FARMING can been an isolating experience, especially when the region is in the grips of a drought, but Sallys Flat grazier Geoff Rayner says he has found a place of support.
Just under a month ago Cassandra McLaren, a primary producer in Merriwa, created a Facebook page called One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) and it has quickly grown to be a place of support and encouragement for those on the land doing it tough.
The page was inspired by struggles on her own farm, their stock sell-off due to the drought and lack of fodder, and one day in particular when her eight-year-old daughter “burst into tears” watching their stock being driven away.
One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) is a public discussion page for those impacted by a drought, and in less than a month 10,000 people have become members – they are spread across drought-affected zones and also in metropolitan areas.
“They were all feeling alone and isolated and there is nowhere for people to turn to,” Ms McLaren said of many of the group’s membrs.
Mr Rayner said he and his wife Robyn have experienced great support from the group’s members as they struggle to feed their sheep and cattle at their Sallys Flat property.
“It helps when people share their stories,” he said.
“People do get bogged down in their own little world worrying about where to get feed from and how long it’s [the drought] going to last.
“When you look at that Facebook site and see, these people are in a worse state than us. It brings back to you that you’re not in it on your own and you’re not as bad as others.”
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Ms McLaren said having hope was vital when you are a primary producer and the page had provide an abundance of hope and support.
“That’s been a big part of the discussion on the page, without hope what have you got? You’ve worked hard to have what you have and what you do,” she said.
Ms McLaren said data provided by Facebook shows her that engagement with the page had reached 104,000 people since the group started.
“As a group we have shared hope, happy and sad moments, workshops, socials and drought information,” she posted to the page on Wednesday.
“We have been there for each other to make sure everyone knows they are not alone.
“We have drawn the attention and support of so many caring non farming Australians which has helped us all carry on.”
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