Brett Collins knows farmers who are struggling, and too proud to ask for help. But the Bendigo Foodshare ambassador wants to change that.
A fifth generation farmer, Mr Collins grows crops, cereal grain, wheat, barley, canola, oats and hay over 1200 acres at Bridgewater and Jarklin.
A dry year past means yields have been low, and water and fuel prices are "through the roof". But prices for grain aren't too bad.
Mr Collins wouldn't want to be on the other side though, farming dairy and needing to buy in feed.
It's smaller farming businesses, or those with high debt, that are struggling, he said.
It's started to rain now - which is good - but farmers won't harvest crops until November, Mr Collins said. And, it will take an above average rainfall in winter and spring to make up for the recent dry. For some farming enterprises it will take years to recover.
Some people might not have had an income for two years.
It means farmers just stop spending, Mr Collins said.
"You just go without. You just cut to the bare basics," Mr Collins said.
He has friends who are doing it tough, but many are to proud to ask for help.
Some much need rain may have finally arrived, but drought and tough economic conditions have had a significant impact on local farming communities, where some farmers are forced to choose between feeding livestock or feeding themselves. pic.twitter.com/CegnRnRZqE— Bendigo Foodshare (@BgoFoodshare) May 6, 2019
So Mr Collins has stepped up as an ambassador for Bendigo Foodshare, to encourage farmers to ask for help if they need it.
"We support Foodshare because they would like to encourage the proud farmers that aren't making anything to reach out and ask for a hand," Mr Collins said.
"People shouldn't be ashamed to reach out to it. It's reassuring for me to know if we need help, I can reach out and ask for a hand.
"As a society I think that something we don't do, we don't ask for help."
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