Farmer and founder of the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, Brendan Farrell, has been traversing the nation for the past two years in a trucking convoy delivering donated hay to drought stricken farmers, and highlighting the resilient spirit of the bush along the way.
Brendan made a single delivery on February 7, 2014 to a drought-affected farmer in Bourke, and by the time he had left his base of Darlington Point, the convoy had grown to 22 trucks helping over 40 farmers.
Burrumbuttock Hay Runners went on to complete 11 runs carrying 16,250 square bales to over 1800 farmers in northern NSW and Queensland.
Donations continued to flood in from around the country to the extent the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners were able to deliver to Queensland farmers in January 160 trailer loads of hay pulled by 119 prime movers.
They upped the ante in April to have 258 trucks and 406 trailers deliver more than 13,500 bales valued at $6 million to Queensland.
The cause brought all sections of the community together, from parliamentarians to truck drivers, and city folk alike.
Brendan, 40, has been nominated for the 2017 Australian of the Year Award.
He will be a guest of the field days and speak at The Stump on Thursday, September 22 at 11am on his inspirational campaigns. Visitors can also inspect the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners merchandise trailer.
Henty Machinery Field Days director Howard Muller was among the hundreds of volunteers to drive their own trucks on the hay run to Ilfracombe, while exhibitor Mark Lavery, Mark’s Spray Barn, has been convoy manager.
Brendan said Burrumbuttock Hay Runners was about helping mates in a time of need.
“Farmers impacted by drought often struggle to ask for help and many due to the financial strain of trying to keep the farm afloat also battle mental health issues,’’ he said.
Brendan and his team of volunteers know the hay they will deliver provides only temporary relief.
“But, it’s about showing fellow Australians that someone cares about them in tough times,’’ he said.
“We believe Aussie farmers are critical to our future in Australia.
“The majority of Queensland is currently drought declared and drought doesn’t just impact farmers, it also affects local businesses and schools within that community.’’
All hay is donated by generous farmers from around Australia.
“The money fundraised and held in the Rotary Club bank account is used to fuel the trucks transporting the donated hay,’’ Brendan said.
“No one in the Burrumbuttock Hay Run group are paid a wage, everyone is a volunteer.
“This includes all the truck drivers who donate the use of their trucks and machinery to load and unload the hay.’’
The last two runs were the biggest to date and were both to Ilfracombe, in central west Queensland.
Completed in April, the last 1800km hay run from Burrumbuttock to Ilfracombe enabled 800 farmers to feed 300,000 animals.
The run involved trucks from NSW, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, and more than 500 volunteers.
“Although the primary focus was to take hay to farmers on the last trip, there was also trucks of donated dog food, fruit and vegetables, groceries, toiletries and household items,’’ Brendan said.
He said the team’s motto was “keeping the dream alive’’.
“They believe in doing whatever it takes to help keep the dream alive for our Aussie farmers.’’