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TAS Country : June 21st 2012
24 Tasmanian Country Friday, June 22, 2012 News BEST SITE: Sue Walton, on horseback, Hayley Atkins, left, and Sandy Atkins, from the Northern Tasmanian Eventing Club. Agfest proves a big winner Rural Youth KATIE COAD, Agfest promotions director AGFEST 2012 --- what an milestone event for Tassie. Brilliant crowd, weather that threatened to dampen our event (liter- ally) but stayed away for Tassie to enjoy two sunny days, and another year adding to its successful 30-year history. Patron numbers were fantastic with 13,976 attending Agfest on Thursday, 21,808 on Friday and 25,745 on Saturday, giving a total of 61,529. No records this year, but Agfest chairman Kylie Burns was more than satisfied with the figures. There was ample for everyone to see --- heritage, dairy pavilion, beef expo, agricultural demonstrations, nature walk, four-wheel drive track, the taste pavilion, and the central arena dis- plays. Plus there were many fabulous exhibits and displays from businesses which are the drawcard to our event and for their efforts we thank them. Each year at Agfest, exhibitors have the opportunity of winning a site award, based on a combination of site sizes and features. The winners this year were: Best small site: Rangeview Seeds Best single site: Blue Hills Honey Best double site: Tasmanian Far- mers and Graziers Association Best multiple site: Glasgow Engin- eering Best use of Central Arena: Polaris Best craft exhibit: Aphrodite De- signs Best unique tastes exhibit: Angus Steak Sandwiches Best trades expo exhibit: Worksafe Tasmania Best heritage display: Col the Blacksmith Best agricultural demonstration: Polaris Best equine: Northern Tasmanian Eventing Club There are so many people that contribute towards the success of Ag- fest Field Days --- about 120 volunteers who take annual leave or time from school to help, the exhibitors who work hard and tirelessly towards ensuring Agfest was a success for them as well as for us, the community groups, contrac- tors and sponsors and supporters, and most of all our patrons. Agfest always welcomes feedback. If you have any suggestions for the Agfest Field Days committee don't hesitate in emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Dates for Agfest 2013 are May 3-5. Book it in your diaries! PROACTIVE: Annette Reed wears many hats. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN Helping hand is always available Women in Agriculture ROGER HANSON WHEN Selbourne farmer Annette Reed sees a need, she acts. Mrs Reed is like many women in agriculture. She wears many hats, but in this case her workload goes beyond the normal. The mother of five not only works alongside husband Nevil on their mix- ed farm in northern Tasmania but she is also president of Tasmanian Women in Agriculture (TWiA). Like many rural women, she also works off-farm to help pay the bills, working part-time for St Giles as a family support co-ordinator for famil- ies of children with disabilities. A tragic family accident four years ago stirred Mrs Reed into action to become the founder and president of Rural Help @ Hand (RHAH), a not-for- profit peer support organisation, offer- ing practical and emotional support to rural patients and families in city hospitals in times of crisis. Mrs Reed started RHAH last year after the experience the family went through when their then 19-year-old daughter Katherine broke her back in a horse-riding accident. ''We were in the hospital in Mel- bourne, and for a farmer this is an isolating experience,'' Mrs Reed said. ''Our needs as rural people were not being met. Although hospital staff were great from a medical perspective, they didn't understand the specific issues that impact on rural and farming families due to distance, isolation and different ways of thinking and seeing the world. ''Decisions need to be made about the farm, issues arise over work that needs doing, questions over how to get children to school, how to manage visits, whether to visit. ''We were lucky. We had support and were in a better situation than a lot of other families we met. ''We got to know a lot of rural people whose needs were constantly ignored, misunderstood and simply not met. From our experiences grew the idea to form Rural Help @ Hand.'' Katherine, now 23 and a paraplegic, is starting a diploma in horse business management at Marcus Oldham Col- lege in Geelong next year. The RHAH crew is small, but passionate about the work it is doing and the gap it will fill for many patients and their families. ''We plan to be rolling out our volunteer program later this year,'' Mrs Reed said. ''A couple of us are already trained and are connecting with rural patients.'' Although Mrs Reed does a lot of work promoting RHAH, she said that more people were needed, to act as volunteers, be on the committee or be sponsors. She is also very grateful for the support of local service clubs. ''The Rotary Club of Central Launceston has been terrific and did a huge bit of fundraising for us through the Rotary Duck Race,'' she said. Other Rotary clubs have chipped in to help out, including the Launceston West club, which recently bought a laptop and projector for RHAH through a District Grant. Oatlands Rotary Club gave a substantial cash donation and Ulverstone West Club assisted with establishment costs. ''Businesses Doc Signs in Launces- ton did our logo and provided banners, while Foot & Playsted supplied bro- chures,'' she said. ''Harveydale Rodeo raised several hundred dollars for us at the annual Australia Day Rodeo. We have also received financial and in-kind support from numerous other organisations and individuals.'' Mrs Reed is keen to speak to community groups and hospitals to promote the valuable work of RHAH. Mrs Reed and all five children, whose ages range from 14 to 23, chip in to help Nevil grow garlic and tomatoes for the local fresh market. ''We are expanding the garlic sales and hopefully soon will be selling wholesale to Melbourne,'' she said. The family also promotes the merits and colour of heritage tomatoes. ''We grow them to sell as fresh vegetables and for seed. The varieties and uses are amazing and it's wonderfully satisfying to see other people get excited about our product when they see it and taste it.'' The family is also one of the few who have tapped into the emerging truffle market. ''We were some of the earlier Tas- manian growers. Demand for truffles is growing all over the world. Whereas in Europe they used to use pigs, we only use dogs to sniff them out.'' They also have a fledgling blueberry crop with 200 bushes. ''We are starting out with blueberries and evaluating what to grow and what the market values.'' The Reeds have a few beef cattle on agistment and, like many farmers, are exploring options with dorper sheep. While Mrs Reed carries the spirit of the rural sector as a community- minded working mother who is heavi- ly involved on the farm, she does find time for herself by walking, reading and writing. To find out more about RHAH, visit the website www.rhah.co- m.au or check out Rural Help @ Hand on Facebook.
June 14th 2012
June 28th 2012