Volunteers: The backbone of the bush

Future Farmers Network directors regularly give their opinion on the latest news, events and issues in agriculture for an article for Australian Community Media. Here’s the most recent yarn from immediate past chair Megan Moses. 

Watching the current natural disasters unfold over the last few months I have marvelled at the efforts of the volunteers fighting drought and bushfires from all angles to defend their own communities, and many other communities across the east-coast. I personally know several spray pilots and firefighters from my own patch of turf in Moree, northern NSW, who have dedicated their time and resources to the bushfire efforts in NSW and Queensland, while many other friends and family members have rallied around drought efforts to provide water, fodder and preserve the mental health of our drought affected towns and businesses.

While I certainly can’t claim that my own volunteering efforts have saved as many lives and properties as these brave champions, I feel an undeniable sense of pride as I look back on my time volunteering with the Future Farmers Network (FFN). This will be my final column on behalf of FFN, as I retire from the Board in 2019 with very mixed emotions!

I joined the ranks of FFN in 2016 and I’m incredibly proud of the contribution that our team has made to the industry and the future of agriculture in that time. The role of Non-Executive Director in a not-for-profit organisation has many unique challenges, and as any volunteer knows all too well, there were moments where I wished there were more hours in the day. Balancing the everyday trials of life like moving house, changing jobs, planning a wedding, starting a family – Murphy’s Law will forever dictate that life really ramps up when you take on a volunteer role!

My own experience of volunteering has provided me with countless personal, business and life skills and some of my most valued friendships. It has also taught me the true importance of support from family, friends and colleagues, who have so often come to my aid when I have needed it most. I have no doubt that my tendency to over commit to volunteer causes close to my heart has certainly added pressure to my personal relationships, and these causes have only truly come to fruition thanks to a full team effort from my nearest and dearest.

My heart swells with pride when I see and hear stories of volunteers in action, especially in our own industry but more broadly as Australians. As Mother Nature’s disastrous conditions show no signs of abating in the short term, FFN would like to thank all our volunteers, in the limelight and the shadows, and encourage you all to look after each other and take a rest where you can. Your contribution is the most valuable gift we could receive this Christmas.

Wishing all FFN members, sponsors and readers a safe and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Megan Moses (second from left) with attendees at the Armidale Start-Up Stories event earlier this year.