Farmer takes initiative to cut and donate roadside grass

Farmer takes initiative to cut and donate roadside grass

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Mortlake farmer Greg Stephens is donating truckloads of hay to fire and drought-stricken communities. Photo by Morgan Hancock.

Mortlake farmer Greg Stephens is donating truckloads of hay to fire and drought-stricken communities. Photo by Morgan Hancock.

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Greg Stephens has spent most of his summer cutting and baling hay to donate to drought and fire-affected communities.

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Greg Stephens has spent most of his summer cutting and baling hay to donate to drought and fire-affected communities in Victoria and NSW.

When he noticed large amounts of grass along roadsides in and around Mortlake, he decided to act.

Four-hundred bales later, Mr Stephens is urging others to help the cause in any way they can.

"Sometimes you have to take your own initiative to go and do things, and that's what we've done here," he said.

"We have land in NSW ourselves near the Riverina and we've been in drought for a long time, we had nine inches of rain in 2019 and I've lost 500-head of breeding stock.

"We know people who had 1500 cows and now have 200 left and another guy who has 70 cows left.

"You just try to do what you can do to try and help make a bit of a difference.

"Money's not everything sometimes.

"People have all kinds of strengths to bring to this cause, for me I cut hay, and it makes me feel good knowing it's going to a good place.

"It gives people hope, even the smallest things.

"Until you've lived it you'll never truly understand the toll it takes."

Mr Stephens hand-delivered a truckload of hay to Lakes Entrance last weekend as another two B-double loads were taken to Dubbo, NSW.

All 400 bales were slashed from unkempt grass on the roadsides.

"They're all from grass on council roads, there's thousands of bales that could have been done," he said.

"There's people in the community who have come up to me and said that this should be done more often."

Having experienced drought firsthand as a second generation farmer, Mr Stephens understands the toll it takes.

"A lot of people can't see outside the square or the situation," he said.

"If you lose these animals, a lot of people can't get them back up.

"I've been there, I've seen death and destruction and what it can do.

"The agents out here are getting inundated with people looking for feed and agistment, but there's less properties for sale now than there was a year or so ago."

It cost him around $8000 to get the bales rolled and ready to be transported.

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