AUSTRALIANS everywhere have dug deep to raise much-needed funds to support Northwest Queensland livestock producers devastated by February floods.
A quick tally of known donations and fund-raisers, through various channels, has produced a total donation figure of well over $1 million since the floods started to inundate the northwest in mid-February.
While the list below will be far from complete, readers are invited to add comments about additional significant donations to the flood appeal that we might have missed, via the reader comments facility at the bottom of this page.
The funds are already being distributed through various channels, including Blaze Aid, Sisters of the North, the Qld Country Womens Association and Red Cross.
Here’s a quick summary of some magnificent fundraising efforts over the past month or so:
In a flood recovery fundraiser convened by the Australian Brahman Breeders Association, a Brahman semen auction on Friday through Elite Livestock Auctions raised a phenomenal $115,829. The genetic material, in 92 lots from 40 vendors, was donated by bull breeders across northern Australia as well as prominent members of the Hudgins group in the United States.
Some say the sale represented possibly the single largest and richest auction of beef cattle semen ever held in Australia, if not the world.
Australian Brahman Breeders’ Association manager Anastasia Fanning said association had wanted to do something to help the northwest, and Brahman breeders had responded generously.
“There are some 800 beef producers in the area impacted by the flooding, many of whom breed Brahmans,” she said. “It was a truly wonderful result.”
The link here provides access to the full list of donated semen for the sale, and what it made.
The top price semen package, representing the sire NCC Lord Delaware, made $8100, when knocked down to Scott Dillon from Collinsville. Donors were David and Andrew McCamley from 2AM and Palmal Studs.
This is the first time Lord Deleware’s semen had been offered to the wider community. “A few people have been asking for it but we wanted to keep it to ourselves. We decided to donate it now just to help the people in that flooded area out,” David McCamley said.
On top of the $115,829 raised by the semen auction, ABBA also donated a further $5000, delivering a total of $40,276 to each of the three charities it chose to support – Sisters of the North, Qld Country Womans Assoc and BlazeAid.
Apart from the semen auction there has also been some wonderful fundraising by other members of the Brahman community, Anastasia Fanning said.
The recent Rocky All Stars Elite Female Sale raised $22,000 to go to Sisters of the North. Several vendors sold 50pc share of the proceeds of their heifers and another successful semen sale was run during that sale. Hazelton Brahmans donated a pen of commercial Brahman cows that avg $1569/hd to gross $15,690. All funds raised went to the QCWA Rural Disaster Fund.
On Wednesday this week, Tim & Megan Atkinson of Lucky Downs Station, Greenvale donated the proceeds of 114 Red Brahman heifers to the NW Qld charities for a gross of $50,050.
There have also been generous donations of breeding heifers to fellow breeders in the flood impacted area, Ms Fanning said.
The North QLD Farmers Flood Drive conducted jointly by Herdonline founder Sam Levett and Auctions Plus has so far raised about $233,000, through a combination of online charity auction, saleyard cattle donations and direct cash donations.
Within that, an AuctionsPlus charity auction ending 1 March raised $94,876. A total of 129 items were donated, ranging from sports and sports memorabilia, premium food and beverage items, holiday accommodation, art, clothing and footwear, leather goods and practical farm management items. Click here to see the results.
The balance of the North QLD Farmers Flood Drive donations came from saleyards livestock auction donations (both cattle and sheep), and direct cash donations, Mr Levett said.
“The livestock fundraiser donations have come from a vast area, from Queensland to Tasmania,” he said. All the funds are being directed through BlazeAid.
“The result has exceeded our expectations – especially as many of the donations have come from producers who themselves have been facing severe droughts, and in some cases bushfires,” Mr Levett said. “It’s been absolutely amazing.”
Naracoorte combined agents and their clients, for example, raised more than $41,000, through a dedicated sale with donated stock or a percentage of stock. And buyers bid up strongly on those cattle and sheep, in effect also making their own donation, he said.
Individuals also made substantial cash donations, in one case more than $12,000. And funds continue to flow in, with another 30 cows being sold next week to add to the charity’s tally.
Mr Levett said Blaze Aid was already well into distributing the donated funds, with vouchers for use in local businesses as part of the rebuilding and repair process. Blaze Aid volunteers have already started work on 70 stations in the north, as the fencing repair process rolls-out.
“From us – Theherdonline and AuctionsPlus – a massive thanks and congratulations to everyone who has contributed to the process,” he said.
Local Cloncurry-based charity Sisters of the North has raised more than $600,000 since the appeal first went out in the days following the February floods.
The idea stated when local agent Peter Dowling’s wife Susan and a couple of her friends were planning to have a ‘Women’s Wellness’ weekend, this coming weekend, for the drought.
“Suddenly the flood arrived and it went from a drought event to a flood charity,” Mr Dowling said.
The group set up a Go-Funding online platform, attracting a huge response through direct donations from community organisations and individuals. The funds are being distributed through a live voucher SMS system that the group has developed, limited to local businesses so the funds stay in the local communities. All the businesses in the six affected communities – Richmond, Julia Creek, Hughenden, Cloncurry, Winton and Normanton – are registered for the charity.
Mr Dowling said there were still events planned across the state for the next two months to continue the fundraising effort.
“The community around Proston had a big fundraiser two weekends ago that raised $47,000. Boonah rodeo and pony club donated $10,000 each, out of a little community,” he said.
There’s also been some large sums donated over the past six weeks by corporates with a close linking with the northern cattle industry: