TOCAL'S famed agricultural field days could be under threat without mustering up support beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers say.
The Tocal event was due to take place in early May at the region's agricultural college, but will now return in April 2021 after social distancing made it impossible to proceed.
Tocal Field Days manager Wendy Franklin, who is also secretary of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia (AAFDA), said these types of agricultural events deliver millions in community grants and charity donations.
AAFDA is calling for government and community support for field day committees around the country, and in particular federal funding to help staunch the bleeding from 2020 cancellations.
Ms Franklin said Tocal's events drew 21,000 people in 2019 and put $40,000 into the Hunter as grants.
"Field days play a vital role in educating the community about the importance of agriculture, and its contribution to Australian's kitchens and to the economy," Ms Franklin said.
"They also connect farmers to suppliers and each other to facilitate innovation and best practice farming.
"Field Days support jobs, farmers and regional communities."
Ms Franklin said modest reserves meant Tocal was in a better position that other events, which were run entirely by volunteer efforts.
"Those volunteer committees and the community will benefit from other state and local government support to give committee members and staff new skills in business management, digital marketing and using social media," she said.
"Tocal Field Days has been operating for 36 years through floods, drought, fires and, with support, we will not let coronavirus destroy this important community event."
"Field Days just need a little helping hand to continue to bring fun, family friendly, economically beneficial events post the Covid-19 crisis."
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