Australia NSW drought: 'I never thought it would be possible to break so many men'

13:06  03 august  2018
13:06  03 august  2018 Source:   9news.com.au

‘Disaster’ looming as grain, red meat stocks dwindle in drought

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The Big Dry: More than 48 percent of NSW is drought affected. (Facebook/ NSW Government). “ It ’s heartbreaking. Like myself as a farmer, as a farmwoman to see these farm men as broken as they are …

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a couple of people that are talking to each other: The crippling NSW drought meant Krystal Haycock (right) had to take a job as drought coordinator with Aussie Helpers to bringing in money for her family. (Facebook)© Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The crippling NSW drought meant Krystal Haycock (right) had to take a job as drought coordinator with Aussie Helpers to bringing in money for her family. (Facebook) When Krystal Haycock’s work phone rings, the voice on the other end of the line is yet another desperate call for help from a fellow NSW farmer.

In the past three weeks alone, 99 farmers have made requests for emergency feed for their livestock. Others have phoned for assistance with groceries, with many more making the difficult call to say they are on the brink when it comes to their mental health.

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“I can see the paperwork… 100 breeding cows, a lot going,” Ms Haycock, drought coordinator for local charity Aussie Helpers, told nine.com.au.

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NSW drought : ' I never thought it would be possible to break so many men '. When Krystal Haycock’s work phone rings, the voice on the other end of the line is yet another desperate call for help from a fellow NSW farmer.

NSW drought : ' I never thought it would be possible to break so many men '. A suspected Russian spy was employed for more than a decade at the US Embassy in Moscow before being fired last year, a senior administration official tells CNN.

“Another says ‘40 have died in the last four days and they’ve got 100 left. No hay left’.

“Another says ‘he’s got 1000 cows, I’m out of hay in four days and I’m out of money’.”

Ms Haycock knows first-hand the devastating impact the drought is having on farmers. Her family once ran one of Australia’s largest Red Angus breeders before the big dry hit.

Her family’s farm, located in “prime country” in Yeoval, central NSW, once had 600 head of cattle, 300 of that number breeding cows.

However, after a feed order failed to show in April this year her family cut back on buying groceries. Financially, she was left with no choice but take a job with Aussie Farmers last month for income to buy groceries and pay electricity.

“The numbers of farmers have increased dramatically. Since I started my job the majority was average size farms, with approximately 100 cows, with 1000 sheep,” she said.

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NSW drought : ' I never thought it would be possible to break so many men '. When Krystal Haycock’s work phone rings, the voice on the other end of the line is yet another desperate call for help from a fellow NSW farmer.

NSW drought : ' I never thought it would be possible to break so many men '. A suspected Russian spy was employed for more than a decade at the US Embassy in Moscow before being fired last year, a senior administration official tells CNN.

“Whereas now the last two weeks I’ve taken non-stop phone calls with really large scale places.”

Farmers on the brink

According to NSW government data, more than 48 percent of NSW is drought affected, with more than 36 percent of the state in drought and more than 15 percent in intense drought.

a man wearing a hat© Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd

As well as taking feed orders from desperate farmers, she said the number of calls from individuals admitting they’re contemplating suicide or on the brink of a marriage breakdown had spiked.

She claimed Aussie Helpers are now taking calls from farmers who are searching for help after first phoning other self-help phone lines. She said one farmer phoned to say he phoned Lifeline as he felt suicidal “so they came and took his guns”.

“It has caused even more pressure because he rang someone for his mental health but it has punished him,” she said, adding that the farmer said he now has to rely on his neighbour to euthaise any dying livestock.

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NSW drought : ' I never thought it would be possible to break so many men '. A suspected Russian spy was employed for more than a decade at the US Embassy in Moscow before being fired last year, a senior administration official tells CNN.

NSW drought : ' I never thought it would be possible to break so many men '. A suspected Russian spy was employed for more than a decade at the US Embassy in Moscow before being fired last year, a senior administration official tells CNN.

“It’s heartbreaking. Like myself as a farmer, as a farmwoman to see these farm men as broken as they are… I never thought it would be possible to break so many men.

“They are suicidal they are distant from their wives. It is causing a lot of relationship breakdowns… almost every woman I speak with are on the brink of divorce. They are taking a break and sleeping in separate rooms.”

If this hardship wasn’t enough, Ms Haycock recalled other phone calls from struggling farmers who have run out of water and have resorted to “third world” bathing.

“There’s no water in our houses. No one has water anymore,” she said.

“I just brought in a truck load … out of water for five days before we could order a truck. A lot of our farmers are in the same boat.

a group of people walking on a sandy beach: More than 15 percent of NSW is in intense drought. (Facebook)© Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd More than 15 percent of NSW is in intense drought. (Facebook)

“I’ve got one farmer who hasn’t had a shower in eight weeks. She’s putting a bowl of water in open fire and using that to bath in because she has no hot water. She’s gone to third world farming bathing.”

This is not the first time the region has experienced a drought. Though the last time conditions were this bad was in 1982.

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The funding boost is in addition to the state government’s pledge in February to provide farmers with low interest loans of up to $20,000 to assist in transporting feed and water.

The big conspiracy

a large open field: NSW farmer Krystal Haycock claims farmers are calling Aussie Helpers for help after first phoning other self-help phone lines. (Facebook)© Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd NSW farmer Krystal Haycock claims farmers are calling Aussie Helpers for help after first phoning other self-help phone lines. (Facebook)

While Ms Haycock believes the government “have done a wonderful job with the subsidiaries” more needs to be done, particularly when it comes capping to $20,000 loans.

“They’ve allocated a particular amount of money… but in saying that not every farmer is going to apply for it because a lot won’t be eligible. So, I think some will be knocked out with the eligible… other people who own eight farms… they are still only entitled to the one payment.”

She said the farmers she has spoken with “feel like the government thinks they’re a joke”.

“The word among farmers is a conspiracy among farmers…. farmers have had enough.”

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