EDITORIAL – The Land.
Horses, poultry, cattle, machinery and more will be displayed across two days at the Hawkesbury Showground in November as part of the Farming Small Areas (FSA) Expo.
Open from 9am to 4pm on Friday and Saturday, November 4-5, the expo draws a range of visitors, from small area farmers to those thinking about jumping into agriculture. The latest in machinery for small acreage farming will be on display, including tractors, all-terrain vehicles, mowers and more, while the sounds of livestock will fill the venue, with alpacas, cattle, horses, goats, poultry, just some of those on show. The breeders of these animals will also be on hand to answer any questions.
TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute, Richmond College, will conduct a range of talks and demonstrations on horses. From equine care to riding and handling skills, the teachers and students from the TAFE will be on hand to answer any queries. Also featured will be a poultry showcase conducted by the Parramatta and Districts Poultry Club, with club members available for a chat.
New this year will be a Red Poll feature with steer selection talks across both days, and the Friday playing host to a steer-based junior judging competition.
The FSA Expo has been bringing together a wide range of businesses and producers to provide information to people looking to start a farming venture, or wanting to learn more for their established enterprise, for nine years. It attracts between 10,000 and 12,500 visitors each year and is conducted by The Land, sponsored by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), and SOTA Tractors. NSW DPI spokesperson, Trudy Glasgow, said the department had a history with the event, having sponsored it since the start, and saw it as a great opportunity to provide advice to small area farmers with information.
Ms Glasgow said it was also a chance for prospective farmers to ask questions. “We provide advice on a range of primary issues such as weed control and biosecurity,” she said. “It’s a chance to educate Sydney about the value of agriculture and primary industries to the commodities and community.”
SOTA Tractors director, Bruce Cooper, said the expo was great for small acreage farmers as a place to find machinery to suit their needs. “It is intended specifically for small acreage owners to attend, knowing they will not get bogged down trying to find equipment and advice that is buried in the quagmire of broadacre offerings,” Mr Cooper said. “This expo assists potential customers significantly as they have considerably narrowed the information search.”
He said supporting events such as the FSA Expo were important because it worked with the customer service ethos which is driven within the company.
“Customer service is not talking the talk; it’s walking the walk, you’ve got to be prepared to walk a mile in your customer’s shoes and the only way you can do that is to listen to them; it’s all about empathy,” he said. SOTA Tractors will give away an $8000 backhoe at the expo.
The Land special projects manager, Guy Rowlison, said the event provided much needed information to people thinking about entering the industry. “It provides the chance to come and ask those questions you’ve always wanted answered, and all in the one place,” Mr Rowlison said. “It also gives city parents the chance to show their children where their food comes from, and give them a small taste of agriculture without leaving the Sydney Basin.”
Mr Rowlison said the event had something for everybody, with machinery, livestock and children’s activities making it a great family day out.