Plight of desperate Aussie farmers goes viral on Facebook 378



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A young man who picked up a 64-year-old hitchhiker this week learned the shocking truth of the the situation for our farmers, and the post shared with his family and friends has been shared close to 50,000 times.

James Howie from Jimboomba, Queensland, shared this story:

“So yesterday I did the unthinkable. I picked up a hitchhiker. A man who was well dressed in clean slacks and shoes, a button up shirt and an acubra, carrying a tan coloured duffle bag. He appeared to be in his 70s to me… I pulled out of the servo of which he was standing out front, and asked him where he was off to. He said he was heading for a road just off the highway in the direction I was going so I told him to hop in.

“As one does, a conversation was struck between us and I asked his final destination. He said he was on his way to a town outside Taree… and the story that followed broke my heart.

“He had arrived in Brisbane that morning at what was the end of his bus fare from a town called Dingo in north Queensland. He and his wife of 31 years were travelling down south to stay with friends as they had to leave their cattle farm. A corporation whose name I can’t recall but had an association with Coles or Woolworths had come in and undercut their business by 30 bucks per head of cattle and they went broke after losing their business.

“The bank had foreclosed their farm and it is up for auction later this month. They didn’t even have enough money for them both to get the bus down south. This man, Graham, had paid full fare for his wife, given her money for some food too and only got himself to Brisbane. He’d come our way to ask the mushroom farm for a few hours work to pay the $54 bus fare to his destination. He was denied the work and was basically going to knock on property’s doors to get some work to pay his fare.

“I drove straight past his drop off and headed all the way out to Beenleigh telling him I would drop him at the station. He objected saying he needed to get work before the station to which my answer was to stop in at an ATM, and get out enough money for his ticket and some extra so he could eat.

“He thanked me about 20 times between there and the station, and had tears welling up in his eyes. He asked how he could get the money back to me and I told him that when he’s back on his feet if he ever comes across someone in need of help to pass it on.

“It turns out this man was only 64, but looked mid to late 70s… he had been a man who had worked with his hands his whole life (and wasn’t scared of hard work) and then had everything taken out from under him.”

**long post warning** So yesterday I did the unthinkable. I picked up a hitchhiker. A man who was well dressed in clean…

Posted by James Howie on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Meanwhile, today the ABC is reporting that farmers are the new face of homelessness in Australia as they are forced to walk away from their farms in the face of impossible debts during a brutal drought.

On farmer who lost her property to the bank is Cate Stuart from Charleville in south-west Queensland

She says. “I know one family that walked off on the 30th of June this year. Literally packed up and walked off,” she said.

“But they’re not alone, many families just pack up and walk off in the middle of the night. We are the unspoken-about homeless of the outback.”

Share your thoughts on James’ post – did you realise this was happening and does it worry you? 


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  1. So many sad stories over the past couple of years. We don’t hear many now, but they ate still happening. Farmers here in Australia have had it very rough for a long long time now. Banks, government and big supermarket chains need to take a good hard look at themselves.

    1 REPLY
    • Fran they don’t care as long as they get their money for the profits. For the shareholders. It stinks. Years ago in a drought the gov. Used to help but these days they don’t seem to bother and as for the banks well the are pure rotters and the supermarket people are worse.

  2. Yes I had already read this previously. The only thing I can do for farmers and drought affected people is to vote for a government which actively pursues tax evaders by increasing the ATO staff – not savagely cutting back their staff like we have now. A government that puts money into Australia not wastes it warring on other continents. Clearly that’s not the LNP. The old Country Party needs to be resurrected – Throwing their lot in with the Ivory Towered rich pandering Liberals has not worked in their favour.

  3. The government needs to step in and help our farmers instead of throwing money around on things that can wait these people need it

  4. Firstly let me say I have never been on a farm in my life, cows look menacing to me and I am sure they would have big teeth and bite you BUT the plight of our farmers worry me, we already have little rain in this country and it is getting dryer. Places like Woolworths and Coles are allowed to undercut them and get away with it. Many farmers are committing suicide and our Government does not seem to be helping them much. Politicians need to understand that city dwellers like myself are grateful to Aussies on the land, they give us the high standard quality products we are used to. Help them now

    25 REPLY
    • Libbi we need people like you in Parliament you have more reality than the bloody money grabbing politicians we have now who don’t give a hoot for the hard working Aussie

    • We do Vivienne Marjenberg but it doesn’t have to be me, I look at all your intelligent comments and wonder why our politicians are not like all of you

    • LOL Libbi. Cows only have botttom teeth and they won’t bite you. They do kick though. I live in cropping and dairy country, mostly irrigated, and one of the most unfair things I have ever heard of is that farmers have to pay for their irrigation water, even when they don’t get their allocation. Through the drought there was little or no water being allocated, so their income was down, no irrigating for grazing the cows or growing crops, yet they were paying 10’s of thousands of dollars for water they weren’t getting. It broke many of them, suicides were up, it was so unfair

      1 REPLY
      • These days water is a commodity we all have to pay for whether we live in the country or city…….. With long term droughts predicted, water will become an even more precious commodity in this wide brown land of ours.

    • I bet there a lot more farmers dying due to the pressures on them than terrorists. The sacral of funds used is so different for these 2 groups. I know where I want my money to go. The farmers of course. Hard working proud of their country and left to struggle so hard

    • absolute rubbish Linda Rehfeld take your racist and bigoted remarks somewhere else. These people are genuinely in need to of help and they don’t need you to muddy the waters

      2 REPLY
      • I started to enjoy reading this site but stopped because of some of the horrible and nasty things being said. And I don’t think Linda needed such a horrible reply from you Libbi did not sound racist to me and I have seen before you write some really awful and insulting comments. Boy if they don’t agree with you look out. That’s it for me won’t be checking this site out again.

      • Libbi, I don’t think you read Linda Rehfeld’s post properly…..

    • Farm animals won’t hurt you. The only thing I was terrified of when I visited my uncles dairy farm was the bloody geese. When you heard wings flapping and hissing you didn’t check what it was you ran for home as fast as possible. Would rather be in a paddock of cows than have the geese chase me.

    • Farm life cant beat it but bloody hard work and our farmers deserve all the help they can get .To answer your question Libbi cows dont bite beautiful animals .Why not those of our politicans who are millionaires donate their saleries and perks .They dont need it .

    • And yet we are still allowing mines in areas that are still able to grow foods? Go figure! We have lived in a lot of out back areas and what our farmers go through is just terrible. These families try so hard under very difficult conditions and yet no one seems to care, their debt gets bigger and droughts get worse. Please listen to us, we cant eat coal!!!

    • The Australian farmers are fast running out ,and left with no rewards for there hard work all of there life ,how heartbreaking is that ,Thank you to that lovely man who was so kind to the farmer on the side of the road ,Blessings to ll ,

    • Libbi that is Linda’s opinion whether right or not she is saying she wants her money to go to the farmers so you can donate to the other cause.

    • Fay Biddle both you and Linda are trying to capitalise on your dislike of Muslims at the expense of farmers, this is not about your likes or dislike, this is about people who keep this country in excellent food who are in dire trouble..stick to the topic at hand

      1 REPLY
      • Leanna I did not see anyone referring to Muslims only you

    • People say they want to help,well buy from the butches shops and BUY AUSTRALIAN, that way you can help. words can be nice but will not help keep people in work

    • Both sides of politics sanction coal mines accessing farmers land, destroying it and stealing their water

    • Vicki Raynor I doubt the farmers, because this is who this story is about, will ever kill my family, your talking nonsense

    • The best way to loose the fear of any animal is to hand rear one and then you assimilate with them as they grow and you find that big cow or horse is the same a dog or kitten it will follow you any where if it thinks you are going to feed it and you can brush them for hours and be at one with gods greatest gift to man

  5. This is just awful. There must be something we/our elected representatives can do. We only hear these stories once in a blue moon, but it’s happening now and it was happening yesterday and it will be happening tomorrow. Suicide and desperation and third and fourth generation farmers walking away and going to do what? What else do they know? We’ve eaten their produce all our lives without giving a thought to where it came from. What does the future hold for these families? So very wrong and so immeasurably sad…

  6. I know the Government can not do anything about the droughts we have here, but come on they are doing nothing to stop the suicides, the banks taking the farms off the farmers, they are not putting enough money in as a disaster, they spend billions of dollars on overseas countries when our farmers are doing it so hard. They agree to open another huge coal mine, they are selling our farm land off….WHY, WHY, WHY this should not be happening we should be pouring money into keeping our farmers going, Holden, Ford, Toyota, SPC just to name a few, not right to help some and not others. If every Australian gave a dollar a day for 12 months ( I think trying to work it out without a calculator) about 4 Billion dollars a year that would go along way to helping these poor farmers. Who would miss a dollar a day for these farmers. That is $14 a fortnight from everyone’s pay, I for one would do this.

    19 REPLY
    • We would have to get someone to help us to get it registered in a bank account but not sure how to do it though. Can someone help us……

    • Get one of the big accounting companies to come in and help for either a small amount or gratis and get it registered as a charity and the get the money in via social media I think

    • This is a great idea! Standing by our farmers is critical at this time! It is also the duty of the government to rescue its people in need,so bombard the government with calls and emails to insist they give urgent help to these brave souls who are,after all trying to feed us all.

    • Judith I agree with you I also live in the city and have said this all along a dollar a day it’s not much, I am very thankful to our farmers I now send money to the C.W.A. .

    • I’m in! But we have to do it professionally so no criminality can sneak in. Everything has to be above board. I’m in Brisbane.

    • Maybe hand it over to one of the people you can trust and I am sorry to say it is not our charities. That amount of money would attract the vultures. Clive Palmer is a very good money maker maybe he would take it on so long as people can see the books and the money and where it goes, form a committee first and then go looking for someone to do the money side of it. Count me in if you start anything. Good luck everyone.

    • Indonesia and Vietnam get about half a billion dollars a yr now with that money you could pipe the water from the top end all over oz …the polies should look after the ozies not ppl from other countries

    • oh please!!! here we go again, lets start another “Charity” because ours will be better, let’s cause the government funds to be stretched further because “you don’t trust that flla over there, wasn’t it on this page that everyone screamed bloody murder because the govt wanted to cut funding to other needy groups so they could do this? i can imagine the conditions you would put on your precious $ “must have 2 legs, must have red hair, must be born in tim buck too, must believe in thee tooth fairy,” what about all the fire & flood & disaster relief that has been handed out, your precious $ was obviously not in amongst that? MONEY IS NOT GOING TO BREAK A DROUGHT. NOR IS MONEY GOING TO STOP YOU WANTING MILK, FRUIT VEGES & MEAT FOR LESS THAN IT COSTS TO PRODUCE IT. Take your $ & go out to a farm & BUY his products for a $ more than it cost him to produce it only then, will they survive.

    • Jean Anderson Campbell what are you on about, my suggestion was to help the farms buy their farms, pay their bills so they can say on the land producing the stuff they are, there would be no conditions to it at all, all money raised would go to the farmers….I think you need to learn to read before you type your garbage. I do buy thing from these farmers when they are selling it. I know money will not change the drought but money will help to keep the banks away…and help prevent more suisides.

    • I totally agree, wonderful idea it would certainly help preventing some of the unnecesssary suicides. Tax dept could do this!!

    • This literally breaks my heart, I originally come off a farm, and can fully understand their plight. We can send money over seas, helping the refugees, and the welfare in this country is full of doubtful recipients. Can we please PLEASE help these people before it is to late?

    • Yes Heather they do but it is not going to stop the suicides and the banks from taking their farms…..


    • Heather Skene Govt. drought plans generally assist in re training the displaced farmer, offer low interest loans, discounted feed and reduced rates on fuel to get feed and water to their properties. Sadly for many of them it is too late, and they have already sold their souls to the devil and end up owing thousands to the bank. The real teaser is that often the productivity cost is way above the commodity value…so they do the maths and realise they can’t sustain their business. Sad all around 🙁

  7. Libbi, I lived on sheep and cattle farms for nearly fifteen years when I was married. It is such a hard life and they are so dedicated. They have kept this country alive over the years, now it’s time for the government to stop allowing cheap imports etc and keeping the farmer alive

    2 REPLY
    • This is one of the things that worries me about the FTA, China already own land in Australia, if they bring in their own labour we won’t need to import their cheap food. It will be being produced here and further undercutting our farmers

  8. Like i have said before, the fat cats in Canberra need to get into the real world and see what these farmers are going through. Less of this huge sums of money on illegal immigrants and overseas aid, look after our own first. Its not poor management these farmers are in this position. They have no control on weather conditions. Come on Aussies and make this government hear your voices now before its too late. No More Immigrants. Look after the people that made this land what it is before anything else.

    4 REPLY
    • The Government is well aware of what the Farmers are going through, they have been out there many times….I just think they have dropped the ball on doing things that will help….I do agree with everything that you say Neva. If the Australian people can come up with the 4 Billion dollars then the politicians have to match them a dollar a day too…..let’s see how far we can take it.

    • It is big business and mining companies that need to keep their grubby hands off our farming lands and the government should legislate to ensure that people on the land cannot be dispossessed in times of drought. Nor should foreign companies be permitted to buy Australian farmland!!

    • Yes I agree whole heartedly as the old saying goes charity begins at home forget the refugees help our own people first they badly need our help

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