Christmas comes early for ag shows
Agricultural shows and field days that were cancelled because of COVID-19 are about to get a slice of $34 million Australian Government funding to help them bounce back in 2021. Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud has announced that the first payments under the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will roll out before Christmas.
The package was launched to reimburse eligible costs for shows and field days who had to cancel because of the pandemic. Yesterday, 378 shows and field days were approved for funding and will receive financial support to help ease cash-flow pressures.
“This funding supports hundreds of our regional and remote country shows and field days held throughout Australia, as well as the big royal shows,” Mininster Littleproud says. “These events bring our families and farmers together, build community spirit and help bridge the divide between country and city. They also help farmers stay competitive by providing an opportunity to share innovation and new ways of doing business.
Shows and field days also provide huge economic benefits for the local communities hosting them, as well as opportunities for the businesses and services who exhibit.
Chair of Agricultural Shows Australia Dr Rob Wilson says show societies forced to cancel in 2020 are now feeling positive about hosting again next year.
“This support has helped provide certainty and a renewed sense of optimism ahead of 2021 after a difficult year for everyone, especially our 50,000 volunteers,” he says. “With some states already giving the go-ahead to shows next year, subject to COVID conditions being met, this funding will ensure hundreds of societies can start planning now.”
Secretary of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia Wendy Franklin has welcomed the fast turnaround of applicants’ approvals.
“Getting this money out the door is going to be a fantastic Christmas present for many of our event organisers,” she says. “Even if it’s to help cover costs such as rates, insurance and telecommunications, this support will go a long way towards ensuring next year we can bounce back bigger and better.”