Many places in the Central West had a good spot of rain at the weekend, while others were no doubt disappointed at what eventuated from a very promising forecast.
Orange is almost certainly in the latter basket, with readings taken in and around the city revealing less than 10 millimetres was found in rain gauges.
Whatever fell where, it’s obviously just a baby step on the way to the current conditions improving, and we’re a long, long way from a recovery from this drought.
Every day, more people are pushed into choices they never thought they’d have to face: selling off breeding livestock with genetics it has taken them years, if not generations, to refine; leaving their family to manage the hardship on the farm for a week or two at a time while they go away to earn an off-farm income; we’re even hearing of people selling off what they can, shutting the property gates and walking away.
Critical windows of rainfall for any yield at all in winter crops have been progressively slamming shut across the growing districts.
Critical windows of rainfall for any yield at all in winter crops have been progressively slamming shut across the growing districts, and many summer crops are well behind in rain and soil moisture.
(For the curious, the weather forecast for the next week holds nothing to bring a smile to struggling farmers’ faces, with the only indication of moisture the 70 per cent chance of between one and five millimetres forecast for Friday.)
Many on the land might also be bemoaning that we have (yet) a(nother) new Prime Minister, who acknowledges drought as Australia’s “most urgent and pressing need” but also admits he’s “from the city” and doesn’t “know one end of a sheep from another”.
And yet, in some towns across our region, a week wouldn’t go by without one seeing a small convoy of trucks and utes with out-of-town business decals or even out-of-state number plates, clearly loaded up with hay and groceries to donate to a relief group.
It’s also good to see more attention turning to how people can simply shift their thinking and their spending to help rural and regional areas.
People are being urged to shop online with businesses in drought-hit areas; to holiday in these areas; and to change their habits, now and for good, to buying Australian and buying local.
Compassion fatigue may set in yet, but until then, we should all continue to look for ways to support them until better times.
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