'Why I won’t cut my hair ‘til it rains'
WHEN dairy farmer Brenden Ballon looks out at his picturesque Maclagan property, just one thought arises: "It'd be more beautiful if it were green."
Mr Ballon is one of many farmers in the region slogging through the insufferable drought, and he knows first-hand the mental and financial toll it can take waiting for the rain to arrive.
"We usually grow 99 per cent of our own feed and now we're buying in 99 per cent of it so it's done a complete swap," he said.
"It's made it a bit painful but we're still plodding along. We haven't harvested the winter crop in three years."
With a desire to raise mental health awareness and to keep his own "sanity", Mr Ballon has made the choice to grow his hair until the region receives 50mm of rain within a seven day period, in collaboration with mental health charity Are You Bogged Mate.
Mr Ballon will be donating $1 per day to the charity until the Darling Downs reaches 50mm of rain.
"It's just to raise awareness of Are You Bogged Mate as an organisation, and just to let farmers know, or anyone in a rural area, that they can talk," he said.
"If you shut yourself up that's when problems start."
Having grown his hair last year as well, Mr Ballon was also inspired by Scott Loughnan in Muckadilla, who isn't shaving his face until Muckadilla receives 25mm of rain.
While the farmer admits having hair that has grown well past his nose has its challenges, Mr Ballon's four daughters love their dad's new look and especially take a lot of joy out of braiding it back for him.
"It's a pain in the a** welding or doing anything with a helmet," he said.
"It's getting pretty Steve Irwin-y."
To help Mr Ballon along on his journey, you can donate to his GoFundMe, with all proceeds going to Are You Bogged Mate.
Mr Ballon's mission can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-hairy-farmer-challenge.