40 years of youthful toil

RURAL Youth celebrated the 40th anniversary of Agfest with a reunion of committee members from the events’ past decades.

When the first Agfest took place at its original Symmons Plains site in May 1983, the two-day event attracted a crowd of 9000 patrons and 111 exhibitors. Today, Agfest is renowned as one of the best examples of agricultural field days, attracting more than 60,000 attendees and 700 exhibitors to its current Carrick site prior to the pandemic.

Rural Youth Tasmania and members of the farming community got together last weekend to reflect on the significance of the milestone achievement. Almost all of the past 17 chairmen and members of their committees attended with more than 170 people reminiscing and sharing stories at Quercus Park.

“The 40th Anniversary allows us an opportunity to look back on our past and see where we came from and where we are now,” 2022 Agfest Chairperson Caine Evans said.

“The 1983 Agfest Committee, the very first, must be held up in the highest regards in this organisation’s history. “They were truly pioneers and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude far beyond what we could ever repay.”

This year’s Agfest will be held in the paddock from August 24-27, followed by an online ‘cloud’ event from August 27 to September 2.

Honourary Life Memberships were awarded to Helen Geard and Ronald Gunn for their exceptional contribution over many years. Service awards were also presented to Katie Crane, Michael Buckby, Christine Mann and Chris Brown for recognition of their significant contribution to Rural Youth Tasmania.

“These people have upheld the values and traditions of our organisation throughout their involvement and continue to do so today,” Rural Youth State President Josh Mison said. “They have given their time, blood, sweat and tears selflessly to see Rural Youth and Agfest grow and succeed long into the future.

This year’s anniversary dinner also signalled the official launch of Agfest 2022. “The months are accelerating to August, with only 109 days left until will open the gates. I know we will deliver a great action-packed Agfest as we have always done. To be back in the paddock and building lifelong memories and friendships that will stand the test of time,” Mr Evans said.

Collectively, Agfest contributes up to $40 million to the Tasmanian economy each year, with hundreds of businesses relying on Agfest trade and networking opportunities to improve their growth and profitability.

Earlier this year the State Government announced funding of up to $850,000 to Rural Youth Tasmania to help ensure the continuation of Agfest and the growth of the organisation.