In November 2019, an opportunity presented itself to members of the Rotary Club of Hope Island, Qld, to support communities and families out west (particularly in the areas straddling the Queensland and New South Wales border), who were suffering from drought. Fodder for the West was created to raise funds to support farmers feed their breeding stock during the drought. Partnering with the Rotary Club of Tenterfield, NSW, Hope Island members would source and pay for stock feed while the Tenterfield club would identify and verify applicants.
“To date, 870 tonnes of hay, 100 tonnes of soy pellets, 43 tonnes of grain, 22 tonnes of cattle nuts and 20,000 litres of diesel to pump water for stock have been delivered to farmers in need.”
By Christmas 2019, more than $150,000 had been allocated with almost 100 tonnes of stock feed committed to farms in Tenterfield, Mingoola, Bolovia and Dumaresq Valley. Hope Island club member and project leader, Fran Ward, took responsibility for sourcing barley, oaten and sugar cane hay, pellets and palm kernel, as well as coordinating delivery schedules and reviewing applications with Tenterfield Rotarians.
By mid-February 2020, a second amount of $250,000 had been donated to the club to continue their support for farmers. Fran and the other committee members have also been advocating for struggling farmers with state and federal governments to secure stockfeed freight rebates, farmer household allowance applications, and rural counsellor support.
To date, 870 tonnes of hay, 100 tonnes of soy pellets, 43 tonnes of grain, 22 tonnes of cattle nuts and 20,000 litres of diesel to pump water for stock have been delivered to farmers in need.
To facilitate donations, the clubs established a separate trust (the Keith Wilson Relief Trust Fund) to run the project and have also successfully received charitable status and deductible gift recipient status with the relevant government agencies. The project will continue as long as the club has donated funds and a need to support farmers out west with stock feed.