Western Victorian farmers have banded together in a special hay run for fire-affected Gippsland producers.
This is a video of a local donated hay convoy from south west Vic to Gippsland! Makes you proud to be apart of 2 great industries, ag and transport have always gone hand in hand! The Aussie spirit is alive and well in the Bush! not sure who took the video but it's awesome! pic.twitter.com/Z2IEexN3pM— Jason Benson (@jbeno75) January 20, 2020
Allansford hay and grain carter Eddie White said he'd been contacted by farmers in the Portland, Kongwak and Warrnambool area, asking if they could donate fodder to stricken primary producers.
"A lot of farmers were ringing us up, offering us hay to go there, that's where we got the idea to get a convoy together," Mr White said.
"I organised all the trucks and the Victorian Farmers Federation found us farms, were we could take the hay."
Another safe delivery of hay & fodder with 35 trucks escorted through fire affected areas to Gelantipy in east VIC. Thanks to all operators for their commitment to the bushfire recovery and safety. For the latest NHVR Bushfire Recovery Bulletin, visit https://t.co/YI9Hs9PDDQpic.twitter.com/YDTMv8x8oZ— NHVR (@NHVR) January 19, 2020
Mr White said he 31 trucks, including B-Doubles, took between 1050 and 1200 bales from Allansford to Gippsland.
"We took it directly to the farms," Mr White said.
"We were given police and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator support to take it into the fire zones."
Meanwhile, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Paul Mumford said the VFF had received almost 400 calls, from producers wanting to donate fodder.
UDV President @Mumfy4 visited fire affected farmers today in the north east. @VicFarmers now has over 350 fodder donations, >15,000 bales. A huge #thankyou to those who have donated. To claim the freight subsidy you must call VFF on 1300882833 & record your trip #vicfirespic.twitter.com/D71Q47w6KK— UDV (@VFF_UDV) January 16, 2020
More than 20,000 bales, or about 8739 tonnes, had now been donated, and more than 80 farmers had registered with the VFF for agistment or cow parking.
"But I've got to say, it's not over yet," Mr Mumford said.
"Yes, farmers have been extremely generous towards fire-affected producers, but the problem will be in the short-medium term, making sure those affected by the fires still have adequate feed."
He said it was likely the same amount of hay that had already been distributed would again be needed, to get farmers through to next spring.
"If a farmer has lost all his fodder, he still needs to feed his animals through winter."
He said the UDV had been working with Dairy Australia and regional bodies to work out ways to help the estimated 350 dairy and beef farmers, affected by the fires in Gippsland and the north-east.
The VFF Disaster Relief Fund was also open to assist farmers afftected by the bushfires in Gippsland and the Upper Murray.
All donations are tax deductable and will be used to directly assist farmers in Gippsland and the Upper Murray.
The can be made at www.vff.org.au/donations.
Donations can be made over the phone using a credit card by calling 1300 882 833 or by mailing a cheque (made out to VFF Disaster Relief Fund) to the Victorian Farmers Federation, 24 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000.
If you would like a receipt, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Victorian Government has allocated funding to subsidise the cost of fuel for the transport of donated fodder to the Gippsland and Upper Murray bushfire regions.
These subsidies are administered by VFF and can be applied to cover up to $6.30/kilometre to a maximum of $4,000 + GST per round trip.
The VFF is administering the subsidies.