Sarah Courtney is preparing for Agfest field days next month.

SEE YOU AT AGFEST: Sarah Courtney preparing for the field days at her Sidmouth vineyard. Picture: Phillip Biggs
SEE YOU AT AGFEST: Sarah Courtney preparing for the field days at her Sidmouth vineyard. Picture: Phillip Biggs

Agfest is one of Tasmania’s great events.

In its 35th year, it has grown from strength to strength, bringing together our rural communities and helping to develop it as one of the nation’s top agricultural and machinery field days.

It is one of my favourite events of the year and I’m sure this year will be better than ever in showcasing the best of what Tasmanian agriculture has to offer, as well as the latest in machinery and products to live and work on the land.

Tasmanian agriculture is now worth $1.5 billion a year and the state government has a comprehensive plan, and is on track, to grow the annual farm gate value of agriculture to $10 billion by 2050.

This is a big goal but I’m confident we can achieve it.

The demand and interest in our produce has never been greater which is why we will invest more than $150 million in our AgriFood Plan 2018-2023.

We have also committed to bringing the Primary Industries Parks Water and Environment department closer to primary producers by moving 100 positions to Launceston and Devonport, employing new AgriGrowth Liaison Officers, establishing a primary producer’s hotline, modernising the department’s FarmPoint website and connecting it with social media.

Through an additional $3 million we are continuing to modernise our biosecurity including expanding the statewide network of truck and machinery wash down stations, additional biosecurity staff on King and Flinders Islands, and partnering with farmers, agribusiness and local government to improve post-border biosecurity and farm hygiene.

The government has committed $70 million towards a third tranche of Tasmanian Irrigation schemes, we will invest $4.5 million to work with farmers and processors to improve on-farm productivity and profitability in the red meat, dairy, wine, fruit and vegetable, wool, honey, hemp and organics sectors.

I recognise that people are at the centre of agriculture in Tasmania.

That’s why we will invest as additional $2.4 million to support key community organisations like Rural Business Tasmania, Rural Youth of Tasmania, Tasmanian Women in Agriculture and Rural Alive and Well, and $1 million will help agricultural shows upgrade infrastructure.

We will invest further in agricultural education, skills and training with $16 million to revitalise school farms, $5 million for an Agricultural Centre of Excellence centred around Burnie’s Freer Farm.

Agfest would not be possible without the dedicated members of Rural Youth Tasmania who collectively put in thousands of hours to organise this great event each year and I thank them for their enthusiasm, generosity and professionalism.

See you at Agfest!