COVID derails events and conferences

THE latest COVID-19 outbreaks have wreaked havoc on the agricultural events calendar, leading to the cancellation or postponement of several key events and conferences.
COVID derails events and conferences  COVID derails events and conferences  COVID derails events and conferences  COVID derails events and conferences  COVID derails events and conferences

The Henty Machinery Field Days has commemorated Tim Fischer's involvement in rural Australia with a memorial.

Mark Saunders

Included in the COVID event wreckage are the Mallee Machinery Field Days, held at Speed in Victoria, the Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo, Victoria, the AgQuip Field Days, Gunnedah, New South Wales and the Tractor and Machinery Association annual conference in Melbourne.

The Mallee Machinery Field Days and Australian Sheep and Wool Show have been cancelled while AgQuip has been postponed until November. And dozens of conferences and seminars have also been put off or called off altogether, including the Controlled Traffic Farming Conference which was scheduled for the first week of August in Perth.

The cancellation of events has been devastating in some cases for organisers, exhibitors and standholders. The Australian Sheep and Wool Show is expected to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars as it was due to start on 16 July. The Victorian statewide lockdown was announced on 15 July (to start at midnight) only providing a few hours' notice and dealing a massive blow to caterers and the like.

A statement released by the Australian Sheep and Wool Show on the day of the lockdown announcement said: "Following the state government announcement, the Australian Sheep and Wool Show is cancelled for 2021.

"We are so very sorry about this and understand how much you have invested in your site and your presence at this event.

"If you are a siteholder we have been advised that you must clear your site this evening (15/7) and be home by 11.59pm, otherwise you cannot return until next Wednesday to clear your site.

"We are sorry that we have been unable to find out further information at this stage. If you are returning to other states, please check your own state regulations about returning and what is required from a COVID testing perspective.

"We will have security on site every day and night to ensure the safety of your goods. Refunds and carry over of fees will be dealt with in the coming weeks, please give us time."

The Mallee Mallee Machinery Field Days said on its Facebook page: "It is with much sadness that the Lions Club of Speed reluctantly announce that this year's event has been cancelled.

"With the current lockdown in Victoria and the situation in NSW, a number of exhibitors have already had to cancel their attendance and things are unlikely to improve quickly enough to ensure the safety of our community - volunteers, exhibitors and the public alike."

Other events including the Dowerin Machinery Field Days (scheduled for 25 and 26 August) and the Henty Machinery Field Days (scheduled for 21-23 September) are going ahead at this stage.

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