SHOWING the true warmth that has endeared them to the world, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex fed hay and cottonseed to cattle on a farm near Dubbo. The 3,000-hectare farm, Mountain View has had to de-stock its White Suffolk sheep. The 1,400 they were running before the drought is now reduced to 250 stud ewes.
The royal couple were warmly welcomed by NSW Farmers members Scott and Elaine Woodley, along with Scott's parents Margaret and Richard Woodley. Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had reportedly stayed up late the night before the visit to bake chocolate-and-ginger-flavoured banana bread for the Woodley family, in the kitchens of Admiralty House in Sydney. She and Prince Harry heard how the Woodleys have had to bring in hay from as far away as South Australia. Scott said during the royal visit, “We've never know it as bad as this but we will get through it."
Pip Job, NSW Drought Coordinator and National Rural Woman of the Year and a beef cattle producer near Dubbo, showed the couple graphs of the rainfall and explained how difficult it is to get hay.
The Woodley's property was established in 1887 and is about 20 kilometres east of Dubbo.
Earlier in the day, the Duchess of Sussex held an umbrella over Prince Harry as he spoke to the crowd in drought-hit Dubbo during a rare burst of torrential rain.
"You are all the toughest people out there, the most persistent, the ones who can weather the storm or the drought," Prince Harry said in his speech.
"But you need to know that part of being strong and tough is having the courage to ask for help when you need it. You must not silently suffer." Harry said he had learnt during their visit the knock-on effect of drought could take a huge mental and emotional toll on farmers and their families.
“You have just lived through two years of drought and despite the recent welcome rain it is going to take a lot more and a long time to recover," he said.
"It must be hard not to lose hope when you endure so many dry months end on end knowing that you are powerless to do anything about it."
“You are the salt of the earth, honest, hardworking and as tough as they come and that resilience, sense of humour and commitment to the land are the qualities that make you unique. You are the backbone of this country," Harry told the Dubbo crowd in the pouring rain.
He told the crowd Australian farmers are vital to the community.
“The rich traditions of the Australian outback are legendary. You have a lot to be proud of. But I know that life has not been easy."
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