For many residents of Sydney their knowledge of the drought in NSW is what they see on the evening news. The fish kill near Menindee on the Darling River or the fact the Namoi & Barwon Rivers are dry and are no longer providing the township of Walgett with drinking water. But this drought is affecting areas a lot closer to home than many city people realise. One such example is a dairy farming family operating on the outskirts of Sydney. The farm (Country Valley Dairy) at Picton in Sydney’s south-west (some would suggest on the edge of suburbia) has been in the Fairley family for more than 160 years and they have endured dreadful drought conditions.
“The farm has been in the family for too long to walk away so in May last year we put out a call for help to keep going” said Sally Fairley. “John and I came up with the idea to ask some locals to adopt a cow by donating money to keep them in feed until spring.” The appeal went out on social media and there was a tremendous response but this scheme alone was never going to see them through this drought.
It was these social media posts asking for help that first captured the attention of ACC member Kathy Snell (Golden Westerners branch). It seemed timely last month when the ACC initiated its Drought Assistance support scheme, that the Fairley family farm could be a good candidate for assistance. Kathy called Sally Fairley for an update on how things are going. “Although some rain has fallen we’re still a long way from being able to declare the drought is over and some hand feeding continues. Any donations we receive now go towards paying outstanding accounts with our creditors, who have been most understanding of our situation” said Sally. Two weeks later Kathy was able to inform John & Sally Fairley that the ACC had approved assistance in the sum of $350.00. “Thank you so much for speaking on our behalf to your club as we really appreciate your support and kindness” said Sally Fairley.
“This is a good example of how the ACC can assist our farmers and farming town communities with a cash donation” said Graham Humphreys, the ACC Drought assistance contact representative. Branches and members are encouraged to think about how you can help out a rural family, community groups or a rural assistance body. Applications are still open, so don’t miss this opportunity. For more information and guidelines visit the ACC website and go to The Club > Club Documents > ACC Drought Assistance Support Guidelines.