Harvey Hay Run on the road for bushfire victims
Eleven trucks carrying 300 tonnes of hay left Roelands early on Saturday, bound for the fire-affected town of Cooma, 100km south of Canberra.
The generous gesture, dubbed the Harvey Hay Run, was initiated by Cookernup cattle producers Belinda and Joe Hall.
The humble farmers said the mammoth convoy was about Aussies helping Aussies.
The amount of hay we received in such a short time frame was phenomenal, considering it wasn’t a great hay season for West Aussies.
“The hay will feed 16,000 cattle for a day. It’s a drop in the ocean for what they need, however it’s a start.” The hard-working parents are also making sacrifices, donating half their hay and leaving their 17-month-old daughter Grace with her nan Dianne Diamond while they venture over to help.
However, the Cookernup nanna said little Grace was in good hands.
“I’m so proud of them both, they’ve done such a great job,” Mrs Diamond said.
Belinda and Joe will stay in NSW until all the hay has been distributed to ensure it is getting to where it was needed.
More than 2000 bails have been donated by the South West farming community.
Mr Hall said there was a team on the ground who spent days unrolling the round bales and re-baling the hay into squares to get more tonnage on the truck for the same amount of fuel.
The fuel for the 11 road trains will now cost $140,000, which has been funded by generous community members, South Coast Rural Relief and the Federal Government.
Third-generation Roelands farmer Tom Rose is one of the truck drivers.
“The Eastern States sent firefighters and auxiliary to WA during the Waroona-Yarloop fires, because biodiversity regulations prevented them from bringing over hay. However, we’re permitted to bring hay to them from WA, so that’s what we will do,” Mr Rose said.
“In the past week, we have been inundated with hay donations from the farmers in the Yarloop area, because they know what it’s like to lose their livelihoods.”
Hay contributor Phil Curulli fought the fires on his Cookernup property in 2016.
“We were lucky the wind pushed away from us and we were able to save our farm,” he said.
“Watching Yarloop burn was awful.
“A big fireball rolled in over the hill and left a path of destruction. So we decided to give a bit back because that’s what farmers do.”
Brunswick farmer Murray Piggott also contributed hay towards the cause.
You help out your neighbour because you never know when the return could be needed yourself, that’s just the way farmers operate.
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