Spare a thought for farmers and our small country towns

Raelene HallMidwest Times
Drought affects everyone in the community.
Camera IconDrought affects everyone in the community. Credit: Raelene Hall

What is a drought? I could find a very detailed technical explanation in the dictionary but, in my eyes, it’s when any farming enterprise struggles to run due to a lack of rain.

Generally, I’d say, there is always some place in Australia suffering from drought.

Some may only be short term, two or three years, others could go on for a decade.

Droughts in Australia can be traced back to the 1800s.

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Every farmer will deal with drought differently.

Droughts in cropping areas are very different to stock farmers dealing with drought.

Likewise, all farmers will have their own method of dealing with a drought.

A drought isn’t usually newsworthy until it has become a record-breaking, soul-destroying event, driving some people to breaking point.

When the media does report a drought, the pictures are usually distressing and then the farmer becomes fodder for radical animal activists.

The impact of a drought is far more widespread than many people realise.

The effects will flow on to those who are the next step in the chain of farming — stock carters, grain carters, livestock buyers, the machinery salesman, casual farm workers and the local fuel company — who will all suffer from a drought.

A prolonged drought will see people tightening their belts and not spending as much.

This leads to fewer community events happening, which begins the vicious cycle of isolation.

How can you help? Well, if you are hooking up the caravan and heading off, remember the small towns in the bush.

No matter how small a town, if you stop and spend a few dollars there, you are going to contribute to the future of that place.

The area may not be in drought but there is nothing more certain than it will be one day.

The continual support of the public will enable those businesses in town to hang on and, in turn, hopefully support their farmers in times of drought.

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