Even Henty Machinery Field Days could not escape the Federal Government’s jobs and growth mantra as Small Business Minister Michael McCormack drew a link to gear on display to the so-called ideas boom.
The Riverina MP praised Henty for putting innovation in agriculture under the microscope in his opening address on Tuesday.
“I know we’ve got 850 or so exhibitors here, this particular event contributes more than $100 million to the local and national economy,” he said.
“(It) sustains 1000 full time equivalent jobs nationally – that is an amazing achievement, brought about by the spark of an idea back in 1963 and look at it now.”
Chairman Ross Edwards, who was roped into a job as a car parking attendant at Henty in 1966, talked up this year’s farming season, which had a dry start followed by consistent rain.
He cited cattle prices at record high levels along with strong demand for lamb and mutton.
But he acknowledged the pain of Border dairy farmers, who remained doing it tough.
“The dairy industry is in crisis and we at Henty appreciate the support dairy farmers and their service industries have contributed to the field days over the decades,” he said. “Hay and grain produced in this region is consumed Australia-wide by the dairy industry.”
Mr Edwards also stressed Henty’s importance in enticing young people to pursuing a career in agriculture.
“It is of paramount importance we attract young people to all areas of agriculture to ensure the industry’s future,” he said.
Wagga-based Australian Dairy Farmer vice president Simone Jolliffe, who officially opened the three-day show, used her speech to underline how Henty saw the application of research and technology put into practice.
A new permanent stand on the site, the Taylor Wood pavilion, was unveiled.
Henty’s co-op also welcomed its first female member, Sheree Hamson, from Culcairn.