It was called the Hay Run Hoedown, when Roger Vickery and a convoy of representatives from ARB escorted close to $40,000 worth of hay, from a fund-raising drive at their 26 Queensland stores, on a run out west.
The idea came about because ARB is synonymous with the rural and outback of Australia, so organiser Shaneen Sweeney from ARB Burleigh Heads, thought it was appropriate that they show their support to drought stricken farmers.
The ARB donation went to the drought appeal campaign called Buy A Bale, which encourages groups or individuals to donate to purchase hay, water, groceries and fuel for rural communities that are doing it tough.
Buy A Bay, through Rural Aid, also has a program called Farm Army with a network of farms that are looking for extra sets of hands from city folk who have time or skills to help them out. It’s a great way to give back, and make new friends.
On the way out to meet the road trains carrying their hay, the ARB team overnighted in Roma at Ups n Downs Caravan Park & Farm Stay. It has all the facilities needed for a short or longer stay, and the camp kitchen with its fire pit are a popular hangout as the sun goes down.
Queensland’s Maranoa region has been drought declared for five years, and some areas have been without any rain for three or more.
Some of the best beef in Australia comes out of the Maranoa, but without rain, many farmers are in strife. They can’t make business plans, and they’re looking to the skies and living on hope.
One of the harder hit areas, as far as lack of long term rain goes, is around the town of Mitchell. So it is to the Mitchell Showground that an impressive ARB convoy of utes and road trains arrives with more than 420 large bales of much-needed hay. Money to pay for it has been raised by Queensland’s ARB stories, and the hay’s off-loaded and distributed to grateful local farmers on the Buy a Bale register.
If you want to lend your support in person, and you’re planning a trip out west, then talk to the folk at your local ARB store to make sure your vehicle’s equipped for the journey. They can also direct you to Rural Aid for more information about how to help.
The plight of our rural communities is dire, and there are a lot of people wanting to show they care… including musician Peter Cupples, who’s written a tribute song called “Backs Against the Wall”. If you listen to his music and lyrics, it may encourage you to donate to a very worthy cause like Queensland Drought Appeal: