Events postponed over COVID-19 outbreaks

By: Anthony Wingard

Presented by

The 2021 AgQuip Field Days have been postponed and two Victorian events cancelled due to ongoing concerns over the impact of COVID-19 outbreaks

AgQuip 2021 has been postponed. Image: ACM Rural Events

Event organisers have postponed the 2021 AgQuip Field Days due to increasing and ongoing concerns in relation to the impact of COVID-19 and the continuing events unfolding throughout New South Wales.

AgQuip was initially scheduled to take place from August 17 to 19 in Gunnedah, NSW, however given the current COVID-19 crisis, which has caused extended lockdowns throughout much of the state, ACM Rural Events has decided to postpone the event.

While ACM Rural Events had devised a stringent CovidSafe plan and had been working closely with NSW Health and the police in the lead up to AgQuip, organisers say the decision to postpone will help keep regional communities safe while complying with state ordinances.

"We will be consulting with our AgQuip exhibitors and with the understanding of local, state, and national calendar of events," a statement from AgQuip says.

"We thank out AgQuip exhibitors and regional and rural communities for their continues support and understanding during this uncertain time."

ACM Rural Events hopes to announce the new date for 2021 AgQuip soon.

Plannings for the Henty Machinery Field Days, due to take place on September 21-21, and the Australian National Field Days, outside Orange on October 21-23, is continuing, though organisers of both events said they were continuing to monitor the situation.

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson says the 2021 field days will proceed as scheduled unless otherwise advised by NSW Health, with attendees encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets online and contactless spending encouraged.

"Agriculture is an important and essential industry and farmers and agri-businesses need to be networking, researching, and buying," Mrs Anderson says.

"Henty Machinery Field Days will provide a safe environment for that to occur."

ANFD orgnaisers say that planning is continuing for their event.

"The Committee believes that by October we will be able to bring you a great COVID-safe event for all to enjoy," organisers say.

"The Australian National Field Days Committee are constantly monitoring the advice of Health and Government departments in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak."

All three events had previously been cancelled in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Also cancelled for the second year running is the Mallee Machinery Field Days, which were due to take place on August 4 and 5 outside the township of Speed in northern Victoria. 

In a statement posted on the event's Facebook page, event organisers the Lions Club of Speed said the announcement was being made with much sadness.

"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," organisers say.

"We will be contacting our community groups and exhibitors over the coming days."

Organisers of Sheepvention, the Hamilton Pastoral and Agricultural Society, had already altered the planned 2021 event, replacing the expo with a conference and rebadging the event as "Sheep Connect".

But organisers have now decided to cancel the trade exhibits that were to surround the conference and its signature live Ram sale following the recent lockdowns in NSW and Victoria.

Announcing the decision "with great regret and following careful consideration," the society Executive says it will be offering a full refund to all trade exhibitors.

"The decision to fully refund all our trade exhibits does not come without a great expense to the P & A Society but we understand many businesses are experiencing financial stress," the Society says.

"We hope to do this as quickly as possible."

Organisers added that the Sheep Connect ‘Conference’ will be postponed, with a new date to be announced in coming weeks, and the Ram Sale will take place on August 3 as scheduled, albeit solely online.

"We are incredibly disappointed to deliver this news. Unfortunately, the COVID situation left us with no alternative," organisers say.

"Our gate program is online at www.hamiltonshowgrounds.com.au and we encourage those that were planning on visiting Sheep Connect to hop online and support our traders if possible."

"We would like to thank you for your support this year and endeavour to make Sheepvention (on August 1 and 2 in) 2022 our biggest event yet."

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