The first hay trucks – paid for with Glencore’s $200,000 contribution to the Buy A Bale Hunter campaign – will arrive in the Upper Hunter this weekend.
The mining giant handed over the money to Rural Aid co-founder Tracy Alder on a farm west of Scone on Thursday.
It has taken the Buy A Bale Hunter campaign – a partnership between the Mercury, Newcastle Herald, Dungog Chronicle, Scone Advocate, Hunter Valley News and charity Rural Aid – to a fundraising total of more than $520,000.
Hunter families, community groups like Rotary and the CWA, a handful of small businesses, and donors elsewhere in Australia collectively raised more than $170,000 of that amount in two months.
The state government’s donated fodder subsidy has contributed more than $150,000 in freight costs since February, which has allowed the campaign to help twice as many farmers.
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Glencore is the first company to make a significant donation to the campaign.
Rural Aid CEO and co-founder Charles Alder said the first three truck loads of hay from Glencore’s contribution would arrive in the Upper Hunter on Saturday and Sunday.
More are scheduled to arrive next week. Each truck is carrying about 34 round bales of hay.
It looks like Mars up there, it’s just red earth. I showed a photo of it to someone yesterday and they said it looked like Western Queensland, so it’s pretty bad,Rural Aid CEO and co-founder Charles Alder
“This is a significant amount of money and it will provide assistance with fodder and other services Rural Aid is providing to the farmers.
“There are still a few loads going to the Lower Hunter but the majority of the need now is in the Upper Hunter around the Scone area.”
Read more: Why we’re backing our farmers
Rural Aid, a Queensland-based charity, were alerted to the serious drought in the Hunter after reading a Maitland Mercury article about it in February.
Mr Alder then contacted the Mercury to learn more about the situation and find out how the charity could assist.
The Mercury and Rural Aid formed the Buy A Bale Hunter campaign and joined with fellow Fairfax Media mastheads the Newcastle Herald, Dungog Chronicle, Scone Advocate and Hunter Valley News to promote the cause.
Take a look at the Upper Hunter landscape