Resourceful staff at the Carinity Brownesholme retirement village near Toowoomba are doing their part to help drought-stricken local farmers, many of whom are being driven to breaking point.

“We had the idea to harvest our unused paddocks for hay as many local farmers are struggling with the drought and the extraordinary increased cost of feed for their animals,” says Carinity Brownesholme Village Manager Garry Slik.

He found a local farmer who kindly harvested the hay, supplying the equipment and manpower. The result was 320 hay bales distributed to six farming families in Highlands and Goombungee, 35 km north west of Toowoomba.

Amanda Parks who runs a horse farm at Highfields, expressed “extreme gratitude” for the bales of hay donated to her family. She said the ongoing drought had all but destroyed them.

“If only you could have seen the relief on my 11-year-old son’s face when he came home that afternoon and there was hay to feed his beloved sheep, some of which were bottle-fed orphans,” Amanda says adding “he had already mentioned to me that he understood if he didn’t  get presents this Christmas, as long as he could have a bag of chicken feed and a bag of sheep feed.”

 As the Park’s main income was horse breeding/trainers (and not a primary producer) they did not qualify for larger drought relief.

With water tanks almost empty, bare paddocks and the tripling of the hay price Amanda reluctantly returned to full time work to keep the family’s head above water.

Amanda urged people in the community to support struggling non-primary producer farmers by donating to the QCWA Public Rural Crisis Fund.

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