This week a young truck driver was admitted to hospital suffering from exhaustion, having driven 57,000 kilometres in four weeks carrying hay between South Australia and New South Wales to help farmers feed their starving stock.
It is a story that brought tears to the eyes of toughened farmers who were friends of the man.
They have seen droughts before and done everything they can to prepare.
But there has never been a big dry like this one, some say.
For Graeme Burgess, a sheep and cattle farmer near Tamworth who also runs a small livestock truck, the tale of the young truckie typifies just how hard people are working to get through the big dry.
"He's burnt himself out on the workload that's been placed on him and trying to get hay up to these poor bloody cockies that have got no food at all," Mr Burgess said.
A friend of Mr Burgess has the young man's phone while he is in hospital — he took 75 calls in a matter of hours, all from farmers wondering where their hay deliveries were.
"It's awful. They just about kill themselves to get it done," Mr Burgess said.
When it comes to surviving the drought, Mr Burgess thinks he might get through.
He has cut his cattle numbers back from 250 head to 78. He sold his animals early as fat cattle and thinks he can keep the remaining young ones he has got going.
If he is able to fatten his lambs he should be able to make some decent money.
"Cattle-wise, that's a wait and see. We don't know what three months is going to do," he said.
But as far as the trucking is concerned, numbers are dropping back on Mr Burgess's side of the business.
And when it does rain, he does not expect work to pick up because everyone will hold on to their stock for breeding or fattening.
How best to deliver help
Salvation Army rural chaplain Dianne Lawson has had to call in backup from Sydney to help manage the paperwork from the increased calls for drought help she is getting.
Face-to-face farm visits have been part of Ms Lawson's work for years, but lately she has cut back on face-to-face visits in favour of phone calls so she can reach more people.
She said the people doing it hardest are often those who have gone out and got another job to support themselves through the tough times.
"So they're earning too much to apply for the Farm Household Assistance Package," Ms Lawson said.
"To not work and to apply for that they would be going backwards. However what they're earning off-farm is being poured back into their farm in feed for their cattle and sheep at the moment. So we're assisting them with household bills."
'A beautiful feeling'
Ms Lawson and her husband Rusty look at the whole picture and decide what resources they have available to assist.
"Sometimes it may not be financial assistance. It may be some sort of other assistance that we give or a referral on to another agency that can assist them better in that respect," she said.
They take each case on merit, and Ms Lawson said they get a feeling for the region they are working in over time
She said one of the best parts of her job is getting to meet people she helped over the phone in person.
"And that's just a beautiful feeling when you've assisted someone verbally but not seen them face-to-face — to actually meet them," she said.
It has been a challenging season for farmer and ABC presenter Sophie Longden, but she was quick to acknowledge there are plenty of people worse off, particularly in the north-west of the state.
She runs 800 head of cattle with her husband at Mila on the Southern Monaro and has described losing a 12-year-old cow last week — one that she had raised from a poddy calf — as a bit of a kick in the guts.
The cow, named Calamity, succumbed to old age. But Sophie said while her death was inevitable that did not make it easier.
"In a season where the climate has not been kind it's difficult to see your animals in a situation where they're succumbing to the elements and to the environment," Ms Longden said.
"It's hard on that day to pick yourself up and keep going. You look up to the sky and say 'Well, come on, Huey!'"
'No-one has a crystal ball'
As the national media spotlight turns on farmers and the way they manage drought, Ms Longden said she worried that the general public do not understand how well prepared farmers were for this drought and how extraordinary the circumstances are.
"I think some of the commentary recently around animal welfare issues and the options that are in front of people who have been in long-term drought is showing a lack of understanding in the general public around what is required to run a productive sheep or cattle herd," she said.
"And the land, resources, water, feed, time, energy and love that goes in to keeping those animals in the best condition that you possibly can.
"When we hear speculation in the media out there that we should have been more organised, we should have prepared for this better, there must be ways that you can drought proof … the people who are currently farming in New South Wales are the best of the best on an international level.
"You're not farming now in 2018 unless you are excellent at what you do.
"You can drought-proof your farm for a certain period of time, but nobody can drought-proof indefinitely. And no-one has a crystal ball as to when it's going to rain."
'We've got to be positive'
Just days after some surprise rain in northern NSW, a local farmer is taking a gamble on a late winter crop.
The rain was far from drought-breaking, but 16 millimetres last weekend on top of 13mm a few weeks before was enough to send Loomberah farmer Tim Barwick back into the paddock.
How can I help?
You can contact the following charities for drought assistance:
"Hopefully sowing this barley might give us a little bit of feed in the next couple of months," Mr Barwick said.
He is taking a punt on more rain too.
"Hopefully we can keep getting a front sweeping up from the south, and even if it just drops 10–15mm it would be really handy. The crop will come up. We've got to be positive," he said.
Despite the worst drought in living memory that has forced Mr Barwick to de-stock his farm entirely of sheep and cattle, he said farming was all about hope and making the most of opportunity.
"We've got to go with our gut feeling and just go with the cards we're dealt. It's as simple as that," he said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the drought was "taking a toll" on families and towns.
"We know we're generous. Every dollar matters and I know that all of us care deeply about what's happening in drought-affected areas," she said.
"I know everybody will dig deep and do what they can.
"Not everybody can give a lot of money but I know everybody will give what they can and that's what is important."