Club is Meckering's second home

Jo FulwoodCountryman

For the tiny town of Meckering in the central Wheatbelt, the local sporting club is a home away from home for many of its 300 residents.

Funding for maintenance and improvements to the building is often hard to come by, and is the reason their community cropping program continues each year.

According to local farmer Ashley Burges, the Club, as it is affectionately known, plays an important role in bringing the community together, particularly during tough seasons.

"There isn't much else here, and it brings everyone together. It's good to get off the farm and socialise, relax and talk to other people," he said. "It's somewhere to go other than just home."

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Mr Burges said the community cropping program involved just a handful of local farmers, who volunteered their time to seed and harvest the crop.

Together, they crop almost 140 hectares over two separate blocks, both of which are leased commercially.

The group has sown wheat on both blocks this year, and while a small portion of the chemical and fertiliser is donated, most of the inputs are paid for at commercial rates.

Meckering farmer Ian Siegert, who also volunteers his time to assist with the community crop, said the program raised a good income for the community in most years.

"Obviously it depends on the year, but we rely on the funds to keep the Club operational," he said.

Mr Siegert said while June had been dry, the blocks had received 61mm in May, and 61mm in July, which would hopefully set them up for reasonable yield potential.

Mr Burges added that money from the cropping program had been used to fund upgrades to the outdoor area of the Club, and also went towards improving the kitchen, putting down new floor coverings and building a new cool room.

"We are proud of what we've got and we're lucky," he said.

We are proud of what we've got and we're lucky. Ashley Burges

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