West Coast Eagles goal kicking goliath and Check Mate ambassador Josh Kennedy (left) spent time in the Check Mate Men's Mental Health Initiative stand at the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo with Mingenew Resource Centre co-ordinator Candice Lupton, WA Primary Health Alliance co-ordinator Jacki Ward, who is overseeing the suicide prevention trial for the Mid West and Elizabeth Lockyer, WA Country Health Services promotions co-ordinator. Having grown up in Northampton, Mr Kennedy said it was critical to have mental health support and services, not just in the city, but also available to people in rural areas. "Men are not very good at talking about their issues because it is seen as a sign of weakness, but we have to get rid of that sort of stigma," he said. "Men need to know there are networks in place they can go to and people they can talk to. Farmers, in particular, are often quite isolated and they come under a lot of stress and strain because they are dealing with things they can't control, like the weather. In my industry I can pretty much control everything I do, but they can't. Even if I have an injury, I can be in control of my rehab, but for farmers it is very different and they can often feel like they are letting their family down, which puts more strain on everyone." Check Mate provides information on what services are available in regional towns, education including workshops for men and training for key community members and support in the form of regular sundowners.
Elders Mingenew livestock agent Ross Tyndale-Powell (left) and branch manager Jarrad Kupsch (right) with the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo 2019 Young Farmer champion Jack Chanpromarat, WA College of Agriculture, Morawa.
SOLID rainfall just after the official opening of the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo put smiles on the faces of many across the district last Wednesday morning.
While it might have kept some visitors away earlier in the day, event organisers were happy to take the rain.
And Expo chairman Geoff Cosgrove said it prompted plenty of busy exhibitor marquees as people took shelter from the rain.
He said because of the rain, a lot of people went through the gates later in the day.
"The weather was kind on the second day which saw a lot of people visit who would have normally been there on the first day," Mr Cosgrove said
He said there were also plenty of school groups attending on the second day.
Mr Cosgrove said there was strong feedback from exhibitors who said they were happy with solid enquiries and the genuineness of it all.
Former West Coast Eagles player Mark LeCras (centre) was a drawcard in the Bankwest stand at the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo, joined by Bankwest's general manager business banking Richard Bator (left) and State manager rural and regional Greg O'Brien. Since his retirement from football the 219-game veteran, premiership player, all Australian and club champion has pursued his interest in agriculture and is establishing an avocado farm and running cattle with his father Peter on a property at Gingin.
For the first time a Night Markets was held on the first night and while people who stayed on endured fresh conditions, Mr Cosgrove said they had good feedback on how to make that part of the expo better for next year.
Entertainment for all members of the family, from live shows on stage for children, to fashion parades, the Elders Young Farmers competition and the Elders Flock Ewe and Heifer competitions, along with the lifestyle pavilion and the machinery displays, were all part of the entertainment package on offer this year.
McIntosh & Son Geraldton branch manager Craig Ajduk said the McIntosh & Son team enjoyed being at the Mingenew event every year.
Earlier this year the company announced a three-year partnership to continue as naming rights sponsor.
"We had good enquiry over the event and there was a bit of rain around, but overall we were very happy with the expo," Mr Ajduk said.
The Hampton Livestock Transport stand at the McIntosh & Son Mingenew Midwest Expo was a mobile one, manned by manager Paddy O'Brien, Geraldton.
Following the clean-up of the expo area, attention will soon turn to planning for the 2020 event.
Mr Cosgrove said a community planning meeting would be held in mid-September and they would gather all their data then and start planning for next year.
Across the district between 12 and 20 millimetres of rain fell in the second half of last week but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the people who attended.
The Paddock to Plate Pavilion was a popular one, particularly at lunch time on day one when former West Coast Eagle Mark LeCras was pitted against Watheroo farmer Brad Millsteed in a surf and turf battle.