Drought-affected families on Central Highlands’ farms received a neighbourly message of support this Christmas.
Six families received a handwritten card from Bundaberg State High School students. Delivered via Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey and Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Kerry Hayes, the simple gesture had a positive impact on the families who spent their Christmas caring for livestock and improving water infrastructure.
‘It’s just lovely to think that someone else is thinking about you.’
– Trina Patterson, Bottle Tree Downs
‘It’s nice to think that people that aren’t on the land are thinking of people on the land.’
– Melissa Hawkins, Serpentine
‘It’s a very heartfelt gesture and it’s lovely to know someone is thinking of you.’
– Sheena Crittle, Penrose
‘I felt very privileged to get a card from a student from the coast and it uplifted our spirits that people care.’
– Kerryn Piggott, Christmas Creek
Managing the drought
The families are focussing their daily work on caring for livestock and water resources until the drought breaks.
Some are weaning early and feeding calves and cows separately, while others are feeding much of their breeding stock or supplementing with nutrients to keep livestock in a condition to regenerate when rain brings fresh grass. Others are beginning to reduce their overall herd numbers.
Maintaining and upgrading water infrastructure
For some families, monitoring water levels has become a daily task, others have fenced-off their dams or laid extra pipelines and installed troughs to make water available where dams have gone dry. Many take the opportunity to clean out dams in view of having bigger and better dams when it does rain.
For all these families, managing the drought means other improvement projects have been put on hold and budgets have been adjusted. Some were successful in receiving grant funding for implementing their drought management plans.
Mayor Hayes said the families showcase how the region’s farmers are being practical, responsible and resilient to the climatic conditions out of their control.
‘Our region provides over $1 billion of agricultural output to the nation and it’s not easy to keep doing that in adverse conditions like we are experiencing now,’ he said.
‘It’s hard work for everyone and the kind gesture from these students from Bundaberg gives us the chance to reflect on why we do it.
‘And it’s a good opportunity for our council to make sure we are showing our support.
‘The stitch-in-time approach by many farmers will stand us in good stead when the season breaks – a lot of good planning happens in dry times.
‘It was very kind of Mayor Dempsey to get this initiative rolled out and I’m pleased the families that received cards appreciated the sentiment in them.
‘All our farming families really deserve the recognition and their positive response was very uplifting.’