September 30, 2014
Rather than being challenged by the digital age, field days are surviving and thriving with a record number of exhibitors and visitors at this year’s Henty event.
The HMFD Co-operative has embraced technology to better provide tech savvy visitors with both a virtual and genuine sensory experience.
In the month leading up to the field days, website hits averaged almost 30,000 a day while Facebook peaked over the event at a weekly reach of almost 85,000.
A mobile phone app was launched this year while the new Agri-Centre showcased the latest research and demonstrations of agricultural robots and automated technology.
Exhibitors found visitors had done their research on the home computer but turned to the field days to see, touch and inspect farm machinery or equipment first-hand.
Australian Earthmoving Supplies sales manager Alistair Hall said genuine buyers sought out the company at Henty after comparing brands and prices on the internet.
“They had done their research on the internet but doing these field days show just how important it is for us to attend and keep our brand out there,’’ Mr Hall said.
Rural Press Events operations manager at Agquip Kate Nugent was impressed with Henty’s ability to embrace change when she visited with a team of young staff.
“It’s important for us to recognise Henty is such a great success and we can be assured there is a strong future field days can offer as part of a marketing mix for our agricultural and lifestyle companies,’’ Ms Nugent said.
“It is important for my young staff to understand and respect what a successful field days can generate for our communities and agricultural exhibitors.’’
Ms Nugent, of Tamworth, said Henty had renewed her faith in what could be done in regional Australia for rural communities.
She said Henty field days were a great example of drawing power over long distances.
“The primary point Henty profiles so well is the sense of community,’’ she said.
“Everywhere we went, talking to exhibitors and their responses to the community groups involved, we were impressed by the mountain of volunteers feverishly working away.’’
Ms Nugent said it was critical for field day committees to work with their regional communities.
She said achieving a sense of community was a key for visitors, suppliers and exhibitors when promoting field days.
“That gives me a sense of pride about field days and how important they are – we are passionate and feel at one with the agricultural industry
“We all have the same objective – to keep our exhibitors happy and we need to ensure not only a successful sales event but also generate a great experience.
“We can only do that through the service we offer and that’s where Australian and New Zealand field day organisers stand united to share ideas.’’