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The brunt of the drought

The brunt of the drought

The brunt of the drought

It was clear when speaking to Kylie that her life as a farmer has been incredibly hard. Both Kylie and her husband, Greg, came from farming families and have been feeling the brunt of the drought for years.

“You can deal with most things in life if there is an end in sight but with the drought there just didn’t seem to be a clear end. Before the rain came I felt like I was at my lowest point,” said Kylie.

I was moved when I heard Kylie speak about the bond she and Greg shared with the NRMA volunteers Frontier Services organised to come out and help on the farm for a week.

“I just couldn’t believe that these professional people took time out of their busy lives to come and help us,” she said.

NRMA volunteers at Kylie and Greg’s property near Nyngan NSW.

The volunteers really helped to lift Kylie and Greg’s spirits at a time when they were at an ultimate low.

“The volunteers really helped to just give that burst of energy that we so needed,” said Kylie.

“Even just having the Reverend call us and check how we are helps so much.”

My heart sank when I heard of the struggles that Kylie and Greg faced. During the worse of the drought there were very bad dust storms and the animals were in awful shape with infected, red eyes.

“It was so hard to see our animals in that condition. It really makes the reality of the situation sink in. We just didn’t think there was any way out of this,” she said.

Kylie and Greg felt a glimmer of hope when the rain came. “People were really relieved with the wet weather but were very wary to buy back into stock,” she said.

Just as things were starting to get better, COVID-19 hit and the joy disappeared.

“COVID-19 has affected us farmers greatly with the export market and the national market,” she said.

Kylie and Greg are wool producers and the wool industry has had a huge knock due to COVID-19. China is said to be going through a second wave of the virus and are not buying wool from Australia currently. Australian wool is also exported to Italy and currently that is also on a halt due to how badly Italy was affected by the virus.

“Some people are having to sell their wool for less than it’s worth just so they don’t get into worse debt,” said Kylie.

“We are probably going to end up having an oversupply of wool. Many of us can’t do business currently due to COVID-19 on top of the droughts. It’s just a very hard time,” she said.

Farmers Kylie and Greg with Frontier Services staff and NRMA volunteers at their property near Nyngan NSW.

I really felt for Kylie when she told me that she and her colleagues are going to have to keep borrowing in order to survive.

Kylie said that the rain has been a great respite as well as knowing that there are organisations such as Frontier Services that really care about farmers.

“If you want to help it’s important to support organisations such as Frontier Services,” said Kylie.


This article is adapted from the August 2020 edition of Frontier News.