HMFD Chairman’s message for 2015

September 22, 2015

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HMFD chairman Ross Edwards

The Hon Sussan Ley, Federal Member for Farrer, the Hon Michael McCormack, Federal Member for Riverina, the Hon Greg Aplin, State Member for Albury and the Hon Darryl Maguire, State Member for Wagga, exhibitors, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls.

I congratulate Sussan Ley on retaining the portfolio as Minister for Health and Minister for Sport with the advent of the Turnbull Government.

I also congratulate Michael McCormack as the Minister assisting the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss.

I believe the rural and regional areas need strong governance and the attention it deserves.

At Henty, we have completed an economic impact study to ensure the field days remain abreast of changes as we move forward this century.

I would like to acknowledge the work of HMFD business manager Graeme Hicks, Graeme Simpson, Kylie Smith and Chris Green from Crowe Horwarth, and Colin Elliott from GHD on the economic impact study.

The information gained from this study will help the HMFD board take the field days to the next level.

Sussan Ley and Greg Aplin will make further comment on the project.

A consultative committee comprising professional and business people has been formed to ensure Henty has a wider window of expertise to bring ideas to the HMFD Board.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of HMFD principal sponsor Moane Fitzgerald Constructions. A new shower block and refurbished toilets plus a new set of toilets at the bar have come to fruition by their hard work and wonderful sponsorship.

Chris Mo’ane, please pass on our thanks to your tradesmen who have put in some big hours to get the project finished on time.

I invite all field day visitors to inspect their asphalting along Sheep Dog Run.

I also take this opportunity to acknowledge our other major sponsors – Hume Bank, RB Sellars, Barlens, Telstra, The Border Mail, Exelpet/Pedigree and Hutcheon & Pearce, and other sponsors.

I invite all field day visitors to inspect their asphalting along Sheep Dog Run.

We are conscious of providing a personal and friendly atmosphere, not only to our exhibitors, but to everyone who attends the field days.

The large community involvement ensures this happens year after year and the co-operative extends our thanks to the volunteers who give their time generously.

Timely autumn rain in southern NSW has certainly generated confidence.

Land sales are buoyant showing people are keen to invest in agriculture in the long term.

The federal budget has given agriculture a boost with regard to water, grain storage, fodder and fencing.

With a downturn in mining, agriculture has emerged to be of great importance to the Australian economy.

The skills shortage in rural Australia is ringing alarm bells, with graduates needed to fill the many new positions that are available. I believe young people should seriously consider a career in agriculture.

It is great to see the level of students entering university to study agricultural related courses has increased in recent years.

There is certainly a need to recruit, maintain and develop staff for farms, and service and supply firms in the production chain.

The HMFD board is focused on the future of agriculture and strives to keep abreast of changing technology.

The drive for global food security will ensure the future of our grain, livestock and horticultural industries remains bright.

The theme for this year’s field days celebrates 2015 as the International Year of Soils.

I encourage all field day patrons to visit the Agri-Centre where a brains trust of soil health knowledge will explore the theme of Prosperous Farming in the International Year of Soils.

We extend a special welcome and thanks to the NSW/ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award winner Cindy Cassidy who will officially open the field days.

This year, HMFD celebrates 50 years since women’s interests were introduced with the Country Lifestyle and ET pavilions now leaders in terms of agricultural field day attractions across the nation.

To our 800 plus exhibitors I thank you all for your support.

At Henty we are endeavouring to have a balanced exhibition to provide something for everyone.

To our dedicated staff, both in the office, media and outdoors, headed by Belinda Anderson, my fellow directors, members of the HMFD committee, thank you one and all for your outstanding contributions – events like this don’t just happen.

Henty will always be about providing farmers with innovative ideas and ways to the meet the numerous challenges, so join us to explore agriculture for the next 50 years and beyond.

-Ross Edwards

HMFD Co-operative Ltd chairman