Three Minute Squiz With… Marla Hosegood

Marla Hosegood is the Commonwealth Bank’s Moree branch manager and she’s a woman on a mission. Backed by her colleagues across NSW and the ACT, the team has raised $80,000 to help the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. We caught up with her for a Three Minute Squiz to talk about how the drought is affecting her community and what prompted her to take action.

Describe Moree to us what do you love about it?
There is so much I love about Moree! I wouldn’t live anywhere else. Moree is the main agriculture hub for many of the surrounding communities and is famous for its black soils, which make it home to some of the best farming land in the entire country. Moree is also well-known for its artesian pools, which are claimed to have special healing qualities! What I love most of all are the people and feeling of community that exists, which is one of the main reasons I’ve planned my future here.

What drove you to spearhead local efforts to help farmers in the New England region?
Growing up in a country town, I learnt very young that the best sermons are lived, not preached. When you understand the effects severe drought can have on your community, there is no time for talking, you have to act.

In this case, one of our drought-affected customers told me a heart-breaking story. He said he had to take out his hearing-aids because he couldn’t bear the sound of his hungry sheep (who didn’t have enough feed) continually crying for food. That really got to me and I was determined to do something to help. That’s how we started a fundraiser in the Moree branch for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. Much of NSW is in drought, so our whole region banded together to raise funds in all 162 branches. I was blown away when I heard the bank was supporting our work and donating $2 million to help farmers.

And tell us about the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.
In 2014, Brendan ‘Bumpa’ Farrell heard about a farmer in Bourke that was struggling in the drought. He contacted the farmer and offered to bring him a truck load of hay to help him out. From that the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners was born. Since then, they have completed 11 successful hay runs to help drought-affected farmers all over NSW and Queensland.

Brendan and the Hay Runners team know that the hay they deliver will only provide temporary relief but it’s about showing fellow Australians that someone cares about them. Brendan is very passionate about awareness and education, and believes Aussie farmers are critical to our future in Australia, And we do, too.

What do you say about the drought to city slickers (like us) who are a bit detached from it?
I would explain to city folks like this: farmers understand extended dry times are a part of rural life. But there is a major difference between a dry spell and a drought.

Australian farmers are innovative, and some of the smartest minds in our country. Farmers are adapting to things like climate change, using technology and information to change the way they manage their business and feed livestock in drought conditions. It’s times like what we are currently seeing that are extremely hard for them.

Most areas of western NSW have had four or five bad seasons now. Many farmers are unable to restock fodder and protein they have used to get them through up to now. With two of the major farming states facing worsening drought conditions, there is no end in sight in the short-term.

If this were you, how would this affect your business and livelihood, your family, and test your resilience?

Alright, a bit about you. What’s your guilty TV-watching secret?
Sons of Anarchy.

What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
I wish I could navigate the rain clouds. Imagine what this could do.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Confusing high moral standards with a high opinion of yourself.

Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Will Smith, actor. He could teach me a few things.
Brendan Farrell, Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.
Trevor Brazil. A 19-time world champion cowboy and advocate for the sport of rodeo.
My 16-year-old self. I could teach her a few things.

Favourite meal?
My favourite meal of all time is devilled sausages.

What qualities do you most value in a friend?
Honesty and humour. Life is too short for boring stories.

What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
Access to water. So many small rural communities are facing challenges to protecting the artesian water basin that their properties, communities and livelihoods depend on for survival.

How can we support you and the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners?
The motto of Burrumbuttock Hay Runners is ‘keeping the dream alive’. They believe in doing whatever it takes to help keep the dream alive for our Aussie farmers. The best help you can give is make a donation.In NSW and the ACT, many Commonwealth Bank branches are holding fundraising days during August to support the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. Also during August, every one of our branches across Australia is fundraising to support farmers via the Red Cross, so you can drop into any one of our branches nationally and donate.

And if you feel like it, give Brendan a call and let him know what an amazing job he does! Sometimes it’s the small things that matter.

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