Farmer Kev is grateful for the support of Frontier Services’ Outback Links volunteers. Their company and practical assistance has been a source of hope through a bleak drought that continues to drag on.
We visited Kev on the property that he’s owned for almost 40 years.
“It’s been pretty horrendous,” he told us.
The station spans over 140,000 acres in Central Western New South Wales. And the drought has hit the area hard.
Running cattle and goats on the station through the drought meant that they were constantly worried about being able to feed and water the livestock.
“We had no feed whatsoever,” Kev told us, “and virtually no water.” We could hear the emotion in his voice as he spoke to us about how heart-wrenching it was to see his livestock become so poorly.
“You drive over the bank and there’s 150 goats bogged and you have to pull ’em all out, one by one, with a piece of rope,” he explained.
“It’s really hard because you know that they’re probably not going to survive.”
It’s a situation that makes it difficult to be hopeful.
And because it’s one that happens far from the major cities, Kev explained that “it’s almost like we don’t exist, it’s like we’re the forgotten people out here.”
He told us that if it wasn’t for charities like Frontier Services, they wouldn’t be here.
He said that the Outback Links volunteers were a “massive help.”
Being on the farm during a drought can be extremely isolating and Kev loved that having the volunteers around meant he was, “hearing other stories from other walks of life.” Plus, there’s the added bonus that volunteers bring practical help for the farmers they visit.
“You get three times as much done as what you do when you’re on your own,” Kev told us.
It was lovely to see Kev laughing and smiling as he spoke about the impact that the Outback Links volunteers had. He told us that the competitive side of him would come out when he had volunteers on the property;
“When you’ve got someone there it gives you a lift and your energy levels seem to go up because you want to say, ‘I can keep up, I can do that too!'”
Kev told us that he’s even stayed in touch with some of the volunteers who have been out to help him.
While they’re spending time on the property Kev explains, “you get to know them and their families.”
So, even after they leave Kev often hears from them because of the connections made during their stay.
For now, Kev has hope for the future.
He told us, “we’re one good rain away from having good feed.”
But however long he has to wait for rain, Kev knows that he can count on Frontier Services to stand with him and continue to bring hope.
This article was adapted from the November 2020 edition of Frontier News.