Henty Field Days celebrates 60 years

Henty Field Days celebrates 60 years

The Henty Machinery Field Days marked a significant milestone this year as it celebrated its 60th year of innovation and community. Held from September 19 to 21, the event showcased the latest advancements in machinery and farm equipment, outdoors and camping products, farm produce, agronomy, country lifestyle, government and health services, agribusiness and finance services.

From its modest beginnings in October 1963 as an agricultural innovation show to demonstrate agricultural equipment, Henty Machinery Field Days has evolved into a much bigger event. And yet, at its core, it continues to embody the essence of agricultural innovation and development.

This year’s event demonstrated the agricultural sector’s resilience and commitment to progress, with a focus on agtech startups – including trough sensors, digital dashboards, personal safety alerts, livestock farm management software, technology for beekeepers, and on-farm reporting.

NSW Farmers Regional Services Manager-South East, Daniel Brear says the event is a major opportunity to engage with NSW Farmers members as well as the potential member audience.

“We had a great range of events throughout the week, with policy talks on issues such as the veterinary shortages. A highlight was a discussion on natural capital with NSW Farmers Senior Policy advisor Connie Mort. There were also talks about our young farmer business program, and a NSW Farmers policy talk which was very well received and had a lot of young farmers in attendance,” Daniel says.

A friendly and fun atmosphere as always

While numbers were down on last year’s record crowd of 70,000 (mostly due to the 2022 event falling on a public holiday) Daniel says spirits were high and the NSW Farmers shed enjoyed great engagement.

“NSW Farmers has been involved in Henty Field Days for much of its 60 years and has had active involvement in the Henty board and committee. It’s a key social event as well as an opportunity to see what’s going on in the latest agtech space, engage with your business,  political parties or friends. One of the advantages of the NSW Farmers shed is that it’s well located with food vendors and social options nearby! So the traffic through the shed was phenomenal this year,” Daniel says.

“It’s important to remember that the event is not just about farmers, it’s about people who want to learn more about the land and agriculture and what it actually offers to the Riverina.”

“It’s all about connections so, from a branch perspective, it gives us great intelligence on what’s going on with in terms of local issues, such as the energy transition, the Murray-Darling basin plan, and challenges that face farmers every day are discussed and that leads into further discussions for branch meetings moving forward,” Daniel says.

Hungry farmers helping country kids 

This year’s hungry punters will be glad to learn they’ve helped turn steak sandwiches into laptops and iPads, thanks to a joint venture by NSW Farmers and Henty Machinery Field Days.

Every year the Henty Public School P&C helps feed patrons of the event, and supports NSW Farmers in providing meals for members in return for donations. This year, NSW Farmers paid for 396 lunches worth $5,940 at the iconic agricultural event, helping to support the school and local community.

Daniel Brear says the event not only provided great engagement opportunities for agriculture, but also for the local community.

“It’s amazing to see this small country town turn into a small city three days a year, and the thousands of visitors who travel from all over the countryside make a huge impact on local businesses and community groups,” says Daniel. 

“We have a great arrangement with Henty Public School P&C where they feed our members, and we donate $15 for every redeemed meal ticket, so it’s a big win-win.

“Farmers are part of their local communities, and we love being able to give back when we can.”

Over the years the funds raised through this partnership have helped put a laptop and iPad into the hands of every student at the school, build a new canteen, and in future will build a new playground.

“It’s a lot of work for them over the event, but it’s equivalent to several years’ worth of lamington drives or cake stalls,” says Daniel.

“More importantly, we know we’re not just feeding our farmers but also feeding the kids’ futures.

“We also need to give a special mention to the CWA for the tea, coffee and baked goods they provide to our members who stop by.”

Heidi Weston, P&C President at Henty Public School, says the school is thrilled with the generous donation and agrees that the event makes a huge difference to the year’s fundraising.

“Yes, the three days of the Henty Field days gives our school and community funds that would take years of cake stalls to raise! We are so lucky to have extra resources in our school and we’re planning a new playground, due to the money we’ve raised in our catering shed,” Heidi says.

“We are so grateful to NSW Farmers for sponsorship. And I can’t thank our volunteers enough – without these people giving up their time, we wouldn’t be able to raise the money that we have.”

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