BANKRUPT farmer Keith Slorach says he is overwhelmed with the outpouring of community support following a story in The Courier on Saturday.
The 60-year-old from Mortchup, near Linton, has lost everything.
Worse, he has had to witness the rounding up of his precious merino flock, some of them day-old lambs, for slaughter.
“People I have never met before have dropped in offering support,” Mr Slorach said.
“They have brought food, soup, chicken, bread, butter, milk, more than I can eat.
“I had two blokes come in and leave a $100 (note) pinned to a handwritten note on the table.”
Mr Slorach said the show of support had given him strength.
“I am surprised at the response of the community,” he said.
“I thought I was in it by myself. It is helping me get by each day.”
Yet, positive as the grandfather-of-three is trying to be, there is worse to come.
The third-generation farmer will soon have to walk out of the only home he has ever known.
It was here in the three-bedroom weatherboard that Mr Slorach was born.
Every corner, he said, was full of memories.
An old timber dining table dominates the kitchen – it belonged to Mr Slorach’s father; a tarnished silver tea set, belonging to his grandmother, takes pride of place on a crowded bookshelf.
“Tomorrow, three real estate agents are coming for an appraisal of the property,” Mr Slorach said.
“I can’t comprehend what it would be like without having this home.
“I don’t know where I would go.”
Everyday there is the thought of his stock butchered either on the 277 hectares farm or taken to nearby abattoirs, on the advice of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.
DEPI has told The Courier animal welfare and ‘poor animal health’ was behind the decision to ‘euthanase’ the 1200 cattle, sheep, calves and day-old lambs.
Mr Slorach said he still couldn’t get the spectacle, of seeing his animals mustered on August 21 for the killing, out of his mind.
“It is on my mind when I go to bed and it is on my mind when I wake up,” he said.
“It is constant.”
The father-of-two said he had handled his stock using low-stress techniques like moving in quietly or not allowing vehicles in the yard.
“But when they were culling the animals, they rounded them up with a motorbike, tearing around, the lambs and the sheep just running around terrified,” Mr Slorach said.
“It broke my heart.”