An army of volunteers is ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on a number of local properties over the next week.
Rural Aid’s Mega Farm Rescue started on Monday, with more than 160 people heading out onto 13 local farms to help with fencing, machinery repairs and maintenance.
They will be painting, repairing rooves and guttering, doing plumbing and electrical work, even replacing a floor in one home.
The “farmy army” is camping at the Showground and began working shortly after arrival, painting, installing a new oven and fridges and generally conducting a big working bee.
Tracey Alder, one of the founders of the charity Rural Aid that’s behind the Farm Rescues, says this is their biggest effort to date.
Rural Aid was born in 2013 when Tracey and her husband Charles saw a devastating photo in a newspaper of a farmer faced with having to shoot stock.
“We decided to ask some questions … what are people doing for farmers?”
They couldn’t find any real answers, so they started asking people to buy a bale of hay for those struggling to feed their stock.
The charity has grown from there, delivering stock feed to farmers affected by fire, flood or drought; and connecting volunteers with farmers who need work done.
As drought hit Forbes this year, hot on the heels of 2016 flooding, they were contacted by local businesswoman Kim Lowe, and the Forbes Mega Farm Rescue was born.
“Forbes is quite special, it’s the first country town to get a Farm Rescue this size,” Tracey said.
Tracey says people feel compelled to help farmers.
She spends most of her time on the ground, visiting farms and talking to people doing it tough, and she says being able to lend a hand to someone in need “really does affect you”.
“It’s just the most amazing feeling, you do feel like a changed person,” Tracey said.
The team is also determined to support the Forbes community while in town, with a “how much have you spent today?” challenge box at their Showground headquarters.
“It’s not just about the farmers, it’s about whole rural communities,” Tracey said.
The call for recipient farms went out earlier this year.
Source: Forbes Advocate