Thanking those who made the last 60 years a reality at Henty
Retired farmers with a combined 240 years of volunteering cut the 60th anniversary cake at the official opening of the Henty Machinery Field Days today.
Bryson Terlich, Table Top, Barry Scholz, Henty, Neil Bahr, Henty, and Kerry Piestch, Pleasant Hills, have all served as HMFD Cooperative members, directors and volunteers since the first field days in 1963, helping shape the field days into the globally renown event it is today.
All continue to give their time during the field days with Bryson manning the forklift/crane hire office, Barry helping out with fuelling up the generators and Kerry overseeing the vintage machinery display while generations of the Bahr family take a hands-on role.
Kotzur Managing Director Andrew Kotzur, of Walla Walla, officially opened the 60th anniversary field days, also marking 60 years since his family company first exhibited at the event in 1963 at the Henty showground.
“Sixty years ago, a group of famers were keen to improve their harvest quality and gathered at the Henty showgrounds to learn more about the operations of their headers,” Mr Kotzur said.
“When I travel across Australia that same passion is still driving our farmers to improve and make innovations.
“Aussie farmers are truly as good if not better at their craft as any of their global contemporaries.
“Farmers still come in droves to the Henty field days – why is it that has not changed? There is nothing like talking face to face, seeing and touching in real life, having a day out to do some serious business, to enjoy the excitement in person and to take time out to look at machinery and other systems while dreaming about the future of farming.
“This is one of the lessons of COVID – commercial or augmented reality cannot replicate the real country atmosphere we immerse ourselves in at Henty. Virtual reality doesn’t come close to the experience as having a cold beer with a mate at the bar at Henty.
“That’s why I’m confident the Henty field days has such a bright future. This is why this event will continue to play such an important role in our region.
“On behalf of everyone I thank all those involved in staging the field days, and the service you provide to our rural and regional communities.”
HMFD Chairman Nigel Scheetz paid tribute to the members, volunteers, exhibitors and visitors across six decades of the event.
“The Henty Machinery Field Days as we know it today began as a header school for farmers at the Henty showground in 1961 to show them the finer details about operating their machines to improve their grain samples and general operation tips,” Mr Scheetz said.
“The success of that day fed the dreams of our founding members, and the first field days were held 60 years ago this year in 1963.
“Members from the early days through until the early 1970s had a vision to provide an event for farmers to learn about advancements in agriculture, to showcase and demonstrate agricultural machinery in the one space at the one event.”
HMFD Chief Executive Officer Belinda Anderson launched an 84-page coffee table style book on the history of the field days.
Written by HMFD Media Manager Kim Woods, the book was compiled to showcase the dedication and positive vision of a small group of farmers from the southern Riverina.
“The true authors are our founding members, the directors still with us now, all our members working very hard and the staff who have been involved over 60 years, also part of that story is the exhibitors as well,” Mrs Anderson said.