Farmers appeal for hay

Farmers appeal for hay

22 December 2006

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Australia — Victorian farmers hit first by prolonged drought and now bydevastating bushfires have made urgent appeals for hay to feed their livestock.

The Victorian Farmers Federation has received more than 60 emergency pleasfrom farmers seeking hay.

VFF president Simon Ramsay urged people to help out farmers by makingtax-deductible donations to its disaster relief fund.

“The main ones we’re focusing on at the moment are those affected by fires,” MrRamsay said.

“It’s important people are able to donate, particularly cash, because thatenables us to go out and buy hay.

“It’s very hard to find it and it does give us the opportunity to go out inthe marketplace to buy it.”

Today was the first of what could be many hay donations to Gippsland asbushfires threaten farmland.

A farmer from Licola in Gippsland will receive the donation after fire razed hissheds, farmland and more than 100 kilometres of fencing.

“The farmer that we’re delivering to today was totally burnt out – hishouse still survived but that was the only structure,” Mr Ramsay said.

Mr Ramsay said farmers were under great stress as they dealt not only with thedrought but threats from bushfire.

“Of the 800,000 hectares now burnt, only a small part have burnt privateproperty,” he said.

“But for those that have been burnt out, many have lost everything in themost severe cases. It will leave a scar for a long time as well.”

The National Australia Bank today announced it would extend its insurance helpto victims of bushfire in Victoria and Tasmania over the summer.

Under the extra assistance, there will be a waiver of excess for all NABinsurance customers affected.

There will also be one year of free home and contents insurance for customerswho are eligible for the NAB relief package, up to a maximum of $750.

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