One compassionate Dereel man is working to assist farmers affected by fire in the Upper Murray region, by raising funds to reseed pastures and making trips to help complete the work.
Bruce Martin, a farmer himself, travelled to Corryong, Cudgewa and surrounding areas and witnessed the devastation of the fires and the effect it has had on farmers.
"To see this first hand, is heartbreaking", Mr Martin said.
"I've spoken with farmers who are simply at a loss and not sure of what to do next. They desperately need help re-seeding their pastures and crops.
"We know that millions upon millions of dollars has been raised through various charities for those affected by the recent fires, but the farmers are yet to receive any money.
"This makes it difficult for them to put up new fences and reseed pastures."
I want to give them hope and let them know that even though the fires have stopped, people still care and help is on its way and that the recovery can begin.Bruce Martin, Dereel farmer
Mr Martin said he went through the Dereel fires in 2013 and he was determined to raise funds to help the farmers with the cost of reseeding.
"I feel for these farmers and want to help them," he said.
"I want to give them hope and let them know that even though the fires have stopped, people still care and help is on its way and that the recovery can begin.
"Many farmers are struggling, having lost homes, animals, farm equipment and fences.
"Sadly, many don't know how they were going to feed their stock through winter with only weeds growing after the fires."
Mr Martin is originally from Canterbury in New Zealand and said he farmers on the Canterbury Plains had shown interest in visiting Australia to assist farmers in the Corryong area
"The farmers in the Canterbury plains clearly remember how Australian's went to their aid after the Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and they see this as an opportunity to help the Australian's, which is fantastic," he said.
"With the coronavirus crisis, it's now impossible for these farmers to come across, but we do have a manufacturer in Christchurch who has pledged to send specialised equipment to help reseed, which is incredible and will be such a boost for the farmers."
Mr Martin said it cost about $200 per hectare to reseed pastures and crops and there were only two months lefts to reseed before winter, so fundraising support would go a long way to helping farmers recover.
He is asking for donations to a Go Fund Me page and the Corryong Community Charity would handle the distribution of funds raised to farmers reseeding.
Mr Martin will travel to Corryong with his tractor and drill in the next two weeks to help with the reseeding effort, and is looking for others who are willing to help and provide assistance with seed and fertiliser.
"This is so important for the recovery process, not only economically, but also for the mental health and trauma recovery for those who have experienced the devastation of the fires directly and to have some feeling of control over their future," he said.
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