Australia’s first Agricultural Day was celebrated in style at the Grace Millsom in Goulburn on Tuesday night, with over 100 guests from Goulburn, Yass, Crookwell and the Southern Highlands attending the Ag Day BBQ. Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI) organised the event to mark Ag Day, which included local produce stalls, guest speakers, live music from Jamie Agius and memorabilia looking back on agriculture in the region.
Angus Taylor MP opened the event, focusing on the growth of agriculture in Australia and the exciting future ahead. Angus highlighted the surging wool prices and noted that Goulburn has experienced a 21% increase in agricultural jobs between 2011-2016. He stated, “we have a responsibility to do our bit and encourage our kids into agriculture.”
RDASI Chairman, Mark Schweikert was MC for the night. Ted O’Kane from the Department of Primary Industries was the first speaker, speaking about the importance of resilience and communication for farmers. He discussed various programs run by the DPI, including Tune Up For Farmers (TUFF) workshop and Shaping our Futures Together (SOFT).
Matt Lieschke from South East Local Land Services (LLS), discussed the exciting innovation happening in the industry. Matt focused on one of their main projects, the Soil Moisture Network, in which the LLS have partnered with Tablelands Farming Systems and Monaro Farming Systems to position 14 moisture probes one metre beneath the ground in south-east NSW to assist farmers with decision making. Matt stated, “The data this year shows all the action is in the top 50cm…we have not built sub-soil moisture this year.”
Guests were then invited to explore the local produce stalls and enjoy a sausage from Dewsbury’s Pork, with the BBQ run by Towrang Rural Fire Brigade. Kingsdale Wines and Yarralaw Springs Wines offered tastings of their award-winning wines. Bent Shed Produce provided tastings of their Australian native herbs and spices, including the unique lemonberry sugar. Julie from Parksbourne Produce showcased her strawberries, wasabi stems and leaves, edible flowers, jam and Poiles Honey.
“It was great to be able to promote the idea that there is more to Goulburn than grazing land and sheep. It’s a place for many different farming industries”, Julie said.
Mark Hedley from the Australia Wool Network began the second part of the evening by reflecting on the history of wool in Goulburn and honouring past wool brokers in the area. He concluded his speech saying, “When farmers have money, they circulate it round. When they are doing well, the towns are doing well. Australians need to understand that”.
Kathleen Allen from Sheepmeat Council was the final speaker for the night, speaking about the importance of advocacy in agriculture and working together as an industry. Her passion for agriculture was summed up in her statement, “The world is run by those who turn up.”
RDASI would like to thank all those who attended Ag Day, their sponsors and supporters. It is an exciting time in agriculture and RDASI is looking forward to National Ag Day 2018.