AgQuip, FarmFest organisers call for government backing

Gunnedah COVID-19: AgQuip organisers say they need targeted funding assistance

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ACM Rural Events group manager Kate Nugent says field days are stand-alone and their value needs to be recognised. Photo: Gareth Gardner

ACM Rural Events group manager Kate Nugent says field days are stand-alone and their value needs to be recognised. Photo: Gareth Gardner

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ACM Rural Events' Kate Nugent says government COVID-19 funding isn't aimed at field days.

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The federal government is failing to recognise the value and economic stimulus provided by field days, AgQuip organisers say.

ACM Rural Events group manager Kate Nugent said they were "suffering" after last week being forced to cancel this year's AgQuip in Gunnedah, and FarmFest in Toowoomba because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Ms Nugent said field days had not been included in the government COVID recovery plans and she wanted to see "targeted assistance" for The Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia of which Rural Events is a member.

"We're not seated and we're not ticketed," she said.

"We need to impart upon the federal government that field days are an industry and have a great economic impact on the regional and rural communities in which we're working ... we stand alone from what is known as agricultural shows. It's a point of difference, and that point of difference relates to the complexity and size and scale of our field days across Australia.

"Given our situation as a result of COVID, we have had to cancel the majority of field days across Australia in line with safety and uncertainty, and we are suffering.

We're not seated and we're not ticketed. - Kate Nugent, ACM Rural Events

"We now need help and understanding of our plight."

Ms Nugent said while Rural Events was responsible for seeking relevant funding, the events often didn't fit the application criteria because they are run by a company, not a committee.

"We have, obviously, a requirement to retain the skills and experience of our teams ... we need funds to be able to operate and ensure we can look forward to presenting the staging of our field days in 2021," she said.

"There's a number of us that were less fortunate, that were to be staged very close to the March lock-down that occurred in Australia and subsequent border closures, and so there have been some heavy losses incurred by those field days."

Ms Nugent said the value of field days could not be understated.

"It is an extremely huge blow to the Australia agricultural industry when these field days are unable to proceed because so many agricultural companies can attest ... AgQuip time and time again is quoted as 'the field day that could set an agricultural business up for a year'," she said.

"The sales that are generated and the leads that are gained and converted into sales.

"The fact remains, these field days are the most effective platform for new product releases, new agritech launches, and obviously, products and services information; the latest on show that can help and deliver more effective, productive Australian farming."

The story AgQuip, FarmFest organisers call for government backing first appeared on Farm Online.

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