A youngster enjoys a camel ride on the first day of Ag-Grow yesterday.
A youngster enjoys a camel ride on the first day of Ag-Grow yesterday. Simon Green

Ag-Grow proving its still got pulling power

CENTRAL Queensland’s largest agricultural show, Ag-Grow, opened yesterday to a bumper crowd despite concerns the new mid-week format would diminish numbers.

“From all indications, the first day is hotting up to be a corker,” Ag-Grow managing director Geoff Dein said.

Now in its 22nd year and with more than 400 exhibitors and a host of events and attractions, there is no doubt Ag-Grow has cemented its place on the Highland’s annual events calendar.

“It’s 22 this year, so it’s almost a local, but past its adolescence and growing nicely,” Mr Dein said.

“Generally the crowd at AgGrow is a busy crowd. There is a business aspect to things and I think that shows the event has more depth than simply the social side of it.

“We hope that Ag-Grow will move forward and continue to grow with the new mid-week formula.”

While Ag-Grow celebrates 22 years, major sponsor Westpac is celebrating 100 years in Emerald and has shown its confidence in the “growing region” by lashing out a $1 million refurbishment of the Egerton St branch.

A host of the bank’s biggest executives were in town for Monday night’s official opening.

“We view Emerald as a growth area, there is no way we would sink a million dollars into an area that was performing averagely, so I think it is a sign of our confidence in the region that we put our money into the branch here,” group executive Westpac retail and business banking Rob Coombe said.

“I think 100 years is a big commitment in any area.

“This is a very important branch and also the centre for our agribusiness here in Central Queensland.”

Westpac premium agribusiness relationship director Greg Twist said agribusiness in the Central Highlands was looking to the future with a positive attitude.

“There were people who were very badly affected by the floods, particularly on the agricultural side, however they have been very resilient and they will bounce back very well,” he said.

“I think the next 12 months is going to look sensational.”

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