Mr Farrell grew concerned in 2013 that very little support was on hand for families around Bourke and the fourth-generation farmer from Burrumbuttock in the southern Riverina decided to deliver hay to help them feed their stock.
“You don’t have to be a millionaire or a registered charity to help someone,” Mr Farrell said.
The first convoy at the end of 2013 consisted of 22 trucks delivering hay to affected farmers.
“The response was overwhelming, it was unbelievable” he said.
“We saw 75 year-old farmers crying because of the generosity of those who took part in the first convoy.”
Through social media, the concept has developed to where Mr Farrell is now busy coordinating the logistics of delivering over 5000 round and square bales of hay to a 300 kilometre radius of Ilfracombe in western Queensland.
Mr Farrell said the program only continue because of the generosity of farmers, truck drivers and business people.
“The momentum has grown since the first run because people see they are helping their fellow farmers,” he said.
“If we continue to get donated hay we will keep carting it.”
Mr Farrell said all the hay has been donated, and fuel expenses are covered by sponsorship at a rate of $2000 for each prime mover.
“We are now getting sponsorship from all over Australia,” he said.
“International awareness is growing with moral support coming from the UK, USA and more recently South Africa.”
That international support is encouraging because Mr Farrell said he is disappointed by the lack of response from the federal government.
“We are letting Australia and the rest of the world know, Queensland and northern NSW are still struggling with drought,” he said.
“Our governments are quick to help people overseas, but are slow in helping our farmers.
“We want to make sure third and fourth-generation farmers stay in business.”