VICTORIA’S top rural expo Sheepvention has organised an expanded Sunday program for the three-day event at Hamilton from August 4-6 next week.
As well as the much-anticipated Merino ram sale, the inventions competition, sheep show, fashion parade and farm dog championship, the expo’s program will introduce many new concepts, including the CRT Innovations Hub in the Careers Expo.
Sheepvention president Will Kinghorn said the Sunday program is going to be huge with Sunday-only events in the Wool Shed Selling Centre, including working dog demonstrations by Ian O’Connell, whip cracking and blade shearing.
“We are very excited to welcome Ben as show opener.
“The Naked Farmer has an amazing social media following and has been a unique advocate for rural mental health,” Mr Kinghorn said.
The launch of the parade and AWI Young Designer Wool Award presentations will be held as a brunch on Sunday morning at 10am and fashion parades will be held throughout Sheepvention.
Sunday’s program will also feature the Victorian Farm Dog Championships, wool handling events, inventions competition, the wool fashion parades and a huge display of nearly 1000 show sheep.
The Home Paddock will feature childrens’ activities, the SW Tafe Producers Pavilion will have cooking demonstrations with Paul Mecurio and all the traders will be open, Mr Kinghorn said.
“The competitions have been supported extremely well this year.
“We have an extra 20 studs in the sheep show alone and we are expecting a huge ram sale with well over 300 top Merino rams.”
Sheepvention business and events manager Peta Anderson said the dog trial will start very early Sunday morning due to high entry numbers.
“The inventions have been a big surprise with 30 odd entries so far and the trade sites are full again.
“Even the weather is meant to be in our favour,” she said.
Innovation hub to bridge education gap
Sheepvention’s new CRT Innovation’s Hub has been introduced due to a gap in the market between the new digital farming products and the education of farmers on use of new technology.
“Once we started investigating all the new products and even new networks it became overwhelming,” Ms Anderson said.
“We wondered how the local farmers were going to navigate around all these tech products and understand what was best for their farms.
“So the aim of the new hub is to provide advice and information in simple terms,” she said.
“We have so much on offer, including master classes and advice on the right technology for individual applications.”
Sheepvention has also partnered with CRT, The GSC Food and Fibre Council, and SMART Farming Systems among others to produce a fabulous SMART Stage program in the hub pavilion. There will be presentations and demonstrations on a huge range of topics including a range of monitoring sensors that have been trialled locally – electric fence, water tank, weather; plus drones, precision fertiliser application, robotic shearing and ear tag technologies and so much more.
Well-known ABC New Inventors judge Dr Chris Russell will join the inventions competition judging panel and be a keynote speaker in the Hub. Ms Anderson said competition entrants will vie for more than $6000 in prize money across the four categories plus the student inventions. There will also be consultation opportunities with an intellectual property lawyer to discuss trademarks and patents for inventions and sessions with Push Start, to assist companies in their development, and provide resources for funding opportunities.
Childrens’ activities will include Lego Brickz for kids including Lego robotics and duplo, the animal nursery and RIST’s new virtual reality classroom program from Think Digital.
“Our hope is to inspire the children to think about agriculture in a different way.
“We also want to motivate our farmers to learn about new technology and embrace the changes that are inevitable in the agriculture sector,” Ms Anderson said.