The (mostly) good rainfall around Cootamundra makes it one of the best mixed farming areas in the State, as evidenced by this week's story about Chris Hall of Wallendbeen winning the NSW farmer of the year award.
As such, the Cootamundra region would seem an obvious place to locate a new NSW government-funded Agriculture Centre for Excellence, with not only good land and first-class agricultural infrastructure but an amazing amount of farming expertise close at hand.
Instead, the NSW government has announced its intention to locate the Centre in outer Sydney, at Hawkesbury, an area rapidly being overtaken by suburban development.
The NSW Opposition leader Jodi McKay this week repeated her criticism of the decision, saying voters in the Cootamundra electorate should be disappointed that their local member, Steph Cooke, had either not been aware of the proposed location of the new Centre, or had not fought for it to be in a regional setting.
"At a time when rural NSW is crying out for high value jobs and infrastructure investment, the National Party has bowed to its Liberal masters and instead chosen to invest in agricultural education and training in the Hawkesbury," Ms McKay said.
"The Centre, which will be the first of its kind for the Australian agricultural sector, will be available to students across the state for intensive studies and excursions.
"But those who actually come from rural farming communities will be forced to travel hundreds of kilometres."
Ms McKay said that while she welcomed funding in agriculture, the decision to base the new centre so close to Sydney was "out of touch" and called for the new institution to be built somewhere in rural NSW.
"National Party Leader John Barilaro has a lot to answer for," she said.
"He claims to be standing up for the country but his actions send a very different message."