I know I’m not alone in saying 2020 has been a whirlwind year. It wasn’t so long ago that I was convinced I would remain unemployed for the entirety of the year due to the stress the pandemic has placed on our economy. It is my first year out of Uni, having completed a Bachelor of Arts/Sci followed directly by a Masters of Journalism, and I was convinced I would be spending the year nannying to pay my rent. This was not an ideal situation considering I had just spent 4 1/2 years studying, working full-time as a marketing assistant for a skin cancer centre during my masters degree, so that I could secure a job that allowed me to put some of my newfound knowledge to work. Not to mention start paying off some of the HECS debt I have accumulated over two degrees! However, one day, in a strange ‘everything-happens-for-a-reason’ moment, I was lucky enough to, quite literally might I add, stumble across Justin Webb while chasing a toddler up a flight of stairs. We had a brief chat, and the rest is history. Several weeks later I joined the AgriWebb marketing team.
Working remotely as a new employee
Coming into a new business having not actually met any of its employees face-to-face was quite a strange experience. I recall feeling unsure of what to do on the first day after sitting down at my desk in my bedroom at 8:45am on Monday morning. A laptop had arrived on my doorstep a few days earlier and an empty terrace house became my new office. The weekly zoom kick-off involved me having to give a company-wide introduction, resulting in cheeks redder than they had ever been. I was immediately inundated with kind messages and offers of coffee-catch ups, both virtual and in-person. Despite working from home and in isolation each day, I have never once felt as though I’m not part of the team.
Originally from a property between Moree and Goondiwindi on the NSW/QLD border, and having been sent to boarding school, and then heading straight to Sydney for university, I am used to being a long way from home. In fact, earlier this year when I retreated home to escape the chaos of the pandemic, I spent almost three months at home. This was the longest I had been on the farm since I was twelve. It was heaven – however I think there were a few moments where my parents were slightly concerned I may never leave. Of course, I would have loved to stay, but it was time to put those degrees to use! This time at home reminded me that loving where you come from, your family, and the people you grew up with is a privilege. I am lucky to have our farm to retreat to when I need to slow down and enjoy some fresh air.
Our farm, ‘Boori’, is a 3,500 acre dry-land cropping property. We have a contract farming business and also usually run around 150 head of shorthorn cattle. However, due to the lack of rainfall this year, we’ve had to sell most of our cattle, and send the remainder to Quirindi and Tamworth on agistment. My dad has become an AgriWebb user this year, despite having de-stocked recently. During this ‘down-time’, he’s been playing around with the app and is looking forward to having records at his fingertips because, like many others, his version of record-keeping is usually a whiteboard marker on his windscreen, or a notebook with dates and numbers that mean nothing to him several weeks later when it comes time to enter data into a spreadsheet.
Mum and dad: The eternal optimists
Like most farmers, my parents are kind and warm-hearted, they are hard-working and resilient. In fact, every time I call home I am amazed at how upbeat mum and dad are, they are eternally optimistic. They never give up. Despite years and years of drought, often missing out on decent rainfalls by only a few kilometres, their positivity never waivers. Thirty years of marriage, caring for their little patch of dirt on the border, working perhaps too hard during tough times, and always being sure to celebrate during the good times. Farmers really are the most incredible people, and so I feel very lucky to be able to work for an organisation that lives for the farmer, and strives every day to make the life of the farmer easier.
It’s exciting to come into a business that only has one direction to go. Forward. I hope to grow my career with AgriWebb and continue to contribute to the life of the farmer. I’ll always miss home, but working for AgriWebb is just about the next best thing.