IF we are to educate the next generation about agriculture there is arguably no better platform than country shows.
Seeing children on their ponies or leading a prized steer is something that makes the heart warm.
It can also be the key ingredient that encourages young people to embark on a career in the rural industry.
How many times have we seen people participate in the rural achievers program, or be named as showgirl, and later they take on leading roles in our industry? From the person who can correctly identify a lineup of show cattle and blitz the junior judging, through to those who have had success in the equestrian arena, these events are hotbeds for excellence.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has come as a blow to the events the government has to be congratulated in the foresight to support Agricultural Shows Australia (ASA) to the tune of $36 million. The federal funding sets the tone for what we can only imagine as a bigger and brighter time for agriculture.
News that major royals including Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide wouldn't run this year due to coronavirus was crushing, but essential for public health. ASA chairman Rob Wilson confirmed the funding will allow agricultural and royal shows to continue into the future.
HOW THE FUNDING LOOKS:
- $10 million in operational support for local show societies. Shows will be able to claim up to $10,000 if their attendance last year was less than 2000, up to $15,000 if their attendance was between 2000 and 4999 and up to $70,000 if their attendance was more than 5000
- $26 million in operational support for Royal Agricultural Show societies which can additionally claim for unrecoverable costs associated with preparing for the cancelled show.
- $100,000 in operational support for Agricultural Shows Australia's Rural Ambassador Program.
Australia hosts 580 agricultural shows each year and the estimated contribution to our economy is more than $1 billion. In addition to encouraging people to embark on a pathway of rural education and careers the shows are also a window to the great work that occurs in regional Australia.
It gives us bragging rights in terms of highlighting to our city counterparts the valuable work of our primary producers.