2016-05-05: Agri expo ready to roll for another year at Quercus Park near Carrick – The Mercury

A LANDMARK Tasmanian event bridging the urban-rural divide is ready to fling open its gates at Quercus Rural Youth Park near Carrick.

Agfest pumps more than $26 million into the state’s economy and is a chance for urban dwellers to get a glimpse of the state’s agricultural production, worth $1.44 billion and sourced from 3340 farms.

It’s been a tough year for many Tasmanian farmers, but the next three days will provide a chance to shed the burden of the big dry.

Working closely with Agfest representatives, the University of Tasmania has devised a bigger program this year for all ages including live “touch tanks” of marine creatures.

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) will bring a hi-tech experience to the agri sector. The university tent can be found on site 404 along Fourth Avenue.

Agfest chairwoman Kate Coad said everything was coming along well and the recent rains were not causing concern.

“A lot of setting up work is done and the site is looking good. We are excited about opening the gate to patrons.”

Agfest operations manager Ricky Edson said the drains were working well.

“It’s surprising really because a lot of the water has just soaked in because it was so dry,” he said.

This year a record 762 exhibitors have booked spots at Quercus Park, with more than 70,000 people expected to flood through the gates.

First held in 1983, Agfest is run solely by volunteers from Rural Youth Tasmania and every year the program is tweaked.

This year’s changes include the return of Equine Expo after a one-year hiatus.

Agfest is traditionally a one-stop shop to help farmers get the job done — from stocking and financial advice, to mental and physical health tips.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association is encouraging everyone in the sector to take some time out.

TFGA chief executive Peter Skillern urges all farmers to visit the crew from the National Centre for Farmer Health, housed with their partner Rural Bank at site 113.

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To read the full article: 2016-05-05: ‘Agri expo ready to roll for another year at Quercus Park near Carrick’ – The Mercury