COVID-19 cancellations have had a devastating effect on many country agricultural shows and Warrnambool’s Show is no exception.
However, the Warrnambool Show will go ahead this year thanks to Federal Government funding.
Wannon MP, Dan Tehan said he was pleased that the Warrnambool Agricultural Show had been successful in attracting funding under the Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program.
“Agricultural shows are at the heart of local communities through the volunteerism and the educational, competitive and cultural experiences they provide,” Mr Tehan said.
“These events are at the heart of local communities and help farmers stay competitive by sharing innovation, new ways of doing business and are also a great social occasion.
“I’m very pleased Warrnambool Agricultural Society will receive this boost; this will bring their total funding support to $26,908.
“This is great news for the volunteers and local community of Warrnambool, with the show providing tangible economic and social benefits.”
Agriculture, drought and emergency management minister, David Littleproud said a total of 110 events across the country would share in the $710,818 cash boost, “almost $34 million has already gone out to the 378 shows and field days approved for funding for costs paid from July 1 2019 to 30 June, 2020”.
“Our agricultural shows and field days are bouncing back from the pandemic because of the hard work of their volunteers and support from their communities.”
~ Agriculture, drought and emergency management minister, David Littleproud
“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring agricultural shows and field days are in the best position possible to continue in 2021 and beyond.”
I caught up with Warrnambool Agricultural Society president, Jason Callaway, to find out what this funding means for the Warrnambool Agricultural Show going forward.
J.F - Last year would have been a battle with no income for the Show society. How hard has it been?
J.C - It has been very difficult for the Agricultural Society with no form of income since our 2019 show but still having all our day-to-day expenses too.
Every show society and many organisations have been in the same boat as have many local people and businesses.
I also feel sorry for the show-man’s guild and people like the animal nurseries, wildlife displays etc, all these people rely on shows and events for all their income and to survive.
J.F - What are your greatest challenges this year?
J.C - This year some of our greatest challenges will be getting more volunteers and support and just getting people back to the show after a year off.
J.F - How helpful is the funding from the government?
J.C - The funding from the federal government has enabled us to cover at least a years’ worth of expenses for the society in the absence of any actual income.
This has been a big help.
Now we can bring the show back this year hopefully bigger and better than before and get the crowds back to The Warrnambool Show.
It is looking promising and the committee is very excited.
J.F - How are you going for workers/volunteers? Do you need more?
J.C - Volunteer numbers are still down on where we would like to be and we always welcome new people to come onto the committee or even just to help out in some way during the year and especially leading up to and over the show period.
We are after people from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of skill sets, the Ag Society is definitely something enjoyable and challenging to be a part of and help give back to the community.
We welcome all enquiries about volunteering with us so if you are interested or know someone who is then please get in touch with Lynn at the Society office.
J.F - Why do you think the show is so important to the town?
J.C - We are trying to make the show a very important part of the community on a number of levels.
We want to be able to provide the community with a social, educational and entertainment packed event that is a must see. We feel with the help of the community, working closely with the city council, local businesses and community groups that we can turn the show into a fantastic community event that can showcase the local region for all that it is.
To do that though we do need the support of as many people in the community as possible.
J.F – The Shearing Events are a big part of the Warrnambool Show – it seemed so popular; will it stay?
J.C - Shearing did return to the show a few years ago and has been well supported since its return.
The crew looking after shearing do a fantastic job as do all our volunteers.