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Battlers grateful drought's brought people together

HELPING HAND: Calvin Bartley and Brad Todd at Winhaven at Aramac.
HELPING HAND: Calvin Bartley and Brad Todd at Winhaven at Aramac. Lynn Bartley

DESPITE making the move to their dream home at the "worst possible" time, Jenny and Brad Todd wouldn't trade in their Aramac property for the world.

Just three years ago Jenny and Brad went after their dream and bought the 12000ha Western Queensland cattle property Winhaven.

The only problem? The drought in Queensland was starting to bite.

"It was sort of a dream come true for us," Jenny said. "We were getting older, we'd fallen in love with the place, it was now or never."

Despite the harshness of the drought, which has left them with just 60 head of cattle, Jenny said she was almost grateful for the drought.

"Had there not been a drought, things might have gone differently but it has brought people together in the most amazing ways," she said.

"When things aren't tough you just get on with your own life and do your own thing, but through all of this we have met some absolute salt of the earth people who we wouldn't have had the chance to meet otherwise.

"It changes your mindset about receiving help and about giving to others as well." Having spent most of her career in public relations Jenny was determined to use her skills to break down the divide between rural and urban Australia.

So she established the page Farming in Australia in an effort to "bridge the gap".

"We'd had a particularly bad day in the drought, our cattle had sold for something like 30c/kg, it was just one thing after another had gone wrong," Jenny said.

"Brad was getting stressed out of frustration, just knowing what had to be done, but not having any money to do it.

"I just wanted to try to help people in the city understand what it was like.

"And things have snowballed from there."

Since then Jenny, who was heavily involved in the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, said the generosity and kindness she and Brad had received had turned things around for them.

Emerald couple Lynn and Calvin Bartley recently visited the Aramac couple as part of their Gift of Giving campaign, aiming to provide practical and emotional support to farming families suffering from the drought.

"They brought me some plants for my garden, brought tyres for our loader and did a bit of work on the farm... Lynn even did some housework while I was away for the week," Jenny said.

"They were great company for Brad, and helped him not fall behind while I was away.

"It was such a lovely surprise to come home to.

"I can honestly say people like Lynn and Calvin, and the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, make a huge difference. To know that people out there care gives you the life to go back and have another go."

Topics:  burrumbuttock hay runners drought drought-affected farmers


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