Three of the city's strongest farming advocates will travel to Sydney on Monday to hear from a drought-focused panel of politicians, farmers and a water expert on the ABC's Q&A program.
Slow Food Hunter Valley's Amorelle Dempster, Maitland Citizen of the Year and Walkley award winning journalist Belinda-Jane Davis, and We Care Road Trip founder Anne-Marie Best have played an instrumental role in helping drought-stricken farmers and communities and have been given a seat in the audience.
Ms Dempster and Ms Best have submitted questions to the show's producer and hope to be able to ask the panel a question. Ms Davis, a fifth-generation farmer, is not allowed to ask any questions during the one-hour live broadcast because she is also a journalist.
The three women hold grave fears for the state's agriculture industry and regional communities.
"Do the politicians actually feel how the people on the ground are feeling?," Ms Dempster asked.
Ms Dempster runs Slow Food Hunter Valley's drought-relief program which connects Upper Hunter farmers with a monthly box of fresh fruit and vegetables. She is also a former Maitland Citizen of the Year.
"We are helping and talking to farmers who are on the ground and who are being affected directly by the drought, and this is a way for us to be able to take their message of desperation, and their feeling of being isolated in this situation as individual families, to a bigger audience," she said.
The panel consists of Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon, Minister for Water Resources and Drought David Littleproud, National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson, the Australia Institute senior water researcher Maryanne Slattery and Menindee grazier Kate McBride.
Read more:The Big Dry - everything you need to know about the drought
The guest host will be Hamish McDonald.
Ms Best has helped inject more than $83,000 in several regional towns with three bus trips to several drought-ravaged communities. Her most recent trip, to Coonabarabran, collected more than $28,000.
"It's important politicians see that city people are interested and they want something done," she said.
Right now 99.4 per cent of the state is in intense drought, drought or drought affected, according to state government's Combined Drought Indicator.
"Being there is giving our farmers and regional towns a show of support,"Ms Best said.
Ms Davis has been writing in-depth coverage on the drought for 21 months.
Her efforts have secured $1.8 billion worth of state government support and input from the federal government but she said there was still a huge funding shortfall.
"We need to do everything we can to keep our farming families on the land - they are the custodians of our food bowl and our food security is in their hands. We also need to ease the many pressures regional towns are facing and make sure they survive this drought," she said.
A free bus will leave Maitland at 5.30pm this afternoon to take a bus load of interested parties to the Q&A studio.
To register go to abc.net.au/qanda/studio-audience and write Maitland bus in the comment section. The bus will return after the show.