North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - FRONT PAGE -

HENTY dis­trict farmer Ro­han Bahr has been elected as a di­rec­tor of the 2018 Henty Ma­chin­ery Field Days.

Mr Bahr, 52, was elected at the co-op­er­a­tive’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on May 29, and joins chair­man Ross Ed­wards, deputy chair­men Nigel Scheetz and Daryl Thom­son, and di­rec­tors John Ma­her, Matthew Noll and Mark Hasler.

Ro­han is a sec­ond gen­er­a­tion board di­rec­tor, with his fa­ther Neil hav­ing a 40 year plus in­volve­ment with the HMFD co-op­er­a­tive and board.

Ro­han and wife Kel­lie farm 1550ha near Henty, com­pris­ing 850ha of ce­real and oilseed crops, and run a self-re­plac­ing flock of 2800 Merino ewes.

Ro­han con­cedes to never miss­ing a field day dur­ing his life­time and as an adult, has spent the event vol­un­teer­ing in the cater­ing sheds or sourc­ing a ma­jor piece of equipment for the farm.

He has fond child­hood mem­o­ries of help­ing to pre­pare the grounds in the mid 1970s, when the co-op­er­a­tive moved to a new per­ma­nent site on the Cookar­dinia Road.

“In those days, that was our fam­ily life – ev­ery Satur­day morn­ing Dad would pack up and take his trac­tor over to the field day site,” he said.

“A lot of the times I would go with him – they would be mak­ing roads and get­ting the site ready.”

As Neil’s board in­volve- ment in­creased, Ro­han took up the work­load on the farm and only joined the HMFD Co-op­er­a­tive a decade ago.

“It’s funny how it’s changed – Dad gave up the field days and un­ex­pect­edly I got more in­volved,” he said.

“I felt it was a lo­cal event need­ing lo­cal peo­ple around it.”

Ro­han and wife Kel­lie have three chil­dren, and vol­un­teered with the Henty Pub­lic School’s cater­ing team at the field days each year.

Deal­ing with the pub­lic over hot dogs and steak sand­wiches in­stilled a pride and pas­sion in the field days, en­cour­ag­ing him to tem­po­rar­ily fill a va­cancy on the board un­til the position was made per­ma­nent at the AGM.

Ro­han be­lieves he brings lo­cal knowl­edge of the com­mu­nity vol­un­teer groups work­ing at the field days to the board table.

He said field days had a pos­i­tive fu­ture but must re- main rel­e­vant to a rapidly chang­ing agri­cul­tural in­dus­try We .“have to be on the ball with tech­nol­ogy, and be open to what peo­ple want to see at the field days,” he said.

“A lot of peo­ple use the in­ter­net for their re­search but there is noth­ing quite like sit­ting on ma­chin­ery and touch­ing a few but­tons.

“If we can have the lat­est and greatest agri­cul­tural prod­ucts there, we will keep get­ting peo­ple along.”

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