On Monday afternoon, James Hamilton, a sixth-generation farmer in south-east Australia, looked out at the dry bristly stubble covering his 4,000 acre property and then went inside his homestead to have the conversation that he and his wife Amanda had both been dreading.
Since the beginning of the year, this typically lush stretch of farmland near the inland town of Narromine, 260 miles west of Sydney, has received just two inches of rain, compared with an average annual rainfall of 18 inches.
The long dry spell has emptied creeks and riverbeds, withered crops, left animals starving and forced farmers such as Mr and Mrs Hamilton to acknowledge – as they did this week – that they will have no harvest….
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