Planning is in hand to mark a milestone at the 2023 Henty Machinery Field days with the 60th anniversary celebrations on September 19-21.
Over the decades, the not-for-profit co-operative has garnered a reputation for kick starting the last quarter of the agricultural calendar in southern NSW and northern Victoria.
Last year's event drew a record crowd of 70,000 over the three days and showcased over $120 million worth of machinery and technology from 750 exhibitors on the 105ha site.
Despite visitor numbers capped on the final day due to adverse weather, a visitor survey has revealed 90 per cent of visitors felt the 2022 Henty Machinery Field Days had met their expectations.
The survey was undertaken by independent researchers at Destination Research and Development at the 2023 field days, and supported by the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia.
Key results of the survey were:
- 37 per cent of visitors were primary producers
- 93 per cent of visitors came from outside the Greater Hume Local Government Area
- 45 per cent of visitors travelled more than 100km to the event
- 82 per cent felt products for sale was their primary interest
- 56 per cent felt livestock/animals was their primary interest
When it came to visitor spend, the average was $105 per person and 14 per cent of visitors bought major purchases valued at over $1000 to average $4158.
Many aspects of the event met high levels of satisfaction including the venue, atmosphere and organisation.
HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the survey validated the efforts of a large number of cooperative members who give their time and passion to ensure the success of the event.
Mrs Anderson said the not-for-profit HMFD Cooperative enabled fundraising of almost $400,000 to regional sporting clubs, community organisations and schools from the 2022 event.
"Community groups of all types, including sporting clubs, schools and improvement committees from around the region contribute to the preparation and running of the event through catering and providing services," Ms Anderson said.
"The vision of our founding members is what you see today. Sixty years on we have become one of the largest agricultural field days in Australia and must-see destination on the agricultural calendar."
The first official field day was held at the Henty Showgrounds in 1963 following a one-day header school in November 1961 organised by Milton Taylor, secretary of the Henty branch of the Farmers and Settlers' Association.
Culcairn farmer Eddie Thomas stepped into the position of chairman of the newly formed Henty Machinery Field Days committee for the first official event in October 1963 at the Henty showground.
The event was held on private properties in the Henty area until 1976 when it found a permanent site on a former travelling stock reserve on the Cookardinia Road.
The 60th anniversary event will have all the usual attractions including the prestigious Henty Machine of the Year Award, the working and three sheep dog trials, Country Lifestyle pavilion, Farm Gate Produce Market, Baker Seeds agronomy trials, helicopter joy rides, live entertainment and the Natural Fibre Fashion Awards.
A vintage display by the Henty and District Antique Farm Machinery Club will commemorate the change in technology over the past six decades.
Also back this year will be the exhibitor awards for Best Outdoor Large Commercial, Best Outdoor General, Best Indoor (Country Lifestyle and Farm Gate).
Applications for all exhibitors will open mid-March with returning exhibitors able to rebook their 2022 site until April 30, 2023.
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