Rapid Relief Team (RRT) has made the next Operation Drought Relief stop in the New South Wales North West region to give help, hope and a hand to 400 drought-affected farmers in Narrabri and surrounding regions.

The RRT initiative ‘Farmers Community Connect’ was a feel-good, well-deserved farmers day out, with RRT delivering hundreds of tonnes of livestock pellets and bringing together much needed financial and social services for the community.

The military-like operation saw RRT source 400 tonnes of high fibre pellets, transported 534 kilometres across NSW to feed some 10,000 livestock across the greater Narrabri region for a month.

This is the fourth stop in RRT’s ongoing Operation Drought Relief efforts, where volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC) have distributed a total of 550 tonne of livestock supplement pellets to 550 farmers in Tullamore, Nymagee, Condobolin, and Narrabri areas.

In 2018, RRT’s Operation Drought Relief saw over 12,000 bales of hay, some 6,000+ tonnes, delivered to 10 locations across NSW and Queensland, helping over 1,105 farmers and their families in need.

The ODR Farmers Community Connect event today in Narrabri brought together farmers and free support services for locals at Narrabri Showgrounds including:

  • Free BBQ lunch and coffee cooked by RRT volunteers
  • Veterinary Support
  • Rural Financial Counsellors
  • Mental Health and Community Health Support
  • Department of Primary Industries
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • National Broadband Network

Ron Arckoll, RRT Chairman from the PBCC said Christian values of care and compassion motivated them to help farmers across drought-stricken NSW.

“Today’s Farmers Community Connect was about bringing together both farmers and the community to have a bite to eat, a chat with mates and support each other through some tough times,” Mr. Arckoll said.

“Today was truly a team effort with vital support from both the Federal and State Government, vets, rural financial counsellors and mental health services coming together to make today’s event possible.

“Our journey across the state to deliver feed for livestock and support for farmers and their families has been a humble one, and a real eye-opener to the goodness found in the power of community.

“As Christians it is our nature to help our community and especially those who need a hand – it’s been a long and devastating drought, so we hope our small gesture goes some ways to bringing some relief.

Narrabri farmer Frank Flissinger said “the drought has made us so aware of how vulnerable we are. As farmers, we don’t like to talk about ourselves, and how really tough it is out there.”

“It is one of those things where you start to question yourself, and wonder how do we keep on going?

“But then people like the Rapid Relief Team come along, and suddenly we realise there’s people out there that believe in us.

“The donation today is a big relief, and it takes the pressure off, knowing that we’re right for another month, and maybe it’ll rain after that.

“In the same token you know that there are people out there that care, not just government people, but real people,” he said.

Laura Jones, one of the donated fodder recipients, said the support had been amazing.

“Even though we had to travel an hour and a half to be here today, the fodder donated will keep us going for another month or six weeks.

“Without the Rapid Relief team, and organisations like theirs, we couldn’t survive without them in this drought.

“We are almost at the brink of having no stock at all, that’s a bloody shame.

“But today has been a wonderful day. It gets us out, it gets us away from the farm. It’s been an absolute joy to come here and have a burger and speak to good people. And that’s a good thing.

“Let’s get it raining. Please don’t forget us farmers,” Ms Jones said.

RRT is the charitable arm of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church and is made possible by church volunteers who lend a hand at emergency service operations, fundraisers, community events and more.

Every day in some small way, RRT volunteers offer a helping hand to those in need. For more information about the Rapid Relief Team, go to https://www.rapidreliefteam.org/