ASSISTANCE EN ROUTE: It's been a tough year for the Maher family.
ASSISTANCE EN ROUTE: It's been a tough year for the Maher family. Bianca Hrovat

'Don't be frightened': Farmer gets help after shock destock

THE dams were dry, the cattle were hungry and the feed was scarce but it was still difficult for the Maher family to ask for help.

"You don't want to be imposing on anybody," said Warwick farmer Paul Maher.

"You know there's always someone worse off."

The family tried to keep their cattle going through dry conditions but eventually had no choice but to destock more than 75 per cent of their herd.

Mr Maher struggled to hide his tears as he described the heartbreaking decision.

"We only managed to keep the young ones, all the rest are gone," he said.

"We'd bred them for years, for generations, and we kept working forward and producing better cattle.

"For it all to go off to an abattoir felt cruel."

But the writing was on the wall for the farming family who were struggling to survive the drought.

"My family has been in the area for over a hundred years and we've never seen it this bad," he said.

"I just had a feeling in the belly that times were going to get tougher so I knew we had to make the break."

The greatest challenge of drought was letting go and accepting his decision, Mr Maher said.

"But if you don't let go, things get into a mess," he said.

"You run yourself out of feed, you run yourself out of money, and then you still have the same problems."




Farmer grazier Paul Maher receives water donation, with wife Monica Maher
WELCOME RELIEF: Monica and Paul Maher will finally be able to fill up the home tank. Bianca Hrovat

Ultimately it was drought assistance co-ordinator Charee Aspinall who convinced Mr Maher to accept help.

"She really encouraged me and she told me, don't be frightened, don't be shy," he said.

"I suppose I like to stick in the background a bit and I don't like to put my hand up.

"But I made the break and it's a big, big relief."

The Maher family is one of 100 Southern Downs families who will receive a portion of the record-breaking $1.9 million litre donation from Rural Aid and Finish.