Erin Martin’s love of animals saw her come up with a creative way to help a local goat farm struggling because of the drought.
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Erin regularly visits the Falls Creek based Maple Ridge Dairy goat farm to pick up some work experience and was saddened to watch the land dry up before her eyes.
She loves the goats on the farm and believes if people could see them they would also be captivated by their charm.
The 15-year-old year 10 St John the Evangelist student, to help, started the adopt the goat program.
“I was thinking of ways we could help fundraise and I saw a lot of campaigns like adopt a bale of hay,” Erin said.
“I wanted to do something that was more personal. You get to select a baby goat, for example, and you get to know about it and that really gives that person a real connection with the goat.”
Erin said people can name their goat, they get an adoption certificate and updates on the goat.
“It's just a real personal way to help a cause in need,” she said.
Goat foster parents also get regular newsletters.
I don’t think people realise how local the drought issue is. When people think of the drought they think of places out west but it’s happening here.- Erin Martin
Planning for Adopt a Goat started two months ago and it was officially launched four weeks ago.
“It's been going good and around 40 people so far have adopted a goat,” Erin said.
With over 400 goats on the farm many more people can adopt a goat.
There is different price options you can adopt a baby goat or a baby goat along with its mum - just to name a few.
People can go to https://www.mapleridgeadoptagoat.com to get more information.
Erin has noticed how the drought is taking its toll on the farm.
“The hay-shed used to be full and I have watched it slowly empty and not be filled again,” she said.
“I have also watched the grass dry up - it has been pretty sad to watch.
“I don’t think people realise how local the drought issue is. When people think of the drought they think of places out west but it’s happening here.”
She started coming out to the farm in February.
Erin wanted to come out the farm to get some experience working with animals as she hopes to become a vet or a vet nurse.
“I then built up a connection with the owners, Caleb and Megan, and the farm because I just love it,” she said.
She goes to the farm once or twice a week
Erin helps with the milking or feeds the goats and does some cleaning.
Caleb Graham (above with Erin) takes heart from the support shown by Erin Martin and others while his farm is being ravaged by the drought.
The drought is hitting the Falls Creek based Maple Ridge Dairy goat farm hard.
Mr Graham has run the farm for five years and said the drought was making life tough.
“It has been pretty rough. I have been here five years but grew up on local cow dairy and so I have been on the land my whole life,” he said.
“It’s the toughest we have ever had it. I have heard it (the drought) described as ‘you are going to the grocery store and there is nothing on the shelves’.
“It’s hard to find feed and when you do find it it’s ridiculously expensive.”
He said the paperwork involved with trying to get assistance like grants and loans was crazy.
His milk goes to three cheesemakers - in Milton, Singleton and Sydney.
He said the demand for his farm's produce was there.
“The hard thing is if I raise my price of milk then my cheesemakers pass that on and then their customers go that is too expensive and buy less,” he said.
Caleb said it was a vicious circle.
The farmer thinks Erin’s adopt a goat project is fantastic.
“We were able to find some feed and now we are trying to pay it off and adopt a goat is a huge help for us,” he said.
At one stage he had half a bale of hay in his shed and just could not get any help.
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