The Need for Feed ANZAC Day convoy delivers fodder to flood-affected farmers on the NSW North Coast

Some 38 trucks traveled to the NSW north coast to deliver 40 tonnes of fodder to farmers still struggling after the flood disaster.

The ANZAC Day convoy set off as part of the Lions Club’s Need For Feed initiative and arrived in Casino last night.

Fodder was distributed to more than 100 farming families, along with baskets, dog food, veterinary supplies and health kits.

“We are trying to help them and give them a helping hand,” said Need for Feed president Graham Cockerell.

“The most important thing is that people know that other people care about them.”

Need for Feed is undertaking its eighth trip to the NSW North Coast since the floods began.(Supplied: Need for Feed Australia)

From all over Australia

It was the group’s eighth trip to the region since February.

Volunteers came from all over Australia to deliver food, including from Victoria, NSW and even Tasmania, some traveling for three days to reach the North Coast.

Geoff Owen from Yarram in Victoria marked his third trip to the region.

He said he continues to participate in the project to give hope to farmers.

a man smiles at the camera
This is Geoff Owen’s third trip from Victoria to the NSW North Coast under the initiative.(ABC North Shore: Adriane Reardon)

“They’ve been through a total disaster when they believe they’ve lost everything and their world is upside down,” he said.

“It gives them faith that they have something to do.”

A tough winter ahead

Woodburn was just one of the North Shore communities that received food, as well as horse supplies, such as blankets and medicine.

a woman sitting on hay bales
Woodburn resident Nerissa Cooksey helps deliver supplies to flood-affected farmers.(ABC North Shore: Adriane Reardon)

Nerissa Cooksey’s property was flooded, but luckily her house was not.

She received the merchandise on behalf of the Feed for Friends group, which she started in the aftermath of the first wave of flooding.

“You can’t even drive star stakes into the ground… having food for the animals is crucial.”

Ms Cooksey said local farmers were going to need fodder donations for some time to come.

“I’ve had friends throw seeds and the rain just washed them away again,” she said.

“Winter is going to be tough for everyone.

hay bales with 'Let's not forget' spray painted on them
ANZAC Day sees the Need For Feed convoy arrive on the NSW North Coast.(ABC North Shore: Adriane Reardon)

Woodburn residents Jason and Meredith Regan lost their wholesale plant nursery in the flooding.

Their 23 horses survived, but some have since been temporarily moved to nearby properties in order to get enough food.

“We can’t grow a feed, the horses can’t go back to it…it’s mud and it’s toxic,” Ms Regan said.

“We have to feed them but at least the horses are dry,” Mr Regan said.

“That will continue until spring at least.”

a couple stand with plants in the background.
Meredith and Jason Regan expect to need fodder donations until spring.(ABC North Shore: Adriane Reardon)

pay ahead

For many volunteers who took part in the ANZAC Day Forage Run, it was all about giving back.

Ange Kane traveled from Cobargo on the far south coast of New South Wales to distribute 110 bags of donated goods which she described as “handbags for hope”.

She came across Need for Feed during the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires after the group helped provide fodder for the evacuated animals she cared for at the Cobargo showground.

“It’s a bit of a family now.”

a woman stands next to a car full of handbags
Ange Kane arrives from the far south coast of NSW to deliver ‘Handbags for Hope’.(ABC North Shore: Adriane Reardon)

Some of the “handbags” to be delivered to farmers were actually donated by people directly affected by the fires.

“They actually filled this bag and gave it to me to give to someone,” Ms Kane said.

Convoy participants met with farmers last night and attended this morning’s dawn service at Casino before making their deliveries to properties on the north coast.

Volunteers are expected to return to the area over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in June.

About Jeff M. Thompson

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