The Mirror News

Avenue of Agriculture at next year’s Foster Show

FOLLOWING a fleece through its journey from shorn sheep through spun yarn to knitted object was one of the highlights of this year’s Foster Show. This snapshot of agricultural enterprise proved so popular that shearer Peter Gay has promised to return next year with more shearing demonstrations.

Wool production will be just one of many agricultural pursuits on display at the 2014 Foster and District Show, set for Saturday February 22.

At the recent annual general meeting of the Foster and District Agricultural Society Binginwarri beef cattle farmer and long-time committee member Robbie Davidson announced plans for an Avenue of Agriculture at next year’s show.

Mr Davidson hopes to have as many as 25 stands featuring the diversity of agricultural pursuits which are beginning to take root in South Gippsland and environs.

“Farming has been going through rough times. Many farmers are wanting to find an alternative income and are looking to diversify. This Avenue of Agriculture should give them some ideas,” said Mr Davidson, who has already had interest from an exciting range of enterprises.

These include the snail farmers who run Café Escargot at Mirboo North, a combined butterfly, silkworm and snail production operation in the Latrobe Valley, and regional producers of mushrooms, truffles, hemp (for clothing) and olives.

“Everyone is very keen to promote their products and share their ideas,” said Mr Davidson, who has been talking with farmers with produce as diverse as rabbits, garlic, chilli, fish, pigs, free range chooks and organic milk.

“If you go along to a farmers’ market you see just how much opportunity there is out there to do so much more than just plant a few native trees on your farm. How about citrus trees or hazelnuts? The growth of farmers’ markets creates an opportunity to sell your produce.

“The Avenue of Agriculture aims to encourage people to find ways of making a living on even a small acreage. All you need for snails or mushrooms, for instance, is a shed.”

Visitors to the show will be able to wander around the Avenue and chat to producers about their businesses, watch them in action in videos and in some cases sample their wares.

“It’s amazing what diversity of product there is out there – even just in and around this district,” said Mr Davidson, who is keen to hear from any agricultural producers who would like to share their ideas at the Foster Show. He can be contacted on 5185 1341.

Foster and District Agricultural Society would also welcome enquiries from anyone wishing to volunteer their services for next year’s show. Membership of the society and show officials remain much the same following the AGM, with Bev Tyers’ move from assistant to chief shed steward being one of the few changes, but more helpers are always welcome.

Contact the president, Noel Afflitto (0428 220 040) or the show secretary Denis O’Neill (5611 7980 or 0425 565 649) if you would like to assist.

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