New blood brings fresh ideas to McIntosh and Son Mingenew Midwest Expo board

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenCountryman
Tiarna Kanny is the McIntosh and Son Mingenew Midwest Expo’s newest and youngest board member.
Camera IconTiarna Kanny is the McIntosh and Son Mingenew Midwest Expo’s newest and youngest board member. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Countryman/Countryman

It is believed to be one of the youngest field days boards in Australia, and the team behind this year’s McIntosh and Son Mingenew Midwest Expo has plenty of fresh ideas.

For Tiarna Kanny, the newest and youngest board member, change was a good thing even if she was not actively trying to reinvent the wheel.

The format may be different this year — most notably, having been changed from two days to one — but the 23-year-old said locals and visitors could expect a lot of elements they loved.

“I think it’ll be exciting to see this format of the expo, and for those who are a bit scared of something a bit different,” Tiarna said.

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“It’s a smaller and more ag-focused, and it’ll be a really great event.”

Though preparations have been in progress since the curtains were drawn on last year’s expo, Tiarna was a self-described “latecomer” to the board.

After taking on the marketing co-ordinator role in April, it has been full steam ahead for the farm girl from Walkaway. Tiarna began working in agronomy in 2016 before moving to Mingenew early last year when she was recruited as research and development program manager for Mingenew-Irwin Group.

This experience and passion for agriculture led to her being headhunted to join the expo board.

Mingenew Midwest Expo Young Farmers organiser Billi Marshall.
Camera IconMingenew Midwest Expo Young Farmers organiser Billi Marshall. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

“There’s plenty of fresh ideas on the board,” Tiarna said. “We’ve noticed with the younger members, especially through social media use, that maybe our networks are a little bit broader.”

Social media may be useful for promotional purposes, but Tiarna said nothing could substitute bringing people together in the flesh.

It was this gathering of farmers and the sharing of technologies, progress and achievements she loves most.

“Social licence to operate is becoming a really big issue in lots of industries, but especially ag,” Tiarna said.

“To fulfil that social licence requirement, people need something tangible and need to be able to go and look and experience something to learn.

“That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why I got involved in the expos.”

She said one of biggest challenges of organising such a major event was ensuring volunteers were looked after.

“We try to make things easier on our volunteers who help out on the day, because we know fatigue in small communities is a big issue,” Tiarna said.

Other major challenges included co-ordinating the efforts of an army of organisers, and the timing of the event itself in the middle of cropping season.

But with a capable board — including chairman Andrew Cosgrove, vice-chair Sarah Christie, treasurer Jeremy Clapham, secretary Leanne-Grant Williams, human resources co-ordinator Rebecca Kelly and Young Farmers Challenge co-ordinator Billi Marshall — it has come together swimmingly.

Complementing their efforts are expo staffers Jo Panter and Simone Botha from Geraldton-based events company Checked Events.

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