Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder Brendan Farrell calls for less talk, more action on drought

REAL DEAL: Brendan Farrell is calling for fewer displays of sympathy and more on-the-ground action to help farmers weather this drought.
REAL DEAL: Brendan Farrell is calling for fewer displays of sympathy and more on-the-ground action to help farmers weather this drought.

Burrumbuttock Hay Runners founder Brendan Farrell has launched a stinging broadside at bleeding hearts with “boxes of tissues” who are all talk and no action on the country’s drought crisis.

From politicians and swarming media crews to people from welfare offices weeping and wailing over dead stock, Mr Farrell said farmers crippled by drought needed help on the ground – now.

“If you’re going to help, get out and do it,” said the outspoken truckie who was awarded a Queen’s Birthday honour this year for his hay run efforts.

“You don’t need an office to help a farmer or boxes of tissues  – three people crying around the kitchen table instead of two isn’t helping either.”

While Mr Farrell welcomed everyday Australians’ growing concerns about their rural counterparts, he expressed his frustration at the “publicity circus” surrounding the current crisis.

“The media should have been out here three years ago,” Mr Farrell said from the outback on Monday.

“Instead a whole parade of journalists arrived in Tamworth where it’s a little dry but a pretty easy place to get to.”

Mr Farrell said the drought was intensifying and pressure was mounting on politicians to do a lot more than just turn up for a staged visit and make sympathetic noises.

He said the next three years would be tough across all sectors of agriculture.

“I’m not a smart man but I’ve seen in farmers’ eyes when they are going backwards,” the passionate advocate said.

“(Agriculture minister) David Littleproud has the most important portfolio in this country right now and he needs more power to make the changes needed.”

One of the most critical issues in the latest drought crisis is difficulty sourcing hay and other stock feed.

That’s a huge area of concern for the man who relies on hay donations for his yearly mission of mercy with an army of big rigs.

Mr Farrell is unsure where he’ll source hay for the 2019 run but it will come at a price.

Cold hard cash is the only currency that’s going to ensure those trucks can hit the road laden with hay – and hope – for struggling farmers.

“Every dollar you can whack in the Rotary Club of Sydney account will help – even if people put in the cost of their cup of coffee it would be appreciated,” he said.

  • To donate - BSB: 062 438; Account: 10211156; Description: Drought Appeal. Send cheques to: The Rotary Club of Sydney Drought Appeal; GPO Box 1523, Sydney NSW 2001.

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