Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten went to an agricultural field day in Tasmania. Here's what they saw

Freezing Opposition leader Bill Shorten’s brave face. Picture: The Examiner

When it comes to agricultural field days, they don’t get much bigger than Agfest.

At least, not for the people of Tasmania. It’s estimated some 60,000 turned out last weekend to check out the latest machinery, food and farming practices to hit the Apple Isle. That’s nearly one in every eight Tasmanians.

There’s some genuine numbers being crunched for the first time this year, but it’s estimated the event – which has been run by Rural Youth Tasmania volunteers at the site for 33 years – adds about $25 million each year to the state’s economy.

(Tasmania’s Primary Industries Minister Jeremy Rockliff prefers to talk about its “farmgate value” of $1.19 billion.)

It’s big enough for Australia’s leaders to make the trip to Tassie for. On Friday, both PM Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten braved a chill wind whipping down off the Western Tiers to wander the 80ha site just 20 minutes out of Launceston, Northern Tasmania.

Abbott spent a lot of time in the Legendairy milk producers’ pavilion and bought a pair of Australian-made gumboots.

Shorten used his visit to announce he’d establish a Tasmanian taskforce to halt the reverse in the state’s jobs growth.

And seeing as I’d never been to Agfest despite living in Tasmania for more than half my life, I decided to drag the family along to see why either leader bothered. I wasn’t disappointed.

The free mudproofing at the gates was the smartest decision anyone in my family made. Of course, only my wife did.

Agfest 2015, Tasmania.

Welcome to Agfest 2015.

It’s a farm machinery fetishist’s naughty dream. From sandpit-sized diggers:

To the cow guardian from Cars:

And stuff you just want to own, even if you don’t know what it’s for:

Here’s Tony Abbott, who just loves playing rural.

He officially opened the event, spoke to a farmer who wanted the legal weed debate settled once and for all, and bought some Aussie gummies.

Prime minister Tony Abbott. Picture: The Examiner

But this bloke was a bigger attraction.

Ladies and gents, David Foster, the best axeman ever. The World 600mm Double-handed Sawing Champion for 21 consecutive years. Nine-time Australian Axeman of the Year (consecutively). Down here, he’s bigger than Boonie.

And neither of them could bring the frenzy like ABC’s Jimmy Giggle. (Jimmy Giggle!)

Yes, Agfest is great for kids. Especially with tractor wheels you can sit in:

And real Minecraft:

Here’s a pump as big as that car behind it. 1000kW, 2.5 tonnes. Still just half as big as the two they sold to a west coast mine recently. Woof.

Grease monkeys, Christmas came early.

It’s not Tasmania without apples. Tamar Valley apples are amazing.

You see a lot of blokes mutually appreciating things like woodsplitters:

Or just having a chat:

And things slow down even more for the machinery demos:

But this guy got to spend the entire day in the mud run, which proved popular:

The outdoor spa display, not so much, especially as the wind-chill factor kicked in sideways:

Woodchoppin’ will always be in Tasmanian hearts, but these days chainsawin’ is up there:

Picture: Mark Jesser, The Examiner.

And I could have sworn these fish were digital, until this bloke showed everyone how to catch them:

I finished my day by finding the maker of the world’s best whisky. Kids wait outside, while dad has some Dad Time:

All up, a great day was had by all. There wasn’t a bored kid in sight, nor a queue – even for the whisky – and it was obvious there was plenty of business being done on the day.

Rockliff told the ABC the state government planned to see Agfest grow tenfold by 2050, which if true, is exactly the kind of optimism Australia’s smallest state needs.

Hopefully, we’ll be regulars by then.

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