House debates

Monday, 14 July 2014

Constituency Statements

Flynn Electorate: Emerald Westpac Ag-Grow Field Day

10:47 am

Photo of Ken O'DowdKen O'Dowd (Flynn, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Ag-Grow field days in Emerald are very important annual events of the agricultural community of Central Queensland. The three-day event is one of the premier Queensland agricultural field days. Located on the grounds of the agricultural college, this was the 25th anniversary of the event.

Last week I attended and jointly opened the Westpac Ag-Grow field day in Emerald, along with my state colleague and friend, the member for Gregory, Vaughan Johnson. I congratulate Geoff Dein and the Ag-Grow team on turning a quarter of a century. I greatly enjoyed once again being part of this Ag-Grow field day.

Highlights included the bull sales, the stockhorse sales, the horse and cattle events, the dog-training events, fashion parades for the ladies and entertainment for the kids. It highlighted farm technology and how it is improving on a year-to-year basis. It keeps our farmers in the mix when it comes to producing fine quality products for our overseas markets. There were innovations in feed, renewable energy, machinery, fencing, security and also farm finance for vehicles and other types of equipment. Westpac and Rabobank were there, along with other financial institutions, to talk to the different buying groups.

Drones are becoming a part of the agricultural world. We now have a German-built drone that is very good. It aids the grazier in mustering. It can locate where a fence is down or see if there is a water shortage in some part of the property. GPS systems are also improving on a week-to-week, year-to-year basis. The event had the support of local businesses—some 1,200 traders and 350 to 400 exhibitors. Emerald also runs a number of social events which complement the ag show. There was a breakfast that started at half past six in the morning, just on daylight, and it was well supported by the people in and around Emerald. And it was not only people around Emerald; people came from far and wide to attend this ag show.

It is great to try and give the farmers the boost they need. There will be markets out there in the future once the free trade agreement with China comes into force, hopefully by the end of this year. Already we have seen an upturn in markets in Korea and Japan since those free trade agreements have been ratified. All in all, it augurs well, but farmers cannot make money overnight. They need to invest a lot in their industries and I wish them well in the future. (Time expired)