"It's been horrible to be honest. I've had some pretty blue days."
Lauren Newell of Wingham's Linga Longa Farm is just one of our local farmers doing it tough during one of the most severe droughts on record.
Brown paddocks, dry dams and dying cattle make being a farmer right now one of the hardest jobs around.
There's one thing of course that can change it all.
"Just keep praying for rain," said Lauren.
Until a significant change in the weather though, farmers are having to think outside the box and come up with innovative ways to keep going.
Lauren and her husband Greg are now confinement feeding all of their cattle after losing their favourite cow, Magnolia, who was pregnant with twins.
"We didn't realise how bad it was," said Lauren. "She just didn't have the energy to feed herself and them."
Confinement feeding means having all the cattle in one paddock so they are not walking around using their energy.
As well as educating themselves on confinement feeding, which has "been a nightmare," Lauren and Greg have come up with an inspired way to help fund it all.
For $20 they are calling on the public to sponsor a cow and help them keep up with the enormous task of feeding their cattle while their paddocks are bare.
"It costs something like $200 a cow a week," said Lauren who has 80 breeders and weaners to care for.
Lauren estimates a truck load of hay costs her $10,000. It lasts just three weeks.
The name a cow campaign has been operating for a couple of months now.
"It's just been fantastic and enabled us to keep going," said Lauren.
People generous with their time have helped a lot too.
It takes the Newells an additional 3-4 hours a day to feed the cattle by hand, something they couldn't have done without the help of volunteers.
"That has saved me," said Lauren. "It's just nearly killed us distributing 300kg of feed."
Sponsors can sign up to name a cow via the Linga Longa Farm website www.buymeat.com.au.
If you have the time to volunteer consider signing up with an organisation such as www.farmarmy.com.au.
For those wishing to help other farmers in the region, the MidCoast Drought Appeal was launched in Taree last month.
The appeal is being co-ordinated by Taree Lions Club supported by more than 20 organisations including all local Lions, Rotary, Quota and Probus clubs and the CWA.
Donations to: Lions Club of Taree Activities Account, Westpac Bank BSB 032 587, Account Number 580169.
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