We recently partnered with Qantas Cabin Crew Team to bring twenty skilled volunteers to farms around the township of Moree, New South Wales. By the end of the week, lifelong friendships had been forged and jobs that had been neglected for years were finally complete.
Three generations at Bingara
For Greg Stace, farming runs through his veins. His parents started on a station in Armidale when he was younger. They built up then sold properties, working towards bigger stations to develop until finally arriving at Wyandra, where they graze cattle, sheep and goats.
Now married with five children in tow, Greg and his wife Bethany live on the station with Greg’s parents – three generations on the family farm.
Right now, water is the biggest issue facing farmers in the area. The soil is simply too dry to grow any grass, forcing them to de-stock or pay ever-increasing prices for hay.
Every day, Greg heads out with his father to feed the animals while Bethany looks after and home-schools their children. They have two-hundred head each of cattle and sheep, and over a thousand goats. They normally have double those numbers but the last few years have been really tough.
“It’s by far the worst drought I’ve seen,” Greg said. “I’ve spoken with other farmers and they all say the same thing. Everyone is struggling financially.”
Painting the family home
The daily demands around the farm have prevented the family from repainting their home. It’s been seventeen years since it’s last coat of fresh paint! But that all changed when our volunteers arrived.
Leading the team was one of our seasoned volunteers, Royce O’Neill. He understands that when times get tough in remote Australia, a lot of jobs around the home get neglected. Royce knows that a few extra hands can make a really big difference.
“Painting a house can take a lot of time and the demands of feeding their animals every day makes things difficult,” he said. “So we’re more than happy to lend a hand.”
We learned that Greg had earlier received a quote – for $10,000 – to repaint their home. But that was over two years ago! The painter didn’t show up for the job. It’s a story that’s all too familiar among our farmers. Sometimes, the distance is simply too great for skilled labour to travel. But there’s always a silver lining, as Greg pointed out.
“It’s been really difficult with this drought, so having these volunteers really saves us,” he said. “Ten thousand is a lot of money, and it’d be hard to find that this year.”
“Plus the volunteers have been great. You can sit down and have a chat over a meal. It gives you a mental break from the daily stress.”
By the end of the week, the house started to look more like a home and Royce could feel the morale had lifted on the property.
“You can see that being out here really helps life everyone’s spirits,” Royce said. “We know it’s not life-saving work, but it’s work that helps out the community.”
Our farmers have endured so much for so long. But what’s getting them through is knowing that other people are there for them. People who care and people who are willing to give them a hand up.
You can show Aussie farmers that you care. Register to host your Great Outback BBQ this September, buy Australian grown and share our farmers’ stories with your friends and family. Visit www.greatoutbackbbq.com.au for more information or call us on 1300 787 247.