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Lions hay and pellet shipment reaches King Island farmers

Sheep Central, May 20, 2024

Hay is moved off the King Islander at Grassy, King Island. Photo – Need for Feed Facebook.

LIONS Australia charity Need for Feed completed a mercy shipment of hay and fodder for King Island farmers over the weekend, with the help of a last minute $75,000 boost from the Tasmanian Government.

Organiser Graham Cockerell said the offloading of almost 500 of the 700 bales of hay organised for the farmers, and 201 bulk bags of cattle pellets, was completed at Grassy by 9.30pm last night.

However, he said about 200 bales of hay intended for the farmers could not be loaded onto the Eastern Line Shipping’s King Islander and the charity was now looking for further funding for this.

Mr Cockerell said the Tasmanian Government committed $75,000 in a grant to Need for Feed to meet the costs of one trip by Eastern Line Shipping, which had offered to the shipment at cost for Need for Feed.

“So effectively instead of Eastern Line Shipping bailing us out they are now bailing the Tasmanian Government out.”

After the Black Summer Fire in Victoria, the King Island community sent 700 bales of hay and silage to farmers in New South Wales and Victoria, and the weekend shipment was in return for the KI farmers’ generosity and kindness.

Mr Cockerell said the good result was that the Tasmanian Government has acknowledged that the shipment was made possible by Need for Feed and other volunteers.

However, he believed that the shipment might not be sufficient to meet the KI farmers’ needs over winter, with recent rainfall falling unevenly across the island.

The shipment was finally loaded at Port Welshpool after the Colac Otway Shire Council knocked back a proposal to ship the fodder through the Apollo Bay port.

Mr Cockerell said the charity was now looking for more funding to get the rest of the hay to King Island and would consider another full shipment if donations were received.

‘Without donations or grants we don’t have the money to do another round,” he said.

Mr Cockerell said other areas of Australia are also crying out for help with fodder – on Tasmania’s mainland, Western Australia and South Australia.

“The whole bottom of the country is dry to varying degrees – south-west Victoria is dry, the Western District, and more so on the coast.”

Lions Club of Gisborne president Russell Walker, left, presented Need for Feed president Graham Cockerell with a $5000 donation to help meet the cost of the shipment. An equivalent donation was made by the Rotary Club at Deloraine in Tasmania.

TasFarmers president Ian Sauer welcomed the arrival of feed and fodder, acknowledging all the crucial support in getting the feed onto the Island.

He thanked the ‘Need for Feed’ team for purchasing the feed and TasPorts for waiving stevedoring and port fees to help make the shipment possible. Freight supplier Eastern Line Shipping must also be congratulated for ensuring the timely and efficient transport of the shipment after the Colac Otway refused Apollo Bay port access, he said.

“Our drought coordinators led by Deb Delaney will swiftly move to distribute feed across affected farms, ensuring relief for farmers in need and their animals.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure the deployment of drought coordinators to address various drought issues and now they will get on with the job to facilitate the distribution of fodder.”

Click here to make a fodder donation to Need for Feed and here to become a volunteer.

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