Russell Smith had just finished his book, Holly the Holstein, when a century-old flood hit dairy farmers on the north coast of New South Wales hard.
- Russell Smith donates all profits from his book to help flood-affected dairy farmers
- Smith was shocked to see how hard the farmers of the central north coast were affected by the March floods
- He hopes to raise more than $ 10,000 by Christmas
The Sunshine Coast-based author knew firsthand that dairy farmers affected by the March floods had already been through a lot – drought, deregulation and a series of natural disasters.
Raised on a dairy farm in Millaa Millaa in far north Queensland, Smith says his children’s picture book is a tribute to the industry.
“When I was young there were over 300 dairy farms there and now I think there are around 30,” he said.
“Farmers are going through such a difficult time since the deregulation of the price of milk in the industry.
He plans to donate the profits from his book to the Mid Coast Dairy Advancement Group for distribution to farmers affected by the floods.
“I started to read shocking stories about how difficult it is for farmers,” he said.
Money to help farmers enjoy Christmas
Smith’s goal is to raise $ 10,000 by Christmas.
“I have donated over $ 8,000 so far, so we only have a few thousand dollars more to raise,” he said.
“The goal is to ensure that all dairy farming families have a very good Christmas.
“A lot of the farmers I spoke to didn’t have the time or the money to just go out and have a nice family dinner.
Farmers grateful for the support
Dairy farmer Rachel Nicholson of Jones Island near Taree said she was shocked at the generosity of a foreigner from Queensland.
“We were fortunate to get help from the community and from people like Russell who donated the proceeds of his book,” she said.
She said her family’s farm had “completely collapsed” during the flooding.
“There wasn’t a blade of grass above the water on our farm, all of our dairy and sheds and everything.
Local businesses are getting started
Hastings Coop’s business and community development director Tim Walker said he jumped at the chance to stock Holly the Holstein in the company’s supermarkets and rural stores.
“When I found out it was to fundraise for farmers, it was a no-brainer,” Walker said.
Mr Walker said the book had generated a lot of local interest on the shelves of rural stores in Kew, Comboyne and Wauchope as well as in four of his supermarkets in the area.