Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - NEWS -

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 edit.afdj@ryan­medi­

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