WHEN Trevor Sadler heads to the Bega Valley with two semi-trailer loads of hay later this week, it will be a case of “a mate helping out a mate”.
The Camperdown-based transport operator is adamant the gesture should not be viewed as anything else.
“I’ve been delivering hay to a farmer at Bemboka since 2003 and we’ve become pretty good mates along the way,” Mr Sadler said.
“So when he was burnt out in the recent fires I wanted to do something to help him out and taking up some hay seemed like the obvious thing.”
The ‘drop deck’ loads will include 68 rolls and 16 squares of hay – some of it Mr Sadler’s and some of it donated by local farmers from Leslie Manor, Terang, Camperdown and Lake Bolac.
Mr Sadler said once delivered the hay will be divided among his friend and his immediate neighbours.
“My mate’s house was spared in the blaze, but he lost all his fencing, most of the farm’s machinery, shedding and all his hay,” he said.
“His neighbours are in a similar situation – so it’s good to be able to help them out.”
Mr Sadler and his family know full well the ongoing loss fires cause, having lost his own pasture and fencing to the St Patrick’s Day fires in 2018.
“It was a bit different for us though,” he said.
“Our fire happened on the very last hot day of the summer season – it rained a few days later and within a couple of weeks there was green grass again.
“The current fires aren’t like that. They’ve come at the start of summer, they’re already in the grip of drought and they got months of hot and dry weather to come before there’ll be any sign of green grass.
“They’ve got a lot to get through.”
Mr Sadler said he is happy to accept donations of dog food, electric fence equipment, rolls of wire, gloves and bottled water to include in the two loads.
Locals are welcome to leave items at Country Road Farm Supplies on Bowen Street in Camperdown or make a cash donation at the store which will be used to purchase items for the appeal.
“We’ll just poke the items in amongst the hay on the trucks and take it down that way,” Mr Sadler said.
“I know two truckloads of hay aren’t really going to change much – it’s more of a good will gesture to the people in their time of need.
“I’ll probably round up another couple of loads of hay to take up in the coming weeks too – so if people want to help, they still can.”