Farmers rely on faith, children and 'skipping' pigs to stay smiling throughout the drought
By Lara Webster, NSW Country Hour (Australia)
via ABC News Australia - July 11, 2019
On drought-stricken New South Wales properties, many farmers are still hand-feeding stock.
Those with an ounce of hope for rain are getting the machinery ready for when the downpour finally arrives.
Some missed a winter crop last year and the remainder of 2019 does not looking promising either.
Due to a lack of rain, the number of crops planted in NSW is well down on previous years, with an estimated 60 per cent of the potential area for crops being sown this year.
The Bureau of Meteorology climate outlook also reported an increased risk of frost in the three months from July to September.
Despite that grim reality, some farmers in the state's north dig deep for what brings them joy in tough times — a motorbike ride, faith and playing with the kids.
Keeping the faith
Brad Jackson is a crop farmer near Gurley in the north west of the state.
His family own a dryland operation, so they rely totally on rain and right now they have very little crop in the ground.
What is there is going backwards with limited sub soil moisture available.
Despite the fact that a winter crop could be missed, Mr Jackson has something that keeps him smiling — his faith in God.
"Really I look to Him for faith and his help and support," he said. "For me that helps take my eyes of the uncertainty of the dry conditions around us and helps me focus on something else above.
"We do have a lot to be thankful for and I try to keep that joy and keep that thankful attitude despite the tough times."
Mr Jackson said he also relied on a good sense of humour, his children and motorbikes to keep a positive attitude and relieve the pressure of the relentless dry.
"I certainly love my motorbike riding and we try to do that as much as we can and get outside and let off a bit of steam."
Kids are key ...
'Snoring, skipping' pigs ...