A massive machinery shed was transformed into a glittering ballroom to celebrate grain growers and all they contribute to Australia and beyond.
The Treflé Exhibition Shed, built with investment from GRDC and the Temora Shire Council, recently hosted more than 370 growers and members of the grains industry for the Southern NSW Farming Ball.
Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack opened the night, saying the ball was a celebration of farmers and their role in feeding the world.
FarmLink chair Lisa Anderson announced the Bernard and Anne Hart Perpetual Award for Innovation in Agriculture.
"The award will be granted annually to a farmer so an innovative idea can be trialled on-farm and shared with the agricultural community," she said.
"It recognises Bernard and Anne Hart's lifelong commitment to agricultural R&D and will encourage growers to develop ideas and innovation from within the FarmLink region."
FarmLink chief executive officer Cindy Cassidy spoke of the need for innovation and adaptation in making our challenging environment and soils productive.
"Our environment and our soils are some of the most challenging, and it is testament to growers and researchers that we are a successful agricultural nation."
Ms Cassidy thanked GRDC and the Temora Shire Council for investment in the infrastructure works at the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre, a community-owned research farm run by FarmLink.
The GRDC invested $1.6 million in a range of infrastructure projects at the farm, including irrigation works to drought-proof trials for cereals, oilseeds and pulses. The irrigation works included the construction of a 100-megalitre dam to water-up 100 hectares of trials.
Also included in the infrastructure projects were an upgrade to administrative, sample processing and agricultural training facilities, along with the erection of the Treflé Exhibition Shed, a machinery storage and training facility.
Temora Shire Council deputy mayor Graham Sinclair said the Temora Agricultural Innovation Centre had gone from strength to strength under FarmLink.
"With GRDC investments into irrigation here and this magnificent shed, council is excited about what has become a unique agricultural innovation centre," he said. "We hope the entire region will benefit from it."
GRDC Northern Panel chair John Minogue said FarmLink had planned to drought-proof the research station and pull in investments from other areas well before GRDC announced its infrastructure grants.
"All credit to FarmLink for seizing the opportunity."
Who was John Treflé?
Mr Minogue said John Treflé was a Temora local who joined the NSW Parliament as the Member for Castlereagh and later went on to become the NSW Minster for Agriculture in 1911.
"He looked out on some timbered paddocks with gold mullock heaps in this area, between the Barmedman and Trungley Hall Roads, and had a vision for an agricultural research station. In 1918, the area became the Temora Demonstration Farm and, in 1919, the Temora Experiment Farm," he said.
"In 2019, it is fitting that innovation is once again rewarded with this facility being named the Treflé Exhibition Shed. It gives me pleasure to declare the shed open."
NSW Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said everyone present understood that whatever the weather challenges, the region's farmers soldiered on; at which point she introduced guest speaker, retired Corporal Mark Donaldson, Australia's first Victoria Cross recipient in 40 years.
"He earned the award in Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group during Operation Slipper, in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan ... and was also Young Australian of the Year in 2010," Ms Cooke said.
Mr Donaldson spoke about how he earned his Victoria Cross and what it means to be mentally tough in difficult circumstances.
Some of his messages were:
- never lose your sense of humour and remain positive in difficult situations;
- whether you are a team member or leader, your role is to enable the person to the left and the right of you to do their job. If everybody in the team has the same mindset the team is productive;
- when you say you will do a job, see it through; and
- when going through tough times, help each other.
Mr Donaldson's parting message was to share the Special Air Service Regiment motto, which he said highlights the importance of not taking short-cuts: "It's about saying 'I will find a way where nobody else thinks one is possible'," he said.
"Those three words are 'who dares wins', so please use them as you will."
GRDC Research Code FLR0009
More information: Cindy Cassidy, 02 6980 1333, email@example.com