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Pushing through the drought of a lifetime

Chris Blunt is a third-generation farmer who runs a sheep grazing property east of Orange in Central West NSW.

When the RIC visited “Bondonga” in January 2020, Chris said it was the worst drought the property had seen in 100 years. For the first time in his lifetime, the spring-fed creek which supplies water across the property had stopped running completely.

Chris said one of the hardest parts of the drought is coming home to an empty rain gauge when the neighbouring areas have received rain.

“It starts playing with your head,” he said.

“I’m usually very positive, but I can understand these guys who are under that pressure all the time, particularly in the west.

“You just want to shut the door, pull the curtains and not look outside because it’s all too hard.”

Photo of Chris Blunt and his son Chris, standing alongside a solar panel at their farm
Chris said it was important to realise that a RIC loan is not a handout.

“There’s still an old, very conservative attitude in the bush, even with some of our younger farmers that, ‘oh we don’t take handouts’. But it’s not a handout. It’s a loan and you’ve got to pay it back,” he said.

“In the middle of a drought as savage as this one, it’s going to help us feed a lot of stock and a lot of breeding stock.

“Take advantage of it, it can make all the difference.”