A COWELL woman has put a call out on social media encouraging people to go for a drive to towns affected by low rainfall to see the effect it has on people and the region’s farming communities.
Jasmin Piggott lives with her family on a farm on the Cowell-Kimba Road, 10 kilometres outside of Cowell.
Like many farmers on Eastern and Upper Eyre Peninsula, her farm has received very little rainfall, with 3.5 inches received for the whole year.
Mrs Piggott said in communities like Cowell the lack of rain had affected people of all ages and walks of life in different ways.
She said the effects of this year would also hit farmers the following year when it was time to sow for the new cropping season.
“It’s not this year but next that will be tough because (farmers) don’t have the crop (income) from this year,” she said.
“From next year you got all the costs of putting in a crop, and buying seed, super and spray but not necessarily with the income from the previous year.”
Mrs Piggott said these conditions also affected local businesses as when people spend less it could mean cutting hours for staff, which could affect many families including farmers’ wives and partners who this year might be counting on the income.
She relayed her feelings on a Facebook post encouraging people from outside the area to come to communities like Cowell or Arno Bay to talk to the local farmers and spend money by staying the night or having a meal at the local pub.
“If you live close to Port Lincoln or Whyalla, come up for a drive, not just in town but go out into the district and show your children what no rain looks like,” she said.
She said supporting a farmer could be simply talking to one to hear what they were going through and what support was needed.
Cowell Home Timber and Hardware owner Kierran ‘Buzz’ Fiegert said he had noticed locals spending less this year across town.
As a local football coach Mr Fiegert said sports clubs also felt the effect from people spending less in the community.
“Hopefully the tourism season picks up this year,” he said.
Mrs Piggott said a recent drive down the peninsula, seeing how some areas had plenty of green crop growth, made her realise how different areas had different experiences this year.
“When you stay in your own bubble you start to get used to no rain,” she said.