Inaugural expo exceeds expectations

Attendees at a Riverine Plains Innovation Expo farm tour.

More than 700 people attended the three-day inaugural Riverine Plains Innovation Expo, exceeding organisers’ expectations.

The theme of the event, which ran from July 27 to 29, was ‘Farming Ahead of the Curve’ and provided an opportunity for farmers and businesses to showcase new and emerging technologies, create connections, challenge the status quo and share insights.

“The event exceeded all our expectations — the quality of the exhibitors and speakers was incredible and the number of people from our region who engaged with and supported the event was mind-blowing,” Riverine Plains chief executive officer Catherine Marriott said.

The event featured agronomy and animal technology-focused farm tours, an innovation field day showcasing the latest in ag-tech from across Australia, an innovation conference, as well as networking events and a gala dinner, which raised more than $15,000 for the Riverine Plains Scholarship fund.

“It was a particular privilege to host the National Farmers’ Federation and Victorian Farmers Federation Towards 2030 Forum, where we brought the nation’s brightest policy minds to our region and gave our members an opportunity to engage directly with our elected leaders,” Ms Marriott said.

The innovation conference event hosted a range of speakers, including Mary O’Brien from ‘Are you Bogged Mate?’.

“Mary presented an important message around men’s mental health; shockingly, seven people succeed at suicide daily in Australia, with a large proportion being rural men,” Ms Marriott said.

“Mary explained that this isn’t a problem with men, it’s a problem with the environment we create for them to resolve challenges.”

Richard Heath, from the Australian Farm Institute, spoke on sustainability markets (carbon credits) and how they would impact people on-farm.

Decision making in farm businesses was the focus of a presentation by Cam Nicholson (Nicon Rural), who highlighted the difference between a good decision and a right decision (a good decision is informed, a right decision is one where you roll the dice and end up in the right spot).

The conference also provided a forum for John Hanrahan Scholarship recipients Lachlan Quibell, Sophie Hanna and Jess Ryan, as well as Uncle Tobys Scholarship recipient Tom Hatty, to share their aspirations in agriculture.