Parched pastures like this have inspired Woolworths to support the Rural Aid Buy A Bale program.
Parched pastures like this have inspired Woolworths to support the Rural Aid Buy A Bale program. Contributed

DROUGHT AID: Woolies buys into Buy a Bale program

SUPERMARKET giant Woolworths will pump $1.5 million into the coffers of the charity behind the Buy a Bale initiative to support farmers battling drought in Australia.

Woolworths has announced its support of Rural Aid, in a partnership that will help double the charity's existing capacity in the next 12 months to support Australian farmers and rural communities impacted by the drought.

Hundreds of additional farmers are set to benefit from the $1.5million investment from Woolworths via Rural Aid's Buy a Bale program, which provides support to farmers in need by delivering hay for cattle feed, as well as other essential items.

The support from Woolworths will also allow Rural Aid to boost the number of counsellors they have supporting farmers and their families impacted by mental health issues as a result of the drought.

"Our store teams in rural and regional areas, particularly in NSW and Queensland, have experienced first hand the impact the current drought is having on farming communities," said Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci.

"Rural Aid has worked tirelessly over the past few years to help farmers impacted by the drought. Our support will allow them to focus on increasing their delivery of much needed livestock feed to farmers and other essentials as the drought continues to cause widespread impact to many communities.

"Along with the financial commitment to Rural Aid we are also exploring ways our supply chain and logistics teams can support the organisation further.

"A number of our store teams are already engaged with Rural Aid at a local level and they will continue to work closely to support volunteering and further fundraising efforts for the organisation.

"This support will operate alongside the stores continued commitment to our other partners currently working to help regional communities."

Rural Aid CEO Charles Alder said so far this year the organisation had received requests for assistance from more than 700 farmers, with hundreds more desperately in need of support.

"This significant boost to funding will allow us at a minimum to double our current capacity to deliver essential supplies such as hay bales or food for families in farming communities impacted by the drought," he said.

"The support of Woolworths will also help provide a boost to much needed mental health services to rural and regional communities via our counsellor program.

"Our farmers need face to face conversations, not over the phone or via sms, so having additional counsellors will allow us to build trust and respect through personal on farm visits. "

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