Farm machinery field days seek $1 million aid to beat coronavirus

Help! Farm machinery field days seeking $1 million to ease COVID-19 pain

Coronavirus
AGRICULTURAL SHOWCASE: Annual farm and machinery field days showcase the best farm technology and innovations while generating major income for local communities.

AGRICULTURAL SHOWCASE: Annual farm and machinery field days showcase the best farm technology and innovations while generating major income for local communities.

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The peak body for farm machinery field days says the key regional events need help to survive coronavirus.

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The peak body for Australia's farm and machinery field days is seeking a $1 million support package from the Federal Government to ensure they survive the big financial impact of coronavirus.

Many field days have had to be cancelled, some literally at the last minute, because of crowd restrictions due to COVID-19 which has caused heavy losses.

Field days which have been lost this year include Dowerin in WA, Eyre Peninsula in SA and Sheepvention and Farm World in Victoria.

Others including AgQuip at Gunnedah and FarmFest at Toowomba have been postponed to later in the year which could reduce exhibitor numbers.

VITAL FOR COMMUNITY: Wendy Franklin from the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia, says government support is needed to ensure farm and machinery field days survive coronavirus.

VITAL FOR COMMUNITY: Wendy Franklin from the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia, says government support is needed to ensure farm and machinery field days survive coronavirus.

The Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia (AAFDA) is now asking the Federal Government to provide $1 million emergency support.

AAFDA's secretary and the manager of the Tocal Field Days in the NSW Hunter, Wendy Franklin, met her local federal member, David Gillespie, late last week to discuss the funding of a survival plan.

She has also contacted relevant federal ministers and members of parliament to alert them to threat now facing machinery field days across the country.

"We aren't asking for a fortune," she said.

Field days generated millions of dollars which were injected back into local and regional communities through extra business activity, grants and charity donations.

A big field day like Henty in the NSW Riverina, which is still scheduled for September 22-24, would generate around $8 million and attract 60,000 visitors, she said.

"Field days play a vital role in educating the community about the importance of agriculture, and its contribution to Australian's kitchens and to the economy," Ms Franklin said.

They connect farmers to suppliers and each other to facilitate innovation and best practice farming," she said.

"In addition to the economic benefits, charities and community groups rely on field days for fundraising, exposure and support to rural communities."

Ms Franklin said most field days were run using volunteer committees with often part-time support from a paid event co-ordinator.

"They don't have big reserves of money. Those committees and the community will benefit from funding and support to give committee members and staff new skills in business management, digital marketing and using social media".

She said farmers and field days had successfully battled flood, drought, fires and, with support, they would survive coronavirus.

AAFDA represents 21 field days events in Australia and New Zealand.

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