The Mudgee Small Farms Field Days at the Australian Rural Education Centre (AREC) celebrated 40 years over the weekend, showcasing the latest in agriculture while paying tribute to the past.
In officially opening the event AREC chairman, James Sutherland said the Field Days had grown significantly during its lifetime.
“What began 40 years ago as farmers coming together to learn about the newest innovations has developed into a major event for the local community,” he said.
The first event was on September 24, 1977, at the Mudgee Showground, it was planned to be a one off event. It consisted of 13 exhibits including pigs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, bees, vegetables, fruit trees and vines, pasture establishment, goats, horses, sheep dog trials, pastures and fencing. About 600 people turned up.
Mr Sutherland said the event “has now attracted over 400 exhibitors this year including educational talks and demonstrations.”
President of National Farmers Federation, Fiona Simson attended the event to celebrate the milestone year and in declaring the event open acknowledged the work that goes in over the decades.
“I think this is my fourth or fifth visit to the Mudgee Field Days over the years, it’s always a great event,” she said.
“Forty years is something to be very proud of and hosting an event like this takes a huge amount of community effort.
“From the guys on the gate this morning who told me I’m too late they’d already open the gates at 6.30, so I may as well go home, to the people who are running the show, running the booths and in the office working hard.”
“It’s a huge effort, and over 40 years that’s an enormous thing.
She added that events such as the Field Days are important in shining a light on rural and regional areas and the agricultural industry.
“With population growth in the cities there is increasingly a disconnect between that and the country,” she said.
“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.
For the second year, the event incorporated the Festival of Yesteryear, run by the Cudgegong Valley Antique Machinery Club.
The exhibit offered a step back in time, specifically to show how day to day living and working was done in years gone by, with the main aim being that the demonstrations were live not static.
This includes the art of blacksmithing, whipmaking and leatherwork, and even milking a cow (just to show where milk actually comes from).
The popular ‘Leura Bodger’ Roy Davi returned with his traditional pole-lathe greenwood turner, using sticks and string teamed with old tools to do the work of a modern lathe although pedal-powered.
The Machinery Club also acknowledged the 100 years of the Fordson tractor in 2017.