Paddocks are green from recent rain but farmers are barely hanging on for another hard year, according to volunteers with the Mid North Coast Farmers Support (MNCFS).
Formerly Doing It For The Farmers, the group supplies donated hampers filled with food, gifts and equipment to around 30 farming families in the Mid North Coast.
Volunteers deliver around a dozen hampers each week to properties in Wingham, Taree and the Hastings.
Recent rain has done little to ease the pain of farming families, said small scale farmer and MNCFS volunteer Coral Reichelt.
"I have compassion for farmers and I know what it's like. I married a farmer and we were farming before we came to Port Macquarie 30 years ago," she said.
"Just because they have had rain doesn't mean that instantly their problems are all over.
"A lot of farmers have downgraded the number of their stock. Those breeding lines of stock across the generations may have been sold off because there isn't the feed for them.
"It's going to take a few years to get over this drought and bushfire period.
"We need people to be aware that farmers are still in dire straits and let them know that we care. They have been through more than we can imagine.
"It's alright for us to work and to be able to put our hand out for wages each week, but farmers can work hard for 12 months of the year and they get nothing because of the drought or flooding."
Members of the public can donate goods through the group at the following outlets SPAR Express Clifton Drrive, Coles Lighthouse Beach, Coastal Screens & Glass, Deep Kneads Massage, Wauchope Rural Centre and Phil Dykes Auto in Kendall.
There is also a monthly drop off day at Black Market Bagels in Port Macquarie.
A Rollands Plains farmer, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it could be another 18 months before farms were back to pre-drought incomes.
"The hampers have been fantastic, they have filled our pantry and we have little things we wouldn't have spent the expense of getting," he said.
"The combination of all the farmers support groups such as MNCFS, Country Women's Association and Buy-A-Bale campaign is helping.
"We are holding our head just above water, with a lot of help. Other farmers are cautiously optimistic that they can start making money if the rains hold.
"We are still going into a hard winter and a lot of farmers will not have any money to splash around for feed, we will make do with what we have got.
"Before the rains I had 10 dams and nine of them were empty. I've been here 42 years it was by far the worst drought I've ever seen.
"The negatives that we are now facing is the massive debt we have accrued over the last 18 months. We are seriously considering cashing in our superannuation just to clear the debt.
"We have no stock to sell, we are running about half what we normally run. We got rid of a lot in the early stages of the drought and lost six or seven through the drought.
"The weeds are also coming back 10 times faster than the grass. Certain grasses that are usually good food value after a drought and heavy rain are toxic (due to rapid growth).
"I've got nothing to sell this year and for the next six to 12 months, but there is light at the end of the tunnel."
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