ON SUNDAY when many were celebrating Valentine's Day, a group of Western Australian farmers and truck drivers showed their love and support for pastoralists who have been doing it tough throughout the State.
Dubbed 'the Farmers Across Borders love hay run', the Esperance-based charity completed a massive hay run of 15 trucks and dozens of volunteers who travelled about 1300 kilometres over 20 hours to deliver feed to 31 pastoralists who have been battling drought.
About 1260 large square bales were delivered in total.
For many producers in the Gascoyne, Murchison and Goldfields regions, they have been in drought for five to 10 years and have had to substantially reduce their stock numbers and some have had to seek supplementary income.
Leonora pastoralist Wayne Taylor, of Braemore station, said it had been another extremely tough year and they were struggling to make any income from the station.
"It would be nice to get some rain - the feed donated will save us a lot of effort and allows us to feed our cattle," Mr Taylor said.
Farmers Across Borders (FAB) left Esperance on Sunday morning and arrived at Leonora in the late afternoon, where the Shire and community, including some pastoralists from the area, greeted the group with a barbecue.
From there, FAB dispersed across the Gascoyne and Murchison areas between north of Meekatharra and Leonora.
This year's hay run marks just over a year since FAB ventured to the region.
FAB made national news headlines in January 2019, when 47 road trains journeyed from Esperance to Cobar, New South Wales, which has been its biggest hay run to date.
Over the past few years, the charity has conducted several other smaller runs, many which occur behind the scenes, but are no less crucial to farmers.
It already has a trip to the Carnarvon region earmarked for the next few weeks, as although parts of the district received rain recently which caused flooding to some areas, FAB president Sam Starcevich said there were still pastoralists out there who were struggling.
Ms Starcevich, a farmer from Salmon Gums, said although the trip included a few hiccups, such as breakdowns, drivers running late, trucks running out of fuel and even a broken shoe, which were all rather normal occurrences for past hay runs, the 'love hay run' had been a great success.
"This time we had hay donated from farms in Beverley, Broomehill and Nyabing," Ms Starcevich said.
It's a major effort to co-ordinate such a large scale hay delivery, with all the logistics and red tape to navigate, when in reality the feed delivered will only relieve the burden on pastoralists for about a week or two.
But Ms Starcevich said FAB was much more than just delivering hay.
Farming in a region that has been struggling with water deficiency for a few seasons, Ms Starcevich and her family are no strangers to the risk of farming.
With so many variables making up a farm business, risks are paramount no matter the farm location or enterprise make-up, which is why Ms Starcevich feels it is so important to help other farmers out when needed.
"(People who say that what we're doing isn't worth it) they have probably never experienced a drought as a farmer," she said.
"We know it's not going to solve the issue but anything we can do to alleviate some of their pain will help."
Ms Starcevich said FAB was looking for more sponsorship to go towards fuelling the trucks for future hay runs throughout Australia.
All committee members and those involved in the baling, hay stacking and the deliveries are volunteers.