Organised by The Rapid Relief Team (RRT), the Farmers Community Connect event is the second hosted in Lismore since devastating floods twice hit the north coast earlier this year.

1224 bales of feed-tested, A-grade Lucerne hay and 880 25kg bags (22 tonnes) of annual ryegrass seed were donated to more than 300 local farmers in need.

The donated feed at just today’s event alone is enough to feed 40,000 head of cattle.

“After the first community event we reached out to local farmers to see if further support was needed, & what would be most beneficial. We have 50% more farmers receiving assistance compared to our last event just two months ago – so it just shows how challenging recovery still is."

RRT Director Lester Sharples said.

More than 400 locals and farmers took advantage of a community BBQ and there were ten community and support service providers on-hand to support locals.

The tetraploid annual ryegrass seed with ultrastrike coating is a resilient, annual seed product which means it can be planted in winter and help bring paddocks back to life, earlier. A convoy of 28 trucks transported the hay and seed from Cowra and Griffith in the Riverina, to South Lismore on the North Coast.

Veterinary support, rural financial counsellors and mental health counsellors were among the services offered.

In a quirky addition – a helicopter blade that was lost in the floods and then found at a later date, was auctioned for charity at the event.

The helicopter blade was donated from local pilot and owner of Rotorwing Helicopter Services, Mike Barnes – raising just shy of $20,000, for local flood relief charities. Mike has also helped with airlifting hay bales to farmers cut off by flooding in early April.

“It just means the world – it’s just so good. If you have to buy hay its very expensive and you can understand why. There is shortage of feed everywhere and this just means so much that we can feed this cattle through this cold weather through this hard time.”

Greta Rhodes

This year RRT has donated 2,852 bales of hay to more than 450 farmers on the north coast as part of its Farmers Community Connect initiative.

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