First there was rain, then a clean face
FIVE months ago, Scott Loughnan made himself a pact: he wouldn’t shave his face until his Muckadilla property received 25mm of rain.
This week, the Loughnan’s crop and cattle property received double that, measuring a total of 58mm, the most they’ve had since December 2018.
“We had 150 mils total last year, so we've had a third of what we had last year in two days,” he said.
While it’s not drought breaking, it’s put some colour back into the grass, and meant the beard he’s been growing since August was shaved off, all in the name of rural men’s mental health.
On Friday night at the Royal on 99, championed by Mary O’Brien from Are You Bogged Mate? and fellow beard-grower Tyson Campbell, the beard came off.
In August, while fighting illness, Mr Loughnan vowed not to shave until it rained, and for every day his beard grew, he would donate $1 to Are You Bogged Mate, a group supporting men’s mental health in the bush.
“I’ve known Mary for a while, and when she started doing this … I really support it, it’s a good cause,” Mr Loughnan said.
“A lot of rural blokes don’t want to go and talk about their feelings, and Mary has a great approach that’s suited for rural blokes.
“All you really need to do is just ask your mates, how ya going?”
On Friday night alone, pub-goers raised more than $700 for Are You Bogged Mate, with Ms O’Brien saying she was incredibly proud of what Scott had been doing.
“It’s been amazing to get that exposure and have that support,” she said.
“What Scott did really highlighted the drought and the impact it has on the fellas out there too.
“There has definitely been a bit of a mood change now that we’ve had a bit of rain, but it’s not drought breaking. We need more.”
The drought has had a significant impact on his farming business, limiting the amount of crops able to grow on their property.
“2018 we grew about 60 per cent of our average, and 2019 we grew maybe 10 per cent of our average production,” he said.
“We haven’t got to the end of this financial year to see if it all balances out, but yeah it definitely hasn’t done the bottom line any good.
“But one rain change doesn’t make it rain grass, it doesn’t rain grain, and this is not enough to fix anything major, it’s just a good start.”
There’s no chance of Scott growing for a cause anytime soon, but he admits he’ll come to miss the beard, his very own windbreaker.
“Usually this time of year it’s so dry you get windburn, but because I’ve had that extra bit of protection, it’s come in handy,” he said.