A dairy farm in Picton has made a plea for the public to adopt one of their cows in an attempt to get the farm through the drought in New South Wales.
In an emotional Facebook appeal, Country Valley dairy farm owner John Fairley asked supporters “to adopt a cow or a calf, to help my family get through to Spring.”
The award-winning farm has been in the Fairley family since the 1850s and has been heavily impacted by the drought in the Greater Sydney area.
Mr Fairley has estimated he will need $1350 per cow, as feed will become more expensive further into winter.
The Department of Primary Industries has declared that nine per cent of New South Wales is experiencing drought conditions, with 2017 being the hottest year on record for NSW and rainfall 18 per cent below average.
“These conditions are typical of the early phases of a major drought, and without rainfall in May-June 2018 this could evolve into a more prolonged event,” Department of Primary Industries’ Dr Anthony Clark said.
Dairy is Australia’s third largest agricultural commodity, worth $4 billion annually. The current drought conditions threaten the stability of this commodity, as well as the over 25,000 people employed by the industry.
Mr Fairley said there has been an enormous response to Country Valley’s plea for help. He said and some families have adopted as many as five cows.
“I am feeling so humble and grateful for the responses and eight months of stress is draining from my body,” he said.
But they are not out of danger, with the next three months forecast to have less rain than previous years, and the emergence of spring does not guarantee these conditions will let up.