The 31st annual Grasslands Conference has kicked off in Gunnedah, with large numbers of producers, farmers and irrigators taking over town.
They have come from all over the state and further afield, gathering in the Gunnedah Town Hall and Smithurst Theatre to hear from experts in the climate change, economics and plant genetics.
Many attendees raised concerns about the impacts of the ongoing drought.
AusWest Seeds' Frank McRae from Orange said it was a "heartbreaking" drive to Gunnedah.
"Once you leave Orange, it's dry all the way," Mr McRae said.
AusWest Seeds is just one of the many sponsors of the conference, alongside Valley Seeds, Tamworth Regional Landcare Association, Upper Murray Seeds, and the Department of Primary Industry.
Valley Seeds' Allan Mudford from Taree said it was a good idea to hold the conference in Gunnedah this year.
"It shows support for the rural industry," Mr Mudford said.
On Wednesday, attendees heard from Australian National University professor Mark Howden about climate change, AgriPath director Simon Fritsch about profitable grazing businesses, and producers Nathan Kruidinier and David Maxwell.
They also hit the road to visit the farm of Carroll beef producer Stuart Swain, and the Boggabri property of Alistair Donaldson who is a silage producer. The tours gave attendees a first-hand look at the local industry.
On day two, four more seminars will be held at the town hall and the Smithurst before the conference wraps up.
More to come on day two at www.nvi.com.au.