FROM THE EDITOR
TRADITIONAL machinery and agricultural field days have been a fixture of the regional farm sector for a long time and many would hope that such shows and expos have a long future ahead of them.
In this edition, the future of field days is put under the microscope by two very qualified industry players – Landpower Australia boss Merv George and Tractor & Machinery Association of Australia executive director Richard Lewis.
Both men issue a challenge to event organisers to ensure that field days adapt with the times and remain relevant to machinery exhibitors.
Given the commitment and significant expense associated with participating in regional field days, machinery companies are, it seems, starting to question whether their presence at such events is a high priority.
No doubt machinery manufacturers and distributors, most of whom have a presence in rural areas via local dealerships, would naturally want to support regional events such as field days as part of their commitment to ‘putting back' into local communities.
But as Mr George points out, machinery businesses are on a never-ending quest to minimise costs and invest their marketing budget as effectively as possible. This, he says, is key to remaining competitive in a tough marketplace and being able to offer its products at the cheapest possible price.
Mr Lewis sums the situation up, saying that exhibitors will be tempting to spend their marketing dollars on digital platforms and captive events.
“Where field days where once 100 per cent of the marketing spend of a machinery business, this number is diminishing and would not account for 50pc these days,” Mr Lewis said.
“There needs to be a rethink on field days – fewer of them, less often and more targeted towards the machinery exhibitors to get some bang for their buck.”
Finally, as this edition of AFDJ is going to print the country is absorbing the Federal Government's 2015/16 Budget. National Farmers' Federation president Brent Finlay said the agriculture portfolio largely held its ground, with funding of around $2 billion.
“The measures announced tonight on trade, tax breaks and small business measures will be welcome news for Australian farmers,” Mr Finlay said. Refer page 8 for Barnaby Joyce's post-budget opinion piece.
Tom Dawkins, editor email@example.com