The Mudgee Small Farm Field Days celebrated 40 years in 2017, however given the nature of the event there was more looking forward to what’s next for the industry.
The first Mudgee Field Days – originally planned as a one-off – was held at the Mudgee Showground in 1977 featuring 13 exhibits and it’s estimated that around 600 people attended.
Fast forward to 2017 when with 462 exhibitors (up 45 from last year) and approximately 20,000 people going through the gates.
It also marks 20 years for the event at the Australian Rural Education Centre (AREC).
The site continues to grow over time, this year saw the addition of a brand new Olympic sized horse arena which is 80 x 60m and big enough for three dressage arenas.
President of National Farmers Federation, Fiona Simson was on hand to officially open the event and said the Field Days are as relevant with the agriculture industry going strongly.
“Agriculture at the moment has a real buzz about it and it’s a great time to be involved and a great time to be a farmer,” she said.
“Funnily enough people tend not to put food and agriculture together.
“They don’t connect the two and we need to make sure as we talk about what we do that we connect the people who eat our food with the people who produce our food.
“With population growth in the cities there is increasingly a disconnect between that and the country.
“Days like this are important in addressing some of those things; it’s about talking about what we do and showing people what we do.
“It’s giving people who live on the farms, as well as people who are interested in them, the chance to come and look and feel and touch and see.
“And what a district to be in, Mudgee has clearly got a bit of a food revival at the moment and I think the success of this Field Days is in part due to that.
“Agriculture is one of the fastest growing industries in Australia at the moment, with new market access, new production and we do what we do so well that we are in demand right across the world.
“It offers huge opportunities for farmers, agribusiness and people to get involved in agriculture – whether it’s as a financier, an agronomist, or a technological person, because technology is bringing more young people into our industry.”
The Field Days was one of the early events for the new group Mudgee Youth in Ag, who ran activities for children as well as the Young Farmers Challenge – with competitive tasks such as roll up a swag, put up a fence, and move hay bales.