Tocal Field Days and other Australian agricultural field days have received Federal Government funding to help them weather the storm created by COVID-19.
Tocal will share in $2.7 million in funding announced by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.
The package allows each field day which has had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 to apply for $70,000. It also gives the Association of Agricultural Field Days Australasia (AAFDA) $100,000 to hold a member conference in 2021 and provide training and assistance for members on recovery management planning.
Tocal Field Days manager and secretary of AAFDA, Wendy Franklin, said the funding is a welcome boost for rural and regional Australia. She thanked the ministers as well as local member Dr David Gillespie for their assistance and support.
She said Tocal Field Days was scheduled to be held in early May but was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. The next field days is scheduled from April 30 to May 2, 2021.
"Field days play a vital role in educating the community about the importance of agriculture and make a valuable contribution to social fabric and the economy of rural and regional communities," Ms Franklin said.
"We don't exactly know when we will be able to hold our next event, but this funding will help ensure we can continue to return bigger and better than ever for our local communities," she said.
She said Australia's field days generate millions of dollars which are ultimately put back into the community through grants and charity donations. Last year Tocal Field Days attracted more than 21,000 visitors and suppliers, putting $40,000 back into community groups.
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"Field days also connect farmers to suppliers and each other to facilitate innovation and best practice farming," 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."
Mr McCormack said the funding is part of an overall $39 million commitment to help show societies and field days deal with cash-flow pressures caused by COVID-19 cancellations under the Government's $1 billion COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund.
Mr Littleproud said he will continue to urge his State and Territory counterparts to make a contribution to help agricultural shows and field days survive because of the positive impact they have on their economies.
Nationally, field days provide income to local contractors of more $1.8 million and economic value add to the Australian economy of more than $100 million.
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