Riverland Field Day cancelled again

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Both the Riverland Field Days in South Australia and the Australian National Field Days in New South Wales have been called off for 2021 over COVID-19 concerns

The Riverland Field Day and Australian National Field Day have both cancelled their 2021 events this month

The Riverland Field Day has become the latest ag-machinery event to be cancelled in 2021 and follows the similar conclusion reached by organisers of the Australian National Field Day (ANFD), which too cancelled its exhibition earlier this month.

The Riverland Field Day committee announced its decision to cancel the event yesterday, citing the uncertainty and restrictions of large events as a result of the continuous COVID-19 pandemic.

New lockdowns around the country, as well as closed borders, and the risks of a snap lockdown in South Australia meant organisers and volunteers would have difficulty enforcing the COVID management plan – something required by SA Health for any planned event attracting more than 1000 people in the state. 

The event, initially scheduled for 17-18 September in Barmera, SA, has now been cancelled for two years consecutively because of the pandemic, meaning the approximately 350 exhibitors and thousands of visitors it attracts will once again miss out. 

"We are disappointed to have to make the decision to cancel the field days again this year," says RFD Chairman Anthony Fulwood.

"It is a major event in our region and State, and an important part of business promotion for the many exhibitors.

"We have worked extensively with SA Health to produce a workable Covid Management Plan. However, the restrictions on numbers would reduce our viability; and the extra burden to enforce compliance was too much for the volunteer workforce.

"The health and safety of our volunteers, exhibitors and community comes first, and we don’t wish to hold an event where that could be at risk."

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The cancellation of the Riverland Field Day shadows similar events at the Australian National Field Day – the country’s oldest annual agricultural exhibition, which was scheduled to celebrate in its 70th year in 2021. 

ANFD, which is based in Borenore, New South Wales, is one of the largest field days in the country, was initially scheduled across 21-23 October.

But given the large number of exhibitors travelling from Queensland, Victoria and Greater Sydney, and the lockdowns now in place across much of regional NSW, the event committee says it has been forced to cancel the event. 

ANFD Manager Jayne West says the financial implications of the decision will be sizeable and shared her disappointment at the cancellation of the event for the second straight year.

"The organisation will take a huge financial hit along with local businesses in the Cabonne Council and Orange City Council Local Government areas, but it is utmost that we look after the safety of our rural regions and community," West says.

"Snap lockdowns could still be possible for the next few months and the staff and Committee will look into the possibility of organising some smaller events early next."

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