THE double blow of the drought combined with bushfires has meant many farmers have never needed a helping hand more than they do right now.
With this in mind, many people, including Leeton's Sue and Buster Ryan, recently participated in the Need for Feed Hay Run to drought and bushfire-affected areas in Victoria.
The pair were able to make the trek thanks to the donation of a truck from Wagga Trucks, which helped them to deliver a vital load of hay to where it was needed most.
"We took a load of donated hay from Stuart and Debbie Buller (of Leeton) and made our way to Invergordon and loaded more hay there, before making our way to the depot at Meringur on the South Australian border, which is a drought-affected area," Mrs Ryan said.
"We unloaded the hay and met farmers suffering the effects of the drought.
"We had troubles with trailer lights and a family doing it tough themselves invited us back to their farm and fixed the problem in 41 degree heat and refused to take any payment."
They then traveled onto central west Victoria where they met farmer John Gregor who helped them load their truck with 36 round hay rolls that he had donated.
From there they headed to Packenham where they met up with other trucks on the Need for Feed Hay Run that was taking hay to East Gippsland's fire-affected areas.
On January 5 they then joined with 55 other trucks, many utes and trailers laden with hay to transport to Bairnsdale.
"We (were) then were put into groups where Buster and I traveled in a convoy under police escort to Orbost and we delivered our hay to a dairy farmer who had suffered big fodder and grazing losses to over half his farm from the fires," Mrs Ryan said.
Need for Feed is a disaster relief initiative of the Packenham Lions Club.
The pair have thanked all of those who donated hay, their truck, trailer and more to ensure they could participate in the hay run.
The Ryans are now preparing for another Need for Feed Hay Run, which will take off on the Australia Day weekend.
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