Sixteen b-doubles carrying 1379 bales of hay and silage were a welcome sight as they travelled in a convoy into Wingham on Wednesday, May 19.
For Telegraph Point farmer Keith Schmutter, the delivery was the light after two months of dark times that saw their home, property and livelihood impacted by the floods.
Keith travelled from Telegraph Point to pick up his allocation of hay. He and his wife are now living on a caravan on their property as the flood level reached three feet inside their house.
Keith runs a small farm of 50 head. He didn't lose any animals during the flood, but 33 bales of silage floated away, and half of his paddocks have "not much grass" on them since the floods.
Every one of his fences was wiped out in the flood, and he has spent the last eight weeks fencing.
It has been two months since the floods, but the help that is still arriving from outside the community is still desperately needed.
The hay run was courtesy of the Rapid Relief Team (RRT), based in Sydney.
The hay and silage was donated by RRT and farmers from the Southern Highlands. Half of the load was for Wingham, the other half was driven to Kempsey to be given to farmers in the Macleay region today (Friday).
They had an extra semi carrying all the camping gear needed for the army of 40 or more staff and volunteers, coming from all around NSW, who converged on Wingham Showground early on Thursday morning to deliver the hay to farmers who had registered for help.
Delivering the hay was not the only reason for the visit to Wingham. The charity also provided a free barbecue breakfast, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, barista-made coffee, and soft drinks to farming families and anyone else who turned up.
They also organised for a range of services to attend and assist with any other needs farmers might have following the March floods. These included mental health services, Local Land Services, TAFE NSW, Service NSW, MidCoast Council, CWA Wingham Branch, Safework NSW, NBN, the police Rural Crime Prevention Team, Hearing Australia, Department of Primary Industries, the Energy and Water Ombudsman, and the RSPCA was handing out free pet food and bedding.
"It's a bit like a mini-field day for the farmers, and the drawcard is the free bales of hay," RRT managing director, Ron Arkcoll said.
Mavis and Rob Walsh run a dairy farm at Killawarra and are grateful for the bales of hay given to them by RRT.
"It's excellent. Every bit will help because the cost of hay has skyrocketed because of demand," Mavis said.
The Walsh's story is a common one told by other farmers at the event - their paddocks have been covered in silt, flood rubbish, and have held too much moisture to be of any use.
Farmers are only now starting to plant pasture on those of their paddocks that are ready, and it is late in the season to be planting.
There are shortages of seed because of people needing to replant pasture that was flattened in the floods. Many of them are still cleaning up their paddocks after the floods. Feed that had been stocked up for winter is being used now, leaving little left for winter.
"We're all about helping those who are doing it tough as a result of a natural disaster or crisis," Mr Arkcoll said. "RRT is known for community, compassion and support."
RRT is the charitable arm of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, and the hay run is part of RRT's Farmers Community Connect program.
"Along with the hay, part of Farmers Community Connect is we support mental health for farmers," Mr Arkcoll said.
This is not the first time RRT has visited the area. The Rapid Relief Team visited Taree on December 18, 2019 after the bushfires to provide support to bushfire victims and the wider community.
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