Woolgrower who lost 25kms of fencing donates bale to BlazeAid

Woolgrower who lost 25kms of fencing donates bale to BlazeAid

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The farmer lost lost three quarters of his farm to fire.

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SON AND FATHER: Hugh and Doug Pemberton, Nicholson River Merino stud, Sarsfield/Nicholson, donated $1897 to BlazeAid from the sale of this bale of wool after the organisation helped repair kilometres of burnt fencing.

SON AND FATHER: Hugh and Doug Pemberton, Nicholson River Merino stud, Sarsfield/Nicholson, donated $1897 to BlazeAid from the sale of this bale of wool after the organisation helped repair kilometres of burnt fencing.

Doug Pemberton says he would still be straining fence wire on his fire-affected property in Victoria's east had it not of been for the generous assistance of more than 60 BlazeAid volunteers.

The Gippsland woolgrower last week donated a bale of his ultra fine 16 micron top-quality Merino wool clip to the organisation which helped him replace more than 20 kilometres of fencing after the January fires.

"I felt so much gratitude for having BlazeAid help us for seven or eight weeks ... we had six or seven people a day and sometimes up to 12 helping with the clean up," Mr Pemberton said.

"If I can sell a bale each year for quite a while to help repay their generosity then of course I'll do it."

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The Nicholson River Merino stud principal lost three quarters of his 500-hectare farm at Nicholson, damaging kilometres of fencing and what pasture he had left after three years of drought.

"It's hard to gauge how many volunteers they had but there would have been 50 or 60 different people on our farm over that seven-week period," Mr Pemberton said.

Despite tumbling wool prices due to the pandemic, the bale of wool sold for 1709 cents a kilogram clean, raising $1897 for BlazeAid.

"We thought we would have a good wool cheque coming but it's more than half what it was in 2018," Mr Pemberton said.

"We're hoping that lamb prices will compensate but they've been dropping too now of course so it makes it very tight with the drought, bushfires and now COVID-19."

Wool volumes are also lower on previous years mainly due to the drought with 109 bales offered last Wednesday by the Gippsland farmer, down from a peak of 160 bales three years ago.

BlazeAid founder and president Kevin Butler said the donation would go towards purchasing fence materials and the organisation's perennial seeds program to help rejuvenate pasture after fires.

"It costs about $5000 to run a camp for a week and at the moment we have five camps in Victoria so that's $25,000 a week," Mr Butler said.

"I'm a woolgrower myself and Doug's place was seriously damaged. He was exactly like the farmer we want to help; he was genuine, community-minded, grateful and empathetic.

"Donations like this help us massively because BlazeAid is all for farmers trying to recover after the likes of the devastating fires we saw in eastern Victoria earlier this year."

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