13 road trains of hay head into fire-ravaged parts of WA

This Saturday, 13 road trains will set off with over 1000 bales of hay, to assist farmers affected by WA’s recent bushfires.

The Corrigin Hay Run has been organised by charitable not-for-profit, Farmers Across Borders.

The road trains will set off from Esperance at 6am on Saturday February 19, and travel along the South Coast Highway, through Ravensthorpe, Lake King, Hyden and into Corrigin.

Farmers Across Borders is a group of farmers and truckies from WA, providing assistance to farmers who have been affected by drought and other natural disasters such as floods and bushfires.

President and co-founder Sam Starcevich says the organisation did its first hay run in 2014. The second hay run wasn’t until 2019, and it was then that Farmers Across Borders became a registered charity.

As a farmer herself, Starcevich knows all too well how devastating the effects of drought can be.

Based around 100km north of Esperance, Starcevich is a broadacre farmer. “We had sheep too but with the ongoing drought it just became too hard. We don’t have any ground water so would have to cart it from Esperance, so we purely rely on what falls from the sky,” she explained.

“Last year, we only just had our average rainfall, but on one of our farms we were still below average. Last year the potential was there for a really great year but then we had a really dry August and September. All our dams are basically dry again.”

Starcevich wanted to find a way to assist other farmers who were doing it tough due to drought. “Farmers Across Borders came about because of drought. I went through drought and we had help to get through. This was a way of paying it forward. Since we started, we’ve done quite a lot of hay runs – some are big and some small with just one truck. It is all run by volunteers and we fundraise to pay for fuel for the trucks.”

For Saturday’s run, the hay will be dropped off at a depot in Corrigin, where a relief team will distribute it to those who need it most.

Among those taking part in the run is Farmers Across Borders vice president Ross Stone. “He organises the runs and has been on every hay run since our first one. He lost his farm due to drought and frost and is very passionate about helping other people,” said Starcevich.

In addition to Saturday’s hay run, Rio Tinto has donated 2000 bales of Rhodes Hay to help with WA’s bushfire recovery effort.

“Rio Tinto has come on board so there’s hay coming from the Pilbara and Matic Transport is bringing that down over the next few weeks. That will be going to Narembeen, Wickepin, Bridgetown and Denmark. So other trucks are organised to do additional runs in coming weeks,” said Starcevich.

“And we have more stockpiles in Esperance if people need them. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support, which is lovely. It highlights what happens in regional areas. Sometimes I wish we didn’t have to do it through negative events but the positivity that comes out of it is brilliant.”

For more information on Farmers Across Borders, or to donate, click here.

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