Farmers Across Borders gain charity status, grant boost ahead of West Australian run

Farmers Across Borders are preparing to set off on their 2020 Australia Day Run. Photo: Farmers Across Borders.
Farmers Across Borders are preparing to set off on their 2020 Australia Day Run. Photo: Farmers Across Borders.

Farmers Across Borders has been granted charity status, just in time for the group's Australia Day Hay Run to drought-stricken farmers.

Last year's run saw a huge fleet of about 50 road trains travel across the country to deliver 3000 tonnes of feed to farmers in New South Wales.

After being overwhelmed with applications from pastoralists closer to home, the committee decided to focus this year's run on WA.

More than 15 trucks are expected to cart about 800 tonnes of fodder across the state, including the Northern Goldfields, Gascoyne and Murchison regions.

The group also secured a grant of $25,000 from the state government to help fund the convoy of trucks on their journey from Esperance.

Farmers Across Borders president Sam Starcevich said the group were "very excited" to be recognised for their hard work.

"Being recognised means we should be able to access government funding and apply for grants more easily," she said.

"We knew how many people needed our help, we had to do something.

"We are thankful for our state government acknowledging their responsibility to regional Western Australia.

"There's been a lot of fundraising going on and a lot of generous donations but at $4,500 for each truck, it's a hard slog.

"It's great that the government has recognised us and chipped in to help the pastoralists."

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan said southern rangelands pastoralists had battled through a very difficult season.

"While ex-tropical cyclone Blake has brought some rain to some areas, we know it's still a struggle out there," she said.

"Farmers Across Borders told me that the moral boost to isolated pastoralists is an important part of their mission.

"We trust the compassion and concern of Farmers Across Borders will help pastoralists' wellbeing.

"Our government is continuing to work on long-term solutions to support our pastoral industry in a drying climate, in the meantime, we wish Farmers Across Borders the best on their upcoming hay run."

Mrs Starcevich said the group were busy sorting through applications and would soon decide on the final location for hay drop-offs and the number of trucks that will join the convoy.

"There are a lot more applicants this time, the word has definitely got out there," she said.

A send-off event for the 2020 Australia Day Hay Run will be held on January 25, from 7am at Lot 101 Coolgardie-Esperance Highway, 6 Mile Hill.