So … is the Drought really over?

Australia is indeed blessed!

We have weathered the global pandemic better than most countries and are now in the fortunate position of re-opening our doors to the rest of the world, gradually restoring a sense of normality in our daily lives.

Throughout the pandemic Australia was fortunate to be home to some of the best food and textile producers in the world, enabling us to feed and clothe our own with confidence despite closed borders and halted imports.

In a heartbreaking twist, sadly, some of the same farmers who continue to feed and clothe us even to this day, are doing so while struggling to feed and clothe their own families.

In 21st Century Australia how can this be happening?

Australia’s ongoing drought (reportedly the longest in living history) along with other natural disasters like floods, bushfires, and mouse plagues have proven too much for many of our family-run farms to sustain. As a drought affected farmer once said, “It doesn’t rain cash, cows or crops…”. Recovery from drought and natural disasters is a process that is often long and slow.

“It doesn’t rain cash, cows or crops…”

Drought Angels, founded in 2014, can be found supporting Aussie farmers not only in times of acute disaster, but also during the long recovery periods when the need for financial and wellbeing support is often the greatest. We offer immediate personalised financial assistance via pre-paid Mastercards, enabling farmers to provide for their families with dignity. Farmers often spend the funds in their local towns resulting in their entire rural community benefiting from the assistance.

Our Angels on the Road program ensures food hampers and care packs, brimming with thoughtfully selected Australian made and sourced products, are delivered by our Farmer Support staff and Angel Volunteers to farmers throughout Australia. These visits offer the opportunity to touch base with our farmers and deliver the messages of hope from our supporters across Australia and around the world, reinforcing our promise that they are not alone. While reserved at first, during these visits the farmers’ stoic front gently softens, often revealing even deeper hardships and an opportunity for Drought Angels to further address the unique needs of their families. A warm hug and a promise that they will never be forgotten may not be able to turn the seasons around, but it does leave them with a sense of renewed hope for the future.

Many of our farming families have been custodians of their land for multiple generations. For many, the current generation is the first to endure ongoing hardships of such magnitude, and so they are the first of many generations forced to contemplate selling, or even worse, walking away from their family farms … their family homes … their family history …

Farmers routinely put in place strategic planning to safeguard their agricultural businesses from two to three years of failed seasons due to droughts and natural disasters. Despite this astute planning, with parts of Australia facing ongoing drought for up to 10 years, any reserved funds are long since gone and the bank accounts are often left as barren as the land they care for.

It can take as many as four good seasons to recover from a single year of lost farm income, sadly for many, enduring the ongoing drought and multiple natural disasters and the prospect of a recovery is no longer feasible. Those fortunate enough to retain their farms are often left to face a future of reduced production capacity due to diminished revenues and damaged infrastructure and, at times, an even greater reduction in spirit.

It can take as many as four good seasons to recover from a single year of drought …

Australia’s Agricultural Industry covers a range of diverse businesses over an extensive series of landscapes. The immense scale of our continent and subsequent agricultural footprint means it’s not unusual for multiple disasters such as drought, floods, bushfires, cyclones and plagues to exist at any one time, highlighting the need for personalised assistance to ensure the individual needs of each farming family who applies for assistance are met, and the appropriate follow-up support is set in place.

This environmental diversity also poses a challenge for Drought Angels when it comes to fundraising and awareness. As a charity that is funded largely by the Australian public alongside some generous corporate supporters, public misconceptions about the drought and other natural disasters can greatly impact people’s willingness to make donations and organise fundraising activities to support our mission.

When a significant rain event across NSW or Qld receives widespread media attention, one could be forgiven for thinking Australia’s worst drought in history has finally broken. Meanwhile many Western Australian farmers are likely heading into their fifth consecutive year of heartbreaking drought with no relief in sight.

We love celebrating the incredible efforts of our Angel FUNraisers …

Raising awareness of the drought and natural disasters impacting Aussie farmers right across our vast nation is a constant focus for Drought Angels. By sharing our farmers stories of incredible strength and passion we spread awareness of their plight, empowering others to help us support Aussie farmers and rural communities. We love recognising and celebrating the incredible efforts of our many amazing supporters, including our corporate partners and Angel FUNraisers, as without them we simply would not be able to continue supporting Aussie farming families.

To learn more about Drought Angels and find out about the ways you can give support or get involved, we welcome your visit to today!

About the Author

Joanna Bender

Joanna is the Programming & Design Manager for Drought Angels.

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