WITH so many farmers struggling due to the drought, cost of feed and lack of water some have found a place to turn to for a little off-farm income.
The devastating drought has left many with little income, but country NSW woman Cassandra McLaren has come to their aid.
This week the One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) - Rural Cottage Crafts Facebook page was launched as a place where farmers can sell their homemade goods to the world.
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In just four days the page has almost 3000 members, with buyers and sellers coming together for a common cause.
The page is filled with all types of crafts, paintings and drawings (some created to order), jewellery, metal and woodwork items, bags, soaps (for people and horses), cheeseboards and everything in between.
"Rural people want to do stuff to help themselves, they don't want a handout," page founder Ms McLaren said.
"This is an opportunity for people to help themselves."
Ms McLaren said when joining the group people are asked if they want to be a buyer or seller, and many of the buyers are located in metropolitan areas.
"The amount of people who are jumping on board is just amazing," she said.
Rural people want to do stuff to help themselves, they don't want a handout.One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) - Rural Cottage Crafts Facebook page founder Cassandra McLaren
"I think I knew there'd be a reaction, but I'm surprised that it's been so big."
Gulgong Dexter cattle farmer Samantha Allen is among the sellers on this page and she said she's been surprised by the positive reaction from her one sales post.
Her homemade soaps, from the milk of her Dexter cows, have been such a hit with people on the page that she has sold out of her initial stock.
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She makes a variety of soaps - natural, with fragrance and a sensitive skin variety.
"It's been absolutely crazy, there's so many people. I'm just in awe of the response from people," she said.
"It's so touching that people want to help."
Her property may only be 40 acres in size, but this drought has had a significant impact on her and her four children aged 4, 6, 8, and 10.
"You drive up the driveway and it's just dust everywhere and whirly whirls [dust devils].
"We don't have town water out here and it makes me really upset. We don't have water for stock, or water for grass to grow, or water to have a shower."
Macquarie Marshes woman Rowie Hawley is another seller on the page and she makes homemade cheese platters, coasters and canisters - all with a colour splash of resin on them.
She may not live on a farm, but her community is full of farmers and everyone is feeling the ripple effects of the drought.
"The drought is a tough one, everyday is different, I drive into town, just looking out the window and all I see is dirt and dust. I feel for all those struggling farmers. I pray daily for rain, it's devastating," she said.
Ms Hawley makes her homemade crafts in her spare time while looking after her children.
"I was mind blown at the interest I have had," she said.
"I didn't think I would get this much attention, it's very much appreciated."
Ms McLaren is also the founder of the hugely successful One Day Closer to Rain (Drought) Facebook page that has more than 35,500 members.
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