DIRE CONDITIONS: The Gamble Family's cows have been starving and the family lives in fear of losing their fifth generation farm.
DIRE CONDITIONS: The Gamble Family's cows have been starving and the family lives in fear of losing their fifth generation farm.

Drought stricken farmer's plea to the Burnett

IT'S no secret that much of Burnett is dry and frostbitten, and fears are growing that soon the region, too, could be facing a drought, but that hasn't stopped locals from giving help to those who are doing it much harder in other parts of Queensland.

When Windera's Ann Boyle heard Boodua dairy farmer Ashley Gamble was out of feed for his cows, pushed to shoot his bull calves and in fear of losing his family farm, rather than keeping her hay for a "rainy day" she decided to make two loads available for Mr Gamble's purchase.

"We've been in a similar situation and people have made hay available to us, so if we can help out we will," she said.

"Having been in that situation it makes a huge difference and I know what it feels like to go through that."

Hay is scarce right across Queensland and the Burnett isn't at its most fertile but, in true Australian spirit, farmers from across the region have come forward to spare some feed.

"When I drive around here we have grass covering, even if it's hayed-off or frostbitten," she said.

"But some places out west have got nothing at all and I've been past Mr Gamble's place near Oakey and he has nothing."

Mr Gamble said, on his own farm, there isn't a blade of grass in sight and he has struggled to find hay to purchase Australia-wide.

"It has had to come from as far as South Australia, 2,400 kilometres away," he said.

"We've only been able to find about 200 bales so far."

Mr Gamble said many people have said they would be able to spare their hay.

"But it's not a done deal until you have the bales you need in front of you, and they are still very hard to find.

"The problem is wide-spread down here and there are lot of farmers struggling even though they may not admit it."

He is appreciative of the support his family farm has received so far, including that from Burnett farmers, but they have a long way to go.

"We have a great appreciation for all of these people who have been helping us, I can't believe how many people are out there thinking about us and the amount of phone calls we've received in the last few days has been great.

"It's made life a bit easier for me."

Mr Gamble has received some help from the small charity Drought Angels.

He has asked those who can spare a few dollars to donate to the organisation, and those who have hay available, to donate or sell, to contact him on 0418731768.

Instead of shooting his bull calves, he is now giving them away in exchange for a donation of any amount to Drought Angels.

Mr Gamble has young children and feels he has no other choice than to ask for help, you can follow links to donate directly at his Facebook page Gamble Family Farming.

"I've got no other choice, if i don't keep fighting I will lose my farm and I will lose everything."


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