Aussie Hay Runners (AHR) has gained approval to head to the Inverell region in response to the recent bushfires in northern NSW.
The first trucks are expected to arrive there from this weekend in what is being billed as the runners’ biggest mercy mission yet.
AHR said this run has been made possible with the support of the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, Scott Stevens and the Heyfield Lions Club, Ray Akers of Gippsland Hay Relief, on ground locals Peter and Beth Sandral for Inverell, Susannah Simpson for Ashford, AHR founder Linda Widdup and her small team of volunteers.
This mammoth run will be the 17th for AHR with hay donations coming from all over Victoria and will see 109 trucks travelling a whopping total of 204,990km, carrying 3700 bales of hay valued at $351,500, directly helping 321 farmers, their families and in turn, their communities to recover from fires.
“AHR are very proud to help our farmers, it’s not a handout – it’s a hand up,” Widdup said.
“These drivers and their amazing trucks, some still on the road in our 45 truck continuous convoy to Tenterfield, will be loading up and, over the next few weeks will set off in large groups in a “continuous convoy” until all 3700 bales have been delivered.”
AHR are acutely aware of other areas desperate for their help and in addition to the 45 trucks currently running into Tenterfield, 34 trucks will head to the Upper Hunter next weekend, 27 trucks will head to the Bega Valley the following weekend and then final two runs for 2023 will be announced very soon.
“We live at Bluff Rock, Tenterfield,” wrote one farming couple on the group’s Facebook page.
“We had enough feed to last us until March and we were stocked accordingly. The fire burnt 98 per cent of our property leaving some very stoic but hungry cattle. We have been handing feeding each day since and the cows bolt with joy when they hear the tractor coming. This hay run has been a real gift from God and we thank you!”
To make a donation, visit the group’s Facebook page here.
“One hundred per cent of your donation will be used to purchase hay,” Widdup said.