New South Wales Farmers Battle Crippling Drought

Heartbreaking Photos: The Effects of Drought on a Farm

Farmers in Australia struggle to keep their land going and animals alive.

In the state of New South Wales, Australia, it's been a particularly harsh winter. Facing what's thought to be the worst drought since 1902, farmers here have struggled to keep their land and animals alive as they wait for rains that don't appear to be in the forecast anytime soon. The New South Wales government has granted nearly $1 billion in emergency funding — that's about $740 million in U.S. dollars — to help get water and fodder to suffering farms, including in the town of Coonabarabran (pictured above), where the animals are emaciated and the dam has shrunk to 23 percent of its normal capacity. Here, photos of the severe impact of the drought on family-run farms in trouble.

WHAT PASTURE? Brook Mitchell/Getty Images WHAT PASTURE? An aerial view of a cattle-feeding operation on a 9,000-acre farm in Coonabarabran owned by husband and wife Ambrose and Lisa Doolan. The land is parched as far as the eye can see, and a dry-weather pattern is expected to hit this part of Australia in spring. "My dad didn't want me to be a farmer and I think this is why," Ambrose Doolan told The Guardian of the tough conditions. DESPERATE SCENES Brook Mitchell/Getty Images DESPERATE SCENES On another family farm in Coonabarabran, farmer Tanya Jerry tends to a sheep too weak to eat.

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CURLED UP Brook Mitchell/Getty Images CURLED UP KICKING UP DUST Brook Mitchell/Getty Images KICKING UP DUST Seven-year-old Heidi Taylor plays on her family's farm. SHRINKING SUPPLY Brook Mitchell/Getty Images SHRINKING SUPPLY What's left of a dam on a farm in Coonabarabran. BROWN AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE Brook Mitchell/Getty Images BROWN AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE Another aerial of cattle on the Doolan property. STARVING Brook Mitchell/Getty Images STARVING Dead livestock litters the Jerry family farm. MAKING A WAY Brook Mitchell/Getty Images MAKING A WAY Coral Jerry, 80, cares for an orphaned lamb. Hand-feeding has become a necessity, as ewes, unable to produce milk, have abandoned their babies. EXPOSED RIBS Brook Mitchell/Getty Images EXPOSED RIBS PLAYING WITH BONES Brook Mitchell/Getty Images PLAYING WITH BONES Harry Taylor, 6, with the remains of livestock. Though the government aid package is a help, one local farmer told The Guardian that "it barely touches the sides."



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