Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, is reaching out to farmers who’ve been affected by recent rain and flood events.

Much of Australia’s east coast has undergone a drenching in recent weeks, with more rain predicted in coming days.

The downpours have filled water storages and tanks to the highest level seen in decades. But the wet conditions have also hindered many farmers trying to harvest their winter crops.

Flooding has also swept away fencing, crumbled vital roads and damaged infrastructure.

Rural Aid counsellors and community representatives have been visiting impacted areas and phoning flooded-in farmers, as part of a community-wide response.

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the rain has received mixed welcomes.
“It’s fantastic to see our water storages filled to overflowing after so many years of bone-dry dams and empty creeks,” Mr Warlters said.
“The memories of crippling drought are still very raw, so to have an abundance of water is a joyful experience that many farmers have spent years wishing for. But as is often the way in Australia, droughts are chased away by flooding rains.

“Some of our farmers have told us this season’s crop was the best they’d ever had in the ground. But just days out from harvest, the rain dealt their crops a fatal blow. They’ve had to watch their year’s income get washed away, or ‘sprung and shot’ growth before they could get in with the harvester.”

Rural Aid Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager Lauren Stracey recently visited farmers in the Forbes region with the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.

“Some of our farmers who’ve endured disaster after disaster say that this flood has ‘floored them’,” Ms Stracey said.

“If farmers are facing a disappointing harvest, it’s important to take a moment to recognise how tough that is. It’s devastating to make it to the eleventh hour and to then have the rug pulled from under your feet. Farmers need time to process losses like these. This might mean spending some special, dedicated time with family or taking time off the farm to recharge their batteries.”

Farmers are encouraged to reach out to Rural Aid if they need assistance.
Rural Aid can provide wellbeing assistance through its free counselling program or financial assistance and fodder support.

Rural Aid can be contacted on 1300 327 624 or by going online to www.ruralaid.org.au
For more information or for interviews, contact Rural Aid media on 0447 116 757 or media@ruralaid.org.au

About Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au
Round Up your friends for a pizza party with a difference 
Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, is encouraging the public to celebrate our farmers on National Agriculture Day by ordering a Domino’s pizza this Friday 19 November. 

Rural Aid announced its partnership with Domino’s registered charity Give for Good earlier this year. It’s fitting that the two organisations are celebrating National Agriculture Day by encouraging pizza lovers to ‘Round Up’ their online order, with all funds raised on the day donated directly to Rural Aid.

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the one-day Round Up offer was a great way to pay homage to our farmers. 

“National Agriculture Day is about celebrating the enormous efforts our farmers go to, to put food on our tables and clothes on our backs,” Mr Warlters said. 

“Our farmers have been through a tumultuous year; ongoing drought recovery has been made harder by record-breaking floods. The pandemic has hampered workforces and supply chains and there’s been a horrendous mouse plague to top it off. 

“Donating a few dollars to Rural Aid by enjoying a delicious pizza made with produce from local farmers is a fitting way to celebrate National Agriculture Day, and say thank you to Aussie farmers,” Mr Warlters said.  
“Domino’s and Give for Good have been valued supporters of Rural Aid for years. Their commitment to purchasing local produce means they are aware of the many challenges farmers face. Rural Aid is proud to partner with Give for Good, Domino’s, and its customers to help them give back to our rural communities and these donations will make a real difference to farmers’ lives,” Mr Warlters finished. 

Give for Good Chief Giving Officer Tracy Llewelyn said Give for Good was passionate about supporting Australian farmers and celebrating their hard work every day but never more so than on National Agriculture Day.

“Domino’s are able to bring people closer together by delivering piping hot pizzas with fresh, tasty ingredients provided by our Australian farmers. We are a food business and therefore looking after those who help make our fresh produce a reality is something we are extremely passionate about.

“We hope that people get together across the country this Friday to enjoy a slice after Rounding Up, knowing their small change will be making a big difference to our farmers.”

For more information, contact Rural Aid media on media@ruralaid.org.au or 0447 116 757.  
For more information on National Ag Day #AgDayAU visit www.agday.org.au 

About Rural Aid 
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au.

About Give for Good
In 2016, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises established registered charity, Give for Good. Its purpose is to give back to the community in which Domino’s Pizza Enterprises franchisees and employees operate. Give for Good’s Giving Philosophy focuses on four key pillars – Rural Communities, Disaster Relief, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, and Education and Youth Initiatives – where we aim to develop sustainable best practices, assistance and support to make a difference to our local communities.
Australia’s most trusted rural charity, Rural Aid, has made its biggest investment into improving regional mental health to date.

The charity is appointing ten new counsellors across the country this year, committing $3.75 million over the next three years to help address the yawning gaps in regional mental healthcare.
Nine of Rural Aid’s new counsellors are already in place, actively serving their regional community.
Rural Aid counsellors offer free, confidential support to farmers and their families. Rural Aid’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team prefer to visit farmers on their properties.

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said “Rural Aid’s commitment to placing counsellors in rural Australia will save lives.”

“We know people who live regionally have poorer access to health professionals and are more likely to struggle with their mental health due to lack of appropriate and timely support. Farmers and rural teenagers have more than double the rate of suicide compared to urban populations*. Rural Aid is desperately trying to change that.”

Liz Bellette-Stubbs is one of Rural Aid’s new counsellors and is based in Bega, New South Wales.
“What drew me to Rural Aid was how accessible their wellbeing program is,” Mrs Bellette-Stubbs said.
“Not only are the counsellors available without a huge waiting list, but we’re free too. Farmers are often so stretched that they can’t afford to buy feed for their animals, let alone spend money on themselves.”
Mr Warlters said Rural Aid’s counsellors were mental wellbeing specialists who counsel, teach and refer clients to higher levels of care.

“We know that investing in early intervention achieves results. It leads to a reduction in the number of people who require acute treatment. This is achieved through the provision of mental wellbeing education, tools and pathways for assistance at the preventative end. Rural Aid counsellors are qualified to assist farmers across the continuum of mental health, from prevention and early intervention, right through to treatment,” Mr Warlters said.

“If we can get to people early, have them recognise symptoms and get some simple but effective strategies, we help them before things escalate to the point they need hospitalisation. This will reduce pressure on the health system while prevention strategies will help rural people to live their best lives they can. “Our counselling program has been highly successful; making a real difference to the farmers that Rural Aid supports. Our counsellors work with their community to create and implement vital mental health programs and strategies. Rural Aid counsellors build trusted relationships with their local communities. Our counsellors also attend field days, events and natural disaster sites.”

Rural Aid’s new counsellors are based in:
  1. Mildura, Vic
  2. Bairnsdale, Vic
  3. Geelong, Vic
  4. Inverell, NSW
  5. Bega, NSW
  6. Berri, SA
  7. Port Augusta, SA
  8. Northam, WA
  9. Wagin, WA
^ Please note, Rural Aid is currently sourcing another counsellor.The new counsellors add to Rural Aid’s existing team of counsellors based in:
  1. Wodonga, VIC
  2. Ipswich, Qld
  3. Toowoomba, Qld
  4. Cessnock, NSW
  5. West Wyalong, NSW
For more information on Rural Aid’s counsellors, visit their profiles here: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/counsellors/
For pre-recorded grabs from Rural Aid CEO John Warlters, click here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3rarim00xnkhybr/John%20Warlters%20counselling%20expansion%20grabs.mp4?dl=0
For more information or for interviews, contact Ash Whittaker from Rural Aid media on 0447 116 757 or by emailing media@ruralaid.org.au

About Rural Aid
Rural Aid is Australia’s most trusted rural charity. We stand with our farmers when they need us most. Rural Aid provides critical support to farmers affected by natural disaster through financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance. Rural Aid’s community programs help create more sustainable communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers. Find out more at www.ruralaid.org.au
*Swinburne University Phase One Review Report, 2020

This media release is courtesy of Finish
• Finish and Rural Aid, with the support of Coles, support Aussie farmers this National Water Week by donating a 22,500L tank and water to a Rockhampton farmer in need
• #FinishWaterWaste shines spotlight on water security, helping to safeguard Aussie farmers against future drought
• Since 2019, the #FinishWaterWaste initiative has donated over 14 million litres of water to drought-affected communities, via its partner Rural Aid

21 October 2021 – Australia: Finish is celebrating National Water Week (18 October – 22 October 2021) by donating much needed tanks and water to farmers in need.
The first water tank delivery took place today in Dalma, west of Rockhampton, where farmer Julie Sheehan welcomed both a 22,500L water tank and water delivery to her property.
Julie said: “This really does make a big difference. While there may be green grass growing above ground, for many properties the soil underneath is still very dry and challenging to grow crops or fodder for cattle. The drought of 2019 was terrible, but today access to water continues to be an issue for many people. Having a new tank to help secure water for when rain comes is a huge relief and a brilliant way to support farming communities into the future. I would like to extend a thank you, on behalf of all Central Queensland farming families, to Finish, Rural Aid and Coles for their support of this amazing initiative and I encourage rural Australians struggling through drought recovery to reach out to Rural Aid for help.”
Despite positive weather events and rainfall earlier this year that allowed a number of drought affected areas to start recuperating, local water supplies are still recovering and remain below the levels they need to sustain rural communities1. In Queensland, over 60% of the State remains in drought, with 34 LGAs experiencing water shortages2.
Finish, in partnership with Rural Aid and supported by Coles, will be delivering water tanks to Australian farmers in need over the next six months, to help ensure that any rain that falls now will be captured for future use to help farmers become more secure against drought. This effort is all part of #FinishWaterWaste, an initiative that came from the insight that by simply stopping the habit of pre-rinsing dishes before stacking them in the dishwasher, Australians could save up to 40 litres of water per load3 and collectively save 20 billion litres of water in just one year4.
Since the start of the #FinishWaterWaste initiative in 2019, Finish has donated over 14 million litres of water to drought-affected Australians through its ongoing partnership with Rural Aid. Now in 2021, it will encourage Aussies to prioritise water security to help safeguard our farmers against future drought.To get involved, for every in-store purchase at Coles of Finish Quantum Ultimate Pro during
September and up to 26 October, Finish will donate $1 towards water tanks for farmers in drought via Rural Aid^.
Rural Aid CEO, John Warlters, said: “Our farmers continue to experience the challenges of the ongoing drought, with many areas of Queensland not seeing the benefits of La Niña on their properties5. The simple act of donating tanks is a brilliant way to help ensure we capture this rare rainfall so our farmers can have more water security in the future.”
Large parts of the country have experienced good rain. However, drought is still very real for many farming families and rural communities – a plight which deserves attention this National Water Week.
Coles General Manager of Non-Food, Jonathan Torr, was pleased to support #FinishWaterWaste as it aligns with Coles’ Sustainability Strategy focus areas of Together to Zero and Better Together.
“We know that there are farmers in parts of Australia who remain affected by drought. At Coles, we have an ambition to be Australia’s most sustainable supermarket and this initiative encourages Australians to save water while at the same time supporting drought-affected communities. Together to Zero and Better Together highlights Coles’ ambition to reduce its environmental impact while acknowledging that when we work together, we can make a real difference, especially to the communities in which we live and work.”
Reckitt Hygiene Regional Director, Oliver Tatlow, said: “With much of the country continuing to endure the impacts of drought, we’re pleased we can continue to support our farmers. Delivering water is fantastic, but water is finite. Our ambition is that by delivering tanks, our farmers can capture precious rainfall over and over again, giving them, their families and properties a lifetime of water security.
“Through our partners Rural Aid and Coles, we’ve been able to make this possible, and we look forward to delivering more water tanks to help make a positive difference to Australian farmers and ensure they are provided with the resources to become drought secure in the future.”
For more information on the campaign and to see T&Cs, visit: finishwaterwaste.com.au.
-ENDS-
Notes to the editor
1 Australian Bureau of Meteorology July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021 from http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/drought/
2 https://futurebeef.com.au/knowledge-centre/drought/
3 Brunton 2009. Results based on Australian testing of average water consumption 2.5 star 12-place setting dishwasher vs handwashing 106 people, Nov 2017.
4 Based on Finish research studies 2019; household average of 4 washes per week; ABS 2014, accessed August 2020.
5 https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2021-03-12/farmers-struggle-amid-la-nina-no-show-in-central-queensland/13214944
^ up to $302,500

Australia’s leading rural charity has congratulated the winners of its Spirit of the Bush photography competition, as pre-orders for the 2022 Calendar open.

Budding photographers and amateur snappers from every corner of Australia submitted their most stunning photos of life on the land, for a chance to make it into the 2022 Rural Aid Calendar.

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said this year’s competition attracted some outstanding entries from farms across the country.

“It was a tough ask to choose 12 winners out of more than 720 entries. The quality of photos was exquisite, especially in the categories of ‘man’s best friend’, ‘rural landscapes’ and ‘farm animals’,” Mr Warlters said.
“I believe the 2022 calendar will be Rural Aid’s best yet. The photos perfectly encapsulate the beauty and resilience of life on the land.”
“Every image tells a story and we are grateful that so many people wanted to share their special moments with Rural Aid,” Mr Warlters said.
The winners of the 2021 Spirit of the Bush competition are:

Pre-orders for the 2022 calendar are now open. The calendars can be purchased outright from mid-October.
Proceeds will directly support Rural Aid’s range of programs to help farmers and their families.

Calendars can be pre-ordered here: https://shop.ruralaid.org.au/