MUSWELLBROOK dairy farmer John Scott labelled Coolmore Australia’s generosity “exceptional” after four trailers laden with hay arrived at his Kayuga property on Friday.
The prominent stud farm, based at Jerrys Plains, donated $154,000 to Rural Aid’s Buy A Bale, which equated to 16 semis arriving in the Upper Hunter in the past week, providing a bit of relief to the men and women on the land.
Residents from neighbouring properties also benefitted, as well as Upper Hunter Riding for the Disabled who collected five rolls.
“It’s a big gift,” Mr Scott said.
“It is not only a real help [to us], it’s local.
“Genuine farmers have been seeking assistance for a while, so it’s great to see the hay going to people who need it.
“We’re very thankful for the donation.
“We have been in drought for at least two years.
“But, it has only really come to the attention [of other people] in the past six months.
“It’s not going to get easy any time soon, however we’re extremely grateful for gestures like this.”
The latest round of drop-offs began at the weekend, with a couple of loads delivered around McCullys Gap on Saturday.
Coolmore Australia principal Tom Magnier admitted he related to the plight of those struggling at the moment.
“My family’s been farming since the 1850s,” he said.
“So, I understand what it’s like when they experience hard times.
“We just wanted to help out – and give back to the community.
“I know a lot of people around Australia are doing the same.
“But, I hope this is a little bit of respite.
“I’ve seen first-hand how dry it is in some parts of the Upper Hunter – and it’s tough for everyone.
“There are many organisations [like Rural Aid] helping throughout the country.
“However, the more support people can give them, the better.”
Rural Aid counsellor Gary Bentley praised Coolmore Australia for its big-heartedness, too.
“We rely on everyone being charitable, as we’re delivering hay in three states,” he said.
“It’s a monumental job.
“In fact, last week was a record number of hay trailers moved.
“And, the demand continues to grow.
“So, support from Coolmore Australia is most welcome.
“A lot of corporates have been generous in recent times, which is fantastic.
“But, we still have a lot of work to do.
“There is a long way to go.”