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18 December 2019
By LOTTE REITER
An unused plot of land, a group of volunteers and a lucky run of good weather might just be the perfect elements for creating thousands of dollars’ worth of community change.
And one only needs to look to Dimboola Community Cropping Group to see the potential.
With an eight-person committee comprised of farmers, farmers’ wives and an ex-policeman, the group has raised about $300,000 in the past seven years for everything from community projects and sporting clubs to medical research.
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They do so, with the help of other farmers and residents in the area, by cropping land around the Dimboola GrainFlow site and roadsides, and donating all the profits to ‘anything good and worthwhile’.
Group committee member Ken Ough said while this had predominantly meant donations to the immediate area, the group was now on a mission to send two B-Double or two road-train trucks filled with hay to New South Wales.
He said the group had decided to help fire-affected areas in the north of the neighbour state because ‘they have nothing at the moment’.
“We try to keep it local; this is probably the first time we’re going out of the area to donate,” he said.
“Each road train can take about 80-odd bails of hay, so we’re looking at about 160 bails. But if we can’t get road trains, we’ll send it up in B-doubles.”
Mr Ough said the community cropping program was first created under the banner of GrainFlow, a grain and oilseeds storage and handling business owned by Cargill Australia.
While the Dimboola group is now separate from GrainFlow’s program, they still put crops in at the site each year, and have farmers who generously take the crop off when needed without payment.
“All the locals know what we do and they’re willing to help out,” Mr Ough said.
“It’s all done voluntarily. Farmers can take the costs out, some do, and some don’t.”
Mr Ough said the work generated about $300 a tonne, depending on what crop was sown and how it went in that year.
He said this money then went into a fund to be distributed to groups after a screening process of each application.
“Anything that comes our way we consider, and we make sure the money we give goes towards what it is supposed to,” he said.
“We’ve given money to cancer research and men’s health.
“We’ve donated to the junior netball club at Pimpinio – that helped pay for their first proper uniforms.
“And we’ve contributed to the Wirraway plane at Nhill Aviation Heritage Centre.
“We’ll just keep going as it is needed. We are grateful to GrainFlow, Cargill and Hindmarsh Shire Council for their support.”
Mr Ough said anyone wishing to apply could address an application to Dimboola Community Cropping Group at 60 Wimmera Street, Dimboola.
He said the group did not donate to senior sporting clubs.
The entire December 18, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire December 18,, 2019 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!