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The Henty Machinery Field Days site will soon be better connected following a successful application for funding under Round 2 of the Regional Connectivity Program, which is delivering telecommunications projects across the nation.

Minister for Regional Communications Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the Henty project forms part of the Australian Government's continuing roll-out of the $257 million Regional Connectivity Program.

"The Government has continued to take a collaborative approach with the telecommunications industry to make sure funded projects are tailored to the needs of each region and are supported by the community," Senator McKenzie said.

Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said a new 35 metre tower will replace a temporary small-cell Telstra service which could only be used during the three-day September event.

"The field days committee approached me two years ago expressing a determination to offer sites to businesses requiring new and emerging technology, but this could only be achieved by providing 4G/5G wireless broadband," Ms Ley said.

"I'm delighted my government's Regional Connectivity Prpgram will dramatically expand the local coverage, allowing HMFD organisers to rebuild after two years of COVID cancellations and also introduce new events on-site through other times of the year.

"Just as importantly, the tower will be live year-round, boosting connectivity for residents, motorists and emergency services along a busy stretch of the Henty-Cookardinia Road."

The Australian Government has committed $117 million under RCP Round 1 to deliver more than 130 projects including $651,000 to the Henty project.

An award to encourage designers with business aspirations to produce garments made with natural fibres will be a new feature of this year’s Henty Natural Fibre Fashion Awards.

The Business Development Award: Australian Made Fibre is a new award already creating excitement among designers and will be showcased at the 17th annual Henty Natural Fibre Awards at the 2022 Henty Machinery Field Days.

Boasting prizes valued at around $5500, the fashion awards have grown into a prestigious event attracting high profile designers, with the 2022 entries to be paraded in the Country Lifestyle pavilion on September 20-22 at 1pm each day.

Awards convenor Lyn Jacobsen said the Business Development Award was creating excitement among designers with new entrants planning on participating.

The new award has been sponsored by JMP Developments, Wodonga, for $500.

 “Since the field days are located within a major wool and fibre producing region, it was important an event be carried on to encourage designers to showcase their creativity using the fibres allowed,’’ Mrs Jacobsen said.

“This competition is free and open to all designers, but the fabric in the garment must be at least 70 per cent natural fibre, which can be wool, cotton, alpaca, silk, linen or combinations.

“Garments are judged on visual appeal, creativity and innovation.’’

To be announced on the final day, the winner of the supreme garment made with natural fibres will receive $1000 in prize money plus a Bernina 325 sewing machine valued at $1499, courtesy of Bernina Australia and Sew Fab, Narrandera.

The winners of the best knitted or crocheted garment, millinery and accessory will receive $500 each sponsored by Fox & Lillie Rural and Henty Machinery Field Days. 

Bernina Australia and Sew Fab are donating a Bernete 44 Funlocker valued at $750 as an encouragement award for the best garment by a student designer.

“Designers may supply their own models, however, we do have Year 10 students from Billabong High School who are given modelling tuition leading up to this event,’’ Mrs Jacobsen said.

“We are expecting strong entries this year as many people sewed throughout the pandemic and it will be exciting to see their work.”

People interested in entering the awards can contact Lyn Jacobsen on 0428 690 222, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone the HMFD office on (02) 6929 3305.

A feast of homebred Australian music will bring a new dimension to the 2022 Henty Machinery Field Days with a concert on the Wednesday night.

Country music singer and I’m a Celebrity star Brooke McClymont and her Golden Guitar winning husband Adam Eckersley will take to the stage in a new ticketed event to be held after the gates close at 5pm.

The couple will be supported by Walla Walla farmer, singer, songwriter and recording artist Danny Phegan and his Longreach band. 

McClymont is one third of the award-winning Australian country music trio The McClymonts with over 200,000 album sales, 40 million streams, two ARIA awards, 15 Golden Guitar awards and five #1 ARIA Country Albums.

Eckersley has been recognised for his song writing, winning the APRA Award for Country Work in 2015 plus two Golden Guitar Awards.

Planning has begun for the 2022 Henty Machinery Field Days, scheduled for September 20-22, after a two-year hiatus.

Exhibitor online applications opened this month and online ticket sales for general entry and the tickets for the Wednesday night entertainment will open in June.

With the 2019 field days drawing more than 850 exhibitors on over 1200 sites, Mrs Anderson is expecting exhibitor numbers to be in excess of 850 for 2022 on the back of strong interest.

“The field days will have all the usual attractions including the prestigious Henty Machine of the Year Award, the working sheep dog trials, Country Lifestyle pavilion, Farm Gate Produce Market, Baker Seeds agronomy trials, helicopter joy rides, live entertainment, the Natural Fibre Fashion Awards and vintage farm machinery display,” HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said.

Also back this year will be the exhibitor awards for Best Outdoor Large Commercial, Best Outdoor General, Best Indoor (Country Lifestyle and Farm Gate).

“We are excited to add a new dimension of family friendly entertainment to the field days this year with Brooke McClymont and Adam Eckersley, who have released the first single from their highly anticipated second album and embarked on a national tour,” Mrs Anderson said.

“With the agricultural sector experiencing record commodity prices and a strong seasonal outlook for southern NSW on the back of widespread rain, we are gearing up for a bumper event with expected strong demand for tillage and fodder machinery, livestock handling equipment, grain handling and storage, fencing materials and home and garden equipment.”

The not-for-profit HMFD Cooperative enabled fundraising of more than $350,000 to regional sporting clubs, community organisations and schools from the 2019 Henty Machinery Field Days.

 

Hello Henty Reconnecting our communities will be theme of a new lifestyle event to be hosted by the Henty Machinery Field Days Cooperative Ltd on the weekend of March 12, 2022.

“Hello Henty” is proudly supported by Telstra and is set to welcome all visitors back to the field days site and the region.

Henty Machinery Field Days Co-operative has more than 55 years experience in organising what has grown into one of the largest agricultural events in Australia.

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said Hello Henty aimed to reconnect regional communities with the events industry and businesses in a COVID safe environment.

“Additionally, Hello Henty aims to connect the audience with the regional community of Henty, Greater Hume Council and the wider Riverina/north-east Victoria regions,” Mrs Anderson said. 

Visitors to Hello Henty will enjoy a feast of music and entertainment on the main stage including local, new and emerging artists. Organisers will be search for a drawcard act. 

They will be able to taste and procure gourmet food and wine from the Greater Hume Council and the wider Riverina/north-east Victoria regions and beyond.

Mrs Anderson said there will be information for visitors on markets, tourism, accommodation, events and destinations in southern NSW and north-east Victoria.

“Demonstrations will showcase what our regional lifestyle, local clubs and organisations have to offer,” she said.

“We are excited to host this brand-new lifestyle event for the region with the support of Telstra and see Hello Henty complementing the annual Henty Machinery Field Days planned for September 20-22, 2022.”


 

aerial 2018 300x197Henty Machinery Field Days has confirmed the annual field days will be held only once in 2022 but the option of an alternative event next March remains viable.

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the field days would run on September 20-22 2022 and the HMFD Board was evaluating options for an event on March 12-13 2022.

“After surveying the exhibitors booked for the 2021 field days, it was clear a replication of the field days in March followed by our annual event in September was not the way forward,” Mrs Anderson said.

“There were still many exhibitors keen on an event but the nature of their business has the HMFD management looking at a different style of event on March 12-13 2022.

“As this new event is still in the development phase with a few more logistics to be locked in, no further details are available at this stage.”

2021 has spelt the end of era – the retirement of former chairman and Yerong Creek farmer Ross Edwards after a 55-year involvement with the field days.

Ross had stepped into the chairman’s role in 2007 following the retirement of Cookardinia farmer Colin Wood after 33 years in the position.

For Ross, it had been a 40-year progression up the ladder after starting as a volunteer car park attendant at the 1966 field days.

He had been appointed as a board director of the co-operative on March 21, 1988.

The number of field day directors was reduced from 12 to seven in 2007, signalling the start of a new succession plan.

Ross Edwards wrote in his chairman’s welcome message: “One of our key objectives is to maintain the broad community involvement that has contributed to Henty’s success over many years’’.

“For most of us, the field days are not a job, but a genuine interest – our hearts are in it,’’ he said.

The HMFD brand was now powerful and far-reaching – the field day song had become one of rural Australia’s most recognisable TV advertising jingles. Market research indicated a staggering four out of every five farmers in southern NSW were able to sing the chorus.

Still embroiled in drought, Henty 2008 welcomed an Austrade sponsored visit by a North American trade delegation, and was named as the host of the 2009 biannual conference of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia.

With water efficiency and management high on every farmer’s agenda, Henty formed a partnership with the Water4Food Australia program in 2009.

The Machine of the Year Award even featured a desalination machine, reflecting the drive to conserve fresh water reserves.

The global financial crisis continued to bite so Henty banked on the federal government’s 50 per cent investment allowance designed to assist primary producers in bringing forward machinery buying decisions.

Wider community issues such as drugs and alcohol, hearing loss, glaucoma, foster carers, retirement and Angel Flight now headlined on the Country Lifestyle program.

2010 marked a year of achievement for the Henty Machinery Field Days Co-operative board.

The field days were graced with a visit from Governor General Quentin Bryce and the board signed a formal agreement with Charles Sturt University to create research programs.

On the downside, Henty’s signature jingle “Going to the Henty field days’’ was ditched in favour of a modern song written by Albury singer and songwriter Paul Gibbs.

Out on the site, the new Farm Gate Produce Market was introduced to showcase farmers value adding to their own fresh, regional produce.

The phone and media ran hot with a public backlash over the loss of the famous Henty jingle.

Chairman Ross Edwards was quoted as saying people regarded the jingle as a sacred song, while the press described it as “Riverina’s version of Waltzing Matilda’’.

Negotiations with the copyright owner proved fruitful and the jingle was restored.

The 2012 field days built on the jingle’s popularity with it being a consistent promotional theme.

Balancing the mix between the field day’s core business of machinery and broader interests, the program featured MasterChef celebrities, the inaugural Telstra Road to Discovery talent show and Meat and Livestock Australia’s Lambassador Sam Kekovich.

As Ross continued to steer the ship, site numbers jumped 50 per cent on the previous year to 1200 with more than 800 exhibitors and a record crowd of 60,000 people soaking up the atmosphere.

While the field days celebrated 50 years in 2013, Ross said the team would not be resting on its laurels but be taking the event forward for the next 50 years by showcasing new technology and keeping the field days at the cutting edge in the nation.

The skills shortage in agriculture rang alarm bells for Ross and he regularly visited the theme in his annual chairman’s messages.

“It is great to see the level of students entering university to study agricultural related courses has increased in recent years. There is certainly a need to recruit, maintain and develop staff for farms, and service and supply firms in the production chain,” he said in 2015.

In 2016, Ross oversaw a long held dream - the construction of the permanent Country Lifestyle Pavilion. This building will not only serve the field days but other events during the year.

2018 marked the last year Ross would deliver his chairman’s message from The Stump.

He was pleased to see the strength of HMFD evident at the annual general meeting when over 50 members attended, the majority being aged from 20 to 35.

“Most importantly, we promote HMFD not only as an event for the exhibitors to showcase to potential buyers, but as an annual pilgrimage for family and friends to catch up, or have a few days away from the farm,” he said.

“Forty years ago, the field days were being promoted as the agricultural supermarket to 14,000 rural properties.

“Today, it is a first class exhibition venue hosting the nation’s biggest single agricultural and outdoor event, and drawing 60,000 national and international visitors.”

Ross handed over the chairman’s reins to Nigel Scheetz in 2018 but continued on the Board as a director until stepping down at the annual general meeting in 2021. 

In receiving a certificate of appreciation from the HMFD board and staff, Ross paid tribute to the event’s founding fathers Milton Taylor and Ernie Howard.

“This field day has been great not only for Henty but for the whole of southern NSW.

“I’ve always treated everyone the same, whether they are the youngest kid through the gate or the oldest fellow who has been involved.

“The field days will survive – we will go through some tough times but what is in our favour at the moment is the high commodity prices.”

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson paid tribute to Ross’s long contribution to what has grown into one of the nation’s most prominent agricultural events. 

Mrs Anderson said the impact Ross had on the field days and wider community simply could not be measured.

She was initially encouraged by Ross to take on a new career with the field days in 2011.

“The passion that Ross has had for this organisation along with agriculture is something we should all embody,” she said.

“If we did, who knows how great this country could be?  Ross has always had a soft spot for the younger members making sure they were comfortable and welcome among their peers.  

“This has made certain that these members have a safe and supportive environment to begin their involvement at HMFD.”

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Henty Machinery Field Days Co-operative Limited

Phone: (02) 6929 3305

Site Address: 22 Lubkes Road, Henty NSW 2658

Postal Address: PO Box 107, HENTY NSW 2658

General Email: admin@hmfd.com.au

Site Information: applications@hmfd.com.au

Accounts: accounts@hmfd.com.au

Media: media@hmfd.com.au

Henty is located midway between Albury and Wagga Wagga on the Olympic Way