As daylight broke over the Avon Valley, Western Australia, on Monday, 22 trucks and half a million dollars of hay started the journey to Condobolin, NSW.
With the temperature hitting a chilly one degree, 50 truck drivers and volunteers huddled around a fire on the outskirts of Northam in preparation for the journey.
They are now trucking about 934 tonnes of hay across the country and are expected to arrive in Condobolin by Thursday.
With NSW facing the worst drought of the century, the 1600 bales will be only a small step in the marathon journey that farmers on the East Coast are on.
The hay will be distributed to more than 200 farmers in Condobolin, Tullamore, Tottenham, Nymagee and Lake Cargelligo.
The 3500km trek was organised by international organisation Rapid Relief Team (RRT) and lead by Gnowangerup farmer and Commodity Ag chief executive Alan Richardson.
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Mr Richardson said he was approached by RRT to lead the convoy operations because of his knowledge in the industry.
The 22 trucks were hired by RRT, with most at discount prices from companies such as Jolly and Sons, Dalwallinu Haulage, Watsons Express Transport, Duraquip, Dallcon, Centurion and Stevemacs.
“The hay came from New Norcia, Dowerin, Tammin and Koorda,” Mr Richardson said.
“I would like to give a special thanks to Glenvar Hay in New Norcia who donated a whole truck load of hay.”
Mr Richardson spent a week finding hay, sorting quarantine issues and permits to get the hay to the east.
He also organised the stops along the way where the convoy and support crew would stop.
Mr Richardson said RRT’s focus was for the needs of humankind.
“If we can just save one life with these loads of hay then it’s worth it,” he said.
“Hopefully it can encourage others to do more.”
Currently Eastern States farmers are being forced to pay up to $600 for a bale of hay.
“It’s a lot of hay for us to send over but it’s only a drop in the bucket for what’s need to help the farmers in the drought,” Mr Richardson said.
He said the 1600 bales would feed 1000 cows or 20,000 sheep for 23 weeks.