Two new board directors are set to put the spotlight on youth at the Henty Machinery Field Days.
HMFD chairman Ross Edwards said the appointment of Mark Hasler and Matthew Noll was an important part of the co-operative’s succession planning strategy.
Mr Edwards also paid tribute to Cookardinia farmer John Maher who stepped down as deputy chairman after serving 21 years on the board.
Mr Maher has been an active co-operative member for 45 years.
For many exhibitors in recent years, Mark Hasler has been a familiar face on the entry gates, working alongside Mr Maher.
Mark, 47, brings 15 years of working at the coalface of the field days with him to the board table.
He has spent the past 11 years working as a station hand for the mixed enterprise, Scholz Farming, at Morven, and each year takes annual leave to work on field day preparations, unloading machinery and exhibitor entry.
Mr Hasler has been deputy captain of the Culcairn North brigade of the NSW Rural Fire Service for over seven years.
“It is a great area to live – everyone works together if there is a problem,’’ he said.
“I have been thinking about joining the HMFD Board for some time and bring practical experience of the day to day operations.
“We have to keep the younger members enthused – we have quite a good group of members aged in their 20s to 30s, and need to encourage them to keep coming along.’’
Mr Hasler believes the survival of field days lies with being proactive, innovative and promoting new products and ideas.
“We’ve still got to have that practical, physical display but take advantage of the digital technology and social media,’’ he said.
Matthew Noll’s earliest memories of Henty involve watching the sheep dog trials and climbing over tractors when he attended the field days with his farming family from West Wyalong.
He was encouraged to work at the field days in 2007 by a mate while attending St Paul’s College, Walla Walla.
These days, Matthew takes a week of annual leave to work out at the site during the event.
His role includes forklift driving and working on the exhibitor entry gate.