The story of the nation’s oldest annual agricultural exhibition is an interesting one and certainly the event has evolved over the years and adapted to the changing times.
However Chairman of the Board of the Australian National Field Days Dan Toohey said the weeks of rain which has left flood conditions in some areas, and water pooling in paddocks will present some challenges as the site dries out for this year’s event.
“At this stage we do have some scope to change some of the sites around to suit particular exhibitors,” he said.
Mr Toohey said he believes the key to the continuing success of the event has been the ability of the organising committee to come up with new concepts year on year.
“This year we will have an excellent educational exhibition in one of the pavilions and it will include an emphasis on our nation’s biosecurity which is a big issue,” he said.
“Realistically the number of farmers and people on the land coming to our event over the years has fallen, and so that is why we have had to diversify so there is something for the farmers’ wives and partners and their children, as well as the general public,” he said.
Mr Toohey says the internet cannot replace the personal experience of visiting the Field Days if you are a farmer.
“Personally I always like to see exactly what I was buying and it remains a big part of the experience for the man on the land and producers,” he said.
Mr Toohey says the increase of on-site selling at the Field Days has been helped enormously by the introduction of wireless technology.
“We are very fortunate that Telstra placed a tower close to us, and there is no doubt it has been a big help,” he said.
Mr Toohey said the camaraderie of the volunteers involved has been integral to the ongoing success of the Field Days.
“While we do pay a few staff, we operate with mostly volunteers – and it’s all about the mateship,” he said.
The Australian National Field Days has been working on ways to diversify the use of the site so it extends beyond the annual Field Day event.
“We are trying to source some funds through a grant to build a function centre out here as we have a real vision for this site.
He said a function centre on site would be an enormous asset and would be perfect for events and conferences.
“People could get that real bush experience,” he said.
Guest exhibitor this year is MSM Milling & the Manildra Group who are in the process of finalising an exciting exhibition that will not only showcase the operations of the business but local success story MSM Milling have planned some fabulous interactive displays which will have wide appeal to all sectors of the community, including families.
Mr Toohey said while the site like most of the Central West is challenging at the moment due to heavy rainfall, the site will be in contrast to previous years, particularly during the drought when it has been a ‘dustbowl’.
“We just need a couple of weeks of fine weather now to dry things out,” he said.
The Australian National Field Days will be running a regular bus service to and from the Borenore site during the Field Days and it will leave from the Hotel Canobolas and return from the ‘Blue’ car park several times a day. The cost will be $2.
For more information on the full program of activities, go to the Australian National Field Days website.