Patron praises Agfest

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“The thing with Rural Youth people, you tell them that something’s impossible to do, they’ll stay up all night working out how to do it and getting it done. What they achieve here is just amazing.”

Allan Roark has been coming to Agfest since its very first year and this year has been named as Patron of the event.

“It’s a massive honour to be nominated,” he said. “I was as surprised as many people when I was selected.”

Over Agfest’s 34-year history, Mr Roark has been involved as an exhibitor, as well as just coming along to see what’s happening at the field days.

Some of his favourite things at Agfest are looking at machinery, cattle and wool exhibits, as well as talking to producers about innovations in the agricultural industry. 

“Can I have about 18 different favourites?” he laughed.

“The thing I love about Agfest is that, as someone who’s not working the land, I can go and learn about some technology and innovations that are happening out there in the rural communities and how those innovations and technologies are flowing down to the food that I eat.”

Mr Roark said Agfest provides enormous support to the Tasmanian economy.

“Agfest is a huge economic boon for the state,” he said.

Agfest injected about $27 million into the state in 2016, but Mr Roark believes the real figure is much higher.

“There’s people coming to Agfest looking at things they may not buy for another six months or so, so those figures don’t necessarily end up in the current figures," he said. "So Agfest is well worth a lot more than the $27m that they’re talking about during the event.”

He emphasised the importance of buying locally grown produce to support Tasmanian agriculture.

“If you want to support our farmers and agricultural industry, just buy food that doesn’t have a label on it,” he said. “Whether you go to the supermarket or one of the farmers’ markets or your local grocer, just buy food that doesn’t have a label on it and you know it’s come fresh from someone local.”

He also praised the Rural Youth volunteers who run the field days.

“The thing with Rural Youth people, you tell them that something’s impossible to do, they’ll stay up all night working out how to do it and getting it done. What they achieve here is just amazing.”

The team of 106 young Tasmanians, led by Agfest Chairman Kate Birch, work hard to make Agfest the best it can be.

“I can never see how they can make it better each year, but each year they do,” said Mr Roark. “I think the future of the country is in pretty good hands with the youth of today when they can organise such a fantastic event like this and do it with a smile on their face.”

“It’s fantastic. I’m proud to be part of it.”