HMFD rewarding excellence in site design and presentation
Defence force recruitment, machinery, specialty coffee and illustrated story books are among the winners of the 2023 Henty Machinery Field Days Exhibitor Awards.
The awards were presented on Thursday, September 21 at The Stump by HMFD chief executive officer Belinda Anderson to the winners of the Best Outdoor Large Commercial, Best Outdoor General and Best Indoor Exhibitor sites – Country Lifestyle and Farm Gate.
Australasian reseller of industry-leading farming machinery including tractors and harvesters, CAAS Harvest Centre, Wagga Wagga, won the Best Outdoor Large Commercial, while Australian Defence Force Careers took out the Best Outdoor General.
Graphic designer and children’s book illustrator Sarah Hardy is a new exhibitor but won the Best Indoor site in Country Lifestyle with her business Popcorn Blue.
Bec Macdougall and her premium specialty coffee business Emme Mac Black was awarded Best Indoor Site at Farm Gate Produce Market.
Belinda Anderson said the field days co-operative prided itself on providing a showcase with a modern professional image, and the latest in agricultural machinery and technology.
Mrs Anderson said the exhibitor awards encouraged site holders to strive for similar ideals during the field days.
Judges Daryl Thomson and Bec Clancy covered the 14km of external shop front plus the indoor sites, assessing visual presentation, display, layout and innovation.
They inspected sites ranging in frontage from 3m to 180m.
Mrs Clancy said the CLAAS Harvest Centre had great visual presence and presentation with a centrally located marque, large flagpoles with their designated brands, and walkways between the machines lined with bark and trimmed with black piping.
“ADF Careers has an expanded site representing the navy, army and airforce with a virtual reality submarine and a helicopter simulator, which were popular with the kids,” she said.
“At the Farm Gate Produce Area, the coffee business Emme Mac Black was nicely decorated with a black and white theme, lighting, background pictures and timber stands with their specialty products displayed.
“At Country Lifestyle, new exhibitor Popcorn Blue had cards, tea towels, books and children’s table ware. Their site was eye catching with timber racks and mini picket fencing with flowers.”
Mrs Clancy said exhibitors were putting a lot of thought into their site design, being innovative to catch the consumer’s eye, attract them into the site and engage with them.
“Some of the exhibitors have expanded their sites and in a year of record bookings it has been a challenge to do that.
“The demand has been very strong this year for sites with waiting lists for all areas.
“It is hard to judge them all as we would like to acknowledge more than one for their efforts.
“Often it comes down to attention to the finer details – it doesn’t have to be big and expensive equipment but thinking outside the square in displaying with colour and interactive product to encourage the customer into the site.”
CLAAS Harvest Centre branch manager Andrew Kearns and his team uses a computer model to design the layout of their 50 x 20 m site.
“Our team of 15 has been on site for the last two weeks setting up plus another four back at the dealership and four in Melbourne loading and unloading,” Mr Kearns said.
“Henty is one of the main field days for us – the timing is good for getting a feel of what the season is and that is where it is worth making the effort. It is the calm before the storm, the last opportunity to see people before they are fully in the thick of harvest.
“Whether it is toys or coffee machines to make it attractive for people to come on the stand, we are not trying to sell stuff, it is more about making contact with customers.
“It is important to get the right product for the right clientele – here there are a lot of graziers and big corporate broad acres so you’ve got to invest the money into the site.”
National Sales and Operations Manager – Australia Paul Birbeck said CLAAS had been steadily expanding the site at Henty since 2009 and having the same site encouraged repeat visits from customers.