A powerful photo shows a drought-stricken farmer’s desperation as he ‘prays for rain’ on his devastated cattle farm.
The image shows 83-year-old farmer Alf King kneeling and clasping his hands together on the parched earth of his farm just outside of Bingara, near the border of New South Wales and Queensland.
His daughter Rhonda King, a 59-year-old farmer and army veteran, snapped the moment while the pair were feeding their bulls on Sunday morning.
“While we were just standing there feeding our bulls and everything, he just went down and just done it and I just saw him,” Ms King told Yahoo7.
“I said, what are you doing?
“He just said, I’m praying for rain.”
“He helps me out and he’s almost blind”
The pair live on a fourth-generation, 2,000 acre cattle farm and Mr King’s daughter said the elderly man still helps with farming.
“There’s just myself and my dad,” Ms King said.
“He helps me out and he’s almost blind.
“If you look at the photo you’ll see a patch over his eye, so he’s only got a little bit of sight in one eye.
“He comes and helps me bag out all the feed and water and he helps me do everything.”
Ms King says the drought “snuck up” on the family a few years ago and now, only two of their 35 dams contain water.
“Good days and bad days”
“If we’ve got to sell animals then it’s not a very good day,” Ms King said.
“We just know that we’ve got to keep going and that if we can’t provide the food and water to keep our animals healthy, then we’ve got to make the sacrifice and sell them.”
The family recently sold 27 steers to pay for cotton seed to feed their remaining 50 cows.
Ms King is an Australian Army veteran and says that her military pension means she is not eligible for farming assistance.
“We haven’t received anything,” she said.
“I came home to help Dad on the farm once I retired from the army.
“I get a little military pension so that stops me from having any entitlement to any money, like through the farm household assistance program through Centrelink.”
Ms King says that she has applied for charity assistance and is waiting to hear more about her case.