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Supporting volunteers in more ways than one
A large percentage of CFA volunteers are farmers. Not only do they protect life and property in rural communities, they also provide all Victorians with one of life’s necessities – food! As changing environmental and economic conditions impact farmers throughout the state, CFA is helping through a range of events and initiatives.
One such initiative happened in June. Michelle Cannon from the Brigade Support Team in North West Region partnered with Agriculture Victoria to deliver Winter Water and Nutrition workshops in Maryborough and Wedderburn. These free workshops aimed to equip farmers with leading-edge information to help them make informed decisions early, as this is the key to the sustainability of the local farm.
The sessions were a resounding success! Approximately 80 participants attended overall and evaluations showed that an average of 75% of attendees were CFA volunteers.
‘It’s critical that we create opportunities to support our volunteers and spread fire safety messages”, said District Operations Manager Steven Smith. ‘Events like these help ensure volunteers feel and remain connected to CFA’, he said.
The workshops included a range of presentations and a panel discussion about topics such as changing rainfall patterns; managing livestock nutrition; regulations and requirements for bores and dams; farm water budgeting and the financial impacts of stock water carting. Local Community Education Coordinator Kevin Sleep also shared information specifically about planning for better fire management on farms.
‘This was an excellent session’, said Robert Ipsen, Goldfields Group Officer. ‘It’s given me practical new ideas and information that will help me manage my farm more sustainably. I heard about this through the local CFA grapevine so thanks to CFA for supporting this initiative’, he said.
The workshops finished with tasty meals and a chance to network with other farmers experiencing similar challenges.
‘There’s logical outcomes to these kinds of shared value partnerships for CFA’, said D20 Operations Manager Peter Taylor. ‘We help ease personal pressures on our volunteers, we strengthen CFA’s profile in the local community and we also spread the word about fire safety; win-win for everyone’, he said.