Finding what farmers need, firsthand
A few weeks ago, Nich and Dale from Hillridge went out to Lithgow to visit talk with farmers about how they were dealing with the drought. In classic country fashion, what began as an offer to talk with us soon grew into a lunch invitation and a day well spent listening, learning, and laughing.
Just on the other side of the Blue Mountains, the dense bushland of the range gives way to the rolling hills near Lithgow, where cattle is abundant and the grass is green. At least, that is what it would look like in a normal year. As we crested and descended the limestone hills, the grass jumped between green and yellow, and while still greener than a lot of the other country we’d seen around NSW, it was nowhere near as verdant as it should have been.
As we arrived a local farmer and a local grazier greeted us and invited us in for lunch. After a delicious lunch and some fantastic local wine, the talk moved to how the locals of Lithgow were finding the drought. From these conversations, we learned from them that many farmers are worried about the lack of rain. The type of soil in that area requires consistent rainfall, something that this region has not seen this year. Without rain for a few more weeks, it could grow to an even bigger source of worry for farmers in this region.
These stories are not unique; Hillridge has talked to several graziers forced to buy subpar feed for exorbitant prices or even sell of parts of their herd in order to survive the year. Hillridge understands the massive financial pressure that graziers can feel from a drought, which is precisely why Hillridge is exploring options to insulate cattle and other livestock from feed and water shortages, something unprecedented within Australian agriculture. We believe that farmers shouldn’t be forced to give up their futures in order to survive the present, and we want to help make that become reality.