James Butler - Chairman
On behalf of the Committee, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 60th annual Riverland Field Days.
With a focus centering around the region's important horticultural and agricultural industries; the Riverland Field Days presents an opportunity for a wide audience to come together to see the latest innovations, products, and services on offer. Combine entertainment and food with a huge selection of interesting exhibits, and a great day is sure to be had by all.
The first “Riverland Field and Gadget Days” were held in 1958, and 2017's event will be our 60th. To help us celebrate this important milestone, we are excited to have the Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC officially open proceedings on Friday. The Governor's visit is testament to the importance of the Field Days to this region, and all involved are rightly very proud.
On the topic of our 60th anniversary, we are thrilled to acknowledge that one particular exhibitor, Growers Services, has been in attendance at every single one of these Field Days. Together, the continued support of exhibitors, attendees, and volunteers make the Field Days a possibility.
Development of the Field Days Site is ongoing. This year has seen the bituminisation of the entry road from gate A through to gate 7, which some of you will have driven in on.
Recently, the Committee was notified of their successful Building Better Regions Fund grant application, which will enable the building of an exciting new presentation pavillion. Watch this space, as works are scheduled to begin very soon after this year's Field Days are finished.
I trust you will have a fantastic time at the 2017 Riverland Field Days.
James Butler - Chairman
Welcome by Tim Whetstone - Member for Chaffey
As we welcome everyone to the 60th Riverland Field Days, it’s important to acknowledge just how this vital two day event has evolved.
When I moved to the Riverland in 1989 as a citrus grower and later developed vineyard, the Field Days were a valuable meeting place for the agricultural and horticultural industry and that element remains today. At that time however, the event was held in various towns across the region under the title of the Riverland Field and Gadget Days.
My recollection of early involvement with the Riverland Field Days was around gathering with fellow growers to exchange ideas about on-farm practice. It was also a time to explore new technology, and I remember purchasing tractors and crucial farm machinery after having the unique opportunity to compare them all in one place at the Field Days.
While the Field Days have remained true to its original foundations, farming itself has changed substantially in that time and the event has responded with a natural evolution. Today, farms are generally much larger and more mechanised with a heavy reliance on sound research and development to drive productivity gains.
As the Field Days have expanded, its agricultural and horticultural focus has broadened to include entertainment, education, food and beverage and interest items for the whole family. Each year, I am amazed with the variety of stalls and displays for all ages. The focus on paddock to plate concepts with a showcase of the region’s exceptional produce enables even those less engaged directly in agriculture to connect with the industry.
With the 60th Riverland Field Days upon us, the event has come a long way since it first commenced in 1958 with just 26 exhibitors. There are now hundreds of exhibitors and it is great to see its sustained growth, showing people recognise the importance of this event to the local region. The event is regarded as one of the nation’s premier agricultural and horticultural Field Days.
Finally I’d like to acknowledge all of those behind the scenes that work year round to ensure this major Riverland event comes to fruition. I know many of the Riverland Field Days committee members personally, and for them and many others like myself, this is an exciting time of the year.
Tim Whetstone MP
Member for Chaffey
Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment
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