Field days ‘boost farmer health and social wellbeing’

Two men in field. | Newsreel
The Norco Primex Field Day will be held at Casino (from May 16) leading into Casino’s Beef Week from May 18 to 26. Field days are important for farmer health and socialising. | Pnoto: Simon Skafar (iStock)

Agricultural field days are playing a new and important role in farmer health and social well-being, according to the National Farmers Federation.

NFF president David Jochinke said rural expos had always offered excellent opportunities to compare notes and view latest technologies.

They were also a highlight of social calendars where primary producers “aren’t heads down, tails up, flat out working”.

“And today there’s a lot of lifestyle and social aspects to field days, a lot of health services as well,” he said. “That’s fantastic because it’s probably one of the things that people in agriculture neglect to a degree.

“Here (at field days) they can take as much time as other people do to make time and space to have hearing checked, eyes tested or a simple blood pressure test. It’s just fantastic at these events as an add-on.”

The comments came as many producers prepared to attend the Norco Primex Field Day at Casino (from May 16) leading into Casino’s Beef Week from May 18 to 26.

The Wright family has been running the event for near 40 years and is expecting to better the $67 million in economic activity generated last year.

“The core of a field day is obviously the machinery and equipment but it’s also about how farmers live, the quality of life they have,” says Bruce Wright, who is also the Chair of the Association of Agricultural Field Days of Australasia.

“From all that comes innovation, to be more efficient, plus connection with the wider community.

“Our field days are far more extensive, more focussed on agriculture and farmers’ lives than rural district shows. You’d never see a local show with 400 exhibitors and 20,000 to 30,000 visitors. And farmers are the worst self-promoters on the planet, so these events create an opportunity for some conduit between producers and consumers.”

Agricultural field days are worth an estimated $2 billion a year across Australian and New Zealand and attract around one million visitors. There are at least 45 of these events held across Australia and New Zealand each year, about 38 of those in Australia.

The Casino field day was conceived by Bruce Wright’s father John as one of a series of events to fill out down time for his equipment hire company in the 1980s.

The inaugural Eastern Coast Rural Trade Expo of 1985 attracted 40 exhibitors and 3000 visitors to the 32-hectare site, now developed with accommodation for more than 1200 companies.

More information is available on the Primex website.