Rapid Relief Team delivers 450 tonnes of free stock feed to farmers in the Inverell district | The Northern Daily Leader

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Trudging through glorious mud to collect their free tonne of livestock feed, around 450 farmers showed gratitude to Rapid Relief Team (RRT) volunteers on Friday. As part of ‘Operation Drought Relief’ RRT made their seventh stop in Inverell to deliver hope, a helping hand and some stock feed to drought-affected farmers. Volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC) have found the experience of travelling around to rural areas an eye-opening one. RRT director Lloyd Grimshaw said he admired the resilience of the region’s farmers and hoped recent rainfall was a start to break the drought. “The drought has just dragged on and on. It’s been relentless, there’s been no relief. It’s amazing over the last couple of days to see the rain and it starting to green up but we know one shower of rain won’t take away the pain of three years of drought,” he said. Combined with the one-tonne gift, RRT organised a broad range of services to attend the pick-up day at the showgrounds on Friday as a ‘Farmers Community Connect’ event. State and Federal Government agencies, RSPCA, Rural Financial Counselling, mental health services, dog micro-chipping and free advice to farmers about re-stocking and other important information was available. Mr Grimshaw said the RRT felt it was important to get farmers off the land for the day to come in, pick up their free one tonne bag, have a chat and enjoy a nice gourmet feed and barista-made coffee. “Farmers were able to bring their families, pets and just chill out for a few hours, it’s good for mental health,” he said. As a not-for-profit charity RRT saw a need to assist the rural community of Australia, soon after ‘Operation Drought Relief’ was born. Being self-funded RRT do a range of local community support, especially with emergency service. Last year RRT donated $100,000 worth of fencing material to BlazeAid in assisting to rebuild farm fences after the Tingha Plateau Fire. “The biggest comment we’ve received from farmers is they feel like they’ve not been forgotten and that it’s a nice feeling to know people want to support them. It’s a meaningful gesture that encourages them to keep going.” Local farmer Ashley Barnett attended the event and expressed his gratitude. “We were running about 550 breeders and we’re down to 140. We’ve probably spent within the vicinity of half a million just on cattle feed and drought feeding for the last two and a half years. “We very much appreciate this bit of help that you guys are doing here with these pellets, it’ll be a big help. Thanks to the RRT, I think everyone really appreciates your help.” Read also: Member for Northern Tablelands and Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall was in Inverell on Friday for the Farmers Community Connect day. He said almost 500 farmers were directly benefiting from RRT’s generosity and charity, which was something he could only describe as “amazing”. “The RRT have been extraordinarily generous and wonderful to the people of this area. What’s even better is all of the services they’ve organised to be here today. It’s great to see farmers staying and having a chat, it’s wonderful,” he said. The RRT have committed to donating 1600 tonnes of livestock to drought affected Aussie farmers throughout 2020. Want more local news? Subscribe to the Leader to read it here first



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