Setting the standards for field days around the nation

Bill Chapman, Murrumbateman Field Days, Belinda Anderson, Henty Machinery Field Days, Wendy Franklin, Tocal Field Days and Jayne West, Australian National Field Days, at the conference.

Once a year managers, staff and volunteers from field days all over Australia and New Zealand come together to discuss the aspects of their events that binds them together.

The Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia (AFFDA), of which Henty Machinery Field Days is a member, is an umbrella group working to ensure the events meet the highest standard.

HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson said the knowledge and experiences shared was invaluable to all members.

“Problems HMFD have dealt with may be experienced by other field days,’’ Mrs Anderson said.

“We can assist them to solve these issues and therefore improve the standards across a wide range of events.’’

Henty Machinery Field Days staff and members have visited field days at Orange (Australian National Field Days), Farm World at Lardner Park, Dowerin in Western Australia, Agfest in Tasmania, Wimmera Machinery Field Days at Horsham, Elmore Field Days at Elmore and Fieldays at Hamilton, New Zealand.

This year, five delegates from HMFD attended the AFFDA conference in New Zealand in June.

“While we all have our events at different times of the year and in different areas of Australia and New Zealand, issues faced by organisers are generally the same,” Mrs Anderson said.

“Other organisations would see this as sharing with our competition – we don’t as it only strengthens members and their events.’’

This year, 19 of the 28 members were involved at the conference.

The association examines aspects such as health and safety procedures, marketing, logistics and in recent years, has worked towards streamlining the terms and conditions for the events.

“Since taking on the role of CEO in 2013, I have seen members of AAFDA begin to develop documentation that is streamlining the basic guidelines between events,’’ Mrs Anderson said.

As part of the association’s standards, members must commit to an event marketing principally to the rural sector.

The 2019 conference will be hosted by Sheepvention in Hamilton, Victoria, on August 5-6.

While the demographics may vary between the various field days but the message remains the same – to put a focus on agriculture.