Australia’s leading rural charity, Rural Aid, recently deployed a team of volunteers to the Warwick region to help with ongoing natural disaster recovery.

Twenty-one volunteers have just finished working on three farms in the Upper Freestone and Swanfels area.

Two farmers had fences damaged in the terrifying bushfires that swept through the region two years ago. One farming family had fences damaged in recent floods.

Upper Freestone farmer Chris Mauch had kilometres of his fencing destroyed by fire.

“It’s unbelievable to cut a long story short. I put a brand new fence up there before the fires and it turned to ashes,” Mr Mauch said.
He said he was grateful to have a team of Rural Aid volunteers help him fence for a week.

“I’ve been on the land 50 years, all my life, and it’s hard enough to be on the land. It’s just great to get a hand to repair all those fences that are in desperate need. I’m indebted to Rural Aid.”

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the volunteers were originally slated to be in Victoria for Rural Aid’s ‘Our Towns’ event, but Covid-19 forced a change of plans.

“One of Rural Aid’s strengths is being resilient, and we’ve been able to reroute our Queensland volunteers closer to home with a visit to Warwick,” Mr Warlters said.

“It’s fantastic to see the farmers and volunteers form friendships while toiling away at tough fencing work in rugged terrain.”

“Having fences down for two years has been a burden for these farmers, so it’s great to lend them a hand to tick this job off their list. These big jobs would normally take these farmers months of effort, but together, they were able to get it done within a week.”

The volunteers stayed at the Warwick Showgrounds, thanks to a donation from the Southern Downs Council.

Mayor Vic Pennisi praised the volunteer’s efforts.
“Our region continues to recover from bushfire and floods, and Rural Aid has been a pillar of support to our rural communities throughout the journey,” Mr Pennisi said.

“At a time where negativity dominates the airwaves, Rural Aid offers a lifeline to our farmers doing it tough and these heroic gestures of kindness breathe hope into our communities.”
The Rural Aid team was in Warwick between the 5th and 12th of September.

Australia’s leading rural charity, Rural Aid, has rescheduled its Our Towns week in Lockington, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Dozens of volunteers were due to arrive in the northern Victorian town this week, to help Lockington’s Community Development Plan come to life.

Lockington is one of ten towns chosen by Rural Aid to receive $100,000 to renew and revitalise their community. The award-winning Our Towns program is hallmarked by a team of incredible Rural Aid volunteers that spend a week making over a small town.

Lockington’s Our Towns event will now take place in 2022. An exact date hasn’t been determined yet.

Lockington’s local leaders have indicated they will start pursuing some projects in the Community Development Plan before the volunteers’ arrival next year, restrictions permitting.

CEO of Rural Aid, John Warlters, said it was important to keep the Lockington community and the Rural Aid team safe at this uncertain time.

“Unfortunately, Covid-19 is still posing a significant threat to rural Victoria,” Mr Warlters said.

“We’d love nothing more than to be in Lockington next week, lending a hand and kickstarting the Community Development Plan that Rural Aid facilitated. But we’ve made the tough decision to postpone our trip until it is safe to travel again.”

“Rural Aid knows it’s a difficult time for farmers, their families and their communities,” Mr Warlters added.

“We’re encouraging anyone needing an extra hand to reach out to Rural Aid’s mental wellbeing team. Rural Aid can also provide financial assistance to farmers in need.”

Farmers are encouraged to register with Rural Aid by visiting www.ruralaid.org.au or by calling 1300 327 624.

The award-winning Our Towns program is part of Rural Aid’s Stonger Futures initiative. Rural Aid is heavily invested in strengthening rural communities through its multi-faceted Stronger Futures program- giving locals the resources and confidence needed to help their region thrive.
For interviews or more information, contact Rural Aid media on 0447 116 757 or media@ruralaid.org.au

A Lockyer Valley farming family has been given a much-needed boost thanks to 24 generous John Deere staff members and Australia’s leading rural charity, Rural Aid.

The Piggott family run an Awassi sheep cheesery at Grantham and pride themselves on their chemical free, boutique products.
Di Piggott usually relies on family members to help her wrangle the invasive lantana weed on her 160 acre property, but border closures prevented their month-long working bee this year.

“The little lambs eat the lantana but it’s toxic to them and they get really sick. So it’s really important we get it out,” Di Piggot said.

Rural Aid and agricultural machinery company John Deere teamed up for a ‘corporate volunteering’ day on the Piggott farm. 24 staff from John Deere’s Australian and New Zealand head office generously volunteered their time to lend a hand on August 20.

The volunteers made light work of the lantana, pulling out roughly 300 plants in the one day.

“I’ve had a really enjoyable day with the Rural Aid team and with my colleagues, helping out some locals on their farm,” Josh Rodgers from John Deere Australia and New Zealand said.

“It’s really rewarding and I would recommend it to anybody.”

Di Piggott said the John Deere staff put in an “absolutely brilliant” effort.
“It was just great when Rural Aid said that we had been put forward on the volunteer program,” Di said.

“We thoroughly enjoyed it and the volunteers were just the most wonderful people. We’re very appreciative,” Di said.

Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said it was a fantastic outcome for all.
“Rural Aid is committed to helping Australian farmers in whatever way we can,” Mr Warlters said.

“Rural Aid has facilitated a number of corporate volunteering days by coordinating generous companies and our registered farmers. The shared skills, time and friendships are a highlight of every event.”

For more information or interviews, contact Rural Aid media on 0447 116 757.

About Rural Aid:
Rural Aid is Australia’s leading rural charity. 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 and resilient rural communities by building stronger futures for all Australian farmers.

Australia’s leading rural charity, Rural Aid, has closed applications for its $1 million mouse plague fund, with 1000 farmers set to benefit from the support.

Rural Aid opened the fund in June for farmers from many parts of the country whose livelihoods and incomes had been affected by the devastating mouse plague.

Each eligible farmer is being issued a $1000 pre-paid Visa card, which can be spent on whatever will help them recover from the mouse plague.
Mice numbers peaked in late autumn and early winter across most of eastern Australia.

Bingara farmer Robert Groth said he was very grateful to receive support from Rural Aid.

“Every little bit helps, my word it does,” Mr Groth said.
Mr Groth said he’d “never seen anything like it” during the peak of the plague.

“We got 54 mice in a trap on the veranda in one night. The worst thing is the smell of them,” Mr Groth said.

The mice numbers have largely steadied for now, which Rural Aid CEO John Warlters hopes will continue into spring.

“Rural Aid is proud to have been able to help farmers recover from yet another debilitating natural disaster,” Mr Warlters said.

“Applications for the $1 million fund are now closed. But Rural Aid will keep a close eye on mouse numbers into spring.”

Rural Aid is welcoming any farmers in need of assistance to get in touch. Rural Aid can be contacted on 1300 327 624, or by emailing contact@ruralaid.org.au

For interviews or more information, contact Ash Whittaker at Rural Aid media on 0447 116 757 or media@ruralaid.org.au
Australia’s leading rural charity, Rural Aid, has made the tough decision to postpone Coolah’s Our Towns event, that was due to take place next month.

Dozens of volunteers were planning to travel to Coolah to help with community-building works between the 8th and 14th of August.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said the ongoing Covid-19 situation in New South Wales had forced the postponement.

“The safety of the Coolah community and the Rural Aid volunteers and staff is my highest priority,” Mr Warlters said.

“The current uncertainty and the recent tightening and extension of Covid-19 related restrictions in NSW meant delaying our visit was the best option under the circumstances.

“We understand this is disheartening for many, but we promise to return to Coolah with vigour when it’s safe to do so,” Mr Warlters said.
In the interim, Coolah’s leaders have vowed to continue chipping away at the early phases of the community-building works.

“I applaud the Coolah community for their initiative in kickstarting their town’s renewal using the Community Development Plan created in partnership with Rural Aid,” Mr Warlters said.

“The Rural Aid team is so excited to head to Coolah when restrictions permit. At this stage, the Our Towns week has been tentatively postponed until March 2022,” Mr Warlters said.

The award-winning Our Towns program is part of Rural Aid’s Stronger Futures initiative. Rural Aid is heavily invested in strengthening rural communities through its multi-faceted Stronger Futures program- giving locals the resources and confidence needed to help their region thrive.

For interviews or more information, contact Rural Aid media on 0447 116 757 or media@ruralaid.org.au