A NEW Border appeal to help drought-hit farmers has begun as preparations are finalised for a further 1500 bales of hay to be taken north by a convoy of 25 trucks.
Ken Lacey was inspired to raise funds to aid those struck by the big dry after recent media reports.
“My wife and I were watching Sunday Night on television and she started bawling her eyes out when they had a report on the farmers struggling with the drought,” Mr Lacey said yesterday.
“She said ‘you’ve got to do something about this’.”
The former hobby farmer and jockey approached his boss at Lavington business Mark’s Spray Barn and has since put fund-raising buckets there and at fellow rural enterprises Landmark and Elders.
“In Albury-Wodonga there’s 80,000 people and if everyone donated there’s $80,000,” Mr Lacey said.
“All I’m wanting to do is help the poor buggers out — they’re doing it so tough, it’s devastating.”
Mr Lacey’s efforts follows truck driver Brendan Farrell’s successful hay drive that saw 800 bales from Riverina farmers trucked north from Burrumbuttock on February 7.
Mr Farrell is now finalising a second and final run with 1500 squares and rolls due to be transported by 25 trucks on April 4.
“We’ve had a lot more hay donated, especially in the Mitta area,” Mr Farrell said.
“They’ve been very generous up there and that’s been a godsend — they’ve really opened up their pockets.”
Mr Farrell has also got support from West Australian farmers for his latest run with another 20 hay-laden trucks coming across the Nullarbor to join the convoy at Cobar.
Despite struggling by on four hours sleep a night and working 50-hour weeks, the effort had been worthwhile.
“I’ll never forget seeing the farmers coming in when we came with the hay,” Mr Farrell said.
“Some farmers drove 200 kilometres for hay and there were kids clapping with banners on the roadside in Bourke and Cobar.”
Mr Lacey is keen to organise another hay drive and is arranging for bales to be dropped off at the Henty Machinery Field Days site.
Those wishing to help with hay donations can phone Mr Lacey on 0429 999 440.