HAY BAILS OUT NORTH

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Albany’s Damon Lawrence was humbled to be part of a State convoy to deliver 1200 bales of hay to drought-stricken areas in WA.

Mr Lawrence has not worked as a full-time truck driver for seven years, but he got back behind the wheel of a roadtrain last weekend to help struggling farmers in Meekathara, Cue and Mt Magnet.

“They are doing it pretty tough out there. They haven’t got any rain for a long time,” he said.

Trucks from Albany, Esperance, Boyup Brook, Northcliffe and Wandering took part in the State convoy organised by Farmers Across Borders last Saturday.

They travelled more than 2800km in four days to deliver hay from Esperance to the golden outback. Mr Lawrence, who got back to Albany on Tuesday, said the experience had been life-changing.

“The hay that we delivered only goes so far, but it does help out in the real, practical sense,” he said.

“But I think what these farmers really appreciate is the glimmer of hope that we’ve given them to survive through the tough times.”

In January, Farmers Across Borders helped deliver 3500 tonnes of feed to drought-stricken parts of New South Wales.

The weekend’s journey was believed to be the biggest charity hay run in WA’s history, with hay and straw sourced from farms between Esperance and Geraldton.

Local transport operator Mick Pratt, who was involved in the January convoy, said he joined in to lessen the strain on farmers in drought-stricken communities.

“Depression, mental illness and suicides are big issues in the farming community,” Mr Pratt said.

“That delivery in January went to at least 300 farmers, so if you work that out, it’s not actually a lot of hay for each of these farmers.

“But we know from our statistics that it would mean farmers are there to open presents with their kids this Christmas.”

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