Millions of dollars has been donated to charities offering to help drought-stricken farmers by ‘Buying a Bale’ but there is a growing concern the practice is leading to a distortion in the fodder market, ABC News reports.
There are now concerns from farmers and regulators that charities are outbidding farmers and pushing up the price of hay.
Derek Schoen, a farmer and agribusiness leader, was appointed by the NSW Government as the Drought Transport Integrity Adviser.
His role is to independently monitor the impact of subsidies and other pressures on the stockfeed market.
Mr Schoen said charities that relied on buying hay had inadvertently left some farmers without feed and led to a price spike.
“Unfortunately, yes, we have had some reports that people have had hay booked up and ready for delivery [when] they’ve been told that unfortunately it was no longer available and that a charity had offered an elevated price for that hay,” he said.
“So I know there are a few producers who have been gazumped by charities.
“You can understand charities get a fair bit of money and they have to be seen to be doing something with it.
“I don’t think the charities realise just how short the supply of hay has been.
“Perhaps some of these charities do not realise the true cost of the hay and, in some cases, charities are paying ridiculous money to obtain hay to make a charity run.”
Gavin Moore, a dairy farmer from Camden in NSW, said he had written and verbal contracts for fodder that was on a truck on the way to his farm only to have it redirected.
He believed drought charities were outbidding local farmers.