The bullock team at Gleneden Family Farm on the Southern Downs walks across the dry country.
The bullock team at Gleneden Family Farm on the Southern Downs walks across the dry country.

Family starts $50k campaign to save farm from drought

A DROUGHT-stricken family south of Toowoomba have taken to crowd-funding in a bid to save their sustainable farming operation from disaster.

Gleneden Family Farm owners Rohan and Fiona Morris have launched a $50,000 "droughtproofing" campaign, after suffering through more than two years of hellish dry seasons.

The Maryvale property on the Southern Downs, which was bought by the Morris family three years ago, sells sustainable and ethically-raised food directly to consumers in a community-based model.

But Mr Morris said the ongoing drought had beaten them down, adding the farm was out of pasture and nearly out of water.

"It's stopped raining basically - the first six months we got good storms and we were able to put on agistment cattle, but from April 2017, it's like the taps have been turned off.

"We've had below-average rainfall for the past two years, and very low rainfall for the past 12 months.

"We had three rain events in our last wet season. We've measured about 140mm of rain (this year), our average is supposed to be 700mm."

APPEAL: Gleneden Family Farms owner Rohan Morris and his family have started a crowd-funding effort in a bid to droughtproof his Southern Downs property.
APPEAL: Gleneden Family Farms owner Rohan Morris and his family have started a crowd-funding effort in a bid to droughtproof his Southern Downs property.

Mr Morris said the property's bore was also under stress, and after reaching October with no rain in sight the family decided to take a new approach.

He said the crowd-funding, which would be done directly rather than through a website like GoFundMe, would help pay for a new bore and extra infrastructure to make the farm more resilient to drought conditions.

Gleneden Family Farms owner Fiona Morris and her family have started a crowd-funding effort in a bid to droughtproof the Southern Downs property.
Gleneden Family Farms owner Fiona Morris and her family have started a crowd-funding effort in a bid to droughtproof the Southern Downs property.

Donors would get a chance to visit the farm and learn more about the property's operations.

"We want to drill a new, deeper bore to source reliable livestock water and then to plant and grow some crops so that we can maintain a small number of animals," Mr Morris said.

"We're crowd-funding and thanking people by giving them tickets for farmstays and farm tours, because that's been part of our business as well.

"We're not just asking for charity - we think we've got something worth offering. The people who come to our farm really love it.

"We're also not just treating the symptoms, we're working on a plan to extract ourselves from this situation."

Along with sustainable farming principles, Gleneden is one of the few properties across Australia to feature a bullock team.

To donate to the cause, you can transfer money to Gleneden Family Farm, with a BSB of 638-010 and an account number of 14191040.

For more information about the property, head to the website.


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