Practical speakers with a message to share at drought forum

SOMETHING TO SAY: Part of the large crowd that listened intently to this speaker at the Local Land Services Drought Forum.
SOMETHING TO SAY: Part of the large crowd that listened intently to this speaker at the Local Land Services Drought Forum.

LAST week’s Drought Information Forum was attended by more than 100 worried producers (more than 50 per cent of them ladies) and they listened intently to a brace of practical speakers.

It was a great opportunity for people in similar circumstances to touch base with their peers and compare the way each of us is handling the current situation.

Because the hoped-for autumn break failed to happen, many producers are facing the prospect of hand-feeding stock at least until September.

The gathering resembled a funeral early in the meeting, but after discussions and a few wry laughs, the feeling seemed to change and become much more positive.

Lamb, mutton, beef and wool markets are certainly strong enough to give incentive to battle through the dry time and attempt to secure feed and lodgings for as many animals as possible.

Feed can be sourced and is costly, but the financial rewards are on the horizon and I think that horizon is coming closer.

Some observations from the back corner of the hall:

  • Appreciation to Local Land Services (LLS) board member Howard Sinclair for attending and taking notes.
  • State Member Paul Toole’s staff networking with many farmers.
  • Rural Assistance Authority offering $20,000 low interest loans and possible help if you’re really stuck.
  • Practical opinions from senior LLS staff Clare Edwards, Bruce Watt and Brett Littler. These people have a lot of experience in working close to the farming community and remind us of how the Rural Board system operated for many years prior to LLS.
  • The time has probably arrived for the NSW Government to show real support to genuine primary producers and a 50 per cent fodder freight subsidy would be a great morale booster and quite a smart political strategy.
  • Several comments were made at the gathering and are worth repeating. One comment: “Farmers who are in a really stressful situation at present don’t appreciate wise owl advice from either a politician or a drought co-ordinator.” This seems to be giving the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party a free hit when arguing drought support policy.

Seeking support

A NOTICE of motion to Lithgow City Council from former mayor Maree Statham requests NSW Government assistance for a diesel fuel subsidy for the trucking transport of drought fodder for hungry livestock.

Maree detailed her notice of motion to the Local Land Services Drought Forum and was rewarded with a round of applause.

A petition will be posted on the web this week and supportive producers are urged to add their names. Website details will be in next week’s column.

Play it again

LOTS of early morning ABC listeners were pleased to hear Bathurst Regional Council ranger Margie Gaal being interviewed as a “playlister” and neatly outlining her Bathurst career since the early 1980s.

Reputation is everything in the livestock and small animal handling game and Margie’s reputation is for commonsense and excellent people skills.

I’m sure that all concerned will join me in saying thank you, Margie, and we hope for many more years of your skills and friendship.

STATE OF JOY: Diana Stewart’s grand champion White Dorper ram at the State Sheep Show in Dubbo. He certainly looked the part with his prize-winning ribbons.

STATE OF JOY: Diana Stewart’s grand champion White Dorper ram at the State Sheep Show in Dubbo. He certainly looked the part with his prize-winning ribbons.

Showing off

A FURTHER win for a district stud sheep breeder at the recent NSW Sheep Show in Dubbo went to Diana Stewart, Harewood White Dorpers at Rock Forest.

Diana’s two-tooth ram was awarded senior and grand champion White Dorper ram and judge Christo Harmes, Castlebar Stud, Gunnedah, commented “he was the best ram in the class by far; great spring of rib and terrific muscling from head to tail”.

The Harewood stud sheep have a tranquil view of the Macquarie River with a one kilometre frontage and I’m told they have a great appetite for wattle tree seedlings.

Passed the test

A QUICK salute to one of Bathurst’s Living Legends, Rockley Larnach, who has passed a senior’s driving test with almost flying colours. Also a cheerio call to his wife, Jan, who has had a few health problems.

Diary date

THE annual general meeting of the Bathurst Merino Association will be held on Monday, July 2 at the Perthville Hotel at 7.30pm.

Laugh lines

THE florist mixed his orders. One lady received a flower basket from hubby at a Canberra conference with a card that said: “Deepest sympathy.” Another dear lady, who was recently widowed, received a flower card that said: “Much hotter here than I expected; a shame you didn’t come too.”

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PRESIDENT Trump and his attorney general were in an upmarket restaurant in California. The attorney general ordered ribs with all the trimmings and the president asked for a “quickie”. The shocked waitress came back with the manager, who explained: “I’m sorry, Mr President, the item is quiche.”